Most television audiences love a good cry from time to time. People love to feel attached to characters and their storylines, rooting for them and empathizing with them from start to finish. The devotion to these characters is part of what makes the television-watching experience so entrancing. It keeps people coming back for more- a notion clearly evident in the success of the NBC hit series, This Is Us.

Before viewing the show, I had heard about it being notoriously heart-wrenching from a plethora of sources. From sequences of live tweets, to Hollywood news reports, to people in my daily life urging me to watch it, it was no secret that the poignant nature of this series is what makes it so alluring. While audiences may be crying, NBC sure isn’t.  The show has raked in the network’s highest ratings since 2012, as well as drawing in the biggest post-Super Bowl audience since 2012. It recently scored 11 Emmy nominations and 6 Golden Globe nominations, with Sterling K. Brown winning best actor in both award shows.

This Is Us chronicles the story of the Pearson family told through a multi-generational lens, jumping back and forth between the past and the present episodically. The series starts in the 1980’s with young couple Jack (Milos Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore), who are expecting triplets. After the unexpected and unfortunate loss of the third triplet during delivery, they take home a baby girl, a baby boy, and an adopted newborn son. These three babies grow up to be present day Kate (Chrissy Metz), Kevin (Justin Hartley), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown). Kate is a woman battling obesity while taking on the struggles and triumphs of a blossoming relationship. Kevin, a sold-out sitcom star in search for a meaningful career change. And Randall, a businessman, husband, and dad of two in search for his biological father. The show follows this family’s individual and collective stories, battles, and heart-warming moments across flashbacks to their childhood years, teen years, and present day.

What fans seem to love so much about This Is Us is the relatability of the multi-faceted characters.  With a story told through numerous different characters in multiple different time lines, there is something that every viewer can empathize with and relate to. Although occasionally corny, the events that happen within the show are realistic. The Pearsons aren’t dealing with an arch nemesis or superpowers or earth-shattering disasters- they are dealing with life itself, and all its idiosyncrasies. So pop open a bottle of wine, grab a tissue box, and turn on This Is Us. Seasons one and two available for streaming on Hulu.

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