We love the Pearsons from This Is Us. That being said, if you somehow are ever transported to some alternate universe where you can be invited to one of their shindigs, you should treat that invite like it's an unexpected package with no return address and white residue on it. Send it back.
That's because almost every time the Pearsons form en masse, disaster strikes. They're all fundamentally decent people, I guess, if prone to self-destructive tendencies at times. Which, whatever. That makes them like you and me. Individually, or in pairs such as Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) or Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), they're cool. At a party or special event though? They're not to be trusted. Case in points:
4. That painful three-sibling birthday party (Ep. 13 "Three Sentences")
The Pearsons kids' birthday party started teetering towards implosion the minute each child wanted an entirely different type of party at the same time. This party planted the seed for Kate's scarring that would last 20 years, when all the kids bailed on her Madonna moment to go to Kevin's (Justin Hartley) The Princess Bride party (which was all a ruse for the manipulative little runt to flirt with his sister's best friend). Only some of the kids required to come to Randall's party showed up, which, on the bright side, taught him to swallow life's disappointments early. So there's that.
3. Christmas (Ep. 10 "Last Christmas")
Toby comes over to Randall's pad to surprise Kate, but oh no! He collapses and is rushed to the hospital. Pretty hard to enjoy your new present when you might've just watched someone die, I'm guessing.
2. The Steelers Game Fight (Ep. 5 "The Game Plan")
Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) mosey on down to Froggy's pub to watch the Steelers game. Seems innocuous enough, right? Nope. They fight about not having kids. Then Jack gets in an actual fight with somebody in the bar... only to come outside and hear Rebecca say she does see herself with kids. Good Lord, you two. "But wait!" you say. This is just two people -- thus invalidating the theory about the whole family sucking at parties! Not at all. This is the night Kevin and Kate were conceived, so technically they were there and were literally born into crazy drama.
1. Thanksgiving (Ep. 8 "Pilgrim Rick")
Past Pearsons embark on a shoulda-been pleasant trip to Rebecca's parents' house for Thanksgiving. Fun! The car breaks down. Oh! Rebecca reads her mom the riot act on the phone. Darn. They have to hike for what looks like forever and end up eating cold hot dogs and crackers. Typical Pearson excursion! Later, Present Pearsons have the nuclear meltdown that birthed one of the best scenes in the series when Randall confronts Rebecca about hiding his true parentage. Right there at the table.
Key takeaway here: put more than three Pearsons in a room and you'd better have a ride home, a therapist and maybe a doctor on standby. Because it's gonna get real.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.