Five Reasons to Check Out This Is Us
By Whitney Brechner
This Is Us has taken Tuesday nights by storm. While there are endless reasons why this is, I’d like to focus on just a few.
1) The Pilot
Not often does a television show have audiences entirely emotionally invested, sobbing in a pile of tear soaked tissues by the end of its very first episode. Personally speaking, it generally takes a few episodes to truly feel like I care enough about the characters to commit to seeing their stories through. This was not the case with This Is Us. From the very first time I sat down to watch this new show, I was hooked. The pilot was probably one of the best I have ever seen. It totally wrecked me (in the best way), and if social media was any indication, I was not the only one. The structure of the first episode was purely remarkable. It did not just introduce the characters, give some backstory, and then provide some idea of where the show was heading. It did all of that, while managing to expertly slip in a perfect little surprise ending. It did a wonderful job of dangling information just beyond the audience’s reach, only placing it gently into their hands when the time was right. It took what could easily have been a very confusing assortment of people and events, and by the end of the episode, connected all the seemingly random puzzle pieces to reveal the big picture.
2) The Cast
The cast is simply stunning. This incredible cast includes Milo Ventimiglia (known by many as Peter Petrelli from Heroes), Mandy Moore (who also plays our impossibly long-haired princess in Tangled as well as Tangled: Before Ever After and Tangled: The Series), Sterling K. Brown (of Army Wives and the upcoming movies Black Panther and The Predator), Justin Hartley (of Smallville and The Young and the Restless), and Chrissy Metz (of American Horror Story). There are even a few episodes with the amazing Gerald McRaney for the Major Dad and Neverending Story fans out there. It would be rather lengthy to include every actor on the show, but it is worth noting that the main characters, as well as the entire rest of the cast are so endearing and real that they make you care for them almost instantly, except for maybe two characters (I’m looking at you Olivia and Duke).
3) Seasons 2 and 3 are already in the works!
This Is Us was not even finished with its first season when it had already been picked up for a second and third season, and it is not difficult to see why. The cast and the storytelling unite marvelously, making the transition into this world effortless. Watching these characters navigate life with the hands they’ve been dealt turns into quite the emotional roller coaster, hence that pile of tear soaked tissues from reason #1. It can be quite frustrating to become attached to a show and its characters just to have them ripped away after one season (yes, Firefly still stings a little), so it’s comforting to know that this show will be sticking around for a while. This gives those who have not yet tuned in plenty of time to catch up on Season 1 and restock their tissue supplies for Seasons 2 and 3 (at least!).
4) You don’t want to wait a whole week for the next episode.
The first season is set up so flawlessly that even though you’ve just been emotionally gut punched after most episodes, you are happy to return the following week and endure it all over again to see what happens next. While I am happy I could watch the show from its debut, I must say, I am a little envious of those who may just be discovering it and do not have to wait a week to see the story’s continuation, as NBC.com has the episodes from Season 1 available right now.
5) It’s honest and real.
While it can be a very heavy show at times, it’s not without its funny and heartwarming moments. I think it is the wonderful blend of life’s highs and lows that makes it so appealing and so familiar to its viewers. It shows how our choices can often make or break us, deeply affect our relationships with those we love, and how, more often than we’d like, our choices have nothing to do with what we are going through. It speaks of one day looking back on your life and knowing that, “you took the sourest lemons that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade.” Learning how to find the beauty amid ugly situations is such a difficult, but important thing to do. I think that is something everyone can relate to. These characters and storylines may be fictional, but they hold a vast amount of truth within them. I believe that is the main reason that viewers have had such a strong connection to this show. These fictional characters remind us of our families and our friends. They remind us of ourselves. Although, I suppose that is the idea. After all, this is us.
Just in case those first five reasons weren’t enough to make you even a little bit curious about the awesomeness that is This Is Us, Milo Ventimiglia posted this photo to his Twitter account regarding episode 16:
This served as a warning for an exceptionally heart-wrenching episode. This will probably be your only opportunity to get an absence note from Milo Ventimiglia, right? So, you might as well take advantage of it!