When This is Us’ teenage character Tess came out to her parents late last year, the NBC drama was said to be breaking new ground for coming out narratives. Fans and critics alike applauded the show for situating such a storyline within the context of a Black family that is supportive of their child. Tonight, during the season finale, the show revisits Tess’ identity and that moment most queer people go through of discovering which clothes make us feel like our most authentic selves, and Out has an exclusive clip of the scene below.
This is Us follows the intertwining lives of three siblings — twins Kate and Kevin, and Randall— and their parents, Jack and Rebecca. Randall, who is Black and played by the ever-wonderful Sterling K. Brown, was adopted by the white family. The show takes place in the present and uses flashbacks to show the family during various moments in the past. Tess, played by Eris Baker, is one of Randall’s kids with his wife Beth, played by Susan Kelechi Watson.
In the coming out episode — though, to be clear, Tess first disclosed her potential queerness to Kate (Chrissy Metz) in a previous episode in which she also got her first period — Tess tells her parents that everyone in school is having crushes and boyfriends, but that she doesn’t want a boyfriend. In what can only be described as the typical way cishet fathers respond, Randall retorts that "it’s long been a dream" of his that she’d never have one, because dad. Tess then adds that it’s because she thinks she might like girls.
“Thankfully this is Randall and Beth, the most empathetic Black couple since the Huxtables, and they instantly tell Tess that they love her” no matter what, wrote Princess Weekes at The Mary Sue. “The confirmation of love that Beth gives Tess moved me to tears because that sort of Black parental love when it comes to LGBTQ kids is still something we are lacking in mainstream media. That scene is right there up there with the father’s monologue from Call Me By Your Name because Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth says everything you want a parent to say when you come out, especially as a Black child.”
In tonight’s episode, how Tess’ clothing helps or prevents her from feeling like her authentic self is addressed. It’s yet another moment that many LGBTQ+ people, regardless of age, can identify with. Check out the exclusive clip below, which also features Justin Hartley as Kevin.
The season finale of This is Us airs Tuesday night on NBC.