Us Versus Them (Television Thoughts, This Is Us, NBC)

this-is-us-season-1-keyart-posterEveryone is talking about “the big twist” in the new NBC series “This Is Us,” and of course, since I hate surprises, I went to search for what this big secret is even before watching the pilot episode of the show. I don’t know if that ‘spoiled’ the show for me. Or specifically I wonder if I would have appreciated the show more had I been more shocked by that big reveal. Because ultimately, I didn’t think it was that big of a shocker.

The show, based on the pilot, basically gave us four stories. We have Jack and Rebecca playing a pregnant couple and they are expecting triplets. Rebecca is played by Mandy Moore, and can I just say I love her? She seems to be the least successful among the foru 90s teen queens (along with Britney, Christina, and Jessica) but I actually think she is the most talented of the four, and definitely most subtle. Jack is played by Milo Ventimiglia, and by the way the characters talk to their doctor regarding the delivery of the babies, you can kind of tell that something somewhere will not go well.

We also get Randall who just found his biological father, Kate who is struggling with her weight, and Kevin (a delicious looking Justin Hartley)  an actor on a sitcom unhappy playing his role. We learn that all three of them are celebrating their birthdays on the same day. And then – voila – the twist: Jack and Rebecca’s storyline takes place in teh late 70s (or if we are to calculate, 1980) and Kate, Kevin, and Randall are the triplets. Well, a triplet with a twist: Kate and Kevin are biological siblings, and Randall was adopted because the third biological triplet was stillborn.

I liked the show, and don’t think it needed any gimmicks for it to work. Dan Fogelman created and wrote this (he wrote the film ‘Crazy Stupid Love’)  and NBC is probably positioning this for people who used to watch ‘Parenthood.’  It has a competent – and very attractive – cast, and I am curious how they will incorporate the old and the new in how the show progresses. I’m in.

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