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Did This is Us Live Up to the Hype?

February 5, 2018
Did This is Us live up to the hype?

What do you think, did This is Us live up to the hype? Was it even possible to live up to all the hype that had been created for the beloved show? 

Before we go on, there are spoilers in this post. If you haven’t seen last night’s episode of This is Us, back out and read something else.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way…

This is Us aired immediately after the Super Bowl, which meant it aired close to 10pm CST. I don’t know about you, but that’s late for me. I want to watch the local news through the weather and then I’m in bed. 

I understand why NBC wanted to have the huge audience that was sure to tune in following the Super Bowl, but after watching the game all evening, I really wasn’t ready to focus on the show. In fact, it turns out I missed a lot of important details and ended up having to watch the episode again today.

Did This is Us Live Up to the Hype?

In this episode of This is Us, we finally witness the death of Jack, the beloved father to Randall, Kate and  Kevin and perfect husband to Rebecca. We’ve known for some time that Jack died in a fire, or as it turned out, the result of a fire. It was widely speculated that he would die because he rescued Kate’s dog. While it was not the direct cause, the act didn’t help any.

Jack dies from a heart attack brought on by all the smoke that did damage to his lungs which in turn put stress on his heart. 

Like all This is Us episodes, the story jumps around a timeline that takes place in several times in the past, the present, and now the future. I missed the future reference. I saw it, just didn’t put it together.

I have a love/hate relationship with This is Us, I love the story, I love seeing the underbelly of this nearly broken family, but I have issues with it. They may be unfounded as the story unfolds, but based on the info I have now, I have some problems with it.

All the kids are messed up – Randall has anxiety, Kevin is an addict and Kate has issues about her weight. All of things one would expect children who suffered trauma would experience. The problem is they lost their dad when they were 17. I’m not saying losing a parent at this age isn’t devastating, it is at any age. But 17 years with two parents who not only love the kids but love each other is a rare thing, no matter what timeline they’re in.

These kids had 17 years of being raised by a great dad and attentive and loving mother. Presumably, when they lost their dad, their lives went to shit. 

Except Kate already had issues with food, Randall already had anxiety and Kevin was already an asshole. 

Not that decent parents couldn’t have raised fucked up kids, it does happen, it just seems like the show is trying to lead us to believe the kids are messed up because their dad died (and their mom went on to marry his best friend, though I don’t know that we know when that happens).

All of them are beautifully broken, and yet they manage to lead successful and full lives. I get it, it’s TV. People live in homes that the regular person could never afford on their TV salaries, daycare is never an issue and the bills are always paid. I get it, I really do. 

I don’t think the show lived up to all the hype. Sure, it was sad, but I didn’t cry and I didn’t feel morally crushed. I was not heartbroken. Mostly, because I knew it was coming, and had for nearly two years. I was fairly well prepared for it.

With that in mind, I will say that it was an excellent episode. Mandy Moore did an excellent job portraying a woman who just had her life turn upside down but was unable to break. It simply wasn’t an option, she had to go on. I’m actually more interested in seeing how she copes than the kids for the moment. Yeah, I want to dig deeper into Kate’s disordered eating, but I want to know how Rebecca remains standing. Actually, I know, I’m just excited to see it portrayed in all it’s gritty glory.

Seeing Kevin and his mother reconnect was also satisfying. Kevin continues to be the third wheel when it comes to the kids, at least in relation to their mother, and that is a relationship I would like to explore. Kate has Toby, a man who seems to have it all and then some. He’s thoughtful, caring, loving and I bet he puts the seat down when he’s finished. Randall has Beth, a woman not unlike his mother who is strong as nails. She keeps him grounded and centered so when he falls, like Kate, he has someone to catch him. Kevin doesn’t really have anyone for that because he pushes everyone away, even his mother. Seeing them reach out to one another is refreshing.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow night’s episode if only to see how the grief is managed. I wasn’t satisfied with how Kate’s miscarriage played out, though I concede they probably aren’t finished dealing with that grief, just as Kate still hasn’t grieved the death of her dad.

So did This is Us live up to the hype? In my book no, but then there wasn’t a way it could. And if it had there’s no way the show could continue for much longer. It was an excellent episode that gave many of us a modicum of closure. 

And let’s not forget, Jack is still there. We’ll be seeing him in flashbacks, like we have for the last two years, going forward. Which is how it should be. As long as we have our memories, the people we love never leave us. 

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