How This Is Us is portraying the parental struggle of fathers: a peek into "Four Fathers" episode
by Jaskiran Kaur | Wed, 19 Jan 2022 17:14:42 GMT
Image Source: Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Showbiz Junkies, Style By Shock Visual, Wikimedia Commons

Recently, This Is Us revealed a special episode that featured four fathers trying their best to be the dads their kids needed them to be, putting in effort for their family, and also juggling between their highly busy schedules. 

One of the four fathers was Toby, played by Chris Sullivan, who needed to find the perfect balance between his new IT job that he worked in San Francisco and then flying back home to be with his family. Given his great new job, he has plenty of money to buy his children all the presents that he could, but all they want is more than the cramped up time their father gets to spend with them in LA. Ironically, fans already know that Toby and Kate, played by Chrissy Metz, are not going to be together for a very long time now. 

Similarly, there is Kate's brother Kevin, played by Justin Hartley, who is having a difficult time with being a father. The new father of twins with former fiance Madison, played by Caitlin Thompson, is sad that despite resorting to working on the Manny reboot so that he could spend more time with his children, he is not finding as much time as he would want to spend with them. As a consequence, it feels like the infants are growing too soon, and he is missing a lot from their life. 

Randall, played by Sterling K. Brown, one of the Big Three members, is having issues with his daughter. Only lately, when he was teaching Deja (Lyric Ross) driving, did he get to know that his daughter had slept with her boyfriend, Malik, played by Asante Blackk, after sneaking out of their house. When he asks her not to go back to Boston, she denies listening to him. 

Needless to say, back in the day, the father of the Big Three also made slips with his children. Once to have some bonding time with his children, he takes them to a movie date, only to sleep halfway through it, when Kevin makes a run from the theater. This ensures a search party for the kiddo, and he is finally found. It is almost heartwarming to see that the Big Three are similarly anxious about their children and want to be great parents. 

The episode quickly became a favorite amongst the This Is Us fans and here is what the executive producers and episode writers, Casey Johnson and David Windsor, have to say about 'Four Father.'

The episode foreshadows a tragedy Jack Jr. lived a long while ago. The character is still adamant to use a very old cooker, which the episode shows have a significant impact on the character's life. There definitely are some bad memories associated with it, but he wants to keep on using it. 

Talking about Jack Jr. and his obsession with the cooker, David Windsor shared, "Even though it was difficult and literally painful for him, it still had purpose and shaped his life in a way. Maybe that's the reason why he's got this amazing life and this beautiful house and this huge career. Whatever that moment is served a purpose in his life."

Apart from Jack Jr., the episode mainly focuses on the four dads and their various struggles with parenting. Sharing why the creators brought this specific episode to life, the producer revealed, "Both Casey and I are parents, and for me so much of this was a personal thing because I'm going through this now as a single dad and raising my kids and realizing how difficult it is to balance life and work. All you want to do at the end of the day is be the best father that you can."

While mothers do tend to get a lot of cinema portrayal on their motherly love and maternal affection, there is not much showing how fathers balance their work and personal lives. Windsor continued, "We felt the responsibility of showing dads in this light of being these loving, caring parents. For the longest time, dads have sort of been "the second parent" in a lot of ways, and here we have these four incredible men that are doing an amazing job, raising children in very different ways. We knew we had the opportunity to do that with these guys — and hopefully, we did."

And yet, while the fathers did put their best foot forward and tried as much as they could, there still was so much work that the mothers in the family put in to make all of it count. 

Johnson shared, "One thing we talked about was the expectation of what it's all going to be like. For Kate and Toby, their expectations have changed and the day-to-day pressures of everything are put on Kate right now. So their roles are very different, and there's conflict between them because Toby doesn't know the schedule. Even if he wants to know the kids' schedule, he can't right now."

The same is continued in the storyline for Jack and Rebecca.  "She's the one who has to take the crying kids to the park and deal with all of that all the time, and Jack's the one that's missing out on that. We loved playing with that idea of what you expect parenting to be like and what you think your role is going to be, put up against the reality of your life and how it's never what you think it's going to be," she said.

This Is Us is ready to take on its season 6; Credits: IMDB

Regardless, the four fathers do try. "A less beautiful quote" shared Johnson about the four fathers is that "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans." "All of these fathers envision these moments that we're going to remember forever and are going to make a big imprint on our lives, but that's never how it happens. It's the other moments that are really what life is about," said the executive producer.