Life in the Fast Lane

A TRIATHLETE'S MULTISPORT ADVENTURES, TRAVELS, RANDOM MUSINGS, AND CHRONICLES OF HER OTHERWISE ORDINARY LIFE

YES to "This Is Us"

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I used to be a TV show junkie; a real pro at it, in fact. I could spend hours just marathoning a particular show, and watching old favorites all over again. Nowadays, though, I have less time to watch TV shows (and I've completely lost track of the shows I used to watch which are still airing, like Grey's Anatomy and Criminal Minds).

However, if there is just one show that I've been glued to for the past few weeks, it's this one.


This Is Us is a story of the Pearson family, and yet, it isn't just about the Pearsons. It's a complex family-and-then-some drama that focuses on the simplest things in life: love, family, and happiness.

Without giving too much away, we find out in the first episode that Rebecca Pearson (played by Mandy Moore) is pregnant with triplets. She goes into labor on her husband Jack's (Milo Ventimiglia) birthday and gives birth to all three. However, we find out that the third child doesn't survive, much to the couple's devastation. By a twist of fate, however, Jack finds himself talking to a fireman by the nursery. This fireman had just brought an African-American little boy, who had been abandoned in his fire station, to the hospital. So after an inspiring talk with Dr. K, Rebecca's sudden OB-GYN that day, Jack and Rebecca decide that they still want to go home with three babies and adopt this little boy.

Season 1 just wrapped a little over a week ago, and if you follow the rest of the 18 episodes, you will find yourself navigating a non-linear style of storytelling: there are flashbacks left and right, taking you all the way back to when Jack was a young boy; to when Jack and Rebecca meet; Jack and Rebecca as a young couple; Jack and Rebecca with their newborn trio; Jack and Rebecca with their grade school trio, whom they called "The Big Three"; Jack and Rebecca with their teenagers; present-day Pearsons wherein Kevin is a struggling actor, Kate oscillates from weight-related issues to romance issues, and Randall tries to maintain a perfect dad image to his wife and kids. In between all these, we are introduced to other equally important characters, all of whom are pieces of the puzzle called the Pearsons' lives.


At the heart of it, I love how the title of the show captures the spirit of the show itself: This Is Us. Every single episode portrays them in all their flawed, imperfect, sometimes funny, sometimes shocking glory. The writing is refreshing and unapologetic, the acting is compelling, and the storylines are engaging and authentic. There is no real nemesis here (as in life, where there are no obvious black-and-whites); everyone has their own struggles and secrets, and just wants to find themselves and do the best that they can.


Most people want catharsis and escapism when they watch a show. But for some reason, This Is Us does a great job of showing life in all its weirdness, ugliness, sadness, and truthfulness without discouraging people as they are reminded of all these. In fact, Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia themselves apologize to the public for making them cry, and ask that you bring out your boxes of tissue; it can be that much of a cryfest.


There may be some stereotypical characterizations or archetypes within the show, but life can sometimes be that way as well. This is probably why it's so easy to relate to their struggles: Kevin tries to prove that he's a serious, legitimate actor and not just someone with a chiseled body; Kate finds unconditional love through Toby, but realizes that she has to learn to love and forgive herself along the way; Randall, compensates for his being adopted and self-identity issues, by projecting a perfect image of himself among his colleagues and even to his family. At the same time, we root for that seemingly ideal marriage of Rebecca and Jack, but we also understand when they want to wring each other's necks.


When it comes to family, you just want things to work out; that's a universal truth. And when it comes to the Pearsons — despite how complicated things had been, are, and could be — you want the same for them.

Because it's the simple moments, like Jack chanting "Big Three! Big Three!", that make even the most challenging parts of their lives worth it.

Therefore, it goes without saying that you should definitely check out this show if you haven't yet. Yes, even at the expense of several boxes of Kleenex.


P.S. My favorite actors from this show are Sterling K. Brown (who plays adult Randall) and Ron Cephas Jones (who plays Randall's biological father, William). They are incredible. 


Then again, I pretty much love the entire cast; even the child actors are amazing and lovable.

(All photos in this post were taken from the Internet. No copyright infringement intended.)

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2 comments

  1. Ohhh, you're watching this too! Never expected to like this show when it first premiered because I found the trailer boring. But the pilot's twist at the end sure pulled me in. And yes, there were episodes where I really cried especially when it concerns Randall.

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    1. Randall is my favorite Pearson kid by far. Haha! There's something about him as the underdog-but-not that gets to me. :)

      I love how there's always a twist in every episode; that it feels like we're really part of the Pearson family's everyday journey. :D

      Glad to know you're a fan, too!

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