‘This Is Grief’

That’s what ‘This is Us’ should be titled.  Or maybe ‘This is Loss’ or simply ‘This Sucks’. I don’t think they’d get people tuning in week after week with those titles though.

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(Spoiler Alert!!!)

This show grabbed my attention from the beginning because the first episode deals with child loss.  For a TV drama they did an amazing job of capturing how that feels.  I was super impressed with how the topic wasn’t glossed over (except in Rebecca’s case, I keep hoping desperately that they circle back to her grief a little more) and they really show how the central father figure that we all love deals with it.

Part of why you fall in love with Jack is because he’s flawed.  He has a drinking problem, and after trying to hide it over the years he finally deals with it.  He stops trying to run away and confronts it.  It’s powerful to watch.

He’s clearly someone who loves his family.  He goes back into a burning house because of his daughter’s dog.  I’m an animal person, but leave the damn dog!!

He’s witty and smart.  He loves his life more than himself.  He’s an amazing father.  He’s motivated.  He sacrifices his dreams for his family, yet he’s still a dreamer.  And he still dies.

And in a simple stupid accident.  There’s no plane crash, no explosion, no dramatic scene of him getting shot in a random bank robbery.  Jack dies because of a faulty home appliance and because he and his wife forget to change out the batteries in the smoke detector.  Well, he dies as a secondary result of the smoke inhalation, but nonetheless.

Completely freak accident.  No way of ever imagining it could have ever happened.  But it did and the man that viewers have fallen in love with is gone.

I have read so many commenters blaming the neighbor George for giving the Pearson’s the crockpot that started the fire.  If you pay attention, he gives them the crock pot nearly 18 years before the fire happens because Rebecca is pregnant.

We always need someone to blame.  We always need a reason to justify when someone dies.  Why is that?  This show has really made me think long and hard about the human rationalization of death.  I’m not sure that I can even begin to understand or explain it.

Most likely it’s a coping mechanism.  The show beautifully portrayed how each member of the family dealt with Jack’s death some 20 years later.  It showed how differently each character grieved.  How no way was wrong, but how each person needed to do their own thing to get through the day.  It was very relatable.

Hats off to this show.  They have taken a topic that is so real and is something that EVERYONE will deal with in their lifetime and brought it into focus.  I feel like I am tuning in week after week and watching pieces of my life unfold.  It sucks.  Parker keeps asking me why I’m watching it, it’s just too close to home (like when Rebecca had to tell the kids that Jack had died, my God that one brought me back).  It’s cathartic though.  Maybe I’m dealing with it like Kate.  Maybe it’s just easier seeing someone else go through the many things that I already have.

 

Reality TV

In the Fall I posted about the show  This is Us.  I was amazed by how much they touched on grief in the first episode.  While the show jumps around throughout the span of the triplets life, you see glimpses of how the family has moved forward.

I have to be honest, I was hoping for so much more.  In the first few episodes they touch on the baby’s death.  The family cries, the mom has a hard time bonding with the new adopted son and then life goes on.  I haven’t heard about it since.

No one has mentioned the baby.  There has been no mention of if the baby is buried somewhere or if it even has a name (which I assume it doesn’t because they were going to use it’s name for Randall).  Birthdays go by and they talk about ‘the big 3’ but there’s never a mention of the fact that on that day they also lost a child.

The episode where Randall eats shrooms and feels like a replacement for the baby that passed makes sense.  How would he not feel that way?  I know it was a different time and people weren’t expected to grieve like they are given the space to today.  I get that.  I still expected more.

How does mom not look at those 3 kids every day and not see one missing?  How does she not feel that inside?  We’ve never seen that.  Maybe it’s coming and I should just wait, because the show jumps around.  I’m frustrated.  Even in present day, no one talks about the baby.  Why?