Mandy Moore may be best-known as Rebecca Pearson now, but she still has a fondness for the roles she held before This Is Us. She hasn't given up her time as Rapunzel for good — the Tangled Disney Channel series is premiering later this month.
Plus, the Disney Channel original movie Tangled: Before Ever After will air tonight, March 10. That made this week the perfect time to sneak a Tangled reference into This Is Us.
If you watched Tuesday's episode of the NBC drama, you saw Randall and Rebecca repeat a sweet exchange as the younger and older versions of themselves.
"I love you," Randall tells his mom. "I love you more," Rebecca says. "I love you most," Randall responds.
If it feels like you've heard that exchange before, it's because it's taken from Tangled 's song "Mother Knows Best."
In the Tangled tune, Rapunzel's manipulative mom, Mother Gothel, tries to convince her that she doesn't really want to leave the safety of the tower she's trapped in. At the end of the song, Mother Gothel tells Rapunzel, "I love you very much, dear." "I love you more," Rapunzel responds. "I love you most," her mother says.
Of course, while Rebecca has her flaws, she's definitely not on par with Mother Gothel. But the role reversal here — her son's the one saying the punch line in the This Is Us version — is a sweet Easter egg. There's no way it was an accident, either, considering the fact that This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman wrote Tangled 's screenplay.
"I have to imagine that Dan had a hand in putting that on the small screen," Moore told Entertainment Tonight, confirming the reference. "I thought about it while I was shooting, but I didn't really bring it up. I just figured it was meant to be there... It's all full circle in this world."
Hopefully, This Is Us ' second season will find a way to sneak in references to Moore's other work. We'll be on the lookout for any Lana Thomas quotes that make their way into Rebecca's conversations.
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