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That Time A This Is Us Actor Kept Eating Nearly Raw Meat For A Scene That May Not Have Aired

Niles Fitch as Randall Pearson on This Is Us.
(Image credit: NBC)

As an actor you have to be committed to your craft, and especially when acting with an ensemble — as the talented stars of This Is Us have done for the past six years — the pressure is really on to make sure you’re doing your part in a scene. For Niles Fitch, who plays the teen/young adult version of Randall Pearson on the beloved NBC drama, that commitment apparently led him to continuously gnaw on nearly raw turkey during one of the Thanksgiving episodes — and the scene likely never even aired.

Thanksgiving has always been an important holiday on This Is Us — especially in Season 6 with a huge moment for Mandy Moore’s Rebecca — but one dinner scene during filming earlier in the series set up an inside joke for the cast that became as traditional as Jack Pearson’s pilgrim hat. Hannah Zeile, who plays teen/young adult Kate, explained to Insider that the cast really does eat the food when they’re filming dinner scenes around the table.  But one Thanksgiving, Niles Fitch threw caution (and logic) to the wind, Zeile recalled:

I don't know why Niles decided one year that he was going to pick up a full turkey leg and just take a huge bite into a turkey leg. It was completely cold, and then it was almost raw inside.

That is absolutely horrifying. I wonder what was going through his head when he realized what he’d done. Because shooting those scenes can sometimes take hours, the actors generally stick to the potatoes or dressing, because "even if those things are cold they are still going to taste good," in Zeile's mind. And it's likely that Niles Fitch wishes that leg had been made out of potatoes.

Apparently the actor didn’t want to ruin the take for continuity's sake, according to his TV sister, so he continued to eat the cold and undercooked turkey. His co-stars saw what had happened, but were apparently able to keep it together until the called cut. Hannah Zeile continued:

He was trying so hard to keep a straight face, but his face was like — he just looked ill. When they finally cut, we were all dying laughing.

That really makes me want to rewatch all of the Thanksgiving episodes in search of that scene, but it’s likely the young Randall actor’s sacrifice was all for naught. Though Hannah Zeile couldn’t remember which episode the turkey incident occurred, Insider deduced it was likely an unaired moment from Season 3’s “Six Thanksgivings.” Even if the world can’t enjoy the actor’s hilarious-after-the-fact discomfort, it definitely became an inside joke that the cast recalled every Thanksgiving episode thereafter.

Fans have seen the last Thanksgiving episode, as the series draws closer to its end, but Rebecca’s big speech set up the final Big Three Trilogy, with one episode each devoted solely to Kevin, Kate and Randall. In “The Guitar Man,” Kevin’s focus switched from acting to starting his nonprofit and building the house his dad had envisioned. In “The Hill,” Kate made a big decision about what she wants for her future, even if that means moving forward without Toby. Up next is Randall’s episode, “Every Version of You.” Hopefully none of those "Versions" include one that's fond of eating raw meat.

This Is Us continues at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, March 29, on NBC. Be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what new and returning shows are premiering soon.

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.