TV Talk: ‘This is Us’ pays homage to Eat’n Park
NBC’s “This Is Us,” partially shot in Pittsburgh, has its share of local references — the Steelers, Pirates and even the late Froggy’s of downtown Pittsburgh received multiple references on the family drama — and in the Tuesday’s episode was local channel Eat’n Around the Park.
In the present, while at a restaurant, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) watches her adult son Randall (Sterling K. Brown) build with little pink Sweet Low packets.
“It was at Eat’n Park the first time I saw you do that,” Rebecca said. “You were 6 or 7 years old and we spent the summer working on your Scholastic book club reading list. … Every Friday in the summer, we’d come to the library before it opened and stay until it closed, then I’d take you to Eat’n Park. Only U.S.”
“We were always getting the Smiley Face cookies,” Randall recalls.
“That was always our favorite part, remember?” said Rebecca.
In a later flashback scene, a college-aged Randall is on the phone with Rebecca and tells her to check a pocket in her backpack. She pulls out a white bakery bag, opens it, and, on the verge of tears from her thoughtfulness, says, “Our cookies!”
“I stopped at Eat’n Park on my way home,” says Randall.
“Thanks, I needed that,” Rebecca said as she bit into a Smiley Face cookie.
Eat ‘n Park executives were unaware of the references to the restaurant chain and the Smiley Face cookie in this week’s episode “This Is Us.”
This isn’t the first time a Pittsburgh icon has appeared on “This Is Us” without the production asking for permission in advance. In April 2021, an episode “This is Us” featured a visit to the set of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” with young Randall in conversation with Mister Rogers’ puppet Daniel Striped Tiger.
Although use of material from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was not authorized prior to the episode’s initial airing, it is my understanding that Fred Rogers Productions has resolved any disputes relating to such use out of court.
‘How do we ride’
The new CBS sitcom “How We Roll” (9:30 p.m. Thursday, KDKA-TV) has two key elements working in its favor: star Pete Homes’ likability (“Crashing”) as Tom, an factory-turned-professional bowler and scene-stealing salinity Julie White (“Grace Under Fire”) as Tom’s mother, Helen.
But series creator Mark Gross’ (“Man with a Plan”) writing and plot are as mundane as one might fear stepping into this bland multi-cam sitcom that doesn’t deserve to be aired. after CBS’ clever hit “Ghosts.”
Katie Lowes (“Scandal”) plays Tom’s supportive wife and Chi McBride (“Boston Public”) co-stars as Tom’s bowling coach. The series is inspired by the life of real professional bowler Tom Smallwood.
“How We Roll” marks Mount Lebanon-native David Hollander’s first sitcom credit as one of the show’s executive producers (he’s usually involved in dramas like “Ray Donovan”). But don’t blame him for “How We Roll.” In January, Hollander told me he was “not a creative force on the project,” leaving those duties to his friend and fellow executive producer, Broadway actor Brian d’Arcy James.
Final Oscar Ratings adjusted up to 16.6 million viewersan increase from the 10.4 million who watched in 2021, but still down significantly from the 23.6 million viewers who tuned in in 2020. … The final “Ozark” episodes air on Netflix April 29 . … The six “Pistol” episodes, about the rise of punk band Sex Pistols, premiere on Hulu May 31. …2017 Carnegie Mellon University graduate Victoria Pedretti (“You,” “The Haunting of Bly Manor”) will star in “Saint X” from Hulu a psychological thriller based on Alexis Schaitkin’s novel of the same name about the mysterious death of a young woman while vacationing in the Caribbean.