Mandy Moore Monday: This Is Us

Have you guys heard about This Is Us? It’s like, really good.

But you already know that. Or someone has told you it’s really good. And today, I’m going to not only tell you about how good the show is, but how spectacular Mandy Moore is as the family matriarch. Why? Because it’s Mandy Moore Monday, of course!

A while back I kicked off the Mandy Moore Monday series, and by series, I mean this is only the second installment (did you miss my revisit to her severely underrated album Coverage?!). So why not shine a light on Mandy’s most recent star turn as Rebecca Pearson in this past TV season’s hit drama? Plus in full disclosure, we’re in the middle of Emmy nominations voting, so I figure we could at least give Mandy a little push for a nomination.

I think that it was easy for critics to brush Mandy off as not as serious actress back when she was younger, due to the whole pop star/Candy-ness of it all. I thought she was fantastic in A Walk To Remember, but that’s just a “movie for teenagers”. She got some street cred as a bitchy Christian school girl in Saved!, and perhaps the most successful film (and the one that’s gotten her the most residuals) is Tangled, and that just featured her voice. But with her first major TV drama (besides a fantastic/heartbreaking arc on Grey’s Anatomy), Mandy’s finally getting to show off her legit acting chops, and I could not be more proud. In This Is Us, she’s been able to prove she’s a dynamic actor, one who can let us watch Rebecca start off as a young woman not interested in kids, to a devoted mother, to a wife who wants to see what life would be like if she chased her dreams, to a widow just trying to stay connected with her kids.

Here are just a few reasons why Mandy Moore  should not only be praised on this MMM (Mandy Moore Monday), but hopefully come Emmy time, too.

When She Looked Good In Every Decade

Aging a young person isn’t easy, and if done wrong, it can look unbelievable. Perhaps most importantly, bad makeup takes the viewer out of the fictional world and into reality & endless criticism (def not talking about you, Deathly Hallows). Moreover, This Is Us requires a lot of emotional scenes, so if she’s put in makeup that doesn’t allow her to show every face acting emotion, it’s a maj fail. But Mandy’s makeup artist Zoe Hays made sure the goal wasn’t for Rebecca to just look old, but for her to simply look 30 years older. Helen Mirren, 71, served as Zoe’s inspiration for Rebecca’s sixty-something look, since she’s a “sexy, mature woman and there’s never any doubt that she exudes that.” And together with Zoe, Mandy has done an excellent job in acting as Rebecca in her 30s, 40s, 50s & 60s, something that only a classic beauty and talented actress can pull off.

When She Finally Got To Sing

As someone who greatly enjoys Mandy’s voice and music career, obviously I was waiting for the writers to incorporate her singing into the show. And they did it in a smart way, by having Rebecca be an aspiring singer when she’s younger, but have put those dreams aside once the triplets come along. Of course, Mandy hits it out of the park when she takes the mic, and it means even more in the story when we find out that her voice is literally what brings her and Jack together in the first place.

When She Had Romantic Scenes With Milo

Ross and Rachel. Jim and Pam. Luke and Lorelai. Jack and Rebecca. These two will go down in TV history as one of the most beloved yet complex couples ever. And that has a lot to do with Mandy and Milo’s chemistry. When they were first announced as the co-stars in this show, I thought it was a no-brainer – so much so that I thought that they surely must’ve worked together before. Nope. In my head, it was Jess Mariano married to Jamie Sullivan and somehow that works. You can tell just by watching them in every scene that there’s an ease to their back-and-forth, and it particularly shows in their romantic scenes. There’s a real love there, not just Jack and Rebecca, but a mutual love and respect between Milo and Mandy that makes it so enjoyable to watch.

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I stand in awe of this friend of mine. He is the ultimate partner in crime and he absolutely knocked it out of the park on every level in last night's finale. I am the luckiest. Can't believe we have 18 behind us and atleast 36 ahead, Mi. Wow. And for those somehow frustrated with the finale not revealing how Jack passed, I would encourage patience. Otherwise you might be watching the wrong show. Last night was fundamental to the bigger picture. The story deviated and ultimately landed on (I think) a more compelling question… what was the state of this relationship in the end? And as Milo so eloquently stated, let's focus on how the man lived! Stay tuned cause it's all leading somewhere and we're just getting started.

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When She Had Not-So-Romantic Scenes With Milo

And that chemistry works just as well when we see Jack and Rebecca hit their rough patch in the later years. I’m no actress, but I imagine the best comes out when you wholeheartedly trust your acting partner. Mandy and Milo not only have this connection as friends IRL, but they each have a personal relationship with their fictional personas. So in combining those two factors, you’re left with two humans who aren’t afraid to go all out and lay it all on the table in these heated scenes, adding that extra level of realness that can sometimes feel like we’re intruding on this couple’s intense arguments.

When She And Milo Made-Up

Back to the romantic thing because, honestly? OTP: I’m gonna be a 12 for you baby. #IShipJabecca

When She Had To Cry In Prosthetics

The situation Rebecca knowingly but herself in is a tricky one, and I feel like there’s no “right” way to go about telling your adopted son about his drugged out father. In this confrontation scene, Mandy has an excellent scene partner in Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown, but it’s Mandy’s silent remorse realization she may have fucked up big time is what is the most impressive.

When Her Acting Partner Was A Fake Pregnant Stomach

Having a one-sided conversation with three babies is normal for pregnant women, but having a one-sided conversation with a large, prosthetic belly is a whole other thing. Mandy killed this monologue as a loving, regretful, hopeful, uncertain mom-to-be, who promised to do right by her kids. It’s not easy to convey all those different feelings in one monologue, but she delivers it in a subtle and moving way that as a viewer you can relate to, no matter if you’re a parent or not.

When She Was A Queen This Entire Episode

If she’s nominated, this better be the episode they submit. But in the meantime, just watch this again. The walk to the corner store though!

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Fall 2016 TV Rookies To Watch

It’s day two of Back To TV Week, and just like Back To School week, there are plenty of new and wonderful people to meet! After a few lean years, the 2016 fall tv schedule is jam-packed with new series that we can’t wait to watch – and although tv will always have a bit of gimmicky stunt casting, many of this year’s most anticipated shows star relative newcomers and unknowns. Our picks for the fall 2016 TV rookies to watch include some actors who are almost brand-new to the industry and others who have been around for decades. They all have one thing in common: none has household name recognition right now, but they’re all talented and poised for success – our predictions for the rookies of the year.

Chrissy Metz {This Is Us}

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Previous Work: American Horror Story, Huge, My Name Is Earl, Entourage

Why You Should Watch Her: Chrissy’s character Kate is going into her 36th birthday not in the best of spirits, as she’s plagued by doubts of self-esteem, appearance and a general ‘what the fuck am I doing with my life’ feeling. AKA what everyone feels. Chrissy plays the part with honesty and a genuine spirit that makes your heart break for her, and root for her success as the show goes on.

When You Can Watch Her: Tuesday, September 20th @ 10pm on NBC

Kylie Bunbury {Pitch}

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Previous Work: Under the Dome, Tut, Twisted, The Sitter

Why You Should Watch Her: There’s a lot of weight on your shoulders if you’re the first female pitcher in the MLB. But there’s also a lot of weight on your shoulders if you play the first female pitcher in the MLB on TV. Kylie not only had to zero in on her baseball skills, but give depth to her performance outside of the mound, and it looks like she’s doing just that.

When You Can Watch Her: Thursday, September 22nd @ 9pm on FOX

D’Arcy Carden {The Good Place}

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Previous Work: Broad City, Comedy Bang! Bang!, Inside Amy Schumer, CollegeHumor videos, The To-Do List, UCB, Twitter

Why You Should Watch Her: She is funny. She’s a UCB performer who I know of because of her hilarious tweets and random podcast appearances, like on the Gilmore Guys. For some reason, if someone like D’Arcy or Ben Schwartz or DC Pierson (all Internet folk who I’ve seen at UCB), get a great gig in a movie or major TV show, I root for them as if we’re friends. We’ve never met. She has no idea who I am. I just know I’ve laughed at her, and in the good way. And The Good Place is a very good place to start.

When You Can Watch Her: Monday, September 19th @10pm on NBC

Micah Fowler {Speechless}

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Previous Work: Labor Day

Why You Should Watch Him: Hollywood doesn’t have a great track record for developing complex, layered characters who have disabilities – and it has an even worse track record for casting actors with disabilities to play those characters. Yet Speechless includes both a ‘Wednesday ABC sitcom’ premise (Minnie Driver plays the mom of a family moving from a middle-class area to a tonier town), and a character, JJ, who has cerebral palsy and is nonverbal. Based on the trailers and pilot reviews, Fowler, who has cerebral palsy himself, plays JJ with a lot of warmth and enthusiasm – no simple acting gig for an 18-year-old in his breakout role.

When You Can Watch Him: Wednesday, September 21 @ 8:30pm on ABC

Brian Tyree Henry {Atlanta}

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Previous Work: Vice Principals, The Knick, Boardwalk Empire

Why You Should Watch Him: If the three names didn’t tip you off, Brian Tyree Henry comes to the tv world by way of Broadway (The Book of Mormon) – and that’s after earning an MFA from Yale. In his off time, Henry likes to collect pins – so he’s adorable, too. You would expect someone playing a rapper to be well-versed in hip hop, it’s still a lot of fun to see him discuss the genre. We always have a soft spot for Broadway actors, but something tells us we won’t be the only ones talking about Brian Tyree Henry in a few weeks.

When You Can Watch Him: Tuesday, September 6 @ 10pm on FX

Pamela Adlon {Better Things}

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Previous Work: Louie, Californication,

Why You Should Watch Her: Pamela Adlon is very much NOT a TV Rookie – except, as we discussed above, we think this role may mark a turning point in her public career. 90s kids will know Pamela’s voice from Recess (Spinelli), King of the Hill (Bobby) and Pepper Ann (Moose), and comedy fans will recognize her from Louie, where she’s proven to be a natural at the understated, non-hammy genre of offbeat sitcoms. Like Louie – on which Adlon was a recurring character and consulting producer – Better Things is loose, observant and semi-autographical (Adlon is also a creator and executive producer on the project).

When You Can Watch Her: Thursday, September 8 @ 10pm on FX