So, potential recency bias aside, I’m good with putting “This is Us” into my Mt. Rushmore of favorite all-time TV shows alongside The Office, The Sopranos and Game of Thrones. To address last night’s This is Us season finale in a non-spoiler capacity, I thought it was good. I do think it was a little unambitious and safe but I understand why. Many great series have such lousy/stupid endings that it often leaves fans dissatisfied if not angry, to the point it tarnishes the overall greatness of the show. Two of the above (Sopranos/Thrones) are examples of this as well other popular shows including Seinfeld and How I Met Your Mother among several others.
Personally, I enjoyed the simplicity and clarity of the This is Us finale and while it didn’t pack the raw emotion the last few episodes and many on the whole had, I thought it provided a classy closure for the entire Pearson clan, let you know they’re going to be alright and provided some glimpses into what the future holds for Randall, Kevin and Kate. I also loved the final Jack and Rebecca scene and by the way, don’t tell me it the episode was numb to emotion, as I thought the Toby/Kate and Deja/Randall moments were brilliant.
Now, this isn’t about one episode that put a bow tie on the show. This is about an amazing family journey we witnessed over 106 episodes over six seasons/years. I’m happy I watched and was locked into this show from day one. I’m blown away that a weekly family drama on a NETWORK station could be such a success, critically and especially commercially in an era where just about everything is injected to our veins through streaming services like Netflix/Hulu/Prime, cable television and especially reality shows.
The issue I’ve heard from most critics and/or haters out there is that it was boring. I couldn’t disagree more and would venture to say 90% of those with that view probably didn’t get through the first season if even the first 5-10 episodes. The show isn’t nor ever was about fast-pace moving action or belly aching laughs. It was brilliantly layered storytelling balancing between past and present (and even future) that showed of the raw human emotion we all have somewhere inside us. There’s not a lot of TV shows past or especially present with the ability to make you care about all the characters, and this one did. I was actually emotionally invested in just about everyone and their story equally, they all mattered and This is Us did an authentic job of not making certain story plots involving main characters more important than others.
The other thing about this show is that it didn’t resonate as much with a lot of “manly” men out there because or your ego and machoism. To that I say, fuck off posers. I’m hardly embarrassed to be in touch with my emotions in fact, I wear them on my sleeve. This is Us was extremely authentic, ranging from tender and cute to heartbreaking and realistic—-from sad deaths to struggling to cope with them, crippling anxiety, drinking problems, weight and self love/struggles and failed relationships. At its core a TV show rooted in simplistic beauty makes you want to strive in your own little way to be better—a better parent, son, lover or even friend and I think This is Us captures that essence perfectly.
I will say I didn’t think this was perfect. Can’t get into some specifics as I don’t want to spoil, but there’s definitely some lulls in this series, especially in the middle seasons (mainly 3-4). I also don’t think, if you’re thinking about watching for the first time or want to re-watch that it’s most the most bingeable show. Quite frankly, if you put your heart into it, it’s emotionally draining and you can only take so much in per sitting.
But yeah, in a generation dominated by reality bullshit and full seasons dropping at once binging. This is Us succeeded in every way. When a fictional show can make you feel something almost each time you watch it, you know you got something special and again, for me this goes down as one of my three or four all-time favorites.
One last thing—it will be absolutely fucking ridiculous if Sterling K. Brown and Mandy Moore don’t both win Emmys this year.