Ever since I watched the first episode of “This is Us” I’ve been hooked. Never in my 21 years of binge-watching television have I ever watched a show so genuinely written and impactful on its viewers than this. There is a high possibility that throughout the series, you will resonate with at least one of the characters and their authentic and touching stories. If you haven’t started “This Is Us” yet, here are 7 reasons why you should immediately.
1. Different Dimensions of Family Life
Not every aspect of family life is outlined for us—there are ups and downs, highs and lows, good times and bad. “This Is Us” illustrates a variety of different family dynamics and how they work together to form a perfectly imperfect family—the Pearsons. The Pearson family highlights issues such as adoption, abusive households, how childhood traumas transfer into adult life, the challenges of parenting, and so much more. Since “This Is Us” shows so many different components of a family, it has the potential to relate to the personal lives of a wide range of viewers—highlighting how to work through the challenges of family life as well as enjoy the rewards.
2. Honest Portrayal of Sibling Interaction
Siblings fight- it is inevitable. Whether they are small, petty quarrels or huge blowouts it is bound to happen at some point in their lives. “This Is Us” showcases sibling rivalries and how they can learn and grow from these difficulties. “This Is Us” shows the unique perspective of the “Big Three” siblings throughout their early childhood and into their adult years. We get to see how they overcome adversity between each other and grow as a family throughout the different stages in their lives.
3. How Body Issues Are Individualized
Kate Pearson deals with weight and self-esteem issues throughout her entire life. She especially struggles after the loss of her father— isolating herself in her teenage years and attending group therapy years later as an adult. However, during her group therapy sessions, they portray characters who struggle with their weight in different ways. Although they may look “normal” to the general public, they deal with a variety of underlying issues and eating disorders. Being able to recognize that body issues and self-esteem are individualized is extremely important in today’s society. Just because someone might look “normal” and “fine” to you, it does not make their struggles any less valid.
4. Glimpses of Adoption and the Foster Care System
The foster care and adoption system are mentioned in a variety of aspects throughout the show. Many foster and adopted kids experience an internal struggle of wanting to know and be loved by their birth parents. At the same time, they do not want to disappoint or hurt the feelings of their adoptive parents when trying to explore their past. “This Is Us” tackles this issue through the lens of Randall’s childhood as an adopted kid and then through his search for his birth father William in his later years. The writers then go full circle with the storyline of Randall and his wife trying to foster and hopefully adopt a young girl named Deja.
5. How to Cope with Sudden Loss
The loss of a loved one is never an easy thing, especially when you are young adult. People’s coping mechanisms vary significantly when dealing with loss—ranging from over eating, excessive exercise, isolation, and avoidance. “This Is Us” follows the “Big Three” after the loss of their father, and how they effectively or ineffectively cope with this tragedy throughout the course of their lives. The show also highlights other aspects of loss and how it differs from person to person. Being compassionate and empathetic to those who have lost someone special is imperative.
6. Anxiety and Depression Are Not Always Visible
So many people experience anxiety and depression. Just because they do not actively talk about their struggles does not mean that they are not struggling. “This Is Us” is an extremely powerful outlet in showing the public that mental health affects so many individuals in our society. Active representation of mental health in television shows and social media is the first step in reducing the stigma that is so often associated with it.
7. The Power of Unconditional Love
The most important lesson to take away from “This Is Us” is their emphasis on unconditional love. No matter how difficult life can get, the support and love of family and friends can be an essential and irreplaceable source of growth and healing.