This is Life

By: Katherine Naylor

NBC’s “This is Us” is one of the most talked about television series this year. After a week of binge watching the first season, it is clear to see why. The film touches the heart, while keeping the audience’s attention with dramatic twists. As one review says “in one hour, birth, death, reunion, career crisis, self-doubts, self-affirmations, heart-to-hearts, reconciliations” come to life in “This Is Us.” I believe that Episode 5 of the series is the most effective and emotional due to the monologue at the end of the episode. After having an awkward discussion about death with his two nieces, Kevin tries to help them understand death more effectively through a painting he created (see below). He painted the piece of art in order to help him understand a script he is reading. Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 9.07.45 PM.png

“I painted this because I feel like the play is about life. And life is full of color. And we each get to come along and we add our own color to the painting, you know? And even though it is not very big, the painting, you sort of have to figure that it goes on forever in each direction, to infinity because that is kinda like life. It’s kinda crazy to think about that 100 years ago some guy I never met came to this country with a suitcase. He has a son, who has a son, that has me. So at first when I was painting I was thinking that, that’s some guy’s part of the painting, and down here, that is my part of the painting. And then start to think well what if we are all part of painting everywhere? What if we are in the painting before we are born, what if we are in the painting after we die? And these colors that we keep adding, what if they keep getting added on to each other until eventually, we are not even different colors anymore, we  are just one thing. One painting. I mean my dad, who is not with us anymore, he is not alive. He is with us; he is with us everyday. It all sort of fits somehow, even if you don’t understand how it fits yet. People will die in our lives, people who we love. In the future, maybe tomorrow, maybe years from now. It is kinda beautiful, like, to think about it: that just because someone dies, just because you can’t see or talk to them anymore, it doesn’t mean they are still not part of the painting. I think that is the point of the whole thing. There is no dying. Or me. Or you. Or them. It is just us. And this sloppy, wild, magical thing that has no beginning or no end, this right here: I think it’s us.”

Simply put, “This Is Us” is about life. It is telling viewers: this is life. This monologue indirectly tells the viewers all of the lessons within the show. That the show is about life, death, love, fame, success, failure, beauty and family. The show demonstrates how everyone in this world can somehow be connected, creating a messy, tragically beautiful world. This is the power of “This Is Us”. It takes viewers away from their own lives by allowing them to watch another’s family. Yet, at the same time, it is teaching the viewers about their own lives. The monologue shows that everything in our life is adding to the painting; we are a part of a much bigger painting. It makes a viewer reflect on his or her own piece in the painting of life. It makes them ask what is the part of US of which I am apart? I highly encourage you to read the quote above and then watch it again. You’ll leave this page having either a new or changed perspective on your place in this world.

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3 Responses to This is Life

  1. mediaphiles says:

    “This is us” is a great new t.v series. It could relate to a lot of the viewers life. It keeps your attention through the family drama and the way the family stories are told. It’s as if you are learning about your own life through this amazing series. The dramatic twist, and things that one can relate to is just the best part about this series.

    – John Armstrong

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I absolutely loved this show, and am so happy that is it back! From someone who has also seen it, I think you did a really good job articulating what the show is about and some of the common themes that the show addresses. I really do think the show teaches some really good lessons, and one that you mentioned that is really important is how connected people really are.

    Catherine Maier

  3. marymdalton says:

    I wonder how you feel at the end of the season? I loved the episode that dealt with death — it was beautiful and complex and authentic — but I wonder how they’ll be able to sustain the series. Time will tell.

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