Updated: Nov 2, 2018
Recently, I have been in conversations or seen Facebook posts that have the show, This Is Us under a great debate about being "so good", "so sad", or "too emotional for me to consider watching". I, admittedly, am a HUGE fan. I started watching from its debut possibly because I knew that Milo Ventimiglia from my beloved Gilmore Girls, was going to star in it, or maybe because I fell in love with Mandy Moore when she sang my absolute favorite Disney princess song ever. Whatever the motive, I wasn't going to miss it.
(just because I like to listen to this on repeat, and you're welcome)
But, honestly, I was HOOKED from episode one. What a clever and unique take on a story! I wasn't watching Milo and Mandy, it was fully a Jack–and–Rebecca thing from the pilot. And, to me, that's the true tell of a good thing. When you see past the actor you love to the character you've just met.
But it's not just about the story. It's about connection.
We immerse ourselves in people's stories everyday. Instagram stories, Facebook stories, books, sitcoms, TV dramas, movies. We eat it up. And for no other reason than to know that our story matters–and someone else's matters to us. Connection. Shouldn't this define us? Be us?
That's where this show comes in. I can only hope that it's a reflection of us as a society.
Pain? Yep. Sadness? Uh,huh. Addiction? Yes. Tragedy? Of course. But who are WE?
There's a line in the show where I think Miguel says, "There was no Jack without Rebecca. It was ALWAYS Jack-and-Rebecca"...or something to that effect. I only use the quotes because, grammar, people. But I remember watching that episode with my husband, turning to him and saying, "There's no George without Shelly. It's always George-and-Shelly."
And I used to feel apprehensive about sharing such a deep, strong, hearty commitment to my husband with a world who doesn't always get to experience what I have been blessed to wake up to everyday for more than twenty-two years. But this IS us. Messy? Yes. Heartache? Yes. One stronger because the other doesn't have the strength some days? You'd better believe it.
So everyday we make a choice. A CHOICE TO BE US. And to fight for it.
Then there's the family. Deeply committed, wounded, loving, bitter, playful, sometimes spiteful and 100% complicated. Everyone can relate to that, right? But no matter where the brother, sister, mom, dad, friend, grandpa, or in-law may be in his or her life–the "us" rally, and fight. They fight for love. For that which makes them connect as human beings. No matter what mess or triumph they are experiencing.
THAT is why everyone should watch...
Because, not everyone is a Jack and Rebecca.
Not everyone has a Randall, Beth, or Toby in their life.
Not everyone is supported through addiction like Kevin.
Not everyone is adored right where they are like Kate.
And though I know that it's WAY more complicated than that even in the show, at the end of the day, they have the Pearson clan to come back to. They have an "us".
I want to BE the "us". Not just tolerate or accept whatever people are dealing with, but fight for the connection that binds us. To one day, when some of us remain and others are gone, as we flip through an album with the memories of our lives, I want to be able to reminisce about who we are.
This is us–together through screw-ups.
This is us–together through joy.
This is us–together through loss.
This is us–together in celebration.
This is us–together through pain.
This is us–together in the rise.
This is us–together in a fall.
THIS. IS. US.
I believe This Is Us brings the light we need in our society–for ourselves and our posterity. If we can look back in twenty years and say that we are who This Is Us says we were, then, yeah. It's what everybody needs. In a society that's so often been all-about-me, it's a good time for us to be, well...an "us".
*promotional photo from NBC.com