Toby on 'This Is Us' Is a Toxic Creep & We've Got the Receipts to Prove It

toby and kate this is us
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead for This Is Us, season 2, episode 1, "A Father's Advice."

Since its breakout debut in September 2016, This Is Us has captured America's hearts with its heartfelt drama, relatable characters, and swoon-worthy couples. And while each couple really gives us something to pine over, perhaps one of the most beloved items is Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz) and Toby Damon (Chris Sullivan). And frankly, I cannot for the life of me figure out why. 

Toby is an unmitigated trashfire of a partner -- and perhaps overall person -- and season 2's premiere finally proved it. 

  • Our first glimpse of Kate and Toby shows the two of them preparing for Kate's big singing audition on her birthday.

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    Ron Batzdorff/NBC

    Toby approves of Kate's outfit and is about to get it on with her when her brother Kevin (Justin Hartley) barges in. Immediately Toby throws a temper tantrum -- which is fairly understandable when you get cock-blocked by your fiancée's brother. Kate, who's trusted in her brother Kevin for 36 years, seeks his opinion about the outfit. Toby bristles, feeling like his own opinion automatically doesn't count. This leads to an eventual explosion where Toby gripes that he should be the only one that really matters in Kate's life, and should be the one to "push her" and do things for her. 

    And somehow, on Kate's birthday and the biggest day of her career, that dude makes it about himself and his needs. 

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  • And yes, I already know what you're thinking.

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    Ron Batzdorff/NBC

    "But Toby has done so much for Kate!"
    "He's so romantic!"
    "He loves Kate just as she is!"

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    Yeah, yeah, I get it. Toby acts like a saint. The thing is, none of this cancels out the narcissism and selfishness Toby has displayed throughout most of his time with Kate, nor does that really make him "good" partner material.  

  • Flash back to when they first started dating: Toby from the get-go completely disregarded Kate's struggle with her wellness journey.

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    Ron Batzdorff/NBC

    Despite the fact that they met at a weight-loss support group, Toby takes Kate's insecurties at face value. He eats what he wants in front of her, constantly shuts down her concerns about food and weight gain, and simply feels like his aloof attitude toward it is one everyone should adopt.

    It even inspired Kate to break it off with him, but girlfriend got stupid by his seemingly selfless acts. 

  • At first it comes off as charming; he loves her and is attracted to her as she is. But Kate's relationship with HER body has nothing to do with him.

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    Ron Batzdorff/NBC

    What kind of self-serving asshole cannot wrap his mind around the fact that her struggle is so much more than skin-deep? She cannot adequately love herself if she hinders it upon someone else's opinion of her, and that's all Toby can seem to focus on. 

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    Throughout the first season, Toby's way of "dealing" with Kate and her insecurity issues completely centers around his view of her. While he makes an effort to get to know her family and her history, it consistently comes back to himself. And while we should all always consider where we stand, when it comes to a partnership, making every single trial about you is flat-out toxic. 

  • "Toxic" behavior manifests in manipulating or controlling others: being excessively needy, using others to meet their needs, and extreme jealousy.

    this is us
    Ron Batzdorff/NBC

    Toby exhibits literally all of these traits. Of course, Toby has a right to ensure his happiness in his relationship, but doing it at the expense of fully understanding his partner is wrong. 

    To be fair, we barely know about anything about Toby's past and what drives him to act this way. While This Is Us specializes in character development, the truth is they have yet to scratch the surface of this pivotal character -- and what they unearthed is essentially garbage in pretty wrapping paper.

    Nice gestures are great, but taking the time to understand someone's needs rather than assuming them is what counts. Hopefully Toby will learn that someday.