3 Lessons to Learn from “This Is Us”
By: Kelly Hartlage
“This Is Us” has become a huge hit in the family comedy-drama industry of television. It has captured the hearts of millions of viewers, myself included, with an amazing storyline that is easily relatable to so many different people and their lives. This show is the type of show that brings out your most vulnerable emotions; as I shed tears at least once (sometimes multiple times) during each episode. Viewers follow the story of parents Jack and Rebecca and their biological children Kate and Kevin and their adopted son Randall. The characters on “This Is Us” all mourn, suffer, celebrate and learn about life in such a true genuine way that it is so relatable it almost seems as though it is a reflection of oneself on the television screen. I have never watched a show more relatable and authentic to everyday life, and can honestly say it might be the best show I have ever watched. In watching this show, which I assumed would be a light fun show to watch before bed (not one to make me cry and ponder on my life), I have taken with me some very important life lessons.
1) Take the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turn it into something resembling lemonade.
Rebecca and Jack, were soon to be parents expecting triplets, yet with complications, their third baby died at birth. Distraught over the news, Jack speaks with Dr. K, their delivery doctor who was on call. In questioning why this happened and how he was supposed to cope with such a terrible loss, Dr. K felt inclined to tell him his story of how his wife and him lost their first child at birth as well, and as a result of that he became a doctor. “I like to think that one day you’ll be an old man like me talkin’ a young man’s ear off explainin’ to him how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade.” Shortly after hearing this advice, Jack meets a firefighter who just dropped off a new born baby that was left at the firestation. Him and Rebecca felt as though they were meant to have three children, so they adopted the firestation baby and named him Randall, welcoming him into their family. Jack and Rebecca are true inspiration to turn the worst thing possible into something that still turned out to be something wonderful. In life, not everything works out according to plan, sometimes much worse than others, but it is what you do to overcome this that teaches you who you are as a person and how you will grow.
2) Knock on the door. Take a risk.
One of the biggest lessons that is taught throughout this show is to take risks and go outside of your comfort zone. Randall, in the Pilot episode of the series, after a long 20 plus year search for his biological father, finally finds out where he (William) is living and goes to his apartment. He knocks on the door planning to just go tell him off, and make him feel terrible for leaving him stranded all these years ago. However, Randall being the caring and selfless person that he is, realizes after meeting William and hearing what he had to say, that he wants to create a relationship with him. Throughout the series, they form a very touching bond, and William becomes a grandfather to Randall’s children and a wonderful friend to Randall’s wife Beth and the rest of the Pearson family. If Randall had not taken this risk and knocked on Williams door, something he was terrified of doing after not knowing who he was for so long, his life would never have changed for the better. Another great example is when Kevin realizes, after the help of his sister Kates fiance Toby, that he is still in love with his ex-wife of ten years and that he has moved to NYC to win her back. This not only shows how important taking risks is but also how strong love can be. Sophie and Kevin divorced after Sophie found out that Kevin was being unfaithful. For ten years, Kevin regretted this and wished more than anything he could have “his” Sophie back. This show teaches us that sometimes, even when you think the risk is not worth taking or that it could hurt you even more, you should still always do it. Knock on the door, you never know what happiness could lie on the other side.
3) Accept who you are. Love yourself first.
Everyone has flaws in life. No one is perfect. “This Is Us” has taught us the power of self love. Accepting who you are is the only way you are going to better your own life. Once you accept YOU, great things will come. Kate teaches us a lot about self-love when she decides to finally commit to bettering herself by attending a weight loss camp. Although it did not end the way she had planned, she learned a lot about herself during her time there. She learned to love herself first, even when it meant putting Toby (her fiance) on the back burner for a while. “I don’t think love or self-worth is necessarily taught in our society,” Chrissy Metz (who plays Kate’s character in the show) said in a post-show discussion with fellow cast members. “It’s about how we lack or how we compare to everybody else as opposed to loving yourself as you really are. . . We all have something that we’re sort of ashamed about… everybody can relate to that vein of ‘I’m not proud of this, but I want to be,’” (Scheu, 2017) Toby is another great example of accepting who you are. He embraces his figure in a way many people that are overweight do not. He values personality over looks, and is an amazing character in the show that exemplifies self love, as he struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts but learned to cope with it, work through it, and come out stronger than ever. This is an important lesson to learn because if you can’t love yourself first, how is anyone going to give you the love that you deserve?