‘THIS Is Us’ is a family drama on NBC that has been airing for four seasons. It’s a show that aims to tug at your heartstrings as it shows the ups and downs in the lives of a family, celebrating both the big and small moments in their lives.
The story is not told chronologically. It jumps back and forth in time showing the lives of the parents even before they got married, Jack and Rebecca Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore), and the lives of their three children in the present: Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown.)
The kids are called The Big Three. They were supposed to be triplets, but when Rebecca gave birth to them, the last one died. It so happened that a black child born on the same day was brought to the hospital, so Jack and Rebecca decide to adopt it as they firmly believe they are meant to have three children.
The hunky Kevin, who’s very good looking, grows up to be a successful actor starring in a hit sitcom called “The Manny” where he plays a male nanny. But he has a meltdown while doing a scene on air as he wants to be taken as a serious actor, so he goes to New York to try legit theatre acting on Broadway.
Kate lacks direction in life and has a big weight problem as she’s really obese. She tries hard to lose weight and meets Toby (Chris Sullivan), another fat guy, in a fat support group. At first, she tries to resist him and tells him: “I can’t fall for a fat person right now.” He says: “I guess I’ll lose the weight then.” He persists and later offers to marry her.
Randall is a businessman married to another black girl and they have two daughters. All his life, he is affected by the fact that he is adopted by a white family. Sterling K. Brown won a number of best actor awards as Randall (Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild) and it’s not surprising as he has the most emotionally challenging role in the show.
He searches for his biological parents and gets to track down his biological dad, William (Ron Cephas Jones, who has won best supporting actor awards for his role). He learns that his dad just abandoned him at a fire station as a baby and when they first meet, his dad says: “I’d like to say I remember leaving you at a fire station, but I don’t.” Randall tells him: “Screw you.” And later adds: “Want to meet your grandchildren?”
His dad turns out to be a poet-musician who is gay and has a male lover. He is also dying of the big C. There are more complications. It turns out Rebecca has known about him and they already met, but his mom concealed this from Randall, even if she knew that he is seriously looking for his biological parents.
When he learns the truth about this, he explodes. William’s sickness turns out to be a big problem for their family, but Randall remains to be a dutiful son. One of the best episodes in the show is when Randall takes him back, upon his request, to visit his old hometown, Memphis.
Mandy as Rebecca and Milo as Jack have their own moving moments as the parents shown in various time periods in the flashbacks to show their earlier experiences. Their kids are played by several sets of actors, from babies to grade school kids and as teenagers. Most of their scenes are set in Pittsburgh, while other scenes are shot in Los Angeles, Jersey, Philadelphia and in New York City.
What makes the show endearing is that the characters feel authentic, likable, relatable and they are portrayed by a tremendously capable cast, showing a lot of sincerity in their performances that make them look real and natural. It’s captivating to see the characters as they are in the present, while also witnessing the kind of childhood that they’re going through.
So it’s like watching different chapters in the lives of the same family in the course of about two decades and seeing the kind of adults that they have become and the kind of work they do to keep their relationships afloat. We guarantee you that you will surely find a scene or two that will tear you up.