This Is Us captured the lighter tone of family dramedies perfectly, with many comparing the series to the very successful Parenthood. We saw a heartwarming relationship between siblings celebrating their 36th birthdays, and in an alternate timeline, saw the parents of those siblings and their love for one another and the children as the mother went into labor.
This Is Us Season 1 Episode 1 could’ve been conceived as a slow start to a series, but for a series that so drastically resembles the standing tradition of the intertwined family drama, it set up a decent story for every character to explore.
Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) habitate the alternate timeline where Kevin, Kate, and Randall have just been born. Their story already faces heartbreak: as they headed into the hospital to deliver their triplets, only two made it. One was born stillborn. In a twist of fate, they adopted Randall, a child left at the doorstep of a fire station and brought to the hospital that very same night.
Their story begins by becoming parents and navigating the tricky life of having three newborn children. In the wake of parenthood, they also have to deal with the grief over their lost child, the one they’ll never get to know. The two timelines was a risky idea for the writers to follow, but it just might work. As we discover more about the adult versions of their children, we get to see what their childhood was like at the same time. The biggest question though is if Jack and Rebecca are alive in the present day, and if they’ll be shown, considering they’d have to cast older actors to play these characters.
We’ve seen the bond between Kate and Kevin, the biological children, yet we still have to see how Randall fits in. They’re presumably close; the photos of the three and the poster of Kevin’s ‘Manny’ show on one of his niece’s walls help draw that conclusion.
But will Randall finding his biological father cause a strain between these siblings? It highly depends on the status of their parents, and how Randall was treated as a child. He has his own family, whereas Kate and Kevin just have each other, drawing them even closer.
Speaking of ‘Manny,’ let’s just have a moment of silence for how hot Justin Hartley is and how often he was shirtless in this episode. (As well as the incredibly hot scene of Milo Ventimiglia in the beginning.)
Moment over, and now we can happily daydream of the two for the remainder of the week.
Kevin’s acting career is somewhat of a joke at this point: he starred on a pointless comedy show that probably discredited his acting, and then his blow up on set is going to create some issues as he searches for new, serious work.
The scene of his faux-father leaving his life was a little too real though, and begs the question of how real that scene is for Kevin, or if he’s just that good of an actor. Could he and his father have had a falling out at some point?
Kate seems happy when regarding her father, so who knows? Kate’s struggle is more self-inflicted than the others. Her weight is her biggest struggle, and we find her in a “fat” support group where she and others talk about their unhealthy habits and vent about trying to lose the weight. Hopefully she’ll succeed, but her new relationship with Toby is sure to cause some problems as he doesn’t seem to be as serious about it as Kate.
This story could potentially be very problematic in the way they handle it, as well as their continued usage of the word “fat.” (Personally, I just hate the word and think it’s a derogatory word to use when describing someone who is overweight because there are several causes for that.)
Each of these siblings leads their very separate lives, yet we see their bond that is everlasting and draws the attention toward that.
This Is Us is a story worth following, and not just to see Justin Hartley’s handsome features and great acting every week, but to insert yourself into the lives of these people and feel the connection that they do without the heartache.
This Is Us continues Tuesday at 10/9c on NBC.