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The Miguel Erasure on 'This Is Us' Cannot Stand!

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 11, 2020 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 11, 2020 |


Why does This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman hate Miguel Rivas? There are a lot of troubled, screwed-up people on This Is Us, but you know who is not among them? Miguel. Miguel is a Saint. Miguel was always there for Jack — he let him borrow a sport coat from a suit store to go on a date with Rebecca. He stuck his neck out for Jack after he got fired. He was there for the Pearsons after Jack died. Miguel has never done anything except love and support the Pearsons — all of them — and all they’ve ever done is insult him or worse, ignore him.

Why is Miguel Rivas the doormat of This Is Us? Why, after all the ways in which he has been there for the Pearsons, has he had to prove himself in order to win the begrudging affection of the Pearson children? In last night’s episode, good old Kevin was trying to set his Mom up with Kirby (Odette Annable’s real-life husband, Dave) only a year after the death of Jack, and yet, Kevin once had the audacity to be angry at Miguel for moving in on his mom a decade after Jack died.

The latest affront to Miguel? The way he’s being completely erased when it comes to the healthcare choices of Rebecca. I understand that Miguel wasn’t completely on top of it when Rebecca’s memory issues became apparent, but I think that was more denial than carelessness. However, Randall doesn’t need to fly all the way across the country to assert his control issues all over his mother by taking her to the doctor. Her husband is perfectly capable of that. Her husband — who is kind and supportive and has no memory issues of his own — is also perfectly capable of taking her to routine appointments so that it’s not necessary for Kevin to give his mother “one good day” every other week before delivering bad news. She’s a grown woman. She can handle bad news, and if she needs someone to lean on, THAT’S WHAT MIGUEL IS FOR.

Last night’s episode took this issue to its most absurd extreme, as Kevin and Randall not only fought but ultimately had a falling out over how to provide care for Rebecca. Randall found a clinical trial in St. Louis that Rebecca could enroll in, and while Kevin reluctantly agreed to broach the subject with her, he wanted to first give her “one good day” at the premiere for his movie. Randall reluctantly agreed to that, too, until his control issues got the better of him, and Randall brought up the clinical trial with Rebecca while Kevin had the audacity to step away for 5 minutes and talk to his co-star. He just couldn’t wait, which pissed Kevin off, which led to a shouting match between them over Rebecca’s care, which is not OK for two reasons: 1) Rebecca can make her own damn decisions, and 2) WHAT ABOUT MIGUEL?

In fact, Randall, if you had really wanted Rebecca to enroll in this clinical trial, it might have been wise to talk it over with Miguel and get him on your side before springing it on Rebecca. After all, he would also have to move to St. Louis, and the thing about Miguel is, he would move in a heartbeat for Rebecca. If the clinical trial is really what’s best for Rebecca, Miguel could convince her of that. But Randall (and Kevin) continue to cut Miguel out. Over and over again, it’s as though Miguel doesn’t even exist.

It’s time to show Miguel some respect, This Is Us. In the meantime, next week’s episode is an episode that imagines what the Pearsons’ lives might look like if Jack had survived, but the episode may as well be called, “What if Miguel didn’t f**king exist?”

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: NBC