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This Is Us: What Makes the Hit Drama so Popular?

WARNING: This article contains This is Us spoilers! 

 

We all know the void feeling in our chest when we just finished binging a new show we found on Netflix or Hulu. It is almost like a breakup. You ask yourself, “will I ever feel that same way again about a show? Will new characters ever speak to you or feel as real to you as these ones have? Will any other storyline ever be able to compete?” More than ever, that is exactly how I’m feeling right now. The drama series that consumed the past few weeks of my life was This Is Us. I do not know why it took me so long to hop on this popular train (a whole 5 seasons later with nearly 20 episodes in each), but I am so glad I finally jumped on.

Woman in White Bed Holding Remote Control While Eating Popcorn
Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

 Honestly, the name This Is Us fits the show perfectly because it truly is showing us who the characters are, way more than your typical drama. As episodes and seasons go on, you plunge deeper and deeper into the characters’ lives, which makes you empathize with them and fall in love with them as more time goes on. The backstories are so rich for each character, and not just the main characters. Some episodes are dedicated to side characters, which just makes the whole story feel more real, as you are getting such an in-depth look as to who each person is, what made them who they are, and how they connect into the storyline and the other characters. You laugh with them and you cry with them through the whole thing.

The issues that are addressed in each of their lives make it that much more relatable and interesting. It seems that the writers have tackled every human struggle, including things like weight and eating disorders, identity struggles, death and traumas, and life-like relationships. Furthermore, the latest season (season 5) even introduced COVID-19 to the show. While some people may cringe and argue that they might not want to watch the horror they are already living through, This Is Us grapples with the pandemic in an easily-digestible way; it is actually comforting to see them living through what we are right now and dealing with it in their unique ways instead of just ignoring this dramatic change in every day life.


Anna Shvets via Pexels

The main thing that really separates This Is Us from other shows, though, is its distinct style. A lot of it is non-linear, dodging back and forth between the past, present, and future of a family who tragically loses their father. There is something about a disjointed narrative that has always pulled me closer in to the story, and This Is Us pulls it off more than any other I have seen. The writers have clearly put a lot of thought into the show and you can tell because little bits and pieces from way earlier episodes, such as a glimpse at a necklace, always come back around later to unravel a whole new storyline. It is the preparedness of the writers and directors, paying close attention to the details, which makes this show such a wonderful piece of art. The non-linear form, along with always having to look out for minor details keeps you on your toes, guessing how each of the pieces fit together.

Sometimes in the flashbacks, you meet new characters, that most of the time you do not even figure out their role in the family’s story until the very end of the episode, when everything comes full circle. Along the way, I try to guess how they fall into place, but the writers are so good that it isn’t that easily predictable. For me, that is huge; I can usually pinpoint every character and what will happen to them as soon as I start watching. This Is Us is different from other shows because it takes the obvious guess and misleads you the whole time, only to reveal something completely unexpected.

Now that I am all caught up, I do not know what to do with myself. I feel like no other show can compare to the art and the work that went into all of the details of This Is Us. I will just be here patiently awaiting the next episode to air!

Stephanie Morley

West Chester '21

Hey, my name's Steph Morley! I am a senior at West Chester University and I am majoring in Psychology. I love to write, read, bake/cook, binge tv shows, and do makeup. Her Campus has been such a great way for me to get more involved on campus, meet some incredible ladies, and have some of my work published. I love what Her Campus stands for; it is an amazing platform for college students to share their stories, opinions, and more.
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