There are questions that every fan It’s us wants an answer before NBC’s Pearson family drama causes us to shed our last tear.
How does music teacher Kate (Chrissy Metz), currently married to Toby (Chris Sullivan) find herself engaged to her crisp co-worker Phillip (Chris Geere)? Can his brother Kevin (Justin Hartley) and ex-fiancee Madison (Caitlin Thompson) still have a happy ending? Will Mom Rebecca (Mandy Moore) find peace when she loses her battle with (presumably) Alzheimer’s disease? What will the late daddy Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) teach us about marriage, parenthood, and ourselves?
One Saturday in December, after Ventimiglia had spent the week duplicating the set – “Yesterday was the third day in a swimming pool with 7 year old kids with fake beards playing. and direct ”- he called us to do the dishes.
We have a pic of Jack and Rebecca hugging in the Season 6 premiere. They’re beaming. What is happening?
Milo Ventimiglia: Just as we explored true sadness together, this moment is true happiness. This photo [above] makes me smile because he’s my partner. She’s my wife on TV, you know? I remember our trip to New York [when the show was announced in May 2016]. We were at a party, and in a quiet moment, sitting to the side, Mandy and I raised our glasses and sort of wished, “I’m not going to be happy unless you’re happy.” Let’s communicate and support each other. It didn’t stop.
In the episode, the Big 3s – Kate, Kevin and their brother Randall, played by Sterling K. Brown – celebrate their 41st birthday. In the past it was 1986. Jack and Rebecca help 5 year olds to Challenger disaster. What should we read in there?
This trauma had a great impact on each of them. I mean, in the pilot older Kevin says that things [started going wrong for him] with the Challenger explosion. They are different children and they experience it in their own way. Everything still revolves around how it relates to their adult life.
The fourth episode of the season will dig in Jack’s relationship with his mother (Laura Niemi). What was it like going there?
I’ll be honest, it was a very difficult episode to film. This is an entire episode of Jack – there are no other storylines in it. We don’t know much about this relationship after Jack took her out of a bad situation [with his alcoholic father]. We enter a certain distance that was between them. We know how much he cared about her. I get emotional thinking about it.
What made it so difficult?
I have to materialize the stress that Jack is going through. I saw Chrissy go through Kate’s breakdowns. I saw Justin go through there. We’ve all seen Sterling go through it. Mandy, God bless her, she’s constantly going through it in age makeup. It’s interesting to find out what Jack’s emotional breakup looks like, being the guy who is rock. In the end, it was very cathartic and satisfying. But, man, does it hurt.
When this is not a situation that you have experienced personally, how do you make it so real?
My imagination stretches really, really far, and infinitely wide. I approached it the same way I did Jack and his alcoholism. Yet to date one of my favorite scenes from the show was [in Season 2] when Jack tells teen Kate he has a drinking problem. Sitting there having a very simple heartbreaking conversation. [Pauses.] I become emotional again.
Hear you now… can you say goodbye to Jack Pearson?
Jack will probably be a part of me for a long time. But at the same time, I can shave my mustache, shave my beard, have my hair cut. [Laughs.] I can’t wait to film this [last episode]. I think it’s gonna be one for the books.
It’s us, Season 6 premiere, Tuesday January 4, 2022, 9 / 8c, CNB