This Is Us. Mention those 3 words in a group of people and you will probably see tears start to well up in someone’s eyes. Showing emotion does not come easily to me, but this is the one TV show that I find myself watching with a box of tissues nearby. Apparently this is true for millions of other viewers too.
Why do so many people get excited about watching a show that makes us cry? I thought about this recently as I was watching an episode about an event I knew was going to happen, yet I still found myself needing multiple tissues to dry all my tears.
I think the answer is - great storytelling.
Any great story is bound to captivate an audience.
We may only spend an hour a week with the Pearson family, but we feel connected to them. Parts of their stories remind us of our own stories.
We may not have personally experienced all the exact situations the Pearsons encounter, but we can all relate to wanting to be part of a family, dealing with struggles, and experiencing love and loss.
Portraying these universal themes in a realistic way allows us to see part of ourselves in these fictional characters.
I think one reason the storytelling experience is so powerful on This Is Us is that each episode continually moves back and forth between the past and the present. Usually, I don’t like when shows or movies do this, but it’s so effective here because every flashback offers a clue to something that will happen in the future.
A moment may seem insignificant at the time, but in the future, when we look back on that moment, we may realize it really was significant.
For instance, you may feel annoyed having to listen to a voicemail left on your phone, but what if that ends up being the last time you could hear that person’s voice? The voicemail is no longer annoying, it’s treasured.
This Is Us reminds us that we usually take everyday moments for granted. And it often takes loss to help us realize this.
You don’t appreciate the ability to call, text, or spend time with someone until you aren’t able to. You don’t realize the importance of a handwritten note, until you no longer receive those notes. You don’t frame that awkward family picture until you realize it’s the last picture you took with a loved one.
What makes a moment special are the people who are in the moment with you.
Moments turn into memories.
We carry those memories into the future.
And this is how our loved ones can impact us long after they’re gone.
Because of this, there are so many more stories to be told about the Pearson family. I’m looking forward to future episodes of This Is Us, even if I do need to go and buy more tissues.
I'm an ordinary introvert who loves an extraordinary God.