Have you seen This Is Us? It’s just a little Primetime Emmy Award winning–Golden Globe award snatching–Screen Actors Guild Award yielding–Critics’ Choice award stunting–People’s Choice Award pick–NAACP Image award receiving show on NBC. To see it, is to love it, here’s why we love This Is Us.
“This Is Us” addresses the intricacies of marriage, family, relationship and our social interactions on every level. It’s not just a family, it’s life – presented in past, present and future. There are main characters, but it’s never just about them, it’s about those before and after them. It is Life in constant motion. Funny at times, tearful (a lot of the time) but overall encouraging on a level that’s hard to explain.
Ingrained in every character is a personality trait or situation for us to relate to.
And for those that initially underestimated Kate as just another plus size character – boy were we in for an awesome surprise. Kate (played by Chrissy Metz) is more than just a size. She is the comforter, peace maker, heart fixer, healer of the family. She is the voice of doubt but also the voice of an over-comer. She represents every person who is starting late in their career (with her singing narrative) and single ladies crawling through the dating mine field (remember that guy from fat camp?). Notice, we never see Kate sitting at home, eating and loathing, ambition-less. Those are the dominant characterizations that plus-size actors/actresses have commonly played in series (shout out to all the shows that are breaking this stereotype too).
There is not one favorite in this family. Everyone is a favorite. Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) give us all #marriagegoals and #lovegoals and #relationshipgoals. At the same time, their not just a husband and wife, they epitomize finding your person and all that it entails. I think it was important that the writers established how much family and love meant first, before hitting us with all the hard things they go through. We may not know how it will all turn out, but we know that the Pearsons last.
Kevin (played by Justin Hartley) is “ambition” incarnate. The opportunities that come at him allow for a bevy of cameos including Sylvester Stallone and the late Alan Thicke. Kevin is that buff, handsome guy at the gym who you would never think has a heart made of cotton candy. He is a weeping willow that has yet to break and I think we’re all waiting for the other shoe to drop (SPOILER: as of season 3 it did, but the finale showed it didn’t seem to stop him from becoming a dad). After Season 1, we’ve found out he has more than just Jack’s strength – he also has his addiction (as hinted in S2, E3) and his family guy nature (S2, S3).
To round out this gang is Randall (played by Sterling K. Brown), my anxiety twin. He is the epic wheel this car needed to make it down the path this show is taking. Without Randall, there would be no William (played by Ron Cephas Jones) and if you’re honest with yourself you cry when he cries. Any flashback nugget I get of him, makes me warm up like a buttery biscuit. Randall and his wife, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), are #blacklovegoals and I’m glad it’s so thoroughly fleshed out like that of Jack and Kate. I love the juxtaposition of one culture shown in the same show as another. For those that don’t know what the inner workings of a black family looks like, this show can show you. It is more than stereotypical chicken and waffles (who made that a thing anyway? Beth’s favorite is nachos); it is more than the way African-American families are portrayed in the news and combats the pervasive false narrative that two-parent, married, black couples with kids don’t exist. This #blackfamily is exactly what we need to show. And not in the funny-haha Blackish way (great show), but in the deep, onion layered family dynamics way that the world needs to see.
The show is unconsciously breaking stereotypes without shoving it at you. It is for everyone, This is Us, is all of us. Everyday. Everybody. I feel gratitude towards a show that can reveal how we’re all just products of our experiences. Good or bad, for better for worse, happy or sad, we can identify with someone in this show.
I just finished Season 3 and it is overwhelming how on point this show is for the world today. Whenever I bring it up to someone, I get giddy waiting to hear who they love or identify with the most. To me, it’s the first program in a long time that shows how family is beyond blood or color or culture. I’ve found the answer to some of life’s questions watching this show. The last show that hit me like this was the short-lived “Brothers & Sisters”, 7 seasons wasn’t enough, I just wanted to be around that family forever.
Alas, This Is Us, is where its at – if you’ve never seen an episode, stop reading and start watching. Link here to the first season online or your preferred TV provider. However you find a way, jump into it, this show is thee best!
*Update: As of this posting, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman and showrunner Isaac Aptaker have stated the show will end after Season 6. Among aiming for an elegant ending, Aptaker also stated that he hopes “people think it’s a really satisfying end place, that makes sense, and it feels like they’ve watched something that is a complete piece of work because that’s really how we’re trying to plan it. Almost like you would a book, or a super-long movie. We’ve had this end in mind for a long time, so we’re able to plan for it, and try to make it feel like it’s a whole, as opposed to a series that’s going to go endlessly.”