“This Is Us,” I Love You So, Except for One Thing
The scene: A Hollywood office during a pitch meeting.
“Guys, I have an idea for a show. It’s going to be full of beautiful, dynamic characters who have good hearts but are relatably flawed. They are also going to love each other imperfectly but fiercely. Oh, and I’m just spit balling here, but what if we made it break viewers down emotionally for eighteen weeks at a time. I’m thinking we call it ‘So You Think You Won’t Cry.'”
“I like it, I like it. But how about ‘This Is Us.'”
“Sure, that’ll work.”
What “This is Us” Got Right
“This Is Us” is back on NBC and the good people over at Kleenex are spraying champagne and counting their stacks on stacks on stacks. As the Pearson family reenters our screens and our lives once more, viewers across America are equal parts thankful and emotionally exhausted.
Think you won’t cry during this show? Don’t worry, they have managed to fit in death of a parent, drug addiction, adoption, foster parenting, house fires, miscarriage, depression, complicated parent child relationships AND break ups. You’ll find something that brings you right down to your knees.
So why do we watch it? For one, it’s beautifully done. The flashback sequences are artful and weave together the story lines in a way I’ve never seen. The characters are interesting, kind, complex, and easy to root for. Also, a la it’s predecessor, “Parenthood,” the complex family dynamics aren’t glossed over. You get the nitty gritty, and it’s raw as all get up.
What “This Is Us” Got Mostly Right
It’s mostly for all of the reasons above, but it’s also because sometimes you need a good, solid cry. I did last night turns out. In fact I cried during Lin-Manuel Miranda’s American Express commercial. My emotional outpouring wasn’t totally about Lin-Manuel, or exclusively about the Pearson family, the cry came from a place of “it’s been a rough week on a lot of counts and it’s only Tuesday.” Sometimes using your words to express your feelings isn’t enough. Sometimes you need a cathartic cry, and the reassurance that thousands of other people are probably crying for their own reasons right now too.
BUT the fact that “This Is Us” doesn’t have “This Is Us” themed tissue boxes on store shelves right now is beyond me. Apparently they just hate money.
What “This Is Us” Got Wrong
So what did “This Is Us” get totally wrong? It’s simple really. 9pm EST.
Let me get this straight, “This Is Us.” You’re going to rake me over the coals, make me dredge up deep feelings about all of my past pain and current insecurities, and then drop me like a hot potato at 10pm? You do realize that my husband is now forced to pick up the broken pieces of my spirit while he’s trying to brush his teeth right? And that one of my children is under the false impression that 4:30am is morning? Although on the plus side I wrote this while said child was dismantling a box of baby wipes at 4:45am. So there’s that.
What I’m trying to say is I love you, “This Is Us.” I truly do. Love requires compromise though, and I don’t think I’m asking for too much. Just 8pm EST. That’ll do.
With love for the Pearsons, a good cry, and appropriate bedtimes,