It’s been a couple weeks since the “This Is Us” season finale, and I’m still mourning the thought of an entire summer without it.
It’s devastating…and all of America is devastated with me.
What makes a show like this come out of nowhere and hit the ground running? What makes people stop life and rush home when it comes on? Threaten anyone who dares interrupt with a dirty scowl, upheld hand, or an exaggerated SHUSH? Finish watching an episode with tears streaming down our faces and ready to come back for more? What makes people turn to mush at the mention of its name? Girls (and guys!) gush about its goodness and even become a little misty-eyed as they do?
We know every episode is going to rip our hearts wide open and leave us raw for days to come…but we love it. We welcome it. We live for it.
I’ve given it some thought, and I think this is why This is Us wrecks me every time….yet like a glutton for punishment, I always come back ready to be wrecked again.
1. Women love to cry.
It’s a fact. We love to feel emotion of any kind, but especially emotion that guts us. As the only human female in our home, I’m a mystery to the males with which I live. They look at me like I’m crazy and ask why do I do this to myself?!
I don’t even know.
It’s like a train wreck. I can see it coming. I know they are going to throw a catastrophe in there somewhere. I know it’s going to destroy me.
But I can’t look away.
To my family, this is insane. It makes no sense. But to me, it doesn’t have to…. I just know I love every ugly-crying second, and that’s good enough for me.
2. The writers are genius.
I’m very picky with what I spend my free time watching, and there are few shows that have been written well enough to rock my world on a weekly basis. Parenthood was one of them…and I haven’t seen one that rivals that until now.
These writers know people. They get us.
They keep us on the roller coaster of emotions and know that we are going to love every second. The highs, the lows….the present, the past. They know when we’ve laughed so hard our sides hurt that we are ready for the 100-foot drop that sends us spiraling down into the depths of despair and questioning what is life?!?!
They know the trials we face and the seasons we walk, and they package it all up in a beautiful hour of laughter, nostalgia, heartbreak, and tears.
It’s brilliant…and we love it.
3. Everybody wants to be like Jack.
He’s amazing! I don’t even know how he does it.
He takes seemingly traumatic events and turns them into adventures and fun. Ruined holidays and birthday parties become precious memories…traditions that are carried into adulthood and long after he’s gone. When one of his children or wife struggles, he speaks to their struggle in the way that they need most…without losing it first!
He makes me totally question my parenting skills…yet inspires me to do better.
We can’t even be mad that he sometimes has a drinking problem. We can’t fault him for his flaws. He’s so full of goodness and love that we want to face each day like he does and love our people with the same fervency.
And then when he does mess up (as all humans do), he turns around, says a few words that might as well be poetry, and we end up begging him not to walk out that door.
Because if someone as good as he is has flaws…then maybe there is hope for us yet.
4. The characters are relatable.
While the characters may seem so very different in every way, we can find even the smallest piece of us or someone we know in every last one. Something we find relatable. A situation…a feeling. A moment that connects us on a deeper level.
Jack’s secret demons, struggle with his alcoholic father, or the exhaustion of trying to make ends meet and provide a good life for his family while providing for their emotional needs as well.
Rebecca’s suppressed gifts and dreams, her struggle to juggle her love for music with being a responsible mother and present wife without becoming bitter in the process. Her unconditional love for a child and need to protect him….but not always doing it in the right way.
Randall’s constant battle to fit in, overachieving to prove he deserves to be a part of the family, sibling rivalry, and search for what made him who he is. He wants to be the best…and we want that for him too. The loss of both fathers…
Kevin’s jealousy over his brother’s position in the family, attention and success, trying to fix bad decisions made out of selfishness, and realizing it’s not all about him. Searching for happiness and finding it wasn’t where he thought it would be.
Kate’s struggle with her weight and self-worth, the feeling that she doesn’t deserve love and the fear of sharing too much of her pain, making herself vulnerable and open to more hurt. Pushing those who love her away in self-preservation.
Beth’s quiet strength, love and support of her husband throughout his family issues and search for his place in life. And when she gets that postcard in the mail…..we all feel validated. Recognized. Loved.
Toby’s unconditional love for Kate but need for more. Comic relief and overall love-ability. He makes us all feel a little bit of Jack….and I wonder if maybe that’s what maybe Kate feels too.
And William…I didn’t want to love William. I didn’t want him to come in and take Jack’s place. It wasn’t fair to me. But then he waltzed in with his calm demeanor and aged wisdom…and I couldn’t help but adore this man. I wanted to take him home and be his friend. I wanted to sit and talk with him and listen to his stories. I wanted him to stay in the “This is Us” bubble forever. And when he didn’t…I cried like a baby and didn’t care who saw.
5. They’ve become our family.
They’ve stolen our hearts and become like family to us. We sit around the next day talking about what happened the night before like we were there in the flesh.
We laugh when they laugh and cry when they cry. We feel their injustice and success as if it were our own.
My boys often make the comment “it’s just a show”…and I know it is. Believe me, I do.
But it’s a rare breath of fresh air in the world of crappy television that warms my heart and makes me smile….and as long as it is (and I hope it does), I will keep coming back for more.