Spoiler alert: This article includes spoilers from the This Is Us episode “The Car.”
Even Weird Al watches This Is Us. The parody singer-songwriter, best known for his spoofs of famous song like Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” and Coolio’s hip-hop hit “Gangsta’s Paradise” (renamed “Eat It,” “Like a Surgeon,” and “Amish Paradise,”respectively), got a surprise mention on This Is Us. In the latest episode, titled “The Car,” the Pearsons were headed to a Weird Al Yankovic concert—the first-ever concert for the Big Three—when mom Rebecca (Mandy Moore) had a panic attack as the clan’s Jeep Wagoneer got stuck in traffic on a rickety old bridge.
“Please don’t tell me I’m gonna die on my way to a ‘Weird Al‘ Yankovic concert,” the This Is Us mom said as her young son Randall (Lonnie Chavis) attempted to ease her fears about her phobia.
The young Pearsons then distracted their panicky mom by singing a rendition of Kevin’s (Parker Bates) favorite Weird Al song, “Lasagna,” the Grammy-winning artist’s 1988 spoof of the 1958 Ritchie Valens song, “La Bamba.” Some of the kids were wore Weird Al T-shirts and pins as the family headed to the concert hall.
After the episode aired, Weird Al Yankovic took to Twitter to thank the This Is Us writers from the mention on the hit show.
“Thanks @ThisIsUsWriters for the wonderfully sweet shout-out on last night’s @NBCThisisUs,” Yankovic wrote. “Nice vintage Weird Al swag!”
Weird Al wasn’t the only musician referenced in the latest This Is Us episode, which alternated scenes set in the late 1980s and late 1990s. Another scene featured teen Kate (Hannah Zeile) skipping school to go to a Pittsburgh record store where singer Alanis Morissette was signing copies of her album Jagged Little Pill. Jack busted Kate for skipping class, but he still drove her to the meet and greet. He also gave Alanis’ music a thumbs down when his daughter played the 1995 song “All I Really Want.”
“This is like complaining with a guitar, Kate,” he said.
In yet another musical mention, Jack told Kate his taste in music was more along the lines of Bruce Springsteen. After the Pearson dad played a quick piece of Springsteen’s “My Beautiful Reward” and described Bruce as an “American hero,” even Kate admitted Springsteen was “pretty good.” That was enough for Jack to suggest that the family all go to a Springsteen concert in the future.
In one of Jack Pearson’s final acts for his family, the Pearson patriarch purchased surprise tickets to a Jan. 31, 1998 Springsteen show, but, sadly, he died days before the concert. On her way to Jack’s funeral, his widow Rebecca found the envelope of concert tickets in the car, and in the final scene of the episode, she and her kids agreed they would still go the show to see Jack’s “American hero.”
Of course, eagle-eyed This Is Us fans notice every detail, so it’s no surprise that social media was filled with comments about the timeline of this particular Springsteen show. Turns out Bruce didn’t tour in 1998, but according to Ultimate Classic Rock, on Jan. 31 of that year Springsteen did play at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J., hours away from Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center, the venue the Pearsons’ tickets were purchased for.
No word on what Weird Al Yankovic’s concert schedule was like in the late 1980s/early ’90s timeframe, but you can take a listen to “Lasagna” below.
This Is Us returns Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.