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Areas Where ‘This Is Us’ Confronts Real Life Issues and Leaves Us Hooked

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UGA chapter.

Audiences across the country are hooked by NBC’s hit TV series This Is Us. As if season one did not do enough to encapsulate viewers into the lives of the Pearson family, season two continues to leave people glued to their televisions every Tuesday night, and most weeks after the one hour show ends, it can be hard-pressed to find someone watching with a dry eye. So exactly what makes the show so popular? I believe it is the uncanny ability of the producers and actors to connect with real human stories and emotions. Here are six areas where This Is Us addresses “real life” in their drama in almost every episode and how these are developing in the second season.

1. Weight

One of the most obvious topics the show discusses is weight-related issues. Actress Chrissy Metz, who is open about her own struggle with weight, in a way mirrors her character Kate’s journey with obesity. The journey began in season one, and it continues to unfold in the second season.

2. Addiction

Not only did Jack inherit the addictive gene from his own father, but he passed it down to his children as well. We begin to learn about Jack’s battle with alcoholism in season one, but in season two the consequences of his addiction are unpackaged, and viewers really grapple with how debilitating an addiction can be on both an individual and on a family.

Photo above found here, courtesy of NBC.

3. Race

From the very beginning of the show, we knew race would always be an integral part of the story line as Randall was an African American boy adopted by a white family. This will never not be an aspect of the show; in fact, an entire episode is devoted to his adoption in season two.

4. Health

Aside from the overarching health issues like weight and addiction mentioned above that seem to be mentioned in almost every episode in some form or fashion, the show addresses other health related issues dealing with women’s health, eating disorders, mental health, etc. These situations and how they were handled have evolved and are continuing to evolve in season two.

5. Death

*spoiler ahead*

Fans were teased that the beloved Jack Pearson died in season one. Knowing this information, season two has allowed viewers to learn more about Jack up until the point of his death, but when they finally learn how he died, they will grieve his loss. Because of the development of the character of Jack, I can only imagine that his death will be emotional for many viewers, similar, though not the same, as the death of a real person.

Photo above found here, courtesy of NBC

6. Overall dysfunction in families

Week after week, if nothing else, This Is Us is a beautiful reminder that every family no matter the shape, size, color, type, etc. deals with dysfunction. Families deal with loss and heartache and hardships that must be overcome and won with nothing other than love.

Every single soul connects with something on the other side of the screen every single week. It is brilliant, and it is the reason why This Is Us resonates with every single one of us.

Cover photo courtesy of NBC.

My name is Marlee Middlebrooks, and I am a May 2018 graduate of the University of Georgia. I was a dual degree student and earned my Bachelor of Arts in journalism as well as my Bachelor of Arts in communication studies. While in college, I was the Editor in Chief of UGAzine, a feature writer for Her Campus at UGA and a beat reporter for The Red and Black. I believe in the power of storytelling. I believe stories truly allow each of us to find a way to connect with one another. When I’m not telling stories, you can definitely find me in the Chick-fil-A drive thru or catching up on the current reality TV craze—my all time favorite show being Survivor.