In his review of the first season of This Is Us (new season available exclusively on Star+), Variety noted that the series “It had the potential to make anyone cry.” The phrase seemed like an exaggeration in the midst of an era with an increasingly abundant television offer. But it turned out that the story of the Pearson family, told in retrospect and from various points of view, was not just a moving tale. It was also a neat piece of script that uses the best resources at its disposal to create a powerful premise.
This Is Us does not resort to the clichés of television melodrama. Instead, it takes the inevitable commonplaces to a new, modern and fresh dimension that surprises with its efficiency and cleanliness.
After all, This is Us drinks from the best of the tradition of dramatic series in American television history. The premise of a dysfunctional family or going through a tragedy is an unavoidable classic. But in reality, the series is much more than that. The brilliant and well-constructed script is an emotional journey that carefully balance tenderness and nostalgia. It does so with an unusual narrative structure that allowed it to maintain interest in its various narrative lines through five seasons.
This is Us formulates a conception about pain, suffering and mourning that crosses several different spaces. From current topics such as aesthetic violence, segregation to universal ones such as mourning. The series has managed to make its argument broad enough to delve into various topics without losing beauty. Especially when the political and cultural commentary became stronger and more unavoidable. For This is Us, the narration of collective pains are mixed with something more intimate. Which is probably the reason for its ability to amaze and move to tears.
The story of three brothers and a painful death
In 2015, writer Dan Fogelman imagined the story of a family going through two painful losses spanning four decades. Then, This Is Us it was a movie script, and Fogelman spent much of that year framing a solid story. But due to its increasing complexity (the initial premise included eight brothers instead of three), the story became a difficult sell. After a million-dollar contract with FOX, the chain sold This is Us to NBC, who ultimately ordered a pilot. The condition? The central family of the premise was to have fewer members and the story to be more moving.
For Fogelman it was a matter of script. So he went back to his old notes about a multi-ethnic family and a duel in tow to create a human interest plot. The result was the idea of a neonatal death, a surprise adoption and a devastating mourning. for the creator of This is UsPutting all the ideas together on that stage required revisiting the main tropes of the drama from fresh vantage points. The writer even decided to include a careful journey through current issues touched from an organic and domestic point of view. The political, cultural and the collective vision of modern morality became an essential part of history.
Gradually, the show took on the character of a long-running drama. “I wrote for more than three seasons, not knowing if there would be another after the first,” Fogelman said. to journalist Robert Bianco. It was a risky bet. The first chapter was a set of increasingly strange timelines that ultimately had an unexpected ending. Could a show about the conflicts of three brothers and a widowed mother succeed in an age of increasingly existentialist and complex content?
Not only was it successful, but it became a television milestone on the scale of a phenomenon. The first season was an immediate success. The same as the continuation of a painful story that increased in quality as it became more convoluted. For its fifth season (filmed amid the complications of the pandemic), This is Us It was a television landmark. By the end of his story, it is a collective event.
The story of the imperfect family of This is Us
But the success of This is Us it is more than a combination of sensible elements. Fogelman took it upon himself to assemble a group of multi-ethnic talent who bring their amazing human dimension to the show. From chapters directed by Regina King and George Tillman, Jr. to the participation of Kay Oyegun and Jas Waters. The series has a strong emphasis on political commentary constructed in the form of a private dialogue with various dilemmas of high sensitive impact.
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On the other hand, Fogelman has incorporated his personal experience into the program. In particular, the experience of her sister Deborah, who has struggled with weight and aesthetic violence since adolescence. for the writer, This is Us It must respond to the idea of something broader than a mere television story. “The title is not accidental,” he told The Hollywood Reporter last year. “This is everyone’s story. The love, the pain, the mourning. We can all relate to the emotions of this beautiful family.” Perhaps, the secret of the success of this program capable of making anyone cry.