Why ‘This Is Us’ Fans Think Pamela Adlon Will Play a Big Part in Randall’s Mental Health Storyline

After two months without This Is Us, the NBC drama returns on Tuesday, Jan. 14 with its season 4 winter premiere. Fans are still reeling from the midseason finale in November, “patiently” waiting for answers. And now, This Is Us Season 4 is adding a few new guest stars to the mix, including Pamela Adlon, who will play a big part in Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) storyline.

Who is Pamela Adlon?

Pamela Adlon attends FX Networks' Star Walk Winter Press Tour 2020 at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 09, 2020 in Pasadena, California.
Pamela Adlon | Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Given Adlon’s longstanding career in comedy, it’s likely you’ve seen — or heard — the actress before. Adlon is known for voicing Bobby Hill on King of the Hill. She has also lent her voice to shows like Phineas and Ferb, Bob’s Burgers, Recess, and Pepper Ann — just to name a few.

Meanwhile, Adlon has plenty of live-action projects under her belt, too. In 2016, Adlon created and stars in the FX series, Better Things. She also starred in Californication and Louis.

The ‘This Is Us’ team says Randall’s anxiety will play a big role in season 4

At the This Is Us Television Critics Association (TCA) panel on Jan. 11, creator Dan Fogelman announced Adlon’s guest-starring role in season 4. He also revealed how Adlon’s character will fit in with the Pearson family.

“We have a cool guest star coming, Pamela Adlon, who will be involved in Randall’s very intense storyline,” Fogelman said, per Deadline. “She has an unbelievable arc in the back of the season, she plays a limited but very important part of that story.”

Then according to Variety, Brown confirmed Randall’s storyline in the back-half of season 4 will deal with the character’s anxiety and mental health.

“Fogelman and our writers came up with a storyline that I think is quite compelling. It allows us to further delve into Randall’s mental health and how he takes care of himself — what’s right and what’s wrong about how he takes care of himself and how he could potentially do a better job of that,” Brown said at the TCA panel. “This moment happens where you’re like, ‘Oh sh*t, this is going to go sideways.”

And when speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Susan Kelechi Watson — who plays Beth on This Is Us — explained the family will navigate through Randall’s struggles together.

“How can we start to work through this? Because … if Randall can’t [take care of himself properly] Beth has to carry more of the load. That’s not going to work anymore,” Watson said. “It’s untangling these original paths that they have created and forged in this family. How do we rewind and go, ‘okay, how do we do this going forward in a more healthy way for the both of us and for the kids?’

Fans predict who Pamela Adlon will play in ‘This Is Us’ Season 4

Following the news of Adlon’s This Is Us Season 4 casting, fans began speculating who the actress will play. And it seems most individuals took the cast and creator’s remarks at TCA as an indication Adlon’s character will be Randall’s therapist.

“Maybe Adlon will be playing Randall’s therapist; assuming he actually goes to therapy?” one fan wrote on Reddit. “That would certainly be a powerful storyline.”

“I’m thinking Pamela Adlon’s character could be one of Rebecca’s [Mandy Moore] doctors,” another fan wrote. “Or maybe Randall decides to get therapy for his anxiety and she plays his therapist.”


No matter what happens, fans will have to wait and see how This Is Us Season 4 unfolds. But of course, it looks like we’re in for some major drama when the winter premiere airs.

In an interview with Us Weekly, Brown shared his thoughts on the tenth episode of season 4. And the actor confirmed the end of the episode “had me screaming at the TV out loud.”

“I knew what was going to happen,” Brown continued. “But like, when I saw it, I was like, ‘They’re not ready.’ The audience is going to collectively gasp when they see our premiere for the second half of the season. That’s all I can really say.”

Read more: ‘This Is Us’: This Randall and Kevin Theory Will Leave You Devastated