‘This is us’ is one of those shows that you just can’t seem to stop watching, even if it makes you cry like a little baby…(literally). The show stars Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chrissy Metz, Chris Sullivan and Justin Hartley.
Fun Fact: my history professor in college had the same last name as Milo, and tbh, I could never pronounce it right. However, I saw my history professor a year later (after graduating obviously) at my favorite Italian restaurant in Westbury, Long Island, as me and my family were leaving to go home, we passed by him and his wife who were in the middle of having dinner, he said, “hey Brittany! do you still not know how to pronounce my last name?” my cheeks turned bright red because I was completely embarrassed, I looked at him, and said, “yeah of course, I do!” “it’s Ven-tih-MEE-lee-uh” and he was in utter shock, I had pronounced it perfectly. I was thinking to myself, “FUCK YES! I FINALLY PROVED THIS MAN WRONG AND I DIDN’T LOOK LIKE A TOTAL IDIOT!”
That moment made my life. And I’m sure his too lol
Anyways. This is Us definitely can teach you a few things, not just how to pronounce Milo Ventimiglia’s last name, but also the importance of self-love, family and the struggles of every day life.
In Season 1, episode 4 titled, ‘The Pool’, Kate Pearson struggles with body-image issues as a young girl and as an adult. In a flashback scene, the family decides to spend a hot summer day at the pool, fun right? But unfortunately not for Kate, three girls from her school happen to be there. Kate, wearing an adorable Care Bears bikini (Kate’s mother Rebecca, played by Mandy Moore, initially didn’t want her to wear the bathing suit bc she was worried that other kids would make fun of her for it) makes a brave attempt to go up and ask if she can play with them. Sadly, they shoot her down.
Moments later, Kate receives a note from the girls that says, “We don’t want you to play with us anymore. You embarrass us.” along with a drawing of what looks like a pigs face. It’s not only cruel, but really messed up. (to be continued)
In present day, Kate and Toby are having lunch at a restaurant, while also bonding over their hatred for Kale (Kale looks nasty, but it actually does taste good). After paying the bill, Toby excuses himself to go to the bathroom, on his way there he bumps into his ex-wife. Kate notices them talking, she becomes jealous and sizes her up. Toby comes back, and Kate asks him, “who was that?” Toby replies, “My Ex-Wife” she starts laughing and is all like, “are you serious?” and he goes, “yeah, I told you I was married before” and Kate replies, “not to that”.
Meanwhile, Jack and Rebecca eventually see the note that the girls wrote Kate, Like any father, Jack becomes protective of his little girl. Kate sitting with her towel tightly wrapped around her, all alone and upset, he notices it, and sits next to her. “you cold?” He asks. Kate shrugs her shoulders, “want a T-shirt?” she replies, “I didn’t bring one.” Jack says, “well I brought a T-shirt” and pulls out a T-shirt of his own, with a Florida logo on it, the one T-shirt of his that Rebecca hates. “you know where I got this shirt?” He says. Kate replies, “I heard mommy say it was from a drugged out drifter” He says, “listen mommy doesn’t know the whole truth, so this is gonna have to stay between us, ok?”
Jack: “I got it in Florida, a magical land called, Daytona Beach”
Kate being the cutest little girl ever, she asks her daddy, “Can we go there?”
Jack: “No no you may never go Daytona Beach”
Jack: “Say it out loud, Daddy I will never go to Daytona Beach”
Kate promises him she will never go to Daytona Beach, like ever.
Jack then tells her the story about how he got the T-shirt, he says, “when I was walking back to my hotel, I came across a traveler wearing ragged clothing and he had a strange way of talking,” He says.”these 3 young jerks were bothering him…they were trying to take away his bag of groceries.” And what did Jack do? He said, “And after a few vitamin drinks (*cough cough* a few bottles of liquor) I chased them off” like the true bad-ass that he was (and still is)
Jack: “the traveler was so grateful that he wanted to repay me” He says, [the traveler] didn’t have much…so he reached inside his little satchel and he pulls out this shirt”
The traveler told Jack that it was a “magic T-shirt” and that “your enemies will see you exactly as you want to be seen…and only that way.” He continued, “whether it is a warrior or a princess..whatever you want!”
Kate asks, “Does it work?”
Jack: “You tell me!” He says, “I was wearing this shirt the night I met your mom and she thought I was the handsomest man in the world.”
Jack replies, “Yeah….me”
Jack gives her the Magic T-shirt, as she puts it on, Kate says, “I’m gonna go with Princess”
Jack smiles and says, “I want you to know…daddy already sees you that way without the shirt, you don’t need it.”
Kate: “thanks daddy, but, I’m going to wear it anyway!”
Jack puts a pair of sunglasses on her head in replace of an actual princess crown. So sweet!
Whether it is struggling to fit in with the ‘in-crowd’, dealing with the death of a loved one, not having enough money to pay for food, electricity or heat, body image, insecurity, not feeling good enough, self-doubt, guilt, alcoholism + drug addiction, finding a job or finding the RIGHT job for you, getting into the right college, breaking up with your girlfriend or boyfriend, wife, or husband, money problems, trying to support your family, peer-pressure, racism, losing your job (unemployment), miscarriages, finding yourself (who you really are) neglection, isolation, etc.
We all have struggled with some of those issues. I have. This is us became my safe haven in a way it gave me hope. It gave me a reason to keep on believing in myself and in my dream…to one day become a professional writer/fashion editor (whatever you want to call it lol) I had given up hope a few times when it came to my career, but I no longer feel that way, all because of this beautiful show. Of course there’s rejection, and the ‘you are not good enough-type of crap from my peers or kids in school. That’s why I relate more to Kate, because of what she went through with the bullying from other girls.
Let’s be honest, girls are cruel. I know first-hand. they tortured me throughout middle school and high school calling me ugly, nerdy, anorexic, white trash, etc. Yes, I was called anorexic, because of how thin I was. I think I weighed about 80 or 85 pounds. I was not anorexic, I did not have an eating disorder. I ate a lot, but didn’t gain any weight. The reason for that is because I was born premature, like super small, 1 pound to be exact, my brother Justin who is my twin, he weighed 2 pounds. Both of us had to stay in an incubator the whole time at the hospital after we were born because we could have died.
But of course, I couldn’t tell those girls that because they would say I was “making it up” for attention. Truth? I made up stories when I was a kid because I was a good story-teller. And a pretty damn good liar. My weight didn’t bother me as much, but when I looked in the mirror sometimes, I would feel insecure about who I was and about my body. I wanted to gain weight because it would make me “feel better about myself”. I gained some weight in the beginning of 8th grade by drinking these special chocolate flavored ‘boost’ drinks (fyi they tasted like shit) that my mom bought me. It helped a little bit..but I honestly didn’t care if it did or not. I was still getting trashed at school for being thin, and not having the ‘ideal body-type’ like some of the other girls in my classes. They were curvy, sassy, and they definitely had the looks, and I just didn’t have the courage to stand up to them.
Guys drooled over them, I was the girl who guys didn’t want anything to do with. I have told this story many times, this boy who I had crush on came over to me at lunch time and said, “I would go out with you if you gained some weight.” I felt so embarrassed, ashamed, and pathetic. But then I thought to myself, this guy is a schmuck. Like, why am I feeling this way about some boy who doesn’t even give a shit about me? Why should I waist my time?
tbh, I shouldn’t have cared about what that boy said to me. However, I decided from then on that I would not give anyone the satisfaction. I wouldn’t give them a damn thing. but for real, I think about Kate and what she would have done…she probably would have used her dad’s advice and wear that magic t-shirt like nobody’s business. What about Rebecca? She would probably tell that dude off with like some kind of powerful statement about how it’s important to love yourself no matter what, no matter what a person says or does to you and just hold your head up high.
Some people have told me that I was never going to be good enough for the fashion industry (whatever profession I chose in that area), even in high school. I took a fashion designing/sketching class. My teacher told me (in front of the whole damn class) to “never become a fashion designer because you are not talented enough” my response: “okay” (but I was actually thinking, WTF LADY?!) truth? I didn’t know what I was saying ok to. Ok to not becoming a fashion designer? or Ok to not doing fashion at all? wtf? wtf? wtf? I basically was in shock. my classmates were all like: “don’t listen to her, you’re so talented!” my response: “okay”. shock. complete shock. After that I changed my career path..kind of. Writing about fashion, feminism, women empowerment, sexism, beauty, etc. But I was actually writing way before, at 13 years old. I was writing poetry, fairy-tale stories, short stories, love stories, etc.
my 1st poem went a little something like this:
My soul is like a beating heart;
It’s like an angel from the sky.
It’s gleaming with happiness:
If you run, you will fly.
Your soul will be seen like a butterfly, flying with its wings.
it’s like a hurricane, with lava gushing up into the air.
It splashes: Boom! Boom!
Your soul is there.
And that poem was actually called ‘Soul of Heaven’
I guess at 13 I was apparently fascinated with heaven and angels. Heavy stuff. But my teachers knew I was a good writer, I was always coming up with these super detailed, ridiculously unique lengthy lines of poetry that would leave everyone feeling what I felt while writing them. That’s why I wanted to write and that’s what This is Us does for me. It makes me feel what the characters are feeling in each scene. If a show doesn’t make you feel a certain way (whether it is remorse, happiness, sadness, etc), then whatever show you’re watching isn’t doing anything for you. It’s only making you feel one emotion or nothing at all, which is kind of boring, don’t you think?
As a young adult, you’re faced with so much pressure and so much fear that it eats you up. You become paranoid, develop anxiety, stress. I had social anxiety since I was a kid. I honestly did not know how to talk to other kids because I was so scared of what they would think of me. Would they call me names? would they think I was weird? would they think I was too thin? I used to think I wasn’t normal because kids would look at me funny. I sat alone at the lunch table because I wouldn’t talk to anyone. I was too afraid to open my mouth and use my voice. I wasn’t mute. I was capable of using “my words” as my grandmother would say. “Use your words” “speak up” “you have a mouth, so use it!”
Oh yeah, I used it alright. I told my ex-best friend who I had befriended in high school that she was no longer going to make fun of me because I am Jewish, (she threw pennies at me and told me to pick them bc jews are known to be “all about the money” and that’s such bullshit, if you ask me) I told her she could no longer use me as one of her mediators to keep the peace between her and other girls, I told her that she could no longer make fun of me for wearing crop tops in summer when it was 90 degrees out, I told her she could no longer call me a C*nt on Halloween for no reason at all, I told her she could no longer try to pressure me into smoking hookah when I told her that I didn’t want to. I told her that I would no longer be forced to pick up her dirty laundry and wash her dishes for her (that her mother TOLD HER to do) while she’s in the next room painting her damn nails, I told her that I would not be bullied by her no longer. I finally told her that I could no longer be friends with someone who does that to another human being.
It’s been 3 years. She has not called, nor attempted to contact me through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I used my voice for good. I finally was able to use it and not just say “okay” anymore, if I did, I knew that if I did, I would be back to square 1.
This is us is so much more than a show, it’s compelling, it’s inspiring, it’s empowering, it’s everything.
So thank you to Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chrissy Metz, Chris Sullivan and Justin Hartley for making This is Us so damn good and making me cry every. single. time.
And I’m so excited to watch the Season 2 finale tonight!
❤️ 💛 💚 💙 💜
Here are some photos from the show and special moments.
photo by @weheartit
Photo by CTV.com, @weheartit
favorite Jack & Kate moment!