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S04.E07: The Dinner and the Date

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Deja pushes the boundaries of Randall and Beth's trust. Jack and Rebecca invite Randall's new teacher over for dinner.

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Original air date: 11/5/19

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Loved the episode. The scene with the teacher and the wife in their apartment is an example of where This Is Us tries to give us a peak into even the smallest characters’ perspectives.

Loved the poem. And I am on Team Beth.

I live in West Coast Canada, but I am pretty sure I have seen a Rita’s in Chicago and NYC too, although I have never tried it. Not just a Philly thing. 
 

Is that a real cheesesteak place? I went to Gino and the other one across the street.

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I enjoyed the tour through Philadelphia. I lived there for a while in the ‘90s, and yes, Max’s cheesesteaks are the best. And Boathouse Row (the houses on the river with the lights) still takes my breath away. 

Team Beth all the way! Those were two awkward dinners.

But Annie was the MVP of the episode .

ETA: Travel guides rave about Gino’s cheesesteaks. But no one who lives in Philly likes them or gets their steaks from there.  

Edited by topanga
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Randall and Beth are way too soft.. especially for all their big talk. Oh boy. It makes perfect sense for Deja not to date that boy so just stick to it.

Edited by shouldbedancing
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4 minutes ago, memememe76 said:

I live in West Coast Canada, but I am pretty sure I have seen a Rita’s in Chicago and NYC too, although I have never tried it. Not just a Philly thing. 

Rita's was founded in Bensalem (in Bucks County, about half an hour from Philly; I lived near Bensalem when I worked in Philly a million years ago.) Wikipedia says they are in 30 states and DC now. (I can think of two or three within a reasonable drive from me here in NJ.)

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9 minutes ago, LaJefaza said:

I had no idea I had anything close to affection for Deja until Malik's mom called her 'that fast lil girl'.

That's funny because it was the same for me. I have never really warmed up to Deja. But when Malik's mom called her that I wanted to defend Deja.

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I didn't mind the episode, in general. It had some solid moments and I appreciate that they allowed both the Jack and Randall stuff to get extremely awkward....because it felt like real life....well, almost. If you ignore parts of the dialogue that was being spoken.

Nobody besides the kids and maybe Malik's father came out looking good during that dinner. Beth, Malik's mother, and Randall were on different levels of cringe. Malik's mother was just plain awful for going into the Pearson home and deciding to judge their daughter, despite the fact that she already has a granddaughter. So I did not mind Beth playing that card at all. What Beth was doing was right; she needed to protect her daughter from a stranger who was judging her in her home. Beth had every right to stand up for Deja. 

But I can't say that Beth took the high road; she didn't need to, of course, but her attitude was also uncomfortable to watch. Similarly to Randall vs Malik's father. Yes, Malik's father came in and was a bit condescending with the quip about Randall's lavish lifestyle. But Randall also, even subconsciously, flaunted his wealth and power when he was talking about the garage.

I think my biggest issue is that we always have episodes about Randall and his family, and I also am not invested in the teen romance, even if I like Malik and I like Deja. And I thought the Malik/Deja day date was pretty sweet. I liked him making her a regular at that restaurant. And the Randall family stuff is miles better than last season's stuff. But I'm not really invested as I could be. 

The only aspect of the Jack plot that I liked was that we got to see a rare, nasty side to Jack. Jealousy does not suit him, but it does kind of show where the kids can get their nasty side from. I was feeling bad for Randall's teacher and his wife. Jack only invited him so he could flaunt himself and try to "win" Randall back to his side, which I'm glad Rebecca pointed out. Jack made the dinner awkward and it was probably a bad idea for Randall's teacher to ever accept that sort of invitation. 

Kevin's always my favourite, so at least we got a small dose of Kid Kevin. The actor has grown up so much, even over the last year. 

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56 minutes ago, Jaclyn88 said:

They're beating a dead horse with Jack, but it seems like every episode he’s humorless and jealous of someone else Or down on himself about something  . He’s just such a Debbie downer at all times . 
 

That could be because he's dead.

36 minutes ago, TheLotusFlower said:

First by talking about Deja as if she was some stray that Beth and Randall took in off the street

Well, they kinda did.

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Rita's!  So good!

I was a bit put off by some of Beth & Malik's mom's exchanges, but I'd have my back up too with the 'tude emanating from his mom.

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I loved Kevin, "he's a grown up Randall"

.I love Malik, I did from the start. He's polite, people like him. He's good with his daughter and his parents. 

I loved Beth's stash of wine, but for the first time, I didn't like that side to her. 

It was a very good episode, with two families, very different,  having company, that were also very different.

Love.this.show.

Randalls poem at the end, gave me goosebumps.

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5 minutes ago, chocolatine said:

Wouldn't Deja's school have called Beth and Randall in the morning, when she didn't show up to class? They would have inundated her with calls and/or located her by tracking her phone, she wouldn't just have been able to spend the day exploring Philly with Malik

I don't know how Deja's high school works, but in my Canadian high school, the phone calls to parents weren't made until the end of the day, when they could deduce which periods that the student didn't attend.

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38 minutes ago, Blakeston said:

When Deja confronted Malik about her misgivings when he reached for her hand, it took me out of the episode completely. What kind of 14-year-old talks like that to a boy who gives her "butterflies?"

She's becoming a Pearson.

3 minutes ago, Lady Calypso said:

I don't know how Deja's high school works, but in my Canadian high school, the phone calls to parents weren't made until the end of the day, when they could deduce which periods that the student didn't attend.

In my New Jersey high school, they called early to ask if the parents if the student was supposed to be there or if the parents had forgotten to call them in sick. Then they made the "excused absence" list for teachers to check against for the rest of the day. 

That was a couple decades ago though.

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2 minutes ago, KaveDweller said:

She's becoming a Pearson.

In my New Jersey high school, they called early to ask if the parents if the student was supposed to be there or if the parents had forgotten to call them in sick. Then they made the "excused absence" list for teachers to check against for the rest of the day. 

That was a couple decades ago though.

My high school took official attendance through third period; after that, they would call any parents/guardians necessary. There was a couple instances where my mom forgot to call me in sick. lol So, I definitely would not have gotten away with skipping school like that.

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I love THIS IS US, so any episode I appreciate but... this episode bored me. But a boring THIS IS US episode for me is better than no episode so I am happy. 

I suppose I am not liking these sub plots with Randall and the teacher and Deja with her new boyfriend. But, they have to develop new story lines to keep the show going so this is what they came up with. 

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2 hours ago, Blakeston said:

When Deja confronted Malik about her misgivings when he reached for her hand, it took me out of the episode completely. What kind of 14-year-old talks like that to a boy who gives her "butterflies?"

I get that Deja had to grow up fast, and I can see her having those feelings. But revealing her vulnerabilities in such a perfectly articulated way, to the boy she likes, at the moment she becomes overwhelmed?

The writers are lucky that Lyric Ross is such a terrific actress, because some of the dialogue they give her can't be easy to pull off.

THIS! Are there women on the writing staff? They're going to have to steal someone from Grown-ish if they're going to continue with this storyline. 

Rita's! I don't know that I've ever seen Rita's in NYC but they're all over New Jersey.

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The best lines came from Annie and kid Kevin, keeping up that snark in even the most awkward of dinners! "We never say grace, and we haven't gone to church since the election." "Holy crap, he’s grown up Kevin." No wonder Annie and Kevin are so close. 

It's little things like that this show does so well. Creating subtle familial ties as well as major connections.

Edited by Drumpf1737
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There’s nothing that makes me more uncomfortable than secondhand awkward small talk and passive aggression.  Naturally I watched this entire episode and cringed because I’m a masochist. 

Mr. Lawrence was creeping me out until the talk at the end.  What he was doing with Randall is similar to what we call “grooming” in the classroom today.  I’m glad his intentions were good in the end.

Edited by Spencer Hastings
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4 hours ago, Star Gazer said:

Not to mention I’m sadly not invested in daja and her teenage romance. I have my guilty pleasures of teen dramas, this is us isn’t that. That’s just me. Maybe others differ but I’m here for adult drama not watching teens profess their love.

I generally feel that way about teenage love stories too. I suppose one can go to the CW to see those. But one thing Deja said to her parents that had the ring of plausibility about it was that Malik makes her feel like herself. It spoke to the alienation she still feels having been adopted at a late age into an upper class family.

35 minutes ago, bros402 said:

I am a male teacher, certified to teach elementary. All of the alarm bells were going off in my head. You do *not* get that close to a student. Not even if the parent invites you to their house for dinner. Maybe if after the school year is done, you keep up with the student by contacting the parent - but male teachers are discriminated against. Male teachers cannot do that. Nobody wants a lawsuit or a false accusation.

Hear, hear! I feel that boundaries have to be maintained between students and teachers. There is ever the possibility of improper conduct being perceived, whether it occurs or not. And there is the more mundane issue of favoritism among a teacher's students. I think he should have declined Jack's dinner invitation and suggested a different avenue for discussion.

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1 hour ago, watcher1006 said:

I generally feel that way about teenage love stories too. I suppose one can go to the CW to see those. But one thing Deja said to her parents that had the ring of plausibility about it was that Malik makes her feel like herself. It spoke to the alienation she still feels having been adopted at a late age into an upper class family.

Hear, hear! I feel that boundaries have to be maintained between students and teachers. There is ever the possibility of improper conduct being perceived, whether it occurs or not. And there is the more mundane issue of favoritism among a teacher's students. I think he should have declined Jack's dinner invitation and suggested a different avenue for discussion.

Yes, it can be touchy with teachers. I was taken back when my kids guidance counselor "friended" them and a few of their friends, last year of school. Sure, he wanted to keep in touch, but he was young, good looking and single, they kept him from seeing much but weren't worried about stalking. In grade school, back in my day, kids who had teachers over their house were called "teacher pets" and favoritism was always looked for. Many times it wasn't the kids wanting it, the parents thought it was a good idea.

We were told by 10 if kids weren't at school, sometimes earlier. I find it odd if any school didn't.

I feel they were pushing way too much how clueless Jack was and how Randall needed a mentor. The jealousy might have been real but silly. The rich family and the poor, "I always wanted to see the inside of these homes" vs "I don't want my daughter brought down to your level in your neighborhood" nuance.

It's obvious if Deja had Annie's upbringing or any teen without the drama and horrors she had would look at Malik differently, nice guy but probably not wanting to be serious with him. But Malik "sees her" and she's not a broken young woman, she's Deja and special and he makes her feel seen and heard. He's not rich or with a background that was full of privilege.  He made a mistake but a nice young man.  That mistake though is a child and one with a history we haven't explored yet.  (and we know TIU will) Hopefully she'll grow from it but they might just let her have this for life, but I hope she goes to college and spreads her wings. I hope they don't have him choose to steal or break the law in some way to fit another stereotype later. That would upset me.

Edited by debraran
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13 hours ago, BuckeyeLou said:

I loved Beth in this episode!  Her going into the pantry & getting her bottle of wine & chugging it straight from the bottle, LOL.  Malik's Mom was pushing Beth's buttons.  I liked how they contrasted Randall's dinner as a kid with his teacher & his dinner with Malik's parents.  The awkwardness was real in both situations.  And Beth and her "Open toed-shoes, open mind" lol.

I thought Beth was being a bitch and showed a complete lack of self-control and not the least bit open minded.  Sure she says she is open minded but she isn't.   She comes off as confident, but in reality she is pretty damn arrogant with incredibly thin skin.  Anything but confident.  She is nothing more than a blowhard.

Beth was passing judgement on Malik and his parents without even knowing them.   Then Beth has the balls to get pissed when Malik's mom spoke her mind about Deja without knowing her?  Give me a break.

And of course Beth runs for the wine bottle.  Again no self-control. 

13 hours ago, ams1001 said:

I love Annie.

"We say grace, too."

"No we don't..."

(paraphrased, of course)

Children don't have a filter, they just don't.  I can accept Annie's behavior because she is so young.    Kevin was acting like an asshole.  He has a history of acting like an asshole.

Edited by icemiser69
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8 hours ago, Jaclyn88 said:

They’re beating a dead horse with Jack’s storylines . I think he was charming in the beginning because his shtick was new and he’s a sweet guy , but it seems like every episode he’s humorless and jealous of someone else Or down on himself about something  . Then lo and behold the inevitable speech . He’s just such a Debbie downer at all times . 

If they are going to continue to have story lines about the kids, Jack is going to have to be involved.

Jack is another character who is arrogant, not confident.  I don't think there was anything wrong with Randall's teacher wanting to take Randell to a cultural event.   An event that has been apparently going on for a very long time.  An event that Jack knew nothing about and the teacher didn't want embarrass Jack for his lack of awareness for not knowing about it.

Jack's children aren't possessions, they are people.

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I respect the considerable talent of the young actors playing Deja and Malik, but I just don't care about their teen angst.  I don't want them to be a main storyline for the rest of the season.  But that dinner scene.  Wow.  According to an article linked on the Primetimer homepage the scene was toned down in the final cut.  I can't imagine how much more tense and what other angry words were exchanged.  

The other dinner party was awkward too.  Thank goodness for Kevin's snark to diffuse the tension.  Does anyone really invite a kid's teacher to their house for dinner?  Shouldn't the teacher realize he was getting a bit too invested in one of his students?  It just seems weird to me and a bad idea to become friends with a student. 

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8 hours ago, Star Gazer said:

But.. When we have episodes like this where he questions how’s Randall will be raised, when we know the end result or last week when we had to suffer through Jack and Rebecca’s dad, As if there was a chance Rebecca’s dad is even a threat to their relationship is laughable and just boring. 

We know Jack and Rebecca end up married.  We don't know the fallout between Jack and his relationship with his in-laws.   We don't know if Rebecca finds out how much of a "richard" her father was being.

8 hours ago, shouldbedancing said:

Randall and Beth are way too soft.. especially for all their big talk. Oh boy. It makes perfect sense for Deja not to date that boy so just stick to it.

If they want to make sure that Deja and Malik are together, that is the path for Randall and Beth to take.  That is exactly the wrong way for them to approach this situation.

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8 hours ago, Lady Calypso said:

The only aspect of the Jack plot that I liked was that we got to see a rare, nasty side to Jack. Jealousy does not suit him, but it does kind of show where the kids can get their nasty side from. I was feeling bad for Randall's teacher and his wife. Jack only invited him so he could flaunt himself and try to "win" Randall back to his side, which I'm glad Rebecca pointed out. Jack made the dinner awkward and it was probably a bad idea for Randall's teacher to ever accept that sort of invitation. 

I found Jack’s reaction VERY realistic and not over the top. Jack is a well meaning but insecure person (as we’ve seen he uses drinking to deal with his insecurities)- our society only usually talks about jealousy in a sexual context but parents get jealous too, it’s not the best part of humanity but it happens, especially if their child is connecting with someone that can provide the child something the parent can not. Parents can be very emotionally possessive. 
 

Had Randall been a girl child and strongly connected with a black female teacher at school I could see Rebecca getting jealous too, but she’s more emotionally aware than Jack so she wouldn’t have behaved as badly. 
 

Im glad Mr Lawrence and his wife went- how many black people has Randall had a chance to have dinner with? Much less someone he admires and would like to emulate. I think it meant a lot to Randall to have that dinner. 
 

I too love that poem by Langston Hughes. 

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8 hours ago, TheLotusFlower said:

Seriously?  I absolutely loved Beth in this episode.  Malik's mother completely disrespected Beth from the moment she got there.  First by talking about Deja as if she was some stray that Beth and Randall took in off the street, trying to blame the whole skipping school thing on Deja, and then with her ignorant passive aggressive comment during grace.  I didn't view Beth as hostile at all.  Was she supposed to slap on a fake smile and pretend everything was fine while being disrespected in her own home?  Malik's mother got exactly what she deserved.

Beth was just as hostile, she just did it by talking behind the backs of Malik's parents.  She drew all sorts of conclusions about Malik without knowing any of his backstory.   She still doesn't know his backstory.  So Malik's mom said things about Deja that got Beth so offended?  Look in the mirror Beth, what conclusions have you been drawing about Malik and his parents?

8 hours ago, Lady Calypso said:

I didn't mind the episode, in general. It had some solid moments and I appreciate that they allowed both the Jack and Randall stuff to get extremely awkward....because it felt like real life....well, almost. If you ignore parts of the dialogue that was being spoken.

I don't like awkward.  One of the many reasons why I bailed on family gatherings for twenty-five some odd years.  For whatever reasons, when my family gets together, the pecking order gets reestablished.  I would rather stay home alone with my pets and eat nachos than deal with that drama.  

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8 hours ago, TheLotusFlower said:

Seriously?  I absolutely loved Beth in this episode.  Malik's mother completely disrespected Beth from the moment she got there.  First by talking about Deja as if she was some stray that Beth and Randall took in off the street, trying to blame the whole skipping school thing on Deja, and then with her ignorant passive aggressive comment during grace.  I didn't view Beth as hostile at all.  Was she supposed to slap on a fake smile and pretend everything was fine while being disrespected in her own home?  Malik's mother got exactly what she deserved.

Yup, seriously.  All these points are taken, and Beth didn't have to fake and pretend all was well, but she was most assuredly hostile to guests she invited.  When she looked over at the baby and then told the girls to go upstairs and dinner was over, rude, poor example, and out of control.  No better than Malik's mom.  If I were Malik I'd never want to go back there, but teen love will prevail I'm sure. 

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How is it that Deja gets the After School Special episode? I don't even want to see 10 minutes of her let alone 45 minutes. The only good thing was Beth and maybe a little part of young Randall. Hopefully, Deja will be going to college next year and we can see less of her, if possible.

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8 hours ago, chocolatine said:

Wouldn't Deja's school have called Beth and Randall in the morning, when she didn't show up to class? They would have inundated her with calls and/or located her by tracking her phone, she wouldn't just have been able to spend the day exploring Philly with Malik.

Oh, and I thought the teacher's system of classifying books by publication year was pretentious. Good for him if he can memorize the publication year for all of his books, but what's the point?

That's a really bad system. 

I think Malik looks 12. 

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