This article will likely contain spoilers for the NBC show, This Is Us.
I’ll admit, I’m jealous. But jealousy can be a fantastic motivator.
One day, I want to be a writer in the same league as the writers on the show, This Is Us.
I started watching the show when season two was two weeks away from starting. By the time I binged all the episodes I had missed, season two was a couple of days away from starting. I think I knew what a drug addict felt like when their drug of choice was suddenly taken away from them. I needed more. How dare they make me wait? I couldn’t imagine having to wait the actual amount of time between seasons! (This is why I usually don’t watch shows while they are still airing. I am ridiculously impatient when something is so good).
I have a confession to make. I had absolutely no intention of watching the show initially. I love Milo Ventimiglia. His character on Heroes was one of my favorites. But he wasn’t enough for me to want to watch the show. It’s just not my normal fare. Mandy Moore is pretty cool, but still not enough. My only experience with Sterling K. Brown at that point was his character on Supernatural and even though his acting was great, HATED the character.
Then, my future daughter-in-law just kept on me, you HAVE to watch this show. It’s just soooo good. Okay girl, I’ll watch it, sheesh.
Why?! Why would you do this to me?! I probably texted her 10 times per episode and told her how much I hated her. How much I hated the show. No, I don’t hate the show, or her. I have a love/hate relationship with the show. I love the writing. It is phenomenal. It makes you feel things you most likely don’t want to feel. That was my problem, I didn’t really want to break down and cry like a baby constantly! My youngest son would walk into the living room and sigh. “Mom, seriously? What happened now? Never mind, don’t tell me, I’ll probably end up watching it myself later.”
Translation. He doesn’t want me to see him bawl like a baby either.
I have said, more times than I can count, “Fuck this show. I’m never watching it again!” as I’m queuing up the next episode. My husband doesn’t get it, at all. He isn’t the show your emotion type. There have been times that I wonder if the writers have been watching me during the course of my life. I swear parts of the show are about my life.
And that’s why the show is so good. The connections. People can connect with the characters. I can connect with Kate on some levels, because I have struggled with my weight my entire life. Because I had issues with my mother because of my weight during my childhood and throughout adulthood, although my mother was not as understanding or helpful about it as Mandy Moore’s character is.
I can connect with Rebecca on so many levels. The scene where Kevin asks her why she was different with Randall than she was with him. Why it seemed that she loved Randall more. And they are flashing back, and she’s in the cabin alone and she’s just screaming at the walls. And in the present, she finally just breaks down and yells, “Because he was easier!”. I completely lost it. I had to pause the episode because I broke down so bad that I couldn’t see through the tears.
I don’t have a favorite child. I truly love my children equally. However, I do love my children differently for exactly the same reason Rebecca said. My youngest son is easier. He has never given me a moment of trouble. My oldest son, however, has from the time he was five years old until about a year or so ago; he’s 23 now. So I’ve had to give him more tough love than I have his brother. That scene hit home extremely hard.
In the most recent episodes, when the Pearson’s have been dealing with Jack’s death, I have connected to teenage Kate a lot more. I lost my Dad a bit younger than she was, but it still resonates. I lost him differently, but it’s still a similar connection. There’s the guilt you feel. Like you could have done something differently, said something differently, and possibly changed the outcome.
Rebecca is terrified to drive over bridges, so am I. In the last scene of the latest episode, in the past, they are headed to a Bruce Springsteen concert, the last thing Jack had planned for them to do as a family. The bridge that normally terrifies Rebecca is in the way of them going, and she turns up the radio and holds her head up high, as the only surviving parent, the head of the Pearson family, and she calmly drives over the bridge.
Yep, you guessed it, I lost it.
The Pearson’s are the family we all want to be, to an extent. They have their issues, but they figure it out. Jack and Rebecca don’t have the perfect marriage, not by any stretch of the imagination. He was an alcoholic who came from an abusive childhood. But they didn’t quit. She stood by him and they made it work. As his best friend, and Rebecca’s eventually future husband told Kevin at one point, there was no Jack, there was no Rebecca. It was Jack and Rebecca. Where there was one, there was the other. Some people may see this as a “toxic” type of relationship, or at least a toxic way of viewing it, but I don’t.
The way I see it is like this. It reminds me of my grandparents. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. As in, marriage is hard. It’s two different people working together as one. There are going to be bumps in the road, but that doesn’t mean you just walk away when something goes wrong. And that’s what this show gives us. A look into a real relationship. A family that started young, worked hard, and found their way. And we get to see the bumps, bruises, and the good things as well.
Maybe it’s just me, but this show gives me hope that families like this do exist. It’s not just on television. It’s not just in these exceptional writer’s heads. I feel that mine is on the road to being like this. Maybe, we aren’t the only ones.
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