Wednesday, February 22, 2017

This Is Us...a review

Pam and I really like This is Us, a new show on NBC. It is an extremely well written, well acted and well produced drama full of compelling characters and interesting story lines. The plot centers around three siblings, Kate, Kevin and Randall...Kate and Kevin part of a triplet pregnancy where the third child was still born. Fate then enters the picture as a third baby, Randall was delivered to the hospital after being left on the steps of a nearby firehouse. Parents Jack and Rebecca decide to adopt the newborn to complete the natural triplets they had been expecting. The entire show is done in flashback mode as each character lives in real time while struggling with the memories of their past. It is a fascinating plot device that works well where it could very easily become annoying. Like every fully realized human being, each of these characters bring a lot to like and even admire to the table, along with their fair share of failings. At the bottom of it all lies a family that truly loves each other.

This brings us to this past week's episode which I have noticed has produced a torrent of praise from many of my Christian friends on Facebook for its alleged poignant life lesson. To which I say, "What...are you people on drugs???"

Here's what happened. Randall is going though a sort of mental breakdown over the fact that his long lost birth father is dying. Kevin, on the other hand, is preparing for the opening night of a play in which he is starring and producing in which he seems convinced that he is going to fail miserably. Along the way of this ill fated production, he has managed to sleep with the original lead actress as well as the playwrite herself. Literally minutes before the curtain rises on opening night, he gets a disturbing phone call from Randall, who is clearly distraught to the point of tears. As the curtain rises and the lights go up, the lead actress walks out on stage and turns to deliver the opening line to Kevin, only Kevin isn't there. He is seen running through the streets of New York to his brother's office where he finds him crying on the floor. In an admittedly heart warming scene, Kevin comes along side Randall on the floor and holds him while he cries. For this, Kevin has become a hero...for reasons that escape me.

Let's get this straight, a narcissistic Lothario walks out on his coworkers, abandoning them in the literal hour of their greatest need, and is celebrated for it? But Doug, but Doug, don't you see? He had had that talk with his step dad earlier and had been told to do what his Dad would have done! He was just following the example of family first devotion personified be his deceased and noble father, Jack!

Uh...no.

I'm pretty sure that Jack wouldn't have walked out on his commitment to his employer with no explanation, leaving them to deal with a public relations disaster, and the ridicule of all of their time and efforts. I'm thinking that perhaps Jack maybe would have called Randall's wife, sister, or mother to notify them of his distress and promise to go to him the minute the show was over.

I'm thinking that Kevin was terrified of failure, horrified at the prospect of bombing in his first live theatre performance and the withering reviews he would surely get from the New York Times reviewer in the audience. When presented with his crying brother he jumped at the chance to escape his pending failure. When it came down to fleeing or fighting, Kevin bolted, leaving the rest of the cast and crew to deal with being abandoned.

Don't get me wrong, Kevin is a quite charming figure on this show. He possesses a fine sense of humor and an ability at self-depreciation that the rest of his family could surely use. But, calm down people. If Kevin's actions described above are to be interpreted as some sort of Christian virtue, then the bar has been lowered to deathcom 5.