Last night was the series premiere of “This Is Us,” a new show about three seemingly very different groups of people who have something in common: they were born on the same day. If you didn’t watch it, that’s fine, I get it, I almost didn’t watch it either. No one really knew what the show was about before last night. There was no real plot in the trailer, just a bunch of clips of different people doing different things. All I could gather from it was that Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore were in it and that was enough to get me to hit ‘record’ on my DVR.
If you have any interest in watching this show but haven’t gotten around to it yet, stop reading now, because I’m going to be dropping hella spoilers up in here. Come back after you’ve watched it because it’s so much better to experience it knowing nothing. For those of you that have watched, let’s dive into this beautiful, sob-inducing mess. First, let’s start with the characters.
The show literally opens up with Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia’s) bare ass. As in, you see his ass before you ever see his face. Great move by the producers, by the way. They had me locked in from the start. If he looks familiar, that’s because he also plays Jess on “Gilmore Girls,” except in this show, he has a scruffy beard and he’s not a complete ass. He’s married to Rebecca (Mandy Moore) who looks to be very pregnant with triplets. We find out that it’s his birthday, and Rebecca is giving him a lap dance when she suddenly goes into labor six weeks early. I like to picture Jack as a grown up Jess who finally got his shit together. He’s super attentive to Rebecca when she freaks out that her regular OB/GYN won’t be there to assist in her high risk pregnancy. When the new doctor even suggests that something might happen during delivery, Jack shuts him up. He insists that they’re going home with three babies, no matter what.
Then there are siblings Kevin and Kate, who are adorably close. Kevin is an actor who plays a (mostly shirtless) nanny on a show called “The Manny” who’s tired of his bachelor lifestyle and tired of playing roles with no real emotion, and Kate is struggling with her weight. Kevin ends up having a massive blow up on set and quitting his job and Kate decides to attend a support group for people with eating addictions, where she meets Toby, a guy who’s also overweight like she is. My heart melted when she said, “I can’t fall for a fat person right now,” and he said, “I guess I’ll lose the weight then.” Swoon.
Finally, there’s Randall. He’s a very successful businessman with a wife and two kids who was adopted and is looking for his birth father, who abandoned him at a fire station the day he was born. (His birth mother died giving birth to him.) The first of many moments in this show when tears will well up in your eyes and cascade down your cheeks is when he finally confronts his birth father, tells him off, and then his birth father invites him up to his place. He gets angry at his father again once they’re upstairs, and this poor old man just takes it. Randall lets out one last “screw you,” before soon asking, “Want to meet your grandchildren?” Tears.
All four people share the same birthday and are at pivotal moments in their lives. Jack is about to be a father to triplets, Kevin and Kate are making serious changes to their lives, and Randall is discovering who his biological father is and coming to terms with why he left him all those years ago. These are all great storylines on their own, but how they connect? We find out at the very end, and it all goes back to couple Jack and Rebecca.
Rebecca has complications during childbirth Jack is set out into the waiting room while the doctors try to save Rebecca and her three children, where he meets a firefighter who had just rescued a baby from the fire station. Only two of the three babies make it, and although this is a crushing blow to Jack and Rebecca, we later learn that they decide to adopt the baby left at the fire station. They already have three of everything, and it just seems like it’s meant to be.
And then something weird happens. The firefighter offers Jack a cigarette and lights up right there in the middle of the hospital. People in the hospital are dressed in outdated clothing. A map of Iran is on the old-timey TV. That’s when the all the little pieces fall into place and everything finally makes sense. The story takes place in two different times — the parents’ story is set in 1979 and their children (Kevin, Kate, and Randall) are in the present day. When you realize that the three people turning 36 are actually siblings and that Jack isn’t just a denim-on-denim wearing hipster and that he and Rebecca are actually set in a different era, it catches you completely off guard in the best possible way. It’s a family. They’re all interconnected.
Seeing as this all unfolds within the last two minutes of the first episode, I’m excited to see what happens next now that we know how the show is set up and what it’s about. I’m also excited to see Jess — I mean, Jack, as a dad. My one critique? It needs more nudity on Milo’s part. That one butt shot just wasn’t enough. .
Image via Youtube