This Is Us Boss Responds to HIMYM-Esque Fan Theory, Teases 'Really Special' Randall-Centric Episode

This Is Us Season 4 Episode 9 Rebecca Randall

No, This Is Us is not How I Met Your Mother, Part 2. Or St. Elsewhere, Part 2, for that matter.

Series creator Dan Fogelman shot down a pair of popular fan theories about the hit NBC drama: that the entire series is being told to an older Rebecca by her kids, a la HIMYM, or that it’s all in Jack’s head, a la St. Elsewhere. “No, I don’t think we’re going to pull the wool out of what the narrative thread of the story is,” Fogelman told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Saturday. “This show has always been about time and memory and nostalgia, and the way you look back and forward in your family, and so there are elements of that… that are coming, but not quite like this whole thing has been inside someone’s head.”

Fogelman also dropped hints about the Jan. 14 winter premiere (9/8c): It’s “a really special episode… It’s this really intense, very unusual, specialized episode of our show” that’s in part “about the marriage between Beth and Randall.” The episode “starts one of our trilogy sets of episodes” focusing on each of the Big Three, he notes as well, with the first centered on Sterling K. Brown’s Randall.

Brown adds that the winter premiere “delves further into Randall’s mental health and how he takes care of himself, what’s right and what’s wrong about how he takes care of himself and how he could possibly do a better job.” When the actor first read the script, he remembers, he screamed out loud and said to himself, “‘Oh s–t… this is about to go a little sideways.'”