All the Love for “This is Us”

Y’all. We need to have a serious talk. This is Us. Oh-m-gee. Are you obsessed like me? Please say yes. I started watching from the first episode thanks to a killer trailer, and I haven’t stopped since. I even dragged my husband into it, and now, by his own admission, he’s fallen as hard as I have. If you haven’t cried during this show, I question whether you still have a beating heart. If you haven’t laughed out loud, then I wonder if you even have a sense of humor. It’s just that good. Trust me. So I started thinking the other day… What is it about this show that has millions sucked in each week? I mean, most of us are living in the Netflix age where we binge watch episodes of Gilmore Girls or other such revived shows. There aren’t many that I will watch in “real time” if you will. Much like my children refuse to watch commercials thanks to DVR, but that’s a different story. So why do we watch? I have a few theories…

**Friendly PSA :: I will do my best to avoid spoilers, but if you are on episode 1 or 2, you may want to bookmark this post and come back and visit when you are caught up. Which actually you need to get busy with that, like NOW.**

1} The Characters 

Can we talk about the amazingness {not a word but let’s roll with it} of these characters? They are real life if you ask me. Pretty sure I could meet Randall on a corner in New York City on his way to spread his genius with weather commodity trading. Or run into Kate running personal assistant errands in LA. Assuming of course, I actually traveled out of my little suburb. Because the show is by and large, devoid of ridiculous made-for-tv scenarios, they have fully developed these characters — we see their goodness; we see their hearts; we see their pain; we see their sadness; we FEEL them on a deeper level. And my gut is that there is WAY more to come. Bravo, writers, bravo.

2} The Twists & Turns

After the first episode {not going to try to give anything away, but who didn’t audibly gasp out when they showed the “triplets”?}, we knew we were in for plot twists. With the back and forth between present day and the past, This is Us keeps us guessing. I love all of the little nuances and how everything seems to tie together. “Ohhhhh, that’s why Randall and Kevin have issues.” Every week, my husband and I collectively hold our breath waiting for that moment. And while it can be a little frustrating, it’s actually strangely exhilarating in a way.

3} Rebecca as a Mom

Okay, so we can’t all be Mandy Moore clearly. {Hi, gorgeous} But what she shows us is pure humanity on the mom front. Trying to hold it together with three babies, simultaneously love her husband well, while still holding onto a shred of who she was BEFORE she was a mom. Because we were all somebodies before we were parents. We see her sacrifice. We see her frustration. We see her complete joy. We see her ability to be vulnerable. We see her break down. We see her protecting her family. And we see her do what moms do best – juggle. One of our contributors once said, “Moms, make choices we believe to be in the best interest of our children, but those choices could have future ramifications that we’d never imagine.” It’s a burden, yet a huge privilege.

4} Complicated Nature of Adoption

For those of us who have never adopted, it can seemingly look like a fairy tale. Parents see a baby. Baby doesn’t have parents. They lovingly glance at each other and welcome that baby into their hearts and home. Boom. Tied up with a nice big bow, and they all lived happily ever after. But the real truth is that adoption is anything but easy. This is Us explores the tangled web that comes when you adopt. From the very real fear that the biological parents may one day want into their child’s life, to the child pleading with his parents to find out more about where he came from. Randall, even as an adult, shows the pain of not knowing his father William. My favorite scenes are the ones with his biological father as Randall begins to unpeel the complicated layers of how he came to be. Ohhh, and can we talk about William as a wise old owl? I love to hear his stories, his love of poetry, how he became clean, and his tenderness in disappearing daily for hours to feed his cat. Lord. Pass the tissues.

5} Addressing Race in a Thoughtful Way

In a time where our nation is rife with divide, I find it incredibly refreshing how they are acknowledging race questions. Openly. Honestly. There aren’t answers necessarily, but it’s THERE. Without spoiling, there is a fantastic scene of Randall addressing his neighbors in regards with his dad William walking down the street. It was real, and if we are being completely transparent, it opened my eyes to that daily struggle. 

6} Jack as a Dad

Look, I grew up in the 80s, and I recall my dad being as present as he possibly could be. He was at every soccer game, dance recital, etc. But if I recall correctly, he was in the minority. Jack is present. He loves his wife passionately; he sacrifices his dreams for his family. As best said by a fellow contributor, “I love that Jack had a non-traditional approach on the idea of what family meant to him. The way he easily took Randall in, without even questioning his race, so sweet. I also like how they’re trying to navigate through what I imagine are some of the difficulties of having a child that knows he is adopted. He doesn’t want to be treated differently, and they don’t want him to feel different. But he is different in so many ways, and Jack realizes that the only way to support him is to acknowledge his differences.” {The scene at Jack’s office with young Randall? I.die.} And let’s be completely honest … Milo, sans shirt, is not a bad thing. EVER. #sorrynotsorry

7} Kate’s Struggles with Weight

Look. We are all kind of a “Kate,” aren’t we? We all have our things. Hers is weight. And she has humanized the struggle in such a beautiful, and oftentimes painful, way. She always looks for the best in everyone else, wants to be the ultimate caretaker, but often questions the best in herself.  I ADORE the strength she is beginning to discover. She knows what she wants now. Call me crazy if you want to, but I look at her face, and I see the most primal of struggles that we all face. I actually want to be her BFF. And really, who loves kale anyway? 

8} It’s Just a Feel Good Show

I’m the first to admit I don’t get behind shows on zombies, Downton whatever, or shows that are constantly blowing people up and trying to rescue them. Not hatin’ if you like those, too. But this. This is my one time a week where I truly relax, sit back with a glass of Pinot Grigio, and just FEEL all the emotions. I laugh unexpectedly; I cry suddenly; it’s cathartic; and it’s life-escaping for all too brief an hour. It’s so completely relatable to so many across the board. And I’m just a little devastated that we won’t see it again until spring.

{Honorable Mentions}

  • Toby is amazing. He cracks me up on the weekly, yet I have a feeling there is so much more about him we have yet to discover. His relationship with Kate keeps me intrigued, and I am 100% rooting for them to make it.
  • Gerald McRaney as Dr. Katwosky. Holy moly. His speech to Jack on the triplet’s birthday BLEW ME AWAY. I remember him as Major Dad {anyone else?}, but I fell head over heels for him in those two episodes. Small spoiler :: he returns in the fall season finale. Thank you, Lord!
  • Kevin. Oh, Kevin. I often want to punch him in the face, but then he’ll do something that completely melts me {pie scene anyone?}. Plus, he’s not hard on the eyes either.
  • Randall’s entire family. In fact, Randall’s story line may just be my fave. His relationship with his wife Beth is tender, strong, hilarious, and sensitive. They love powerfully. Although there are some eye roll moments for a couple of scenes where they go to “throw down” {wink}. Anyone with two young girls at home knows that is TV MAGIC ONLY. Not happening, buddy. 

So what say you? Are you a fan? Who is your character BFF?  I honestly could have gone on and on, but in the interest of brevity, it’s YOUR TURN!

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