One of This Is Us’ key traits is its ability to capture the daily experience of viewers’ lives. Their world experience matches the ones 30- and 40-something audiences remember; the pop culture they consume is the same stuff many of its viewers watch. Most importantly, the music they listen to is the same songs fans know and love, which is why Kate and Phillip’s karaoke song is an iconic moment for the series.
Warning: Spoilers for This Is Us Season 6, Episode 12, and Chumbawamba lyrics follow. Kate’s divorce from Toby has felt predestined since their marriage in Season 2. The show’s confirmation of it at the end of Season 5 was merely a nod to the inevitable. However, although her relationship with Toby collapsing wasn’t a mystery, how Kate got from being married to Toby to her wedding with Phillip was a head-scratcher. Moreover, the compressed timeline of Kate going from married to one guy in 2022 to marrying the other in June 2026 was an eyebrow-raiser.
However, when the show broke it down, things started to make sense. Phillip had been crushing on Kate for a while. (See the Season 6 premiere with the kids singing “Time After Time” for her birthday.) However, Kate was unaware of it. Her separation from Toby began in August 2023, just before the next school year, and the divorce was finalized in June 2024, just as the school year ended. During that time, Phillip had become close enough to Kate that he was comfortable texting her to ask if she wanted to go to Koreatown for post-divorce drinks and karaoke.
And the song he chose? A little British tune called “Tubthumping,” the only overseas hit for the longtime anarchist band Chumbawamba. Most people only remember the repetitive pre-chorus, “I get knocked down/But I get up again/You’re never going to bring me down.” The show also added the song’s opening that rarely made the cut on the original radio version: “We’ll be singing/When we’re winning.”
It’s an adorable rendition — and a pretty impressive one. For anyone who has assumed chanting the lyrics is easy, you’re in for a rude awakening. For all that “Tubthumping” is memorable and repetitive, the lyrics are super fast-paced. That’s why it’s so fun to get a group of people to do it, because if you don’t have good rhythm and breath control (or have had one too many drinks), it very quickly devolves.
Phillip and Kate are music teachers, and Phillip does a pretty good job at keeping up. More importantly, his fun side comes out for the first time instead of his grumpy, snarky standoffish one. Kate is a little stunned to witness it, but she can tell this is him making a real effort to be her friend and cheer her up.
This Is Us: The Final Season continues with new episodes every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET and streaming the following day on Hulu.