On “This Is Us,” death by Crock-Pot

Come on baby, light my fire.
Come on baby, light my fire.
Image: NBC/YouTube screenshot
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Everyone’s favorite slow cooker, Crock-Pot, had to make a Twitter account last week just to tell people that it won’t kill them like it killed the dad on NBC’s hit family drama This Is Us.

“Don’t worry, you can still make your favorite comfort foods in your #CROCKPOT with confidence,” the kitchen appliance manufacturer tweeted. “We want to assure you we rigorously test our products for safety.”

Let’s rewind a bit. In the first season of This Is Us, a show that follows the same family across four time periods (the early 1980s, the late 1980s, the mid-1990s, and the present day), viewers found out that Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), the patriarch of the family, died at some point before the present day. In September’s season two premiere, the show hinted that his death had something to do with a fire that burned down the family home. And last week, This Is Us finally revealed how the fire that killed Jack started: a defective Crock-Pot.

Watch as the friendly countertop cooking machine goes rogue, setting the Pearson house aflame, as the harrowing Cinematic Orchestra song “To Build a Home” magnifies the moment:

Let’s see that again on replay:

Image: NBC

Immediately after the episode aired, fans took to social media to proclaim that they were throwing out their Crock-Pots in protest of the inanimate object that killed a fictional television character. What began as a joke soon turned into an actual public relations crisis for the company as they were forced to publicly say that no, in fact, your Crock-Pot won’t turn itself on and spontaneously combust.

In addition to starting a Twitter account, Crock-Pot also posted calming messages on Facebook and released a full statement, saying, “For nearly 50 years with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode. In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible.”

The timing is particularly bad for Crock-Pot with the Super Bowl (Feb. 4) just around the corner. Normally a great option to cook party foods like chili and meatballs, the Crock-Pot could be avoided at Super Bowl parties around the US this weekend out of fear that it will kill everyone in attendance. Not to mention, Crock-Pot was already under a lot of pressure due to the meteoric rise of the rival cooker, the Instant Pot.

Right after the Super Bowl, NBC will air a new episode of This Is Us that promises to actually show Jack’s death in the aftermath of the Great Crock-Pot Fiasco. The network has been relentlessly hyping the episode with promos and interviews with the cast and creators. “All of your questions will be answered,” the NBC voiceover whispers in a teaser for the upcoming episode.

One question This Is Us won’t answer, however, is how it can ever make up for what it did to poor Crock-Pot.