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Bidding Adieu To The Pearsons

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PAIN - A four letter word. Something that makes or breaks you.
ABUSE - A five letter word. Though often associated with physical and sexual, emotional abuse is equally dangerous if not more.
TRAUMA - A six letter word. Nothing to do with any injury or accident. Any or many distressing or disturbing experiences.
TRIGGER - A seven letter word. A simple word, dialog, situation or person can make you go through the above three at any point of time.

FAMILY - A six letter word. Usually meant to protect you from all of the above. A safe haven, a happy place. A place where you are understood, a place that doesn't judge you, a place that accepts you for what you are. Family, a group of people who live together or come together on occasions and care for each other. They shield you from the pain, abuse, trauma and the triggers associated with it. If you are extremely unlucky, the very family becomes the cause for all of the above. Welcome to my life.

Growing up, the concept of a family was apparent to me. I was the youngest in my generation and I did enjoy a lot of attention from the people around me. I was close to my cousins and my aunts and uncles. It was a normal happy childhood in every possible way. One fine day, it all stopped! In a snap! My parents had gotten themselves into a financial mess and before we knew it, we were alienated from the said family. Cousins started looking down upon me and the aunts and uncles were blaming my parents without bothering to lend a helping hand. Even if they did manage to assist us with a meagre amount of money, they more than made up for it by broadcasting about it or by visiting us ample number of times to claim the money back instead of asking us how we were doing. Though it all started with money, it trickled down into almost every other sphere of life. As a young girl, still not in her teens, I was a helpless, mute spectator in this entire process.

When you come from a toxic family like mine, the idea of a happy family or even a good family becomes blurry. I used to visit my friends and was envious of their families. They all seemed like normal happy families and I was left wondering as to how the people I called my family had gotten it so wrong. To escape all these myriad emotions, I went into the fictional world of books and movies. The families there became a source of support for me and they helped me unlearn a lot of things before teaching me the right things. I wasn't aware of the Pearsons until I wrote this post talking about my favorite fictional families and a dear friend suggested I watch 'This Is Us'. Once I started, there was looking back.

My partner has gone through pretty much the same things as I have and watching this show showed us how amazing life could have been if we had the right set of people around us. Tomorrow, if we decide to have children and start a family, the Pearsons would be our inspiration and emotional support. No, I'm not being silly holding a fictional family in such high regard. Everything on television is obviously glossed up and fake, right? Wrong! You need to know the Pearsons to understand them. You can find a part of yourself in either one of them. They are flawed, they are crazy, they battle insecurities, and yet they hold on to each other and get past it all. They are far from perfect and that is what makes them so relatable. No matter how they are and what they go through, they never give up on each other. That's the whole point of a family, right?

Let's take a peek at all the Pearsons.

Jack Pearson: The man who would ruin boyfriends/husbands/fathers for everyone else out there! A middle class man suddenly burdened with three children, one of them very different from the other two. And yet, he manages to do it all. The stress of it all makes him an alcoholic for a while, a habit he's feared all his life thanks to his toxic upbringing (alcoholic abusive father and silent submissive mother), but he owns it up and gets help. Everybody goes through a rough phase, but the will to get out of it is what matters. The core of the family and the perfect example for all three kids. His death on the show devastated the family and all the viewers.

Rebecca Pearson: When Rebecca Malone meets Jack Pearson, she doesn't know how her life would change. He is everything she could ask for and more. The perfect partner for Jack, Rebecca is the strength of the family who plays the homemaker and mother to the three. Each of the kids have a temperament of their own, she understands it and helps them in her own way. After Jack's unexpected death, she tries her best to hold on to the family. Not succeeding always, she still managed to get by. Be it giving up a flourishing singing career to have a family or finding a job to support her family after the death of her husband or being open to love after being with the near perfect man, she does it all. Her Alzheimer's was handled with the utmost grace and dignity. Her exit from the world was shown beautifully and she did live a life that would be remembered for a long time.

Kevin Pearson: The insecure troublemaker who wants to be exactly like his father but is far from it. A famous actor, but lonely to the core. Selfish to a large extent, but always there for his mother and siblings, Kevin is a character you can hate easily, but still feel for him. His character graph is amazing and he finally manages to become the man he always wanted to be. A faint reflection of his father, but with his own uniqueness.

Kate Pearson: Clearly my least favorite character of the show, Kate Pearson angered me with every episode even when you know why she is doing what she is doing. Kate is overweight and constantly compares herself to her gorgeous mother and harbors an unsaid hatred towards her. Closely connected to her father, she loses track of life when he dies. She's never made peace with that until the end of the show and thus leads a life laden with insecurities and self-doubt. When her husband loses all his additional weight, her insecurities increase. Overtly trying to emulate her mother as a mother herself, she lets her marriage suffer. She's dangerously flawed and that's what makes her so relatable.

Randall Pearson: The adopted black son who has felt like he did not belong to this family from his toddler days. Clearly a favorite of his mother, for being the easiest child, Randall would do anything it takes to see his mother happy. When he finds his biological father and some hidden secrets in the bargain, it takes a toll on him and he struggles with his mental health. Having a successful and famous brother who seems to have a twin connection with his sister, makes him feel left out. That's why he holds on to his wife and children so closely. He wants a family who looks like him and he actually manifested it. Randall is easily one of my most favorite characters ever!

Together, this motley of five should not have been able to co-exist, but they do so for all their lives. A huge shout out to the supporting cast. Beth Clarke-Pearson as Randall's wife is the ultimate pillar of support for her sometimes volatile, sometimes emotional, always vulnerable husband. R and B forever! Toby Damon is clearly one of the most endearing characters ever written for television. The best friend and partner for Kate, his take on life is what we all need. Even though they did not have a happy ending in their marriage, their story continues and that is one of the best ever. Miguel Rivas, Jack's best friend and Rebecca's second husband was a very misunderstood character until the final season dedicated an entire episode to him. What a man! 

Madison is a character I never thought I would like, let alone love. Her character graph was brilliant and I loved her relationship with Kevin and Kate. Nicky Pearson as Jack's brother makes the right impact and I love the fact that his back story was given importance too. Cassidy and Sophie, though their roles are brief, they made an impact on me. You understand what they are going through and why. Tess, Annie and Deja - R and B's girls are endearing and show us why the right upbringing is important. Thanks to Tess, the LGBTQ community gets a nod too. That's the best part of this show. It is inclusive and in so many ways!

I still can't believe this show is over and I would not be watching them again. It hurts to exist without them, but as Jack and Rebecca would have said, we must move on.

Thank you, Pearsons, for giving me the family I needed but did not have.

Comments

  1. And I haven't watched this series at all. Can't wait to get to it Soumya after such high praise from you. Flawed relatable characters make for the best stories.

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  2. Not watched this show . Thanks for wonderful the review. Will check it out soon .

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  3. Thanks for bringing the show to life for me. It's been on my list for a while, your write-up makes me want to watch it soon. From the toxic family perspective, I am still unlearning a lot of things that'll make me a better person, a daughter, a wife and a mother, also a cousin. Still, I have moments where I lose it because it really hurts to think how things have changed over time with some cousins. We all sometimes search and seek comfort in the unknown. That really makes life much better and beautiful to fall back on such amazing characters from books and TV. Thanks for this.

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  4. What a wonderful review :D Thank you for sharing this :)

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  5. I loved This is Us! Felt so down when the series got over. Just so beautifully written and enacted. My favourites were Randall and Rebecca. Jack almost feels unreal. How can any husband or father be so endearing? And of course Miguel in the last Season. They could turn on the waterworks with each episode. I am so glad that you watched this series!

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