TV watchers left marooned by the ending of Parenthood will find a kindred new show in NBC’sThis Is Us, an hour-long drama with comic bright spots and strong themes of sibling relationships, body image, and especially adoption.
As an adoptee, This Is Us had me with its raw- and tender-feeling vibe. And though it was hinted at in the trailer, I had no idea how much the storytelling would be focused on adoption. Three episodes in, I am astounded at what a nerve this show touches in me as an adoptee and as an adoptive mother. This Is Us offers story flashpoints on the entire adoption triad—birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees. It also offers insights for an overlooked group—siblings of adopted sisters and brothers.
Viewers join Randall (Sterling K. Brown) on an emotional journey to find and then get to know the birth father who abandoned him as a baby. We witness the co-dependent relationship of twins Kate (Chrissy Metz), struggling with weight loss, and Kevin (Justin Hartley), a gorgeous TV star sick of being objectified. We instantly bond with a young family learning to manage the complexities of biracial adoption.
Be aware that the first episode has some PG-13 moments of bare backside and some sexual innuendo, likely a marketing stunt to jump start interest in the show’s much-watched trailer. And watch it from the start, not only to get the introduction of the stories, but for the whopper twist at the end.