Tuesday’s episode of This Is Us didn’t just bring us thisclose to the very moment in which Jack Pearson will die — a raging fire was headed up the staircase — it also revealed the cause of said blaze. You can semi-blame it on friendly neighbor George, who gave Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) his trusty old Crock-Pot, which he explained to them had a switch that you kinda had to fiddle with, but no worries, it still works. While cleaning up the kitchen following a busted Super Bowl Sunday celebration 17 years later, Jack turned off the Crock-Pot, but after he left the room, the switch somehow activated, sparking up, igniting a dish towel and creating an inferno that quickly worked its way through the kitchen. And, of course, with no batteries in the smoke alarm, a true tragedy was in progress.
After the episode aired, This Is Us fans were quick to post on social media, taking out their anger/grief/sadness on the Crock-Pot, with some saying that they were throwing theirs out so they, too, didn’t perish in a fire. One fan wrote on the Crock-Pot Facebook page that she hoped that Crock-Pot was planning a can’t-miss Super Bowl ad, given that people were tossing their slow cookers; she received this response from the brand: “Jack Pearson was our Valentine so we equally understand your pain with his loss. We love him and we love you too. Don’t further add to our heartbreak by no longer using Crock-Pot Slow Cookers, rest assured our products have been generationally tested by your family and friends.” Another fan named Ruthie pressed the brand for a response to the matter, noting that “so many people are worried now. Crock-Pot replied: “We’re heartbroken over last night’s episode too!… [W]e’re innocent until proven guilty.”
Later in the day, Crock-Pot issued this lengthier and rather technical statement:
“Crock-Pot understands the concerns brought up by last night’s episode of This Is Us, and we too are heartbroken by the latest development in Jack’s storyline. However, it is important that our consumers understand and have confidence that all Crock-Pot slow cookers exceed all internal testing protocols and all applicable industry safety standards and regulations as verified by independent third-party testing labs. 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.
“In addition, and most relevant to the concerns consumers are having after watching the recent This Is Us episode, our Crock-Pot slow cookers are low current, low wattage (typically no more than 200 or 300 watts) appliances with self-regulating, heating elements. The product is designed to cook foods over a longer period of time at low temperatures and the switches connect to only 1 side of the power line voltage, so there is never a high voltage applied directly across our switches. The switches within our slow cookers are subjected to additional internal testing, which includes a Rotary Knob Endurance test, Rotary Knob Force Test and Flame Burning Test and constructed of self-extinguishing, flame resistant material.
“Our hope is that the team at NBC’s This Is Us will help us spread factual information regarding our product’s safety. While we know their primary mission is to entertain — something they have continued to excel in — we also feel they have a responsibility to inform. Just like many fans, we will be watching next week’s episode to see how Jack’s story progresses and, regardless of the outcome, we want consumers first and foremost to know they are safe when using their Crock-Pot.”
Asked what words of advice he had for Crock-Pot’s public relations team in the wake of fears of fire-prone slow cookers, This is Us creator Dan Fogelman told EW, “I just literally just sent out a tweet — because I was reading this morning the reactions to the episode — reminding everybody that this was a fictional Crock-Pot with a faulty switch that was 20 years old. So, I don’t think the entire Crock-Pot community should be blamed for this.”
Also on Wednesday, Crock-Pot created an official Twitter account, and it’s currently busy reassuring worried fans, which you can enjoy right here.
The next episode of This Is Us airs Feb. 4 after the Super Bowl.
To see what else This Is Us’ creator had to say about last night’s episode — and what might happen in the Super Bowl episode — click here.