Thursday night, while prepping for Friday’s annual Christmas do (we all need that run up, amiright?), I caught up on some of my overdue shows. There’s not much at the moment now Luke Cage, Westworld and Gilmore Girls have finished (for now).
I’ve been gagging to get involved with This Is Us ever since I learned Gilmore’s Jess Mariano had a new vehicle (oddly, was just not that into him as Heroes‘ Peter Petrelli) and the trailer looked like just the sort of schmaltzy shit I needed to get me over the end of the GG Revival.
Thankfully Channel 4 are airing it, making it easy to get hold of the weekly episodes. I always dig the anticipation of waiting for the next episode (as with Game of Thrones) so viewing it this way is fine by me. I’ve now watched the first episode and here are my thoughts, ready or not.
This Is Us (TV Series 2016)
A group of people with the same birthday, including Jack, whose wife, Rebecca, is expecting triplets in Pittsburgh, Kevin, a handsome television actor growing bored of his fly bachelor lifestyle, Kate, his funny and sweet heavyset twin, and Randall, a big shot commodities trader in search of his biological father.
I should start by saying that, in addition to the hot hot Ventimiglia action, I was most excited about the character of Kate (Metz), the fat twin of all-American hottie Kevin (Hartley). I don’t know where her arc will go from here and I’m nervous about it (as I am with any story line starring a fat character), but so far I think the handling of her and her fatness has been okay.
Sure, the first episode is very focused on weight, which is only ever used to define a character who doesn’t fit society’s ideal (a thin one would rarely have the same problem). Kate’s not in a good place but I hope they don’t change her physically despite her desire to lose the weight.
Metz is a joy to watch and see on the screen (of course we need more fat, disabled WOC onscreen, we need to see representation of all types of people). I cried when she got on the scales in her first few scenes, her self-disgust resonated so much. So I do have high hopes for Kate, and I just hope they do her right.
Venti’s story line is a real tearjerker, naturally, as his wife Rebecca (Moore) goes into early labour with their triplets. I won’t spoiler, but the relationship between the couple is beautiful and supportive, and Venti’s Jack is fiercely protective of his wife and family-to-be. The one on one scene he has with the doctor present at the triplets birth will break you. As will the episode’s conclusion.
If I’m honest, I cried big snotty tears throughout and what? Having a sob is great therapy. Joining Jack and Rebecca, and Kate, are Kevin, the handsome but dissatisfied bachelor and Randall, a successful family man searching for answers from the man who abandoned him in a fire station as a newborn. It’s all pretty heart-wrenching.
What links the main characters are their birthdays. All of them are turning 36 as we meet them and are at various stages in life. Both Kate and Kevin are standing at their own crossroads, Randall is about to embark on an emotional journey he never expected and Jack’s about to become a father to more than one child.
Episode one’s ending will give you more insight into where we might go from here and I’m excited for more, I won’t lie. The show is quite melodramatic but I hope if the characters remain strong and likable, then we’re in for a treat.
I think if I were pushed to say anything negative it would be that I find it quite hard to be too sad for Kevin, the commercially successful, babe-smothered actor boohooing about artistic integrity. He’s already making moves to change his destiny though, so I’m not even mad. And I love his relationship with Kate.
Have you seen the first episode? Any thoughts? ❤️