All the reasons why ‘This Is Us’ should be your next bingewatch
Good news for This is Us fans – according to star Mandy Moore, season three is going to be “the best season yet.” Which is promising news considering the show’s first two rounds have been nothing short of dazzling.
“I think it’s our most ambitious, but I think we’ve earned it after 36 episodes,” added Moore. “People know who these characters are, they trust us, and I think it allows us the freedom to expand the universe a little bit.”
This tasty little breadcrumb comes hot off the heels of news that S3 of the Emmy-winning NBC drama will explore the early days of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Moore), the latter will be living “in a slightly happier time”, and we’re just over a month away until episode one drops on September 25.
With so many exciting updates over the past several months, our wait for This is Us has felt like no time at all.
Speaking at the NBC drama showrunners’ panel during the summer TCA press tour last week, Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker were able to reveal further details about the forthcoming season of their show, including how the story can go back in time now that (spoiler alert!) Jack’s death has been dealt with.
“We are challenging ourselves in season three. Now that we’ve figured out that our audience is along for the ride . . . we’re kind of breaking all the rules.
“We’re challenging ourselves to jump to decades we’ve never been to before, and going to the future as we’ve seen a little bit, and really play with the storytelling format in a way that’s just much more complicated than we were able to in earlier seasons, when we were kind of showing people how the show worked.”
We’re certainly along for the ride and have been from the get-go thanks to the show’s compelling character studies and their relatable journeys. If you haven’t already, we recommend you go binge all two seasons ahead of the third’s release (you weren’t planning on doing anything this weekend, right?).
Just be sure to have the Kleenex ready because This is Us is the ultimate tearjerker. The show has touched the hearts of millions of people around the world, and has continued breaking ratings records as a result.
Its post-Super Bowl telecast of the show scored as NBC’s most watched scripted show in more than thirteen years, while also ranking as the most watched drama on any network in ten years.
But why is it so popular? The answer is simple – in the TV landscape where fantastical dragon queens, monster-fighting kids, and AI cowbots leading revolutions in corporate dystopia, This is Us took TV back to basics and instead focused on the characters and their own personal journeys.
It’s a simple premise, following the stories of three siblings told at different points in their lives, providing just enough dramatical pulls to keep viewers invested, but enough balance across the trio of tales for each one to flourish and have enough weight for viewers to connect with.
Collectively, a wide spectrum of trauma issues are explored, from weight, self-image, and self-esteem issues, to losing a child, to parental abandonment. A central character is Kate – played by Chrissy Metz – who is dealing with the physical and emotional pain that comes with obesity.
It’s Kate’s story and her journey through her weight struggle that has resonated with so many viewers. More often than not, the overweight character is the comedic butt of a joke, but in This is Us Kate is three-dimensional and she gets the guy. Not to mention, the sweetest guy there could possibly be in Toby (Chris Sullivan).
Many viewers could relate to Kate’s battle with obesity, struggling in social situations to fit in. As one viewer put it, “There are millions of other women out there who watch this show that I know appreciate this character so much for exploring those subtle insecurities that are so very real.”
Then there’s Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) story – reeling from the loss of their third triplet, Jack and Rebecca adopt Randall from the hospital after he was abandoned by his heroin-addicted biological father following his biological mother’s death. There are so many layers to Randall’s story that have been explored with complexity throughout the two seasons.
As the only adopted sibling, he’s dealing with anxiety issues due to the fallout of feeling abandoned. Not only does his journey see him seeking out his father and confronting his demons from the past, but the show also deals with mental health in a way not often seen on the small screen.
Randall’s character suffers from anxiety throughout, using flashbacks from his childhood intertwined with depictions of his present day life. In season two, we witnessed Randall having a panic attack. In the lead up to the attack, he calls his brother Kevin (Justin Hartley) and in a shaky voice, says he can’t make it to his event that night.
It’s not often shows portray anxiety in such an authentic way and is something that has helped fans of the show who are suffering from similar mental health issues.
#ThisIsUs tonight was a stunning portrayal of what it's like to live with anxiety.
— space force officer anabelle lee (@PoesLilHelper) February 15, 2017
— destani (@banananamana) February 15, 2017
— destani (@banananamana) February 15, 2017
I'm shook w/ appreciation for @sterlingkb1 & #ThisIsUs. Never seen a truer portrayal of the signs, symptoms, & fallout of panic & anxiety.
— Infinite Jess (@jessraefarris) February 16, 2017
But perhaps the issue This is Us deals with best of all is the nuances of grief. From Jack, to Randall’s biological dad William (Ron Cephas Jones), to Rebecca and Jack’s triplet, their stories and their relatives dealing with the aftermath remind us that there is no final way to say goodbye to a loved one and that the pain of losing someone close to you is not something that just goes away – and that’s okay.
Writer and This is Us fan, Ishani Nath, spoke of her experience with the show and its portrayal of grief. “When Kate and Kevin felt pangs of guilt over their father’s death, my stomach dropped, remembering all the times that I was cruel to my mother, not realizing that our time was limited,” said Nath.
“Personally, This Is Us has become a unique form of grief counselling for me, validating feelings that I’ve had and giving me an outlet to cry it out each week – and I’m not alone.”
the greatest gift #ThisIsUs has given us is its realistic depiction of grief never ending. Not after a year. Or two. It’s more acceptable for us to grieve with television every week then us to grieve every week in our own lives. Grief is as real, powerful, n unending as love.
— Groceries (@QuestPhysics) February 5, 2018
Imagine how many people are getting help processing old grief from watching the Pearson's story on #ThisIsUs (P.S. Miss you Mom 😥)
— Amie Ryan 💌 (@AisforAmie) February 7, 2018
This is Us has become a safe space for audiences to cry and to process these feelings that perhaps many had put in a box and kept hidden away. In all the characters and their stories, they have helped people to deal with their own personal struggles in life. Because sometimes the best way to get through trauma is to know that you’re not alone and that’s exactly what This is Us tells its viewers.