This (Really) Is Us

There is an undoubted set of drama that comes from weaving four independent stories into a whole. ‘This is a fact’ read the letters on the screen that kicked off producer and creator, Dan Fogelman’s latest TV show, This Is Us. Just like his previous creations, Tangled (2010) and Cars (2006), Fogelman was able to produce a show that rightfully leaves people speaking about it the morning after.

My primary critical reaction after watching the first two seasons of This Is Us was that the creator and producer of the Emmy-nominated TV series, Dan Fogelman, does the human race a remarkable disservice. Primarily because the show is a constant cycle of challenging its viewers to make it through an episode without shedding a tear, which has proven to be highly unlikely, regardless if you’re an overly emotional person or not.

The essence of its tear-evoking element comes from the show’s ability to display the duality of an ideal family and the reality of one. For starters, a real and boundless love is displayed through parents Jack and Rebecca as their love story unfolds from the moment they met. Yes, Jack is the dream man of every straight woman’s fantasy; no, their relationship is not perfect.

It also helps that the producers chose deeply sympathetic characters to play the role of Jack and Rebecca’s children. When we first meet them, triplets Kate (Chrissy Metz), Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) are all celebrating their 36th birthdays independently, but each with their own set of problems. Be it Kate’s compulsive overeating, Randall’s abandonment issues or Kevin’s unfitting role in a sitcom, their experiences remind us of our own, no matter how unrelated to ours they may be.

The generational story of the Pearson family smoothly unfolds through subtle time hopping between Jack and Rebecca’s storyline in the past and each of Kate, Randall and Kevin’s stories in the present. Although only little detail is given about each character at a time, each detail has proved to be telling. As much as the storyline of the series is fascinating, it is complicated. Although subtle, the constant volleying between past to present and character to character can leave a viewer confused if they  miss a line crunching on their snacks too loud.

Still, the show’s ability to appeal to a wide audience with its perfect balance of situations that are tragic or conversations and confrontations that are comedic labels the series as a genuine all-rounder. With all its twists and turns, the show is my sentimental favorite.

Why Netflix has not chosen This Is Us as one of its offerings startles me, but still, I am thankful because if it did, my Netflix consumption would be at an all-time high. Instead, the show can be found on any of; Hulu, Amazon Prime and other online streaming websites.


Photo by NBC

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Farida Khalil

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