Last night's episode of This Is Us confirmed what we've known all along: Beth and Randall Pearson are the definitive TV Mom and Dad of this generation.
Perfectly titled "R&B" — as in rhythm and blues and Randall and Beth (!!!) — the episode finally gave us a detailed look at the characters' 20-year-old love story, including their bumpy first date waaay back in college...
...their marriage proposal...
...and even their wedding day.
Sounds like a fairy tale, right? More like a rollercoaster, because every time Beth and Randall hit one of those #relationshipgoals milestones, the SAME issue would send them plummeting to the SAME damn argument, year after year.
Basically, Beth feels like she and Randall have allowed their relationship dynamic to become one that requires her to prioritize Randall's wants and needs — mental health, included — over her own.
Randall, on the other hand, doesn't understand why Beth would feel that way, especially considering how he's always been her biggest cheerleader.
Even though people absolutely HATED watching mom and dad yell hurtful things at one another...
...they were still able to acknowledge that Beth and Randall's issues are, in fact, very real and very relatable.
As @Rosannasfriend mentions below, everyone has their own opinions on whether Beth or Randall (or both of them) are in the wrong. So to get an expert's nuanced take on the Pearsons and their relationship issues, I spoke with Dr. Racine Henry, PhD., an NYC-based licensed marriage and family therapist.
"Beth became a participant in her own unhappiness by creating a dynamic of bringing up a concern and then smoothing it over for Randall," Dr. Henry told BuzzFeed.
"And Randall obviously has some unrealistic expectations, like to never fight and to be as in-sync as his parents, but hasn't given his own relationship the chance to organically get there, which we thought it had," Dr. Henry continued.
As for professional advice, Dr. Henry has two recommendations: going to therapy and also talking to one another about their expectations, their perceived roles within the marriage, and their goals for themselves, their marriage, and their family.
And if you're wondering how critical therapy is in the case of Beth and Randall, the answer is VERY. "Therapy provides facilitation and objective feedback," Dr. Henry explained. "Simply discussing this one-on-one will probably lead to an argument as we saw in the final scene last night."
Interestingly enough, this huge blowout might have actually saved their relationship. As Dr. Henry noted, this is Beth and Randall's chance to conceptualize and recreate a marriage they both want.
All in all, this is GREAT news for Mom and Dad: "This is hardly the end of Beth and Randall," Dr. Henry predicted. "If they were to divorce now, it would completely invalidate everything about them as a couple we've seen thus far."
Definitely Beth.Randall, 100%.They're BOTH in the wrong and need to clearly and rationally communicate with one another, both one-on-one and in therapy.ARGHHH, this is REALLY tricky. I'll share my thoughts in the comment section...
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So readers, who's really in the wrong here?
vote votesDefinitely Beth.
vote votesRandall, 100%.
vote votesThey're BOTH in the wrong and need to clearly and rationally communicate with one another, both one-on-one and in therapy.
vote votesARGHHH, this is REALLY tricky. I'll share my thoughts in the comment section...