A Million Little Things of Reality

If you were one of the many viewers that were wildly obsessed with ABC’s hit show, This is Us, the show A Million Little Things may be worthwhile. A Million Little Things has become a show of love, pain, but most importantly reality. A Million Little Things is entirely what the show is about…a million little things that anyone can encounter. As ABC would describe their show, “Life is unpredictable. Fragile. Unexpected. But at least we’re in it together”. As an episodic television series, viewers become deeply invested in characters and their growth. A Million Little Things enters the deep dark world of reality, that truthfully many of us do not want to discuss.  A group of friends struggle with the loss of loved ones, depression, coming out and breast cancer. The show promotes awareness and discussion about topics that can be tough to talk about. The show presents many depressing topics through an emotional, drama filled night time television series. So what keeps the audience hooked on such a heavy loaded show? The relatability and the realness of emotions where viewers can feel connected. It promotes awareness without vividly displaying ads. Every character has a story, but within every story there’s an underlying truth of “this could happen to me”.

Season one begins with an unexpected death of a character named Jon. Jon was within a tight knit group of best friends. The cause of the death was suicide, and just like every suicide case they were left with the answer of why. The funeral scene was a tearjerker with friends and family feeling entirely broken and uncertain. The group of friends struggle through the following episodes simply trying to understand the reasoning behind their best friends suicidal depression. There were no clear indicators of what lead to this incident and they are left to pick up the pieces. The drama in this show can be ones reality and its okay to not always know why. They executed a touchy topic in a manner that does not cross the line, but accurately portrays the emotions one can feel.

Just as Jon suffered with depression, as did one of the friends within that group. Rome stuffs a handful of pills to commit suicide one day, but stops when he receives the call about the passing of his friend Jon. No one knew about the hidden depression just as many do not realize it in loved ones. Rome throughout the season deals with depression. Using men as the characters who battle with depression is an incredibly important aspect of the show. Breaking the stigma of mental health, but more importantly breaking the stigma of mental health within men and challenging  this stereotype.

As the friends are coping with the loss of their friend, Gary, a character within that friend group has a battle of his own. Gary is diagnosed with cancer….breast cancer. Yes, men can get breast cancer and I think that takes an interesting spin on the show. Throughout the show, we also meet Maggie. Maggie is a woman who battles breast cancer and shows the struggle of chemo, and the decisions one has to make when dealing with breast cancer. Throughout her battle, she consistently wonders if the struggle is worth the fight. Seeing the hurt and pain Maggie encounters is heartbreaking. Another touchy topic is brought to life through this show.

Emerging into season two the existing topics of depression and breast cancer still exist but new struggles arise. Characters develop and grow and so far within season two, one characters has revealed their own deep secret. One in particular I find inspiring. Jon’s son is gay and is completely and utterly afraid to come out, just as most middle schoolers can be. He lies and holds back from telling family the entire first season and eventually he makes the decision to come out. With both family and friends around he shows his true colors. The family shows nothing but support and love which turned out to be a beautiful scene. This can be a struggle for many in society. They fear coming out due to the fact of what other people think. Granted, not every family would react the same as the show, but it gives hope to those who are afraid.

The cast struggle with problems that much of society faces, Topics can be difficult to discuss but it does promote discussion and awareness. It may seem impossible to enjoy a show that has such heavy topics, but despite the relatability, the show provides light at the end of the tunnel. It shows the moments of powerful friendships, breakthrough moments, small successes, and most importantly humor and support.

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One thought on “A Million Little Things of Reality

  1. You clearly outline why this show is important and why viewers like it. However, there was one line that confused me. When you said “It (the show) promotes awareness without vividly displaying ads,” do you mean that the show promotes awareness on certain issues without advertising them? As in, it creates an accurate depiction of issues that people face today, and doesn’t dramatize them? That’s how I understood this statement, and I think it’s true. The more that issues are dramatized and glamorized, often, the farther from relatable they become, and the more that it might look like a promotion rather than a very real issue that needs to be and can be dealt with. The one word that comes to my mind when I think about shows like “This is Us” and “A Million Little Things” is raw. They show raw, human emotion which is unique and appealing to viewers. It seems like more and more shows in this style are being produced, so clearly this is something that TV audiences enjoy.
    -Stephanie Sartori

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