I don’t mean to judge you but if you didn’t watch This Is Us last season and you’re not planning to watch it this season, I’m pretty sure we can no longer be friends. It truly is the very best show on TV and I am so not exaggerating.
The characters are human and complicated and real. And the actors that play them are filled with a talent that makes me want to crawl into the TV every week and just hang out with them. The one-hour show is over way too quickly each week. Why do we need commercials? Can’t we just swim in sixty straight minutes of exceptional storytelling and not worry about advertising revenue?
Although it’s hard to pick a favorite storyline, mine is Sterling K. Brown’s portrayal of Randall. I love Kevin, Kate, Rebecca and Jack, but there are so many things with Randall’s character that just make my heart ache. Most significantly, it’s the transracial adoption storyline. Bravo to the writers and the actors for tackling this topic and allowing it to play out on the national stage in all its messiness and beauty.
I have tremendous respect and admiration for the way in which this show and this character have opened a conversation about what it means to be adopted. There is, of course, no one answer or one simple definition of what it means to be an adoptee, a birthparent, or an adopted parent – but I give them a lot of credit for making this a central part of their story. I simply adored the storyline last season of Randall finding his biological father. Although I admit I was hesitant at first. Birthparents (mothers in particular) are not often shown in the best light. But as Randall’s story unfolds I found myself feeling right alongside him as he moved through a range of emotions … from anger and bitterness to curiosity and longing, and finally, to hope.
Hope for reconciliation and hope for a relationship.
Not to spoil too many facets of the story, but there was indeed a beautiful relationship that grew between these two characters. Questions were answered. Some, harder than others. And forgiveness.
And forgiveness. Oh the forgiveness that eventually flowed from the heartbreak was so moving.
The relationship between Randall and William was significant. And I think the writers and the actors told their story brilliantly, through layer after layer of discoveries and pain and finally, connection and love. But it’s the relationship between Randall and Rebecca that affected me the most and about which I have the greatest curiosity.
One scene last season left me absolutely breathless. It was the scene where Randall returns to his mother’s house for the first time in weeks. He had discovered a secret that she had kept from him all these years and he was angry. He rings the doorbell of her home and you expect him to fly into a rage. But he doesn’t. He’s still angry, but instead of indulging that anger, he turns toward forgiveness. Slowly at first, and then all at once – like falling in love, as author John Green described in The Fault In Our Stars.
In the words he speaks, he gives his mother an inkling of hope that all is not lost. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting to hear and as such, I was instantly overcome with sobbing tears.
It was a brilliantly-written scene and Sterling K. Brown played it magnificently.
From that scene and really from this whole show, I’m coming to realize just how sensitive I am to the notion of forgiveness. And I’m realizing how much I may need it – both to give and to receive.
Television, like theatre and movies and all art really, has the power to do so much good. I believe this show is doing a lot of good. I cannot wait for This Is Us to resume next week. It’s been a long summer and I’m ready.
If you haven’t watched This Is Us, there’s still time I think. Perhaps On-Demand or something? Regardless, get to it. You will not regret becoming consumed by this extraordinary show.