As much as we love This Is Us, it has something of a blind spot with women supporting women, which can be fixed with Kate and Beth.
This Is Us has such a diverse and inclusive cast of characters that it feels almost arbitrary to poke holes in an area where it could use a little love. But I’m not approaching this critique from a place of hostility or calling out the series with a pointed tear-down. Rather, I’m honing in on a small piece of magic that worked in Season 2 and elevating it to the forefront.
With that being said, let’s address one obvious shortcoming of This Is Us: Women need to support women. If you think about it, the amount of time female characters spend interacting with other female characters on the show is nothing compared to women interacting with men. While this loose statistic may not be based on a scientific study, it’s plain to see in both seasons.
The rare occasions that women do share scenes with other women, they are often in conflict. Whether it’s Kate and Rebecca or Beth and Rebecca or Beth and Kate, women aren’t often lifting each other up on This Is Us — at least, not until they learn the lesson that they need to be. And this is not to say that it’s a one-sided issue. These characters, no matter their sex, are always in conflict with one another. Still, the women are better together.
Case in point: When the crew jetted off to Las Vegas to celebrate Kate and Toby’s impending nuptials, Kate and Beth communicated for what felt like the first time, and they were fighting over Randall. Eventually, they settled their differences and arrived at a wonderful place of friendship, sisterhood even, given their relation by marriage. Did they have to argue in order to discover their love for each other? Is that the message we’re sending?
Kate and Rebecca, too, have fought tooth and nail to finally land in a place of peace and understanding. In some ways, these stories about women conflicting are ripped from the headlines of reality. A fair number of mother-daughter relationships aren’t easy, and in-law relationships can also be difficult to maintain. However, sometimes two characters don’t need to have tension to be compelling. I’d much rather watch Kate and Beth support each other than feud.
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In Season 3, I hope to see more scenes between Kate, Beth, and Rebecca together that aren’t about disagreement or continued strife. I want to watch This Is Us strengthen the bond between these women as much as I want to see the bond between Kevin and Randall strengthen. Madison aside, the series hasn’t put a ton of focus on female friendship, but as we dig deeper into the lives of the Pearsons, more room will be available for Kate and Beth’s friendship to blossom.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to keep the conversation going over on Twitter at @thisisuscrying!
This Is Us returns for Season 3 in September on NBC.