They say that behind every great man is a great woman, and Beth on “This is Us,” played by Susan Kelechi Watson, keeps her perfectionist husband Randall in balance. Supportive yet strong, fierce yet cool and collected, the work-at-home mother of two (three if you count Randall’s brother Kevin moving in) somehow keeps it all together — even with the current storm ripping through the Pearson family.
Watson chats with us about officially being bicoastal, her favorite karaoke song and what we can expect from the rest of the first season of “This is Us.”
ISo in the latest episode Randall is most mad at his mother Rebecca, but your character is third on the list. Any empathy for him?
It was a tough position to be in because in a lot of ways Beth knows the right thing is that he should know and the best way for him to hear it would be from his mother — but she’s so reluctant to tell him and she keeps waiting. Beth now has this secret from Randall. She sort of gets implicated by trying to do the right thing [and let his mother be the one to tell him]. It’s a tough situation to be in.
Would you say Beth and Rebecca have a good relationship?
I think she really cares for Rebecca. She has a lot of respect for Rebecca and what’s she done in terms of raising a family. and it’s continuing to unfold. I think for Beth, her and Rebecca’s relationship is now seeing some tension because she didn’t realize that this secret had been there. Other than that, I would say that they have a healthy relationship.
Do you think Randall will ever forgive his mom?
I hope so. I know Beth didn’t want it to be something that comes between them permanently. I think she could understand if it does do some immediate damage. Thirty-six years is a long time to hold that kind of secret from someone. It’s a fresh wound. I don’t know how soon forgiveness will happen.
Up until now on the show, we don’t know what Beth’s career is because the focus has been on Randall’s. What does she do?
They haven’t introduced Beth’s career yet, but we’ve spoken about it. Beth is starting her own boutique company doing urban planning — going into neighborhoods and working with the community, beautifying specific areas. I believe that’s going to come out within the next few episodes. I can’t say when exactly because I’m not sure, but I know it’s something that’s been a topic of conversation.
Randall, her husband, is such a perfectionist. Do you see this as putting a strain on the relationship at all?
It’s interesting because what we’ve seen with them so far is that she knows that he has a breaking point and that if things aren’t perfect, he goes into this extreme mode of trying to make them so. She can see when the breaking point is coming and tries to protect him. It’s also part of the reason she loves him.
So when you’re not filming, what do you do in your spare time?
I am a big fan of dancing. I use to dance growing up, so I still love it. I also like listening to music, going to movies — exploring and seeing new places. I try to do a lot in my spare time and find myself double booking a lot. I really want to get it all in. I also love a good karaoke.
Nice! Have a favorite karaoke song?
Oh my god, yes: Celine Dion's “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now.”
Oh my God, that’s the best. It’s so dramatic.
It’s so dramatic. Honey, I can act that thing out all day, OK? All day. [Laughs] It has gotten so serious over the years. When that song comes on my friends are like, “Here we go. Going to be here for seven minutes because of this damn song.”
Any plans for the holidays?
To be with family. I have a pretty big family and I’m not sure who exactly I’ll be spending it with but I’ll be with them and friends. That’s all I need for the holidays. New York is home for me and we film in Los Angeles so I’m true bicoastal at this point. I feel a little bit like a rolling stone right now, but it’s fun.
The winter finale of “This is Us” airs Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 9 p.m. EST.