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This Is Us Character Moments That Infuriated Fans

Tears, laughter, and a whole lot of frustration are the emotional collateral damage of the Pearson family's grand life journey in "This is Us." While viewers root for the them and all the characters that surround the family, hoping they'll find happiness, the world throws curveballs testing the bonds of friendship, familial loyalty — and our appreciation for the rollercoaster ride that is life. 

For six seasons, viewers have found themselves wracked with vicarious emotions as the writers have drawn upon the power that lies within human tales of tragedy and triumph. But not every one of these plot twists has been well received.

There have been moments where fans wished they could reach through the TV screen and force the characters to make different decisions and avert tragedy; other times, you wonder how they couldn't have spotted an accident waiting to happen. For better or worse, the entire series has been littered with such moments where the audience could foresee, from a third-party perspective, events that will end tragically due to a hasty or emotionally-charged decision. Let's take a look at some of these bad choices made by the characters of the show — and perhaps how they could have made decisions that would have been kinder to them, albeit probably a lot more boring to the audience.

Kevin loses his father's necklace

At the start of Season 2, Kevin (Justin Hartley) is experiencing a string of failures following his breakdown on the set of "The Manny" in Season 1. He finds himself striking out during an attempt to make a career on Broadway. Kevin had also become saddled with an addiction to prescription painkillers, due to a knee injury he sustained during high school football. All the while, Kevin carries a precious heirloom handed down to him by his father — a token that enables Kevin to feel closer to his dearly departed dad. The necklace was of great significance to Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), and that sentimentality was passed on to Kevin.

Kevin later finds himself returning to his high school to accept an award. He winds up sleeping with a former classmate who happened to be a physician. Stupidly, Kevin ditches her, then adds salt to the wound by stealing her prescription pad to fuel his addiction. During the act, he realized that he had left his father's necklace behind. One frustrating decision after another caused Kevin to lose an object of great emotional value. The pendant attached to the chain would eventually lead Kevin on a journey into his father's past during the Vietnam War.

Kevin and Randall say heinous things about each other

Siblings always fight and bicker, sometimes into adulthood; Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Kevin experienced one such moment when confronted with the frightening news that their mother Rebecca (Mandy Moore) was weathering the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease. The brothers had different ideas on how to move forward. Those ideas were, of course, rooted in their own experiences and shared trauma over the loss of their father, Jack.

In an argument for the ages, Randall reminds Kevin that he wasn't present when their father died and that Jack passed away "ashamed" of Kevin. He tells Randall that the worst day of his life wasn't the day that their father died; it was the day their parents brought Randall home and adopted him. At that moment, you could feel the burning bridge crumble under Kevin and Randall's feet.

Rebecca chooses not to tell Randall about William

Like any good mother, Rebecca was fiercely protective of her children. After the sudden death of her third child at birth, she latched on to Randall, forming a special bond with her adopted son. Sometimes, Kevin and Kate would even feel jealous of the perceived extra attention Rebecca gave Randall. 

Rebecca's deep love for Randall caused her to commit one of the greatest crimes in the entire series. During Randall's upbringing, she learned about his biological father, William — and kept him at arm's length, fearing the loss of her son.

Eventually, he tracked down William in his adult years and started a relationship with his biological father, just as he was in the throes of a terminal cancer diagnosis. While William never divulged that he knew of Randall and had communicated with Rebecca, Randall managed to find one of Rebecca's letters addressed to William, complete with a picture of his younger self. 

This resulted in an explosive, emotionally wrenching Thanksgiving dinner where Randall unveiled the dirty deed in front of the entire family.

The Pearsons disregard Randall's anxieties surrounding race

Being a young black infant adopted into a white family comes with its own set of struggles. While blended families aren't inherently an issue, Randall experiences a form of isolation that the rest of his family has never quite understood. 

Randall has had to tackle issues of race on his own, even as a young child, when he was forced to deal with the judgements and comments of people who saw a young Black boy with a white family. Much of his anxiety came from the vulnerability and loneliness he felt when issues of race became present — a topic white folks like the Pearsons didn't pay much attention to.

As Randall got older, and watched police brutality becoming a regular event on national television, he felt a sense of righteous anger toward his family for not fully attempting to understand his plight as a young Black child. He explained to both Kate and Kevin the fears and worries that he experienced growing up — something to which they had been completely oblivious. While the Pearsons recognized that Randall's experiences in life were different, their level of blissful ignorance was an annoyance for the audience, on Randall's behalf.

Madison's catty behavior prior to befriending Kate

Early in the series, Kate (Chrissy Metz) attends an Overeaters Anonymous group where she hopes to learn how to cope with her eating disorder. Among the attendees is Madison, a thin blond-haired woman who doesn't exactly fit in with the rest of the crowd. What many of the attendees don't initially realize is that Madison also suffers from an eating disorder even though she isn't obese. She often experiences impulses to binge eat which would, in turn, cause bulimia.

In order to bolster her own self-confidence, she often would appear pretentious. She treats Kate rather unfairly and can be seen as an adult bully. As we know, bullies often treat others the way that they do in order to feel better about themselves. Eventually, after Kate calls Madison out on her behavior and cuts her down by delegitimizing Madison's eating disorder, the two begin to take a step back realizing they're both out of line. Thankfully, Kate sees that Madison's disorder is very real, and Madison befriends Kate, ultimately becoming the best friend she has ever had. While the development of their relationship into a true friendship was satisfying, Madison's early, misguided behavior irritated fans simply wanting to see Kate overcome her hardships.

Rebecca's father's treatment of Jack

After returning home from the Vietnam War, Jack attempted to begin life anew after the horrific things he had seen and experienced alongside his brother, Nicky. He eventually met the love of his life, Rebecca, who would become the matriarch of the family. Unlike Jack, Rebecca came from a much more prosperous household, with parents who thrived as upper-class citizens. Jack was visibly threatened by their status, realizing that he may never be able to provide Rebecca the comforts in life that she was accustomed to with her own family.

After meeting her father, that anxiety only multiplied exponentially. The man never missed a chance to undercut Jack, even telling him point blank that he was not worthy of his daughter, simply because of Jack's working class background. At one point, he even refuses to offer his blessing to their union. Thankfully, the Pearson patriarch has his best friend Miguel by his side — and the older man is set straight.

Teenage angst and disparaging remarks

Surely, teen angst is common in many households. Youths must figure out who they are, and what they want to become. The experience of Tess (Eris Baker), however, is a bit different than most. 

Having made the bold decision to come out to her friends and family, she feels judged for her views on relationships and standing as a daughter. She met, loved, and mourned her biological grandfather in a short span, then was uprooted from her home to a new locale where her father had become a politician. There's a lot going on in Tess's life, so the angst is understandable to a degree.

However, she begins to cross a line when she begins to project her own hurt and pain on those she loves. Randall and Beth try their best to understand their children's needs, offering a loving home while coping with their own adversities. Tess piles on when she bitterly tells her father, who is trying to help and understand her, to stop comparing his life to hers. She then exclaims that she wants to be nothing like him — a move that wounds Randall deeply. 

Often times, most of the drama on "This is Us" occurs because tight-knit characters have an irregular outburst that decimates the feelings of another. While it's important to understand Tess's feelings, it's also difficult to condone saying something so deeply hurtful toward a loving father.

Kevin drives drunk with Tess in the car

Vices are stumbling block for humans, as addictions derail us from our true priorities in life. Kevin's addiction is alcohol. In fact, Kevin didn't fall very far from the family tree in this department, as his father Jack Pearson, once tackled the very same demon. 

Kevin's life has been fraught with heartache and self-sabotage, due to his desire for the bottle and unresolved feelings over his father's untimely death. At one point, Kevin allows his addiction to spiral out of control, as he is barely able to carry on daily life without alcohol in his system.

After a visit with Randall and a refusal to talk to Kate over the phone about her miscarriage, Kevin gives his nieces a quick hug and heads out the door visibly hammered. As he is seen speeding down the road, Tess eventually sits up in the back seat, revealing that she stowed away in his car in an effort to spend more time with her uncle. She is clearly terrified by the speeds at which he is driving, knowing something isn't quite right. 

Thankfully, Kevin is pulled over by a police officer who arrests him on a DUI charge. The presence of Tess has amplified an already poor decision to drive recklessly while intoxicated. The moment underscores the obliviousness of Kevin's family to his worsening condition, as well as his own denial over the severity of his alcoholism.

Nicky's negligence led to the death of a young Vietnamese boy

The Vietnam War was a difficult time for American soldiers, and when Nicky was drafted Jack couldn't let his brother endure hell alone. So, he enlisted and sought out his brother during the war, in an effort to protect him.

Once Jack found Nicky, his brother was not the same person that he had known. Vietnam and the anxieties that came with it had made a mess of the man, and this realization would become a turning point in Jack's relationship with his brother – and not for the better. 

Obviously not of sound mind, Nicky decides to go fishing with live grenades — alongside a young Vietnamese boy that Jack and Nicky had befriended. Out of curiosity, the little boy grabs at one of the grenades and Nicky mistakenly drops it. Nicky pleads with the boy to jump off the boat with him, but the young boy doesn't follow. Due to Nicky's negligence, the young boy is killed. 

Sent to a psychiatric facility because of the incident, Nicky would never be the same. Jack, also distraught over the moment, couldn't bear living with what his brother had done, so he distanced himself from Nicky and ultimately left him alone, telling Rebecca and his children that their uncle had died during the war.

Nicky's problematic life is a result of his father's treatment of him

The erratic behavior and unhealthy decisions of Nicky (Michael Angarano), both during Vietnam and in his drunken stupor following the war, stem from his home life as a young child. There's a lot to be said about the "nature versus nurture" concept, but one thing is certain: parental care and guidance has a profound effect on the future of a young child. Nicky received the opposite of anything that could be considered "nurturing," as Jack and Nicky's father was abusive, both emotionally and physically. He showed a general disdain for Nicky, and was particularly hard on him.

Jack and Nicky's father wasn't always the alcoholic abuser he was for most of Nicky's life. In fact, he was seen leading a good life prior to Nicky's birth; alcoholism led to his downfall, and Jack spent much of his time protecting his younger brother and mother from his father's alcohol-fueled anger. 

This detachment led to Nicky's depression and isolation. Without any clear support, Nicky's behavior in Vietnam was the result of feeling like he had nothing to lose. Without the proper coping tools and methods at his disposal via mental health care, Nicky was tormented by it his entire life.

Marc's emotionally abusive relationship with Kate

Kate Pearson has always struggled with self-esteem issues, stemming from a self-consciousness over her appearance. When she landed a boyfriend named Marc (Austin Abrams) in her teens, he was at first charming, but eventually revealed himself to have a short fuse that would cause him to lash out at the slightest disagreement. This soon manifested itself in hurtful, manipulative comments in an attempt to reinforce Kate's loyalty to him. An abuser who preyed on vulnerabilities and weaknesses, Marc would attack her self-image with cruel, body-shaming remarks.

In a harrowing moment when the pair traveled to the family cabin, Marc kicked Kate out of the car and forced her to walk. The cold, snowy conditions seemed to make freezing to death a reality, and Kate injured herself trying to get into the cabin. Thankfully, her family came to the rescue, ensuring Marc's reign of terror was brought to an end. 

Like most abusive relationships, the trauma Marc inflicted left a lasting impact on Kate. For audiences, these were tough scenes to watch — but being able to cheer Kate on when she confronted Marc as an adult gave some needed closure.

Kevin treats Madison poorly

As Kevin is known to do, he sleeps around. Eventually, he shares a bed with his sister's best friend, Madison (Caitlin Thompson). This ultimately leads to Madison becoming pregnant with twins. 

Right away, Kevin insists that he has no intention of abandoning Madison or the children. In fact, he convinces himself and Madison that he wants to marry her and start a family. Madison is skeptical at first, mostly because Kevin's job as a high-profile actor is demanding and she doesn't understand how he can continue his career while being the father she wants for her children.

Always partial to grand gestures, Kevin proposes to Madison. After the birth of the twins, the pair plan for a wedding. But Madison gets wedding day jitters, becoming doubtful that this is the path he really wants. She becomes convinced that he is only doing what he thinks he "must" do, and that he isn't actually in love with her. 

Madison asks Kevin to honestly look at her and tell her that he's in love with her. In that moment, Kevin can't bring himself to say it, despite insisting on the marriage. Madison refuses to forge a union shrouded in doubt, so the two end up packing it in. Despite Kevin's responsible decision to be a present father and aim for the goal of the picture-perfect family he's always wanted, it's a bit frustrating that Kevin couldn't somehow develop a love for the mother of his children — or at the least, be honest with himself from the beginning.