“This Is Us” is a tearjerker

By Samantha Plumley – 1851 Staff

The phrase “families come in all shapes and sizes” is an understatement. Various television shows have attempted to accurately represent the modern family by depicting how families are no longer restrained to bloodlines and marriages. Through the first season’s 18 episodes of NBC’s “This Is Us,” family is redefined. 

The show follows four individuals who share the same birthday and as information is revealed, the character’s stories are intertwined. Centering around two generations of the Pearson family, plot lines cross in present day and in flashbacks, capturing the milestones of their lives.

Milo Ventimiglia’s Jack is the husband to Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and father to Kate, Kevin and Randall, who are affectionately referred to as The Big Three. His passionate portrayal is reminiscent of his previous role in “Gilmore Girls” as Jess, but is increasingly complex. Once again he plays a brooding underdog immersed in a romance, but has since grown up and brought depth to the drama. Like the other characters in the show, each of his actions are based on a past experience. One simply needs the patience to wait to discover the motivation behind his reasoning.

Interpersonal relationships between the family members are ever-changing, as are the family members. The relationship of Jack and Rebecca has challenges as well as triumphs. The day they became parents they experienced both emotions. Due to complications during delivery, the couple found themselves one triplet short. Coincidently, a baby was left at the firehouse earlier that day and was in need of a family, so they brought him home.

As the show is about real life, they do not shy away from difficult topics. Battling with the loss of one baby and struggling to bond with her adoptive child, Rebecca faced postpartum depression. Although the two eventually connected, his adoption deeply affected the family.

Randall and his siblings face the usual rivalries, but their differences put a strain on their relationships. Their relationships with each other and their parents change as they grow up and like real life, some grudges last too long and are because of insecurities.

The season finale left viewers with unanswered questions, but the renewal for season two leaves fans hopeful. Becoming attached to this family is easy after laughing and sobbing with them through their journey every week. This is family. This is life. This is us.

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