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This Is Our Minutiae Thread: For Those Pesky Job/Housing/Money/Geography Details

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Baffled by what happened with Kate's new position in LA? Annoyed by the shortage of bedrooms in Randall's seemingly large house? Bewildered by construction foreman Jack barely being able to afford a sixth-floor walk-up at 35? Still not totally sure where Rebecca and Miguel live now? Any other episode detail have you internally screaming, "That's not how it works!" as you watch? Here's a catch-all topic for the more pedantic discussions inspired by the show! 

Edited by Dejana
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They haven't overtly said it, but the whole "don't Rebecca and Miguel live in Pittsburgh" thing is pretty clear to me. I'm guessing they moved to NY near Randall when he started having kids, to be able to help and see the grandkids regularly. Since he is the only one of the Big Three with kids, this would make sense, plus Rebecca seems most attached to Randall. 

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5 hours ago, SlackerInc said:

Well, there's the seemingly too modern coffee takeout cups in the mid-'90s scene, complete with sleeves...

This bugged me so much that it distracted me from the scene. The cups were glaring at me. But then I started to think about it. The kids are exactly my age in the show, and according to all the hints I've put together about the timing of the scene, it takes place sometime between 1995-1998. Randall is writing a term paper on Hamlet, which leads me to think they are in February of either the 10th grade (Feb 96) when most Americans study basic English Literature or possibly 12th (February 98), when you had the option to take AP English Literature, which I did. 

I didn't drink coffee until mid-way through college, when we definitely had those cups/sleeves, but I started to think that I remembered being at least aware of them in high school, so I dug up this article, which confirms that the cup/sleeve/dome lid combo was well in rotation by the early 90s. If Jack & Miguel were working in downtown Pittsburgh, there were probably Starbucks or similar to go coffee shop there already. I think the coffee cups were so prominent in the scene because they are meant as a bit of a hint that we've come forward enough in time that Jack and Rebecca are in their late 40s/early 50s and we're inching toward D-Day. 

http://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/trends-news/article/disposable-coffee-cup-history

Edited by MelGoLightly · Reason: Deleting double post & fixing math.
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How does Kevin get to the City every day for rehearsal? I don't remember ever seeing him with a car, though I suppose he could take New Jersey Transit without difficulty. Or an Uber/Lyft ride. And I guess Sophie lives in Manhattan, but what about Rebecca and Miguel? Such a little thing, I know. 

Same thing with Kate. Did she take an Uber or a taxi from the camp to Toby's hotel? Is she otherwise stranded at Rebecca's all day? Has she been staying with Rebecca? And how is she paying her bills? Things like credit card bills, student loans, or shopping for things like vitamins and feminine products. Maybe she has money saved from her days as Kevin's assistant. 

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10 minutes ago, topanga said:

Same thing with Kate. Did she take an Uber or a taxi from the camp to Toby's hotel? Is she otherwise stranded at Rebecca's all day? Has she been staying with Rebecca? And how is she paying her bills? Things like credit card bills, student loans, or shopping for things like vitamins and feminine products. Maybe she has money saved from her days as Kevin's assistant. 

I've been wondering about Kate's wardrobe. She was originally supposed to just come for Thanksgiving, but now she's been in the NYC area for several months. But she seemingly has no shortage of stylish clothing, outerwear, and boots, plus activewear for her time at the camp; that's several suitcases' worth of stuff that she wouldn't have brought with her if she was only planning to stay for 4-5 days. Did she just go out and spend $1000+ on a new wardrobe? Stylish plus size clothing is not cheap.

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Besides Kate and Toby's odd joblessness, my biggest nit is probably the scene of William and Randall in his car, supposedly on a lunch break in Manhattan.  

The fact that anxiety-ridden Randall even drives to work from NJ into the city is odd.  The commuter trains are cheap, fast, relaxing (compared to driving in Manhattan in rush hour) and you can be working while riding.  

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2 hours ago, Winston9-DT3 said:

Besides Kate and Toby's odd joblessness, my biggest nit is probably the scene of William and Randall in his car, supposedly on a lunch break in Manhattan.  

The fact that anxiety-ridden Randall even drives to work from NJ into the city is odd.  The commuter trains are cheap, fast, relaxing (compared to driving in Manhattan in rush hour) and you can be working while riding.  

When he goes back home to check on William to return in time for a 1ish meeting is CRAZY. Also, don't these people get to work from home? 

I guess he could be doing park-and-ride, which is pretty much what everyone in NJ does. Park at the station, ride in, then reverse so while he looks like he's driving back and forth, maybe he's just driving part of the way. It would take hours to drive in and out of Manhattan day in and day out. That doesn't explain getting in the car with William from work. 

Edited by MelGoLightly
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I have to complain once again about New York and New Jersey in February with leaves on the trees.  At least this time some of the trees seemed bare, I think there were leaves on the street when Randall was driving up to his house, and I don't need to see that awful fake snow, but the green leafy trees are not a thing then/there. 

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Funny about the trees.  I was born and raised in the Northeast, but have lived in Las Vegas for the last 15 years.  Of course the trees in New Jersey are bare in winter, but I have gotten so used to the trees here dropping their leaves between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and some trees never dropping their leaves, that I honestly didn't notice until someone pointed it out.

The coffee cups, however, just drove me nuts.  I only started going to Starbucks in the late 90's when they introduced the Chai Tea Latte (not a coffee drinker), and I distinctly remember that they used to give you two cups to keep you from burning your fingers.  Then they introduced the sleeves in order to be more environmentally conscious. I did a google search yesterday and found that the sleeves debuted in January of 1997. I tried to find a link to copy, but of course nothing comes up today. Surely I am not the only one who remembers the double cups?

Kate's clothes also amaze me.  She certainly has a lot of very stylish clothes, and those are not easy to find in larger sizes, and certainly would cost a ton of money. Did she bring her whole wardrobe with her?  And living in California she would not need a lot of winter clothing either.

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The kids would not be going to football practice in Pennsylvania in February or March.

That is so true! High school and college football seasons end before Christmas- and that's all across the country.

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5 hours ago, againstthewind said:

The kids would not be going to football practice in Pennsylvania in February or March.

They might not be going to practice, but I could buy that they were doing off-season conditioning. That was standard at my school for anyone who wasn't in a winter or spring sport. They normally still referred to it as football practice, too. 

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I didn't pay even a tiny bit of attention to these cups. I would love to see a screengrab? Because I cannot figure out what "modern" means in the paradigm of paper coffee cups :-P

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Having grown up in NJ, with all of my extended family in NY, the geographic discontinuity of this show kills me. My vent-with-analysis:

Randall and Beth's house: There are only a handful of towns where Randall and Beth could own a house that big (and newish), with that much property, and have that short a drive to Manhattan. Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Tenafly, maybe Teaneck...that's about it. Commuting by car from those towns would require taking the GWB, then the Henry Hudson Parkway or Harlem River Drive from one end of Manhattan to the other, which is no fun during off-peak times, let alone rush hour. But none of those towns have lily-white schools like the ones Randall's daughters attend. I don't think any well-off town in Bergen or Essex County does anymore. That's more the MO of places like Chatham, Bernardsville, and Mendham, which are too far out for such frequent drives back and forth. (All are commuter towns, but most people ride the train, which takes an hour or more and IIRC requires a transfer at Hoboken.) 

What really confuses me is why Randall and Beth would pick such a lily-white town to raise a family when places like Montclair and Maplewood exist. Both have no shortage of really nice houses, attract a ton of African American professionals and executives, are socially and politically very progressive, AND have excellent schools. I mean, I get that for Randall, that might be all he knows. But we now know that Beth is from DC, and DC is not just diverse and progressive. It's the straightedge vegan marathoner of diversity and progressiveness, constantly making sure EVERYONE knows how diverse and progressive it is. That, combined with how painfully different Randall felt growing up, makes their choice seem really odd.

Randall's office: That place doesn't have even the slightest snowball's chance in hell of being in Manhattan. The area is way too flat and spread-out and car-centric. It's not in Newark. Newark's too built-up downtown and too dangerous elsewhere, especially with that car. And I don't see it being some big business park area like Livingston or Edison or Parsippany. Those towns are too far out. Hoboken and Jersey City are the only realistic possibilities, but both are kind of a hike from the fancy parts of suburbia (and especially the fancy, painfully white parts).

It would make far more sense if Randall worked in Philly. He could have his big tacky house in Cherry Hill or Haddonfield, with Miguel and Rebecca's house in a more modest (but still nice) part of town, and his commute would be a cakewalk. But William's 3-hour bus trips and Kevin's everything make it clear that's not the case. 

 

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3 hours ago, ClareWalks said:

I didn't pay even a tiny bit of attention to these cups. I would love to see a screengrab? Because I cannot figure out what "modern" means in the paradigm of paper coffee cups :-P

Ok, this is my first attempt to post images here...

 

IMG_3205.PNG

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11 hours ago, DayGlorious said:

Randall's office: That place doesn't have even the slightest snowball's chance in hell of being in Manhattan. The area is way too flat and spread-out and car-centric. It's not in Newark. Newark's too built-up downtown and too dangerous elsewhere, especially with that car. And I don't see it being some big business park area like Livingston or Edison or Parsippany. Those towns are too far out. Hoboken and Jersey City are the only realistic possibilities, but both are kind of a hike from the fancy parts of suburbia (and especially the fancy, painfully white parts).

And now we know that it's within a few minutes "running distance" from Off Broadway, so definitely in NYC.

Maybe some Twitter user on this board could just ask the show-runners to clarify the geography?  They shouldn't have any problem revealing where everyone is located, unless it's some secret plot point?

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My take on Kate's clothes is that she decided to have her surgery close to family, so she'd have that support system.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, she went back to LA, packed up clothes and maybe took a leave of absence from her job/made arrangements to work remotely, and came back.  As far as more winter-y clothes, she probably picked up some boots, sweaters, etc.  Possibly with the assistance from Rebecca.  There's a month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, plenty of time for her to make those arrangements.

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48 minutes ago, ItCouldBeWorse said:

And now we know that it's within a few minutes "running distance" from Off Broadway, so definitely in NYC.

Maybe some Twitter user on this board could just ask the show-runners to clarify the geography?  They shouldn't have any problem revealing where everyone is located, unless it's some secret plot point?

I don't really care where in northern NJ they place the two households because there is not a place where they could hop back and forth to NYC in a car as quickly as they have been.  So it's probably best if they keep it undefined.  

Maybe Randall's in a fictional suburb with a high-speed ferry to Wall Street.  Heh.

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1 minute ago, Winston9-DT3 said:

Maybe Randall's in a fictional suburb with a high-speed ferry to Wall Street.  Heh.

Except that he happened to have his car with him at work when William visited.

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14 minutes ago, ItCouldBeWorse said:

Except that he happened to have his car with him at work when William visited.

Yeah, I meant a car ferry.  

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1 hour ago, MelGoLightly said:

The dome lids came before the sleeves, actually. See my post upthread on the history of the paper coffee cup via Bon Appetit. 

More proof of Starbucks presence in Pittsburgh at the time of this scene (at least 95 based on the kids' ages): http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1995-11-01/business/1995305073_1_starbucks-aster-coffee

Nice sleuthing!  But I won't be 100% convinced until I see a photo from that era showing cups  like that. After all, Starbucks was around much earlier in Seattle but I'm sure the cups didn't look that way in the '70s and '80s.

I laughed at this detail from the story:

Quote

 

Perhaps a greater concern is whether the connoisseur coffee-craze is just a passing fancy.

"I really wonder," Mr. Aster said, "how long people will pay $2.50- $3.50 for a cup of coffee."

 

But it does raise further questions. Would guys like Jack and Miguel, middle aged men at a construction company, really be likely to jump on a trend like this in Pittsburgh at this point in time?  Seems like something I would expect more from intellectuals, young people, and women.   I would think the culture in such a place and time would scorn them as too effete. 

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1 minute ago, ItCouldBeWorse said:

Ok!

Which makes the high-speed part even funnier.  I'm picturing a cigarette type boat large enough to hold a couple dozen cars, getting up on plane and gliding across the Hudson in minutes.  

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3 hours ago, ItCouldBeWorse said:

And now we know that it's within a few minutes "running distance" from Off Broadway, so definitely in NYC.

Maybe by "off Broadway," they mean "several miles, a river, and a state line off Broadway."  ;)

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2 hours ago, SlackerInc said:

But it does raise further questions. Would guys like Jack and Miguel, middle aged men at a construction company, really be likely to jump on a trend like this in Pittsburgh at this point in time?  Seems like something I would expect more from intellectuals, young people, and women.   I would think the culture in such a place and time would scorn them as too effete. 

I can see it. They're suit and tie guys, middle management who have their own offices and good salaries and crunch numbers instead of swinging hammers. I'm holding firm on my feeling that the cups were supposed to signal that we're in the late 90's in this scene and that the end is near for our hero who happens to look like he does in this scene in his memorial pamphlet. 

Bahahaaha: 

          "I really wonder," Mr. Aster said, "how long people will pay $2.50- $3.50 for a cup of coffee."

 People are willing to buy $4 bottles of water from there, even! 

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31 minutes ago, MelGoLightly said:

I can see it. They're suit and tie guys, middle management who have their own offices and good salaries and crunch numbers instead of swinging hammers. I'm holding firm on my feeling that the cups were supposed to signal that we're in the late 90's in this scene and that the end is near for our hero who happens to look like he does in this scene in his memorial pamphlet. 

Bahahaaha: 

          "I really wonder," Mr. Aster said, "how long people will pay $2.50- $3.50 for a cup of coffee."

 People are willing to buy $4 bottles of water from there, even! 

That's true.  My parents were hesitant about Starbucks at the time, but eventually got into it.  Eventually, they bought an espresso machine themselves!  They still like their Hong Kong milk tea (basically strong black tea with condensed milk and sugar) though.  And yin yang (a mix of Hong Kong milk tea and coffee (think HK milk tea and Vietnamese coffee.  Together.  In one cup).

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And you guys laughed at me for the 'gallon of ice cream' discussion?!  Heh.  

I agree the cups were probably a clue that we're late in Jack's life.  

I think I've ordered Starbucks for myself maybe one time.  I don't get it.  

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This is sort of off and on topic all at once, but it fits in the minutiae thread I think. 

I rewatched the last episode tonight (was groggy on cold medicine the first go around) and paid extra attention to the coffee cup scene and noticed one glaring hint that the past scenes are taking place around early 1996. The opening shot of the scene is of Jack's computer screen, which looks like it's on a Windows '95 Screen Saver. It's the one that bounces custom text around in the screen. (And if you wait long enough, it will land in the exact corner? No, just me that did that?) 

Not a nit pick but more of a minute detail that kind of solves a lot of the questions about when exactly this scene takes place. So, Jack is 51 at this point and the kids are 15 going on 16, so sophomores in high school. 

Edited by MelGoLightly
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13 hours ago, ItCouldBeWorse said:

Except that he happened to have his car with him at work when William visited

Okay, a joke about parking in NYC.  A young woman walks into a bank in Manhattan Monday morning, and inquires about a personal loan.  During the interview, the loan officer asks her what kind of collateral she would be offering.  "I have this Mercedes 450XL", she says, and shows him the correct registration.  "It's paid for."  He is impressed, and inquires how much she is going to request.  "$50,000," she replies.  "I can open an account here to make the deposit easier."  He agrees, and they complete the transaction, and she leaves the car, keys, and registration with him.  On Friday afternoon, she returns to the bank, asking to cancel the loan.  The loan officer is taken aback, but agrees.  "However", he adds, "You'll have to pay interest on the week.  At 5% interest, that will be approximately $50 dollars.  I have to ask, though, why did you cancel the loan?"  She replies, "That's easy.  Where else in Manhattan could I park my car for an entire week for only $50?"

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Wow this thread makes me never want to watch the show again. There are way too many plot holes and errors to take this show seriously.

Well, in all fairness. that's pretty much true of most shows past and present.  The hair on the back of my neck always goes up in any medical show since I am a nurse.  Nobody's side rails are up (even if they are in a coma) and apparently having some medical person on the set to advise on medical procedures is too expensive or they figure no one will notice.  And most of the forums have a Nitpick section that's chock full of inconsistencies.  Just have to suspend disbelief.

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33 minutes ago, Katy M said:

One would think you'd be better off buying a bus and either, renting it out for something else, just saving it until next year or probably worse idea selling it off at end of tour. 

For the size/career level of the band in question, I would not expect them to tour with a bus at all. I'm betting either one of the guys has a 15-passenger van (with most of the seats removed) that's just his personal vehicle and they'll do the tour all crammed into that with the equipment (plus or minus a second car); or they just cram into multiple not quite as large vehicles. Bands at the level that Rebecca's been presented as must have their own vehicles for schlepping their stuff around the town/state they usually play in. So a small tour their driving too would likely just involve the same method of transport. 

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16 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

Okay, a joke about parking in NYC.  A young woman walks into a bank in Manhattan Monday morning, and inquires about a personal loan.  During the interview, the loan officer asks her what kind of collateral she would be offering.  "I have this Mercedes 450XL", she says, and shows him the correct registration.  "It's paid for."  He is impressed, and inquires how much she is going to request.  "$50,000," she replies.  "I can open an account here to make the deposit easier."  He agrees, and they complete the transaction, and she leaves the car, keys, and registration with him.  On Friday afternoon, she returns to the bank, asking to cancel the loan.  The loan officer is taken aback, but agrees.  "However", he adds, "You'll have to pay interest on the week.  At 5% interest, that will be approximately $50 dollars.  I have to ask, though, why did you cancel the loan?"  She replies, "That's easy.  Where else in Manhattan could I park my car for an entire week for only $50?"

Good joke, and completely true, but the only way Randall would regularly park in NYC in stead of taking public transportation, I hope, is if his job actually has free spots in some nearby or possibly on-site garage reserved for it's biggest money-makers.

Edited by ItCouldBeWorse
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I rewatched the office scene again, and yes, there was that floating screensaver. If it's indeed Windows 95, which came out in August '95, then last episode's flashback must have been February '96 at the earliest. However, Windows 3.1, which came out in 1992, also had floating screen savers, so technically the scene could have taken place in an earlier year. I think February '96 is most likely though, with the Big Three being 15 and in sophomore year. 

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On 2/18/2017 at 8:15 PM, chocolatine said:

I rewatched the office scene again, and yes, there was that floating screensaver. If it's indeed Windows 95, which came out in August '95, then last episode's flashback must have been February '96 at the earliest. However, Windows 3.1, which came out in 1992, also had floating screen savers, so technically the scene could have taken place in an earlier year. I think February '96 is most likely though, with the Big Three being 15 and in sophomore year. 

Good point!

So, I actually caught up with the "This was Us" after show clips a few days ago and lo and behold, Milo V actually says outright that the fight scene at the end of this episode is taking place in 96. I had to laugh at all of my sleuthing and the coffee cup analysis and he just blurts it out. 

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Psychiatrists rarely provide psychotherapy.  They provide psychopharmacology/medication management.  Neither psychotherapists or psychiatrists would give direct advice ("Go to Memphis").  Also, I probably would have booted Beth out of the session.

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So glad this thread exists! I wonder about a lot of the minutiae but don't want to clog up the episode threads.

The geography is driving me nuts too. I wish they would have just had them all be in Philly or still in Pittsburgh. It would make so much more sense with Randall's house and the commuting issue. No one who works in NYC and lives in NJ or CT just buzzes back home, takes care of something, and goes back to work. I guess that throws a wrench in the Kevin plot, but Kevin could be doing a play back home, doesn't have to be Broadway. 
Anyway, maybe this is like how me on the East Coast thinks everything in CA is close together. NJ, NY... same diff, right? 
I'm also baffled about Kate and Toby's job situation and really wish that would be addressed.

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12 hours ago, Sayla Vee said:

And Randall is taking William from New Jersey to Memphis.

Via Pittsburgh apparently. Or maybe not. I've never been able to figure out where the cabin in the woods that the Big Three went to after Thanksgiving is located. I would also think that's where Jack's favorite tree is.

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1 hour ago, Good Queen Jane said:

Via Pittsburgh apparently. Or maybe not. I've never been able to figure out where the cabin in the woods that the Big Three went to after Thanksgiving is located. I would also think that's where Jack's favorite tree is.

Pittsburgh is in the Allegheny Mountains just north of West Virginia, in Appalachia. I actually thought it was totally reasonable that plan A would have been to go through VA/NC/TN mountains and on to Memphis but instead, they swung a bit north to go through Pittsburgh (half day out of the way, which works out more or less) to that area of the Appalachian mountains. 

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How old was William supposed to be?  The actor himself is 60-ish, so I'm guessing William's dad left for Korea?   I'm just basing it on his mom's hairstyle, which seemed a bit more 50s than 40s. 

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If William is Rebecca's age, then it would be about 1950 when he was born and Korean era, but if closer to Jack's age, then the dad could have been going to fight in WWII. 

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51 minutes ago, ShadowFacts said:

If William is Rebecca's age, then it would be about 1950 when he was born and Korean era, but if closer to Jack's age, then the dad could have been going to fight in WWII. 

My guess is that he's no older than Rebecca's age.  He seemed to be in his 20's (possibly early 20s) in the flashback scenes around when Randall was born.  Of course, that might be pushing it for Korea--and too early for Vietnam...

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