'This Is Us' Deserves More Love

My mom and I have been obsessed with NBC’s “This Is Us” since its premiere in 2016, but every time I try to discuss the show with anyone else they seem highly uninterested.  Everyone can recognize the title but for some reason, they never fully submerged themselves into the dramatic series -- perhaps because it is only offered for bingeing on Hulu rather than America’s ride or die streaming service, Netflix.  There is more than one reason why this show deserves more love, from its masterful writers to its captivating plot. There may be spoilers ahead, but I will try to keep them to a minimum!

 

Firstly, let’s address how brilliant the writers of this show are.  I have always been baffled by how authors manage to write stories without plot holes or losing sight of the end goal.  The writers of “This Is Us” go above and beyond by flashing back and forth between the present day, the future, and multiple time periods in the past.  We get to learn about both the adult and adolescent characters by viewing them at all stages of their lives. The show promotes active watching by forcing you to pay attention and think about each scene deeply -- nothing ever seems insignificant.  It is always exciting when I pick up on a hint or piece something together.

Similarly, the show contains countless plot twists.  Just when you think you know what is going to happen, it doesn’t.  The story will line up perfectly in your mind and you will assume you really guessed it this time, but you won’t.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the show is how real it is.  The show focuses on so many real-life conflicts that are typically left out of other TV shows and movies.  To name just a few examples, “This Is Us” highlights the struggles that come with divorce, fostering a child, growing up around people who look different than you, pregnancy and miscarriage as an overweight woman, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, homosexuality, and the relentless pain of feeling responsible for a loved one’s death.  There are so many more examples, and the best part is that they do not simply touch on these issues, but they portray them in the most accurate and relatable way. When characters are arguing, they actually say things that I have said while fighting with my mom or boyfriend. The heated and emotional discussions, the panic attacks, and the heartbreaks are actually believable, and it is refreshing to watch a scene that so perfectly resembles something that you genuinely struggle with -- especially if it something that is highly ignored in the media.

With the reality of the show comes characters that make you feel things that you feel about people in your personal life.  There is something good and bad about every character and you learn to love them despite their flaws, just as you do for anyone you know.  While Jack was originally an emotionally conflicted alcoholic and he was extremely harsh on his brother, we cannot forget about how dedicated and strong he was toward his family and how he risked his life for them.  Moreover, I think we can all agree that Beth is one of the most badass women on television, but she struggles too, and our opinions of her may have shifted as we were led to believe she has turned her back on her husband, Randall.  Lastly, I love Randall because he is so emotional, honest, and thoughtful, but sometimes he comes off as a little selfish and that really gets on my last nerve. It’s like his greatest qualities double as his worst. Overall, I love all of these characters so deeply but they are not perfect, they are relatable.  I can justify everything they do because I am really able to understand their mindsets and view them as real people who struggle internally and externally.

 

This show is truly one worth watching and sharing with friends or family, and I imagine it is one I will watch with my children someday.  It will certainly make you cry and laugh, but I think you will mostly just appreciate it.