‘This Is Us’: Elizabeth Perkins Nails Racist Grandma Role, Fans React To The Pearsons’ Unwelcome House Guest

Elizabeth Perkins has come a long way from Wilma Flintstone, but her character still lives in the dark ages. On the most recent episode of This Is Us, Perkins reprised her role as Rebecca’s mother Janet Malone, and fans saw an even uglier side of the character they met briefly in Season 1.

If you need a refresher, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) has had a tense relationship with her mom for years. The last time we saw Janet, Rebecca pointed out that her mother often asked young Randall (Lonnie Chavis) to step out of photos she takes with his siblings Kate and Kevin (Mackenzie Hancsicsak, Parker Bates). This time around, grandma went further by completely alienating Randall during her unexpected stay at the Pearson house during a snowstorm. Confined to close quarters, This Is Us fans saw Janet and Rebecca clash in a whole new way.

After Elizabeth’s character gave young Randall his fourth basketball as a gift (he doesn’t play), questioned why he was the only child who got into private school, referred to the Big Three as “Randall and the twins,” and talked about her black maid, Rebecca finally snapped and called her a racist.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman talked about the uncomfortable scene in which Rebecca finally took a stand against her racist mother—as little Randall overheard the whole thing.

“All of this stuff — and generationally — is so complicated and so loaded,” Fogelman told EW.

“It’s something that is so complex that when you talk about it to a little kid, it’s even more complicated…We have a really diverse writing staff and we tried to attack all viewpoints and not turn this into an afterschool special. I’m really proud of the job that all the actors did and the way the writers handled it.”

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Fogelman explained that a lot of thought went it the episode, titled “Still There.”

“It’s a very complicated thing, and I find Elizabeth Perkins as the grandmother in a strange way really heartbreaking at the end of the episode as she’s admitting to a character flaw that she’s both aware of and unable to completely work through where it’s coming from in her own mind,” the This Is Us showrunner said.

This Is Us fans had quite a reaction to Grandma Janet. Several viewers praised Perkins for being so good at the bad role.

The actress admitted to social media followers that she was looking for that reaction from them.

Elizabeth Perkins carved a career out of big screen movies in the 1980s and ’90s. Elizabeth appeared in the 1986 Demi Moore-Rob Lowe comedy-drama, About Last Night, and most notably, opposite Tom Hanks in the 1988 fantasy flick, Big. In 1994, Perkins played Wilma Flintstone opposite John Goodman’s Fred in the live-action version of The Flintstones. More recently, Perkins held court as Celia Hodes on Weeds.

Now, while there aren’t many unlikeable characters on This Is Us, Elizabeth Perkins has nailed it as the character fans love to hate.

Take a look at the video below to see Elizabeth Perkins’ character get called out by Mandy Moore on This Is Us.

[Featured Image by Ron Batzdorff/NBC]