This Is Us is known for its curveballs, and viewers got yet another one during this week’s Thanksgiving-themed episode that spanned multiple eras for the Pearson family.
In the “Six Thanksgivings” episode, viewers of the NBC drama saw a surprising storyline that featured Tess (Eris Baker), the teen daughter of Randall and Beth (Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson), telling her aunt that she is gay.
After Kate (Chrissy Metz) told her niece that she would probably soon have her first kiss and her first boyfriend, Tess added, “or girlfriend.” And while Tess later told her Aunt Kate not to tell anyone her secret, it sounds like this sexuality storyline is only just beginning.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, This Is Us executive producer Isaac Aptaker revealed that in that moment, Tess “wasn’t even really planning on telling Kate.”
“I think she was just feeling connected to her and they were having this intimate moment and she made a spur-of-the-moment decision right there. …That wasn’t a premeditated decision to tell Kate, she kind of got swept up in this conversation, so then [she had] a second to think about it and go, ‘Uh oh, I’m not ready yet.’ She needed to make sure that Kate got that.”
While Aptaker revealed that he doesn’t think Tess is worried that her liberal, loving parents won’t love her anymore after she comes out to them, he also made it clear that the young teen character is nowhere near ready to come out to the world. The producer admitted that, as with all things This Is Us, Tess’s coming out story will play out over several timeframes and that her initial exchange with Kate was to plant a seed in viewers’ minds.
“I guess you could say everything is planting something for the future, yeah.… It’s definitely a slow burn. I mean, kids are coming out and figuring this out about themselves younger and younger nowadays. So it felt like there was a truth and modernity to it. But yeah, this is a slow story that will play out for Tess over the life of the show.”
Isaac Aptaker’s comments about Tess’s coming out storyline come on the heels of a video about the topic on the This Is Us Facebook page. As the Inquisitr previously shared, Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson weighed in on their TV daughter’s secret, revealing they believe Randall and Beth will handle the news with “love.”
“It’s a heavy weight she’s carrying,” Susan Kelechi Watson said of the secret that Tess is keeping from her parents. “You gotta love them first, and be there to listen, and be there to sometimes just learn when you need to be there to receive. And let them know that you have their back.”
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.