Reviewed by Virali Joisher, Batch of 2024, Kirit P. Mehta School of Law, Mumbai
In a country like India where family is considered to be the most important social institution and love for families is put on a pedestal, I can’t help but snarl at the irony that most of the television shows produced in our country, or at least the mainstream daily soaps, are developed around the crux of how vicious, manipulative, and scheming families are. While art is a medium where to each its own, I believe the lack of television shows depicting families in a real, positive and most importantly in a non-exacerbated light is something that worries me. This is exactly why I couldn’t resist falling in love with the American show, This is Us, produced by NBC. Ironically, America which is usually criticised for its individualistic zeitgeist has given birth to this phenomenal work of art that celebrates family like never before. With an unprecedented depiction of the several echelons of emotions, each episode of the show is power-packed with the same which have not been explored hitherto by other television works.
I can’t help but relentlessly admire the immaculate writing of This is Us; and the life that it breathes into its characters by delicately adorning them with just the perfect proportion of strengths and shortcomings.
Each character is layered with nuances of human emotions, and the mind-blowing actors do their job effortlessly. A piece on This is Us cannot be written without mentioning the protagonist of the show, Jack Pearson, who paradoxically, is the life of this show despite his gut-wrenching demise.
Jack Pearson is played by Milo Ventigmalia whose acting prowess is beyond excellence, and Ventigmalia has proven that he is in the business for the long run. Jack Pearson has undoubtedly become my favourite artist and one can’t hold themselves back from gushing all over him. Mandy Moore, who plays his better half, Rebecca Pearson, compliments him beautifully. However, it is Sterling Brown, who is an absolute revelation and has come to a close second after Ventigmalia with his outstanding performance.
Brown plays the prodigal Pearson son with utmost sincerity and his scenes involving anxiety attacks are an acting master class in itself. The other two Pearson children, Kate, played by Chrissy Metz, and Kevin, played by Justin Hartley are also a delight on-screen with performances to watch out for. The show explores the evolution of these characters throughout different ages. The Pearson family is iconic indeed; and the way they navigate through the highs and lows of life including mental disorders, deaths, miscarriages, handicapped children, alcoholism, adoption, and racism creates a benchmark.
The show has given me the gift of feeling grateful for a family; and kindling gratitude for the priceless moments with your cherished ones, because life is too short to take the people you love for granted. So fasten your seat belts and embark on this crazy rollercoaster ride of emotions, because if not the mesmerising screenplay, then the fantastic sound score will make you cry, with satisfaction, of course!