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The This Is Us series finale aired Tuesday, May 24, and it was a sweet, sentimental goodbye to a show that impacted millions. It was also a goodbye to Rebecca (Mandy Moore), the show's matriarch who died in the penultimate episode. Her funeral takes place during the finale, but we don't see or hear much of it—just rumblings before and after. We see Randall (Sterling K. Brown) nervously write down on a notecard what he wants to say for his eulogy, but we never see the final product. We faintly hear Kate (Chrissy Metz) sing when it's her turn to stand up and speak, but we don't know which song—or what else she says.
But why? Why were the Big Three's eulogies kept vague during the This Is Us series finale? The show's creator, Dan Fogelman, revealed the answer to NBC Insider during a conference call with reporters.
"There were a couple of reasons for it," Fogelman says. "Number one: So much of the previous episode was about people emoting, people saying stuff to Rebecca. And Lord knows Randall I'm sure gave the world's perfect eulogy, but what else is he going to say about his mother at this point that he hasn't already said in the show? On a logistical level, that was partially it."
The other part of the reason is personal for Fogelman. "I lost my mom and, very similarly [to Randall], sat up all night the night before deciding that people were waiting for the perfect eulogy for me, and it had to be the right levels of touching and funny, and it had to be well-written, and I had to deliver it well," he says. "I stayed up all night like a lunatic and, frankly, like a martyr trying to write my mother, who I adored, the perfect eulogy. My experience of the day and, frankly, the week or two after was, as I described in the script, I floated through space and time and didn't hear anything. I worked so hard on that eulogy, and I don't remember a single word I said. I remember locking eyes with my best friend who was sitting in the audience and crying, but I don't remember anything. I wanted to visually capture that."
This is why we don't see the details of Rebecca's funeral. "On the day when we shot those eulogies, there had been nothing scripted," Fogelman says. "The guys didn't even know they were going to be doing that. Sterling and Justin [Hartley] and Chrissy went along with me, and we came up with ideas of what they might talk about. They kind of improvised stuff because I wanted it to feel like a funeral, and I wanted the people listening to be listening to something. But at the end of the day, the eulogies were never scripted. It was always about a son floating through the funeral of his mother as if it was almost in slow motion and a bomb has gone off and he can't hear anything anymore."
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