Remember earlier this season, when This Is Us made a joke about multiple Kardashian babies, and we had just learned that multiple Kardashians were pregnant? It felt like the show could see into the future, because the reference was just so timely. And now, they’ve done it again — except that this time they’ve had to edit the reference out.
The episode set to air tonight, titled “The 20s,” revolves around a flashback to Halloween of years past. The official synopsis reads: Trick-or-treating with the 10 year olds goes awry for Jack and Rebecca; and Randall, Kevin and Kate have life-changing Halloweens. The episode — which was made available to press ahead of time, and yes, I have watched it — takes us back to a Halloween when the Big Three were 10, and also 18 years later in the year 2008, when they’re all 28.
It’s in this 2008 flashback where we see Kevin struggling as an actor in Los Angeles. During the episode, Kevin’s roommate at the time comes home from a day auditioning and excitedly shares that he’s just booked a role on an upcoming Kevin Spacey movie.
Out of all the actors This Is Us could have picked, they had to go with Kevin Spacey. Back in 2008, the actor had just wrapped a role as Lex Luthor in Superman Returns and was about to star in HBO’s Recount, which earned him an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination. So talking about Spacey being an actor everyone wanted to collaborate with isn’t such a far off idea — but 2008 seems like an eon ago.
And now, following allegations that Spacey made sexual advances toward Anthony Rapp when Rapp was a minor (Spacey was 26, Rapp was 14), his prestigious star power has started to fall. TV Line was the first to report this Spacey edit; only one mention was made of Spacey, and it wasn’t a big plot point of the episode. NBC and 20th Century Fox (the production companies behind the series) issued a statement to press who received the episode early, explaining:
So once again, either This Is Us has some foresight they’re not sharing with us, or the NBC series is just really good at making references.