This Is Real. This Is Complicated. This Is Life. This Is Us.
This article contains spoilers so if you haven’t seen NBC’s This Is Us, please do not continue reading.
What a perfect way to sum up the new hit drama on NBC. This Is Us has become must see television. Since the pilot episode premiered on September 20, 2016, This Is Us has captured the hearts of viewers with its realistic portrayals of members of one family whose lives are far from normal. Spreading over two time periods and two generations, the series tells the story of Jack and Rebecca Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore) and their struggles to raise their three children Kevin and Kate and adopted son Randall in the past and Kevin, Kate and Randall (Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz and Sterling K. Brown) navigating through their complicated lives in the present.
I think what makes this show one that has resonated with viewers is that each character faces uncertainty about life’s path. Jack and Rebecca are parents wanting to do what’s best for their children. And for Rebecca, this meant keeping the secret that she knew Randall’s birth father William since the moment she brought Randall home from the hospital. Rebecca feared that she would lose her son if Randall discovered the truth (which he later did). What ramifications did this secret have on Rebecca’s marriage to Jack? That’s a question that hasn’t been fully answered yet.
For the Pearson children, it’s identity crisis that plague them. Kevin had a successful acting career as the lead on the television sitcom The Manny. But he questioned his decision to remain on the show, feeling that it wouldn’t allow him to reach the depths of his talent. Additionally, he shares a less than close relationship with brother Randall. Why? Kevin believes that their parents showered Randall with more affection than their other children to make up for the fact that he was adopted. So throughout their childhood and into their adulthood, Kevin often didn’t refer to Randall as “my brother.” Randall, on the other hand, loved his brother and hoped for a true brotherly bond between them. Now, Randall has started to forged a connection with his birth father William and also learned of his mother Rebecca’s long kept secret. Will these changes in his life strength Randall as a character?
Kevin and Randall’s sister Kate has issues of her own. A life long problem with weight has followed Kate. She’s tried dieting and a support group, which seems to make her feel worse about herself, not better. But the support group did allow her to meet Toby (Chris Sullivan), who supports her more than the group ever could. When Kate mentions that she could never date “a fat person,” Toby decides to diet to encourage Kate in her weight loss goal. And when they break up, Toby endures an extremely long and uncomfortable plane ride to get to Kate for Christmas. However, something happens that will test both Toby and Kate. Will they overcome this latest obstacle to their relationship? That’s a question best answered when This Is Us returns from its winter hiatus.
And then we have the patriarch of the Pearson family, Jack. Here’s a man who refuses to let life’s difficulties deter him from being the best dad ever. Take it from me Jack, you are. Who can forget how well Jack has spoken to his young children as they’ve experience moments of doubts and insecurity? He’s there for them and never fails to let them know it. He’s the dad that will lift you up and catch you if you fall. He’s the dad that will make a Thanksgiving in a small motel room magical for his kids and help to start new traditions. He’s the dad that those who have one like him are lucky and those who don’t, wish they did. Which makes it sad to think about Jack not surviving to be a part of his children’s current lives. What happened to Jack? Inquiring viewers want to know.
It’s stories like these with performances by Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley and Chrissy Metz as the Pearsons and let’s not forget Susan Kelechi Watson as Randall’s wife Beth, Ron Cephas Jones as William and Chris Sullivan as Toby, that have raised the bar. Comments on social media constantly give accolades to the show, actors and writers. And award nominations are already coming in. Not bad for this freshman series. If you are looking for a television show that runs the gamut of emotions, then This Is Us is for you. This one will live in our hearts and minds for a long time to come.
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