“This is Us” captivates the hearts of the American public, after premiere in 2016

By Jesika Islam || Arts and Leisure Editor 

Photo courtesy of www.modamadison.com.

This is Us premiered on NBC in September of 2016, and hooked people immediately. The premise of the show is alternating periods in the lives of two parents and their triplets. Jack and Rebecca met in the 70s, falling in love quickly and being married by the 80s and having their three children. Both unfortunately and fortunately Rebecca and Jack lose their third child, and end up adopting an abandoned baby in the hospital. The show then switches between the fully grown triplets, teenage triplets, pre-pubescent triplets and baby triplets. The show has gripped the hearts of people all around the country.

The show is so captivating because it is able to create characters and stories that align with the average family. The creator of the show, Dan Fogelman, was able to make a show that had relatable characters, stories and conflicts that speak to the public. The characters are a charismatic father, Jack Pearson; a loving, all giving mother, Rebecca Pearson; the actor and former football star with an addiction, Kevin Pearson; the self- deprecating, singer with an eating disorder, Kate Pearson; and an over-ambitious, overworked corporate man, Randall Pearson. The show is not scared of making their characters’ flaws apparent and the difficulties that one faces in life apparent.

The biggest plot point and much of the show’s narrative delay is surrounding Jack’s premature death. The show does not hide the fact that he dies prematurely, or that it has completely affected his family. The show alludes to possibilities for Jack’s death multiple times in a season; from driving drunk to an undiagnosed terminal illness. On SuperBowl Sunday we found out that Jack dies saving the family dog from a fire started in their home from a finicky crock pot. There is a fear that because they revealed how Jack died, the show would lose its appeal. However, the genius of the show stems from its ability to not only create real, well rounded characters but also its structure of the revolving timelines to hopefully by the end give the audience a complete image of the family.

With the season just ending for the winter, there are plenty of unanswered questions that remain. There is the matter of how Rebecca ends up with Jack’s best friend, Miguel. Kevin is also a struggling drug addict, clearly still dealing with how his last interaction with his father went. Kate is struggling with her guilt over her father’s death. Randall struggles with his identity and his need to make sure his mother survives after Jack’s death. The show works to keep the audience invested in each character, even those that are auxililary.

Senior Jesika Islam is the Arts and Leisure Editor. Her email is jislam@fandm.edu.

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