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TTM 53: Songbird Road, Part 2

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Rod and Bassey discuss NBC’s family drama, “This Is Us.”

Twitter: @rodimusprime @Basseyworld

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  1. rodimusprime

    Finally a return to form! This episode was well written and well acted. After the disappointing episodes of Jack’s brother we get something which dramatically hits all the notes, is perfectly acted and furthers the story! Excellent.

    Thanks Rod and Bassey for the excellent recaps.
    See you again at the next live show!
    Preston #team Droh

    Sent from my tricorder, high in the Custerdome

  2. katrese206

    Oooooo weeeee, I hope y’all scan these comments before starting the episode because y’all have a lot of work to do…LOL. I’ll try to make this short… I instantly fell in love with young Beth. She was so adorable & beaming with light. It was intoxicating, seriously. It was also interesting/conflicting, because as a dark skinned girl, I’ve kind of been taught to assume that most light skinned girls are pretty… but, this show has made me see differently… it’s made me appreciate the blackness of lighter skinned people. That seems weird to say as an adult, & something I didn’t realize until now… but, I guess it’s an example of white supremacy. The casting & acting have been so good that I never thought about Beth’s skin tone, young & old.

    Not to mention, the dancer storyline was so important because I’ve long heard about how dance troops typically choose lighter girls… because they blend easier with the costumes & overall esthetic. I initially assumed that Beth was chosen for the school because of her skin tone. But, when the darker girl showed up, I was like, “oh ok, they’re not just going to go along with the stereotypical storyline.”

    Like other commenters, I identified with the storyline so much… so much so, that I was balling during the final scenes… to see a happy black woman… to see a black woman telling a story, the story of the black dancer, that most of America doesn’t consider… I was so overwhelmed & overjoyed.

  3. rodimusprime

    Hey Bassey Ikpi and Rodimus Prime,

    Was just wondering if you noticed that not only did the Beths act in a similar manner, but they all had conjunctival nevus (or a contact lens to produce the effect) in the latest episode. Sorry, sometimes I am just amazed at the level of detail in the show.


  4. rodimusprime

    Hi Rod and Bassey,

    Off top, I loved this episode. If I had to change one thing, it would be that Beth’s mama’s name would not be Carol. How we didn’t get a Principal Josephine “Jo” Clarke in this show is only more proof that the Russians are attempting to hack Black History Month 2019.

    I know Principal Clarke’s hip was hurt when that lil boy bumped into her because I don’t see another way he just got to keep going to class without getting pulled to the side.

    I want to roadtrip with Beth and Zoey. I’d watch an episode of just that. I feel like Zoey hasn’t been “this” Zoey with Kevin, and I really like seeing her as the fun cousin that gets both of you in trouble. And using Big Mama’s portrait as the spot?! Oooowee Zoey Badass. I’m glad she called Beth on holding in her emotions. I think Deja told her a version of this, but she needed to hear it from someone who knew her like Beth. #DejaGang #DejaHive

    Beth and her dad had me sniffling. I did feel like that dance teacher was trying to hustle them when he talked to them at first. Mama Clarke dismissing him from his own office was black excellence. Her dad backing her was too cute. You could tell that he told that dancing before she walked story to everybody while she was growing up. Their relationship gave me feels. That conversation she had with his empty chair got me.

    The little Beth and teen Beth were soooo cute. They really had the excitement in their faces while dancing. I felt a way that they made it seem like teen Beth’s competition was another little black girl- the only one in the class, and new to boot. And to find out she didn’t make the showcase on her first day back after her dad died? Heartbroken.

    The relationship between Beth and her mom was so familiar. Every barb Mama Clarke gave was like a gut punch. That conversation about making sure her children, including Beth, were good vs. killing her dreams/ ability to dream before the world could? Whew. That’s hit some open inter-generational wounds. I’m glad they came to some understanding.

    We finally got to see Beth and Randall meet! I’m now squinting at Kevin’s description of their meeting. Did Randall not understand box braids or did Kevin assume box braids were the same and locs?

    Speaking of Randall, I know y’all still mad at Randall, but I finally got to watch last week’s episode, and I honestly feel there was no way he was going to win that situation if you were already mad at him. Had he stayed another night and had to tell Beth he wouldn’t be home after she got the call that her mom was in the hospital, he would have been the bad guy anyway. It’s kind of like when he left Vegas for Deja, except it was Beth. Turns out, he was right that he needed to be there for her. Her going home and getting the support she needed from someone who truly understands what it means to act on some seemingly outlandish dream was everything. When he said “chile please, when have we ever listened to people” just like she heard her dad say “when have we ever worried about the odds” to her mom, I cheered. Yes, my fave Big 3! You better give that support to your wife like the champ you are!

    Anyway, that’s all I got. Looking forward to another episode.


  5. rodimusprime

    Hey Rod and Bassey!!!

    I am finally caught up on This Is Us post winter break. I typically watch it soon after it comes on just so I can join TTM. But you guys messed up my plan when you recorded that one the morning after it came on and I got out of my rotation. After awhile I thought “I’ll never get caught up” but then Trump… I guess that’s the only positive thing I’ve gotten out of his presidency – the chance for me to get caught up so I can be in the live chat for the next TTM!

    Another reason I got behind is because I started watching Jane the Virgin after Black Twitter made Gina Rodriguez cry and now I’m hooked on that show. So much so, I had to get rid of one of my other shows and guess which one got the boot – How To Get Away with Murder. I think I’m 4 episodes behind. I may watch over the summer when I’m bored but I doubt it.

    Anyway – I love your recaps so much! I was glad to hear you say you disliked the same episodes I did. I thought it was me with that first episode post-break. Then when I finally watched Songbird 2, I said to myself “I know Rod and Bassey didn’t like this one.” And I was right! I won’t dwell on the bad episodes though, I came to say that I was a weeping fool watching Our Little Island Girl! I realized why I’m so defensive of Beth because Beth is Me and I am Beth. My eyes got misty when I first saw the dot on middle Beth’s eye – I don’t know why that got to me… Then I lost it when she was talking to her dead daddy. I think I boo-hooed until the end of the show.

    When Beth had to stop dancing to do something more responsible it brought back the time I couldn’t perform in a summer theater production. I was in the black acting troupe during my time at Purdue. Our director approached me one day and asked if I wanted to do a production in Aruba for the summer. I had to decline because I was only getting room and board and I needed to make some money to help pay for school the next year. My situation is totally different than Beth’s but the episode reminded me how, at the beginning of this year, I told my therapist that I wanted to get back to singing and acting. During the past 10 years I haven’t done much dreaming because I was too busy adulting (marriage, cousin dying, becoming the primary for my UncleDad and his wife, divorce, UncleDad dying, taking care of my Aunt with dementia – in that order). But I decided this year was going to be my year, so when Beth talked about not being able to dream – I was there!!! I WAS HER AND SHE WAS ME!!!

    Also, I loved the dynamic with Beth’s parents. Mama Carter was a strict disciplinarian and honestly, I understand why. Papa Carter was the perfect balance. I was taken aback at the way Beth was talking to her mama. It was probably the first time I thought bad of Beth this entire series. But them Mama Carter admitted Beth was right and all was right in This Is Us land for me.

    Ok this is getting long – so I’m just going to say Thanks for the wonderful recaps and I can’t wait to hear you guys talk about this episode!

    Falcons Diva

  6. rngulledge

    Hey Rod & Bassey

    I completely identified with Beth in this storyline. It almost felt like I was watching myself onscreen a few years in the future. From a very young age I’ve wanted to act and dance professionally.

    In college, I wanted to major in theatre but chose business administration instead because it was more sensible. Fast forward to the present…I’m in my mid 30’s and dread going to my corporate job every day, and often wonder how things would have turned out if I had the courage to pursue my dreams when I was in college.

    Seeing Beth make the choice to go back to dancing was so inspiring and makes me think maybe I’m not to old to pursue acting, even if it’s just as a hobby.

    Hearing about everything both of you have accomplished in your careers as entertainers are a huge inspiration as well. I love your recaps of the show. Your recaps help me get through my work day. Thanks for everything you both do.



  7. rodimusprime

    Hi Rod and Bassey,

    I have to say, this was one of the best episodes of any season. Periodt! The writers did the damn thing and I was in my feelings the entire time. Shout out to the casting directors who chose young and teenage Beth. Everything about Beth makes so much sense now and this episode highlights the legacies that our parents hand down to us and how it affects our lives even into adulthood.

    When they announced that Phylicia Rashad was playing Beth’s mother I wondered if they would make her frail and elderly looking because they always had her breaking her hip. But other than her hip she seemed just fine which is why I wonder why Beth and Zoey had to keep running to check on her. It’s not really a complaint but they never really said why because it seems like the mother never asked them to come. Another thing that I would have liked to have seen is the definitive answer about whether Beth knew about Zoey’s father molesting her. She said that Zoey went through a lot of crap but that can mean any number of things because I think they already alluded to the fact that Zoey’s mom wasn’t shit either. Now I need a Zoey back story.

    Speaking of Zoey, she and Kevin are so much alike it’s crazy. She was whiling out when she was a kid just like Kevin and they both lost their fathers at a formidible age. Just like young Beth and Randall are so much alike. I loved watching this black family dymnamic.

    I was not feeling that dance teacher. I felt that there was some tokenism going on in his class. Why was Beth the only black girl in that class until she didn’t live up to the instructor’s standards. And where did that other black girl come from all of a sudden? I wonder if Beth will ever run into her again.

    I’m excited that Beth is getting her groove back and following her dream. I shed real thug tears seeing Beth dance and finding joy in doing something she loved. It looks like she owns the school in the future and I’m here for that. And don’t get me started about that look young Randall sends young Beth. That moment meant everything to me.

    This is Us has been nailing it lately.


  8. rodimusprime

    Hey you two,

    I love the listening to your feedback episodes. I am a couple episodes behind with the feedback show but this Beth episode threw me into my feelings. First the person that does the casting needs an Emmy because just wow, they look like little Beths. Also those little girls acting was right on point. They even have her minor facial reactions like little Randall. Second we really needed this episode about Beth. The part that made me tear up was that dang dinner table conversation when Phylicia Rashad explained her life and apologized. I grew up in a single parent house without any help from my dad. Hearing her say “I just did what I thought was right and I didn’t have time to think about it” feels like my mom. Beth’s mom was so rough when she told Beth she needed to go to school but I totally understood where it came from. Third we need more sweet and sister like moments with Beth and Zoe. Lastly that dance teacher sucks he just wanted one black lead. That is my theory and I am sticking to it. I am out.


  9. rodimusprime

    Hey Rod and Bassey

    Finally!!! (C) CeCe Peniston

    Finally we got a Beth centered episode and I’m so glad we got it! I’ve wanted to know more background on Beth and her life for a long time now! Phylicia Rashad killed it as her mom and loved the interaction between her and Beth. That unconditional love for your loved ones is such a real thing and loved the honesty Phylicia’s character brought towards the end of the episode when she was talking to young Beth about her father and how they balanced each other out- that’s real love!!!! Loved how she let Beth know – “LOOK LITTLE GIRL I know I was super serious but your father was the opposite, so childhood wasn’t that bad.!” …lol .

    It’s so easy when you were a kid to see your parents one way but as you get older you begin to see the nuance in your parents -they did this to protect me from that or or did this to provide me with this. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you appreciate your parents even more as you get older.

    Loved how Zoe talked about Beth’s mom , this helped give me a somewhat little understanding of Zoe now. And absolutely loved seeing Carl lumbly (Supergirl , Alias, M.A.N.T.I.S.) playing her dad -such a great loving performance and the chemistry was great between him and Phylicia.

    And that’s where Randall and Beth met for the first time – Yooooooooo!!!! Loved this one !

    Thanks again

    Trey _swindu744

  10. ClassicRandBLover

    Hi Rod and Bassey,

    This damn show! This damn episode! My heart, my heart. My eyes were and continue to be filled with tears carrying so many emotions. I got the Beth and Randall I fell in love with back. Susan Keleche Watson got to shine. The This Is Us casting department remains undefeated. I got the reminder why Mrs. Rashad earned her title as Black America’s mother because she was everything this episode. I hope we get her back in the future. I would love to see her with the girls and to find out more about Zoe. Just LOVE, LOVE LOVE for this episode, which in my mind is the show’s valentine to us. This is definitely going t9 be one of my all time favorite episodes. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

  11. rodimusprime

    Hi. I basically don’t understand Jack’s rejection of Nicky. Evidently he assumed that Nicky had blown up the boat and killed the boy on purpose. But Jack was the officer in charge, the boy’s family lived right there, and Jack knew the family. So I think he would have demanded right away to find out what had happened. Then he would have reported the incident to his superiors and apologized as well as he could to the family.

    Instead, we don’t see any further events in Viet Nam, and it’s as if Jack and Nicky were both teleported instantly back to the States the next day. How they each separated from the military is never dealt with. And years later, Jack has still never asked Nicky what happened in that boat. In the trailer Nicky tries to tell him, but Jack refuses to listen. That just makes no sense to me.

    In the incident itself, first of all I don’t believe that anyone above the age of five living in Viet Nam at that time would have failed to recognize a hand grenade. But OK, ignoring that, the boy pulls the pin on the grenade, and because of the language barrier, Nicky couldn’t tell him to jump out of the boat. And he didn’t grab the boy and throw him overboard, or jump overboard together with him, which might or might not have worked. Instead, Nicky did something even braver, which was try to get his hands on the grenade and throw it out of the boat, with only seconds to do that in. When that attempt failed and time ran out, he panicked and jumped into the water–but I doubt whether anyone would have been thinking rationally at that point.

    I’m not a lawyer, let alone a military lawyer, but I don’t think that Nicky could have been charged with homicide under the circumstances. And I feel sure that as soon as he got his hearing back after the explosion, Jack would have demanded to know exactly what had happened.

    So could you solve that for me, please? Thank you very much.

    Best regards,
    David in Brooklyn

  12. rodimusprime

    Hi Rod and Bassey,

    It’s still hard for me to reconcile that adolescent and teenage Kevin were such huge assholes compared to who he is now, because if that had been my child that threw a tantrum like that in the middle of the store, I would have dragged his little behind out and then took away his baseball cards until he learned how to act. That was so ridiculous. But I sometimes wonder if Kevin would have had that kind of growth had Jack not died. I sometimes feel it is his guilt and his need to be more Jack like that drives him more than anything. Don’t get me wrong, I do like older Kevin, but I definitely would have smothered him with a pillow in his younger years. I really hope he doesn’t relapse completely after taking that drink. Hopefully he’ll get in touch with his sponsor right away.

    I’m kind of glad Randall didn’t take Nicky home with him because frankly, Beth needs a break. I have a feeling we won’t be seeing the last of Nicky.

    I wonder how much longer they will keep using the kids because kid Kate has hit a massive growth spurt compared to the boys. In fact I was looking at a picture of all the kids and teens together and the actress who plays little Kate is a head taller than her teenage counterpart and she’s nearly as tall as the teenage boys. I’m going to miss those kids actors.

    As for it’s not us its you of this week is definitely Geeta who had to move back in with her parents. How is she going to tell someone to go away when it’s not even her house? Fuck Geeta.

    Really looking forward to the Beth episode next week!

    Evie E

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