(There are very, very light spoilers in this piece. None of them tell you much of about the plot of the show.)
On February 23, 2017, I wrote the following status update on Facebook:
Well, I guess I need to watch "This Is Us." I've not intentionally avoided it but have yet to see a single episode. But I want to cry, too. Everybody out here in tears because of that show. I want to cry in the car. I want to get onto FB and tell everybody I'm crying too.
I'm gon' cry y'all. Mary was not gon' cry, but I guess she never watched "This Is Us" because she was too busy being a lover and a secretaire, which isn't a thing, but because Mary, the secreataire is the first face you see at the dancery.
This status update went off the rails somewhere.
This was after it seems like my entire FB timeline was an emotional wreck after watching the latest episode of “This Is Us,” an episode that upon watching last night put me so far into my feelings at midnight that I retreated up to my room to tell my girlfriend about how much of a wreck I was and after trying to explain to her what I’d just seen, she looked at me and said, “are you about to start crying now?”
I literally had to excuse myself because, yes, I was about to start bawling. Again. Everybody who watches this show knows this episode. It’s titled, “Memphis” and I don’t think I’ve boohooed that much – literal tears streaming down my face – since the episode of “Dawson’s Creek” where his father dies and Dawson breaks down in the car while James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” played. We’re talking “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” “how come he don’t want me, man?” tears.
I was not prepared.
Basically, the way I felt by the end of that episode - which was SO masterfully done and executed (Sterling Brown deserves awards for this show) even though I knew what was coming – was like taking Ricky’s death, with Will’s daddy leaving again, while watching Mufasa fall, while watching the end of Beaches. I was done. Plain and simple.
Shit, I’m STILL not over it. My feelings are currently raw and I’m not even close to joking. It’s been a good long while since I’ve cared this much about show characters. I’m almost mad for not getting on the train earlier, but I’m glad I watched the whole thing in one sitting because I’d have lost my shit waiting for the next episode of emotional torture that I wanted and needed in my life so badly. Apparently.
I never intentionally didn’t watch “This Is Us,” I just never made any effort either. Before the season started, a company sent me a few screeners for the show. I never got around to watching them. Then the show aired and I’d hear people talking about it, etc. It wasn’t until the “Memphis” episode aired, and I wouldn’t know it as that until this weekend, that my timeline exploded with tears and emotions, from both men and women alike. It was almost as if the internet needed a collective hug. I decided then that at some point I’d start watching.
On Saturday afternoon via Hulu, I made a decision that would forever change the course of my life: I welcomed the lives of Jack, Rebecca, Kevin, Kate, Randall, Beth, William, Toby, etc. in to my life, the same way Randall did when he made that fateful knock.
I ain’t been right since. For starters, the casting is fabulous. It is absolutely a delight to watch these folks work together. The writing is superb. But the emotions they draw out are the reason this show matters. I’ve been in my feelings EVERY.SINGLE.EPISODE. Aside from the aforementioned “Memphis” episode, the first time I had actual tears fall down my face (though I’ve teared up on every episode except oddly, the season finale) was episode five where Kevin attempts to salvage his horrible explanation to the girls about death. His minutes long monologue and talk to his nieces was so perfect, especially spliced with video footage of Randall, ya know, after Memphis, KILT ME DEAD.
Each episode’s new layer and wrinkle to the family dynamic with some nugget of life, usually at the hands of family patriarch, Jack…
Let’s talk about Jack for a minute. Jack isn’t perfect. Not by a long shot, but good got damn. I want to marry Jack, y’all. Talk about a man who is like the world’s greatest father and husband who always finds a way to say just what needs to be heard in the moment.
I could probably do a 10 greatest times Jack was the greatest man on the planet list and still need another 90. No bullshit, for the past, I don’t know, 25 years of my life, I’ve solidly determined that Charles Ingalls from “Little House On the Prairie” was EASILY the world’s greatest TV father.
Jack is 1A now. Even in defeat he finds a way to be charming and inspirational. I’m afraid to find out what happened to him and want to fight *CENSORED* and *CENSORED* EVERY TIME I SEE THEM ON SCREEN TOGETHER.
Jack is #bae.
If you’re not watching “This Is Us,” do yourself a favor and check it out. It might do your heart some good. You probably are watching already because you want to know what the hype is and now you’re fully ensconsed into the Pearson family as is only right.
The ducks. The mailman. The postcard. The love. The family. The flashbacks. Beth. The book of poems.
I’m still in my feelings. And that’s okay because it let me know that I have them. Join me in my feelings and let’s be an emotional trainwreck together. And we haven’t even gotten to the biggest mystery yet.
WE GON CRY Y’ALL.