Dan Fogelman on Jack’s This Is Us funeral episode: it’s ‘optimistic and hopeful’

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Warning: this episode contains spoilers for Tuesday night’s episode of This is Us

Fans of This is Us barely had time to recuperate from the loss of Jack during Sunday night’s post-Super Bowl episode before his funeral in Tuesday night’s episode, entitled “The Car.” Using the Pearson clan’s trusty Jeep Grand Wagoneer as a framing device, the episode dealt with Jack’s funeral, the scattering of ashes at his “favorite tree,” the return of Dr. K. and some family bonding, courtesy of The Boss.

During the episode, we flash back to Jack giving Randall driving lessons, which are cut short after a squabble between Randall and Kevin nearly causes an accident, as well as Jack’s encouragement of Kate pursuing a music career after catching her sneaking off to an Alanis Morisette record signing. We are also treated to a Pearson family sing-along to Weird Al’s “My Lasagna,” which was the highlight of the episode for me (and, apparently for Weird All as well) .The episode ends with Rebecca looking heavenward and telling Jack, “I promise you, we’re going to be OK.”

Show creator Dan Fogelman talked to Entertainment Weekly about the double-whammy of the last two episodes and said that he had the Pearson patriarch’s demise in mind since the beginning of the series. He revealed that having Jack die heroicallyin a house fire was the plan from the start, but, in true This is Us fashion, he wanted him to pass “in a really small way, without proper cinematic good-byes, hours later in a hospital by himself.” He went on to say of the powerful episodes:

If you look at the episodes together as a whole, I find the end of the second episode to be so soaring and sweeping and strangely optimistic and hopeful and good and decent in the midst of this really bad thing that has happened,” he says. “For me, it’s one of the most exciting things we’ve done on the show yet. When people think of the worst times of their lives, they’ll often point out or remember the beautiful moments, or the laughs, or the laughter through the tears that broke something open — and then the strength of the people who move forward. I think we really captured that. My hope is that other people have the reaction to the ending of this one that I do because it makes the journey of the last two hours of television something else, in a weird way.

[From Entertainment Weekly]

On a lighter note, Milo Ventimiglia popped in to the Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday to talk about the show and stick up for the Crock-Pot. He told Ellen that “I own a Crock-Pot, I love Crock-Pot.” When Ellen asked why he was so adamant about coming to the product’s defense, he replied, “Because I think there was a lot of misdirected hate at a Crock-Pot as opposed to a faulty slow cooker from the past.” He added optimistically, “The good news is it didn’t slowly cook Jack.”

We will have time to restock our Kleenex supplies as the show is taking a break while NBC broadcasts the Winter Olympics. The show returns on February 27 with the first of season two’s final three episodes. I think we can all use the emotional break.

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3 Responses to “Dan Fogelman on Jack’s This Is Us funeral episode: it’s ‘optimistic and hopeful’”

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  1. Pansy says:

    I LOVE this show, never miss it and enjoy the balance between hope and sadness, just like real life. But that episode wasn’t hopeful and optimistic. Funerals shouldn’t be, so I’m ok with that, but calm down Dan.

  2. smcollins says:

    My husband is truly bewildered by my love for this show, but I’m so hooked. I’m all in for the emotional roller coaster it takes you on. Jack does seem to be almost too perfect (that whole little monologue to the car salesmen did leave me thinking “yeah…that would never happen”, but seemed true to the character), but I think his demons & flaws are going to be explored more now. His alcoholism was sort of glossed over, so hopefully they’ll dig deeper into that. And they’ve barely covered the dead brother. Jack’s story is definitely not over. But I’m also invested in the story after Jack’s death as well. All of them have their own story and there’s still so much more to learn and explore.

    • unmade_bed says:

      Even though he’s a recovering alcoholic, Jack may seem “too perfect,” if only because integrity has become so rare. We need more role models like Jack in the public eye–fictional, or otherwise.