After six seasons, This Is Us is coming to an end in May. After a delayed mid-season return and a pause for the Olympics, fans are champing at the bit to spend as much time with the Pearsons as possible while they can.
The show premiered in 2016 to a lot of surprised viewers. It was promoted as a powerful drama about relationships. It wasn’t until the end of the first episode that viewers realized all the couples they were watching were from a single family and the stories were taken from different timelines.
It’s that mix of past, present, and future that has continued through the seasons and propelled the storylines – because what family isn’t influenced by its past? And by giving us glimpses into what the future would hold for each character, viewers enthusiastically tuned in each week to see it unfold.
Producers probably should have bought share in Kleenex or Royale because you couldn’t watch an episode without tearing up. In fact, I started grabbing tissues to keep near me at the start of each episode.
And I wasn’t alone. Us had an emotional impact on its viewers. For one, it made them angry. The first time occurred when it was revealed that Jack had died fairly young.
Audiences loved Jack despite his less-than-perfect record. He had a drinking problem. He came from an abusive home. He had emotional scars from war. Yet we knew in his heart, he was a great man.
Jack often made me think of my own late father. They were absolutely nothing alike and yet for both men, their devotion to their families was palpable. Perhaps it was their absence that connected them in my mind. Regardless, many viewers have had a similar reaction to Jack and his family.
So the next fan furor erupted when it was revealed that Jack’s best friend, Miguel, had married his widow, Rebecca. Six seasons in and some viewers still haven’t completely forgiven him.
Next, the Crock Pot fire blew up the Internet for killing Jack. Okay, the fire itself didn’t actually kill Jack. It was a massive heart attack. But it came after he saved his daughter’s puppy and some precious family mementos from the blaze. And what kind of monsters could put the blame on a puppy? So the Crock Pot that started it all became the villain of the story.
And that was just the first season. For five years, Us’s emotional roller coaster has connected with audiences, talking about difficult subjects honestly – as only family can. It has shared hundreds of family events. Some happy. Some sad. Many painful.
But the show has never been about who did what to whom. It’s about the small moments and little gestures that bind all of life’s changes together. It’s a good reminder of what’s important in life.
So even if you haven’t been watching, it’s worth tuning in to see the ending play out. Just keep some tissue nearby. Rebecca, who is losing her memory, said she doesn’t feat forgetting the big stuff. “It’s the little things I’m not ready to let go of.”
Cue the tears.