For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed a good TV show, with the emphasis being on good. If I’m watching a drama, it’s usually a medical drama or something related to law enforcement. One of my biggest rules for TV shows, specifically dramas, are the main characters can’t get killed off every season (sorry Grey’s Anatomy). Another rule is there cannot be too much drama and if there is a lot of it, the writers have to do a good job of making it make sense (sorry Queen Sugar). The show This is Us was a true wild card for me. No one works in law enforcement or the medical field. There is only one Black main character (and his Black family). And as a show, they managed to get everything right.
I’m honestly not sure what drew me to This is Us but I decided I would give it a try when it first premiered and from the first episode, I was hooked. Perhaps I was biased because I could identify with losing a parent and how that experience defines the rest of your life. All of it felt so real, like I could be one of the characters or they could be my friend. I saw so much of my mother in Rebecca. Beth is everything I aim to be as a Black woman supporting a Black man and raising a Black family. They covered almost every topic you could think of from mental health to abortion to alcoholism to adoption and foster care to divorce to creating a work/life balance to teen pregnancy to finding your passion to parent-child and sibling relationships to the LGBT community to race and discrimination to body image to getting older to career changes (the only thing me and my co-worker decided they didn’t touch on was religion). They touched on all of this in a way that humanized every character. No one was the hero; everyone had their own faults and shortcomings they were continually addressing and strengths and accomplishments I came to admire.
Most shows struggle to have a firm grasp on a basic storyline but This is Us was able to connect the past to the present to the future, flawlessly. The acting was amazing. The writing was/is the best I’ve ever seen. And the storyline, even with all of its twists and turns, was perfection. I would love to sit with the producers and writers to discuss how they developed such a perfect script every episode, every season. Lots of shows get it right a season or two then lose steam and things just fall out of place, but This is Us got better and better season after season. Even though this is the last season, they still have not allowed the ball to drop. All of the loose ends are coming together beautifully. Often times when a series ends, I don’t feel like I have closure or whatever closure they’re trying to provide just doesn’t make sense. With only two episodes left, I feel like I already have the closure I need but I’m still looking forward to what’s to come.
The messiness that being a family can sometimes bring has been so wonderfully portrayed. In the best of TV shows, what you want to happen may not happen but when the writers get it right, you see how it was better. Sometimes I wanted Jack to be more perfect than he really was but it added so much context to Kevin’s path. I wanted Kate to figure out what she wanted and to just do it, instead of constantly second guessing her worth and her talent, but she had to do it in her own time. I wanted Randall to chill out and just go with the flow but how he entered the world and the Pearson family made that almost impossible. Rebecca gave up a lot of herself to raise her family and if asked, I think she would do it all over again if it meant they were better because of it.
This is Us is such a perfect body of work and will always hold a special place in my heart. It truly helped me give grace to the role I play in my family and the roles my family members play and to extend that grace as roles evolve with life changes. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly makes us, us and I am and will always be grateful for us.
Romans 12:9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. (NLT)