This Is Us star Milo Ventimiglia says Jack Pearson’s death almost played out very differently. While the chain of events that resulted in the Pearson patriarch’s untimely demise started with a faulty slow cooker, Ventimiglia says that wasn’t the original plan for the NBC drama.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Chasing Emmy podcast, Milo revealed that the This Is Us props team had a different appliance in mind when setting up the series of events that led to the death of his character in the post-Super Bowl episode.
“I know it did change from [one] kitchen appliance to a slow cooker,” Milo told EW.
“It was originally supposed to be something else known to have problems that got abandoned.”
Ventimiglia went on to say he thinks the slow cooker was used instead because the appliance is often utilized for Super Bowl parties. Indeed, in the “Super Bowl Sunday” episode, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) made “Super Bowl chili” in the old slow cooker that was gifted to the family nearly 20 years earlier by a neighbor. The appliance’s faulty wiring sparked the blaze that destroyed the Pearson house and led to Jack succumbing to cardiac arrest after lethal smoke inhalation.
In the new interview, Milo Ventimiglia didn’t specifically name the original faulty appliance that is known for having problems. (Toaster? Washing machine?) That’s probably because the Crock-Pot brand took a beating after the This Is Us fire episode aired, despite the fact that a Crock-Pot slow cooker wasn’t specifically used in the This Is Us episode.
After “Super Bowl Sunday” aired, Crock-Pot issued a statement defending its product, and Ventimiglia even taped a “Crock-Pot Is Innocent” PSA in support of the brand. During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Milo told fans, “I own a Crock-Pot. I love Crock-Pot… I think there was a lot of misdirected hate at [Crock-Pot] as opposed to a faulty slow cooker from the past.”
Ventimiglia told EW he was stunned by the backlash against the innocent Crock-Pot after the This Is Us fire scene.
“It was an amazing backlash,” Milo told EW.
“It became the responsibility of us to stand up for a group that unfortunately was getting all the fingers pointed at them. But it’s also one of those things you think about, the influence of TV. Oh, my God, people are throwing out physical objects that make delicious food because they think one that was 19 years old was at fault [for his death]. We took sympathy over the backlash and tried to do something about it.”
The “Super Bowl Sunday” episode was one of the most highly anticipated This Is Us episodes of the season, and the circumstances surrounding Jack’s death came with a big responsibility. The mystery surrounding the Pearson dad’s death had been an ongoing storyline since early in the show’s first season.
In an interview with Gold Derby, This Is Us star Mandy Moore talked about the emotional post-Super Bowl episode.
“I felt a tremendous amount of responsibility because that episode was answering a lot of questions that a lot of people had about the entire series,” Moore said. “It was a pivotal episode and I thought it was written so exquisitely… it was so traumatic, but it wasn’t cinematic in what people typically expect.”
You can see the famous This Is Us fire sparked by a slow cooker in the video below.
This Is Us returns to NBC this fall.