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Why you should be watching NBC’s ‘This Is Us’

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Image by Sarah Baker.

Image by Sarah Baker.

Sarah Baker

Sarah Baker

Image by Sarah Baker.

Story by Sarah Baker, Editor

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NBC’s newest and hottest show is a wonderfully real reflection of humanity that the network television industry has been needing for years. Try to think of a TV show that contains an overweight female who is not the butt of jokes? What about one that does not glamorize the acting industry? It is hard, isn’t it?

This Is Us premiered on Tuesday, Sept. 20, and the second episode aired Tuesday night. Ever since the initial preview dropped in May, the show was making its way across social media and received comments like, “OMG, I have to watch this!” I was one of those commenters, and I have not been disappointed.

The best way to go into This Is Us is to not know too much about it. There is a twist at the end of the first and second episodes that are sure to leave you hooked and ready for more. Simply, “This is Us” follows four seemingly separate plotlines all revolving around the theme of turning 36 years old.

First, we meet soon-to-be father Jack (Milo Ventimiglia, Heroes) in the hospital anxiously awaiting the birth of triplet babies amidst a troubled pregnancy. Then we meet Kate (Chrissy Metz, All of Us), an obese woman trying to come to terms with her weight. The next person we see, Kevin (Justin Hartley, Nashville), is a fit, handsome and unhappy middle-grade actor who struggles with the getting older and still not making it in the industry. Fourth, we are introduced to Randall (Sterling K. Brown, The People V. O.J. Simpson), an African American man who has a relatively perfect life – complete with fancy car, successful job, two children and a wife – except for the empty spot caused by being abandoned by his father as a baby, whereupon he was adopted by a white family.

As the episodes progress, the audience becomes more and more drawn into each character, feeling empathy for their situation and struggles. One of the reasons for that quick viewer-character connection is because the characters seem to be more real and relatable than most television characters. These people have flaws. Some are drug addicts, some have weight and self-esteem issues, some are struggling with parenthood and some are just not content with their life. As the title says, “This is us.”

People need to be able to see that they are not alone in feeling the way they are, and that someone is struggling with them. In a television world of generally fabulous and flawless human beings, it is refreshing to see real people on screen.

On its second week, This Is Us is now the network’s No. 2 show, behind The Voice, with 8.9 million people tuning in for the second episode. The freshman drama series has been picked up for a full season.

This Is Us is one of my favorite new shows and I am certain that it is sure to be one of yours as well.

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