Most days, This Is Us‘ Rebecca Pearson and I have nearly nothing in common. Sure, we’re both moms, but that’s where most of our similarities end.
She’s got three kids. I’m responsible for just one. She gave up a career to stay home and raise her family. I would rather go without coffee for the rest of my days than go weeks without deadlines to meet. She sings like a soulful bird and rocks fashion from several decades — even the ridiculous ones — with aplomb. I, more often than not, try to pass off dry shampoo and a messy bun as “effortless chic.” (Spoiler alert: I usually fail.)
Rebecca is kind, understanding and endlessly patient, despite being a widow with a trio of bickering teenagers. She’s a saint, a paragon, a unicorn sporting floral prints and a resigned smile.
But oh, in Tuesday’s episode, we were one. Because that’s when Rebecca finally lost her cool with her children. Upon finding the teens arguing in the kitchen during a what was supposed to be a celebratory dinner, Mama Pearson unleashed all of her frustrations on her kids. It was so glorious, I feel the need to reprint it in full:
Enough! It is our first night as a family together in our new house, and I have spent weeks getting this place together so that it would be perfect. Because this is where we move forward. This is where we sit around a table with napkins and placemats and laugh and celebrate and eat Cornish game hens. And so help me, God, that is what we are gonna do: Move forward. And it doesn’t matter that I didn’t have the right size pan and that the hens are all squished together and they’re burnt on the top and raw on the bottom. It doesn’t even matter that Kevin doesn’t remember Emeril, or that I have four whole Polaroids of your wedding. So pull yourselves together, pretend you like burnt-raw food, get your whiny little asses back out in those seats, and enjoy my damn dinner.
The Big Three were left speechless. And I was left wanting to give Rebecca the same kind of knowing nod I’ve exchanged with other moms when our kids are being terrible proto-humans in the grocery store, the subway, the school drop-off area: Girl, there is not enough wine in the world.
TV moms often aren’t allowed to lose it on their offspring without coming across as mean (Mad Men‘s Betty), vindictive (Veep‘s Selina), hopelessly chaotic (Malcolm in the Middle‘s Lois) or some combination of the three. But anyone who’s ever been a parent — or a child! — knows that real, deep love goes hand-in-hand with deep frustration, deep disappointment and the deep knowledge that sometimes no one listens unless you lose your s–t a little.
Which is why Rebecca’s tirade was such a welcome breath of fresh, albeit angry, air. I’m sure next week, she’ll be back to her gentle, serene self. (Heck, she was back to neutral before the end of the episode, thanks to Miguel, the sage sommelier.)
But I can’t wait until the next time Rebecca bristles, bubbles and then boils over the way that real-life parents do every day. Because that, truly, is us.