I have been binge watching This is Us, so please forgive me for being kind of sappy. I actually avoided watching the show because I knew it was an emotional family drama and I don’t really need to listen or watch somebody else’s family drama, yet here I am watching it and now I am hooked! The series follows the lives of siblings Kevin, Kate, and Randall (known as the “Big Three”), and their parents Jack and Rebecca Pearson. It takes place in the present and using flashbacks, at various times in the past. Kevin and Kate are the two surviving members of a triplet pregnancy, born six weeks premature on Jack’s 36th birthday in 1980; their brother is stillborn. Believing they were meant to have three children, Jack and Rebecca, who are white, decide to adopt Randall, a black child born the same day and brought to the same hospital after his biological father abandoned him at a fire station. Jack dies when his children are 17. WAIT.……what the hell? I’m only 1/2 way through the first season and while I knew that he was going to die, I had no idea that it comes so soon and now I’m a little disheartened. Thanks Wikipedia!
But, HOLY COW “THIS IS US” IS SO GOOD!! So good, in fact, that life was basically on hold while I watched all 18 episodes of the first season in a matter of 4 days, you heard that right people, 4 days! Sorry Dr Phil, you have been put on the back burner for now. I will come back to you after Season 2. But, there is a problem with this scenario and it happens all the time with me. I have an issue watching shows that I know to be emotional or if I know that a popular or larger than life character is getting written out of the show. I don’t like to watch the ending…….In fact, I left an episode of Nashville on my PVR for 3 months before I was able to prepare myself for the sadness I knew was just on the horizon when Rayna was dying (in the show). My favourite sappy movie is Message in a Bottle and I almost always stop the show 20 minutes before it ends because I don’t want Kevin Costner to die. In my twisted little mind, not watching the end means whatever the bad thing that’s going to happen, won’t happen. I know, it’s weird. And when I read a good book and find myself invested in a character, I jump to the end of the book to be sure he or she is still going to be alive. Even if I am disappointed, I
usually sometimes still finish the book, but I’m sure it changes how I interpret the story in the end. And it kind of spoils the surprises, especially when there is a character that hasn’t even been introduced yet and I have cheated and checked the back because then I have to rush ahead to get to the part where the new person enters the story. I know, its messed up isn’t it? I guess I’m not good with the suspense, I like to know what’s coming up, I think that’s why MS is difficult for me to manage. I never know what the next day will bring and sometimes not even what the next hour will bring and for someone who doesn’t do well with the unknown, it is a struggle I live with daily.
Back to This is Us – This show is funny, awkward, uplifting, true-to-life and I’m loving it. Here’s my 5 favourite things about the show:
1. I have been and to a certain point, I still am Kate – I have struggled with my self-image and know how it feels to look in the mirror and not like what you see. I think that many of us have had that issue at times. I’ve stood in my closet and tried clothes on that have gotten too tight and I have gotten frustrated when I lose weight slowly or not at all. Kate’s open, honest struggle with her obesity give a voice to what we quietly say to ourselves every day. I personally am cheering Kate on, because if she can be successful so can I. Every time she turns and runs away from something because she is self conscious, I am silently telling her to take the plunge, I am pulling for her!
2. I love how Jack consciously chooses not to be his father, he became the man and father that he never had as a role model. He consciously chose to do the right thing over and over again instead of doing the wrong things over and over again. He accepts responsibility and loves Rebecca with all of his soul. He makes mistakes and owns up to them. He is a good dad, an honest dad, a dad that will do anything for his family. He believes Kate is not just his great love story, she was his big break to be the man he was meant to be. Don’t we all deserve to have a love like that?
3. I love how Rebecca has real mommy fails, big ones, yet they work through them and her kids still love her. She’s just a mom who did the best she could, trying to juggle it all while still trying to be true to herself. Don’t all of us moms feel that way sometimes? I know I do. We fail and we get back up and try again tomorrow. She was so not ready for triplets and when tragedy struck, a door opened for them at the same time. She fumbled her way through raising 3 kids (one who is African American) and in one episode, she is questioning whether he even needs sunscreen, so when I say they were out of their element, I mean it. I think that’s why This Is Us is so easy to watch. It’s a show about well-meaning people of different races, regularly making mistakes in their desire to show each other that they love them.
4. I love that the kids in the show sometimes are the adults in the show. What I mean is, that sometimes the kids are the voice of reason and the parents are the students. I can relate to this because it happens in my own family many times
5. I love that every character has flaws and baggage and no one is perfect. They all mess up. Rebecca lied to Randall. She says not very nice things to Jack. She can be selfish. Jack drank too much. Kevin can be self-absorbed and needy. Kate can be a mess. Toby can be a jerk. Randall battles anxiety. I could go on and on…but it’s real. No one is perfect. And it can be frustrating because it all hits close to home.
This is Us shows me that everyone is facing challenges, no matter what they look like, what they weigh, how successful they are or how much they love someone. I am reminded by Rebecca and Jack that parenting is friggin hard and that there is no guarantee the kids won’t end up needing therapy because of my parenting skills, but we need to keep doing the best we can and that’s all we can do. Who they ultimately become is bigger than Us. It has reminded me that life has not just a beginning and an end, but it has a middle and the middle can be the hardest, because that’s when you can get really lost. All I know is that I don’t want to get lost in the middle and I sure as hell don’t want to lose anyone I love to the middle either.
If you are looking for a real feel good show and haven’t already, start watching This is Us (Season 1 is on Netflix right now), it will give your heart a little something to be thankful for. I don’t know why I waited so long to watch it but trust me, it’s really good. Just watch it and let me know your thoughts!