Last year, NBC’s new show, This Is Us, starring A Walk to Remember’s Mandy Moore, and Gilmore Girl’s Milo Ventimiglia found its way into the hearts of thousands of viewers by telling the compelling story of a blended family. Told in present time with several flashbacks in between, viewers learn the history of the Pearson family and how the events that occurred throughout their youth has now impacted their lives.
Jack (Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Moore) Pearson have the daunting task of raising three children, all the same age, each with their own personalities. The kids all grow up and become adults living with the issues they carried with them through adolescence: Kevin’s lack of self confidence and direction, Kate’s weight, and Randall’s need to be perfect. What makes this show so compelling is that it taps into issues that are so real and raw without fear. We get to see how hard it could be for kids that are not only adopted, but physically different from their families. We get to see how hard it can be for parents to be truthful to their children, especially when they know the truth will break their heart. But most importantly, we get to see just how painful it is to want something and be unable to reach it. Although the Pearson’s are a fictional family, people can relate to what this family faces.
The first season ended with Jack and Rebecca deciding to take a break from their marriage, Kevin moving back to LA to shoot a movie, Kate deciding she was going to be a singer and Randall telling his wife he wants to adopt a child. The second season starts the same way the first did, on the kids’ birthday. Kate is getting ready for an audition, Kevin is shooting his movie, Randall and his wife are preparing to meet with a counselor at an adoption agency, and Jack and Rebecca have to tell their kids about their break. Throughout the episode we’re given small hints at how their lives have been since their big decisions and how nervous and unsure they are about where this decision is going to take them. The episode stays true to reminding us that we don’t have all the pieces to the story by ending with Rebecca crying in front of a burning house, the kids at home crying, and Jack presumably dead.
As a season opener, the episode does a great job of preparing us for what is to come, and setting the stage for the rest of the season. It is clear that more real life issues will be tackled, and all of us will have to come to terms with what exactly happened to Jack Pearson. There’s no doubt that This Is Us will continue to be a show to watch.