We love This Is US because, well, it is US. Warning if you are not caught up: Spoilers.
Those of US in the MIDDLE, often called the sandwich generation who are in the middle of:
- Raising Kids
- Launching Our Kids
- Balancing Careers
- Changing Careers
- Aging Parents
- Aging Ourselves
We love This Is US because, well, it is US. It unfolds US in the layers of every stage of life. US as children, as our parents may have been but we don’t remember, as teens, as parents as sons and daughters and siblings and as to what is to come.
It is how we were raised and how we parent. It is moments in time we have long forgotten, reminding US with every episode, no matter what our intentions are, life gets messy.
It shows US, with vivid clarity, our relationships with ourselves, our parents, our siblings, our spouses, our children. What parts of your childhood stay with you and who chooses to remember what parts and how they interpret them.
We all resonate with parts of the Pearson children. Their childhood, their teen years, them now, their strengths, their weaknesses, and how it effects their relationships and their commitment to each other.
Who hasn’t been little Kevin and felt like you didn’t measure up to your siblings to vie for the attention of your parents? What about teen Kevin not feeling worthy of accolades and wallowing in self-pity when something bad happens?
Who hasn’t been little Kate wondering if your good enough, comparing yourself to the other girls, feeling left out? What about teen Kate who didn’t believe how her family saw her, only the repetitive tape in her head that she wasn’t pretty, wasn’t a good singer, wasn’t worthy?
Who hasn’t been little Randall, no matter how hard you try to be perfect, you let yourself down and make yourself a basket case in the process? What about teen Randall wanting so badly to fit in, yet learn about his biological family, his culture and trying to keep everyone else happy at the same time.
Some people say the characters annoy them. Kate is too needy, Kevin is selfish, Randall is a people pleaser, Rebecca is a martyr and Jack is too selfless. Let’s not even get started on people’s feelings about Miguel, and, now George! I promise, that is the only time I will mention them here. Well, doesn’t everyone annoy us at some point? We even annoy ourselves at times. Newsflash: as much as we adore them, the Pearson’s are not perfect, and neither are we. That is why we connect with them, why we love them and why we are them. They did tell us from the start, This Is Us.
Who hasn’t been adult Kevin, still feeling like your not enough and now matter how sorry you are, you still feel the shame of being a screw up and learn there are some things you just can’t fix?
Who hasn’t been adult Kate feeling like you can’t let anyone in because you are afraid of being rejected or abandoned again?
Who hasn’t been adult Randall feeling like you have to play the game, keep peace and make everyone happy, even if it is at your expense?
And, who hasn’t been Rebecca? A young woman falling head over heels for a charming, over the top romantic guy? Then suddenly a new mother who lost a child and was quickly whisked home with another person’s baby in her arms. The always supportive wife who never questioned her husband’s decisions. The mother that always tried to keep peace and happiness in her household, even closing her eyes to their deeper problems, hoping ignoring them would go away? The sad widow who kept her pain to herself because her children were dealing with their own grief. The woman who looked for comfort in someone who was familiar and reminded her of a better time (sorry, I know I promised, but I didn’t mention his name).
Last but not least, who hasn’t been Jack? Recovering from an abusive household, and then recovering himself, he tried to appease everyone by giving them what they wanted to make his family “happy.” To create the magical childhood that he never had. He put his dreams on hold to be a good role model a and reliable provider. In typical teenage fashion, each of his children were focusing on themselves and never really knew of his sacrifices and struggles. As a parent you make your children your life and they don’t understand the gut punch you feel at times when they choose to go with their friends and blow off family tradition.
If they knew it was the last Superbowl, maybe they would have stayed and had some chili with mom and dad.
As a friend said to me “why are they so broken, they had a good childhood?” I think it goes back to how we each interpret our experiences, how we let them affect us and how we choose to make it a part of us, good or bad.
All parents have the best of intentions and do the best they know how. It feels natural to want to shower our children with love, to accept them no matter what, to try to make everything fair for everyone. But perhaps we are making life harder on ourselves while raising them and most of all harder for them to forge through adulthood? No matter how we try to make the “perfect” life for our children, there is no such thing and they then struggle their whole lives to be as perfect as we see them in our eyes. I think most of our parents and grandparents would agree. To quote my father “these kids have too much these days, that’s the problem.” Something to think about.
As we anticipate the big reveal after the Superbowl this Sunday, it will capture the devastating moment that changed the course of the Pearson family and impacted the rest of their lives. I suspect it will have US feeling like we lost a bit of our innocence too.
Photo Credit: Chris Roth
Cin Di Lo is a writer and founder of Petite Inspirations Original Quotes and Photos. Her motto and most popular quote is “Be a Starfish, Always Find a Way to Regrow.” Her quotes and articles on parenting have been featured in Working Mother Media and Grown and Flown. You can find her on Social Media:
As a Paralegal and Legal Instructor, she founded NJParalegal.com in 2000, and was Editor of its Paralegal Press Magazine until 2010. Her commentary was featured in the New Jersey Law Journal and Legal Assistant Today Magazine. She lives in New Jersey with her wingman of 25 years, her two children in college and their teenage Golden Retriever.