BY JERÉ ANTHONY
They are broken. They are dysfunctional. They are real. Their stories are inspiring and have shattered my preconceived ideas of what a family is supposed to look like. I have cried and sobbed and had to pick myself up while my husband confusingly asked me, “Are you going to be ok? You know this is just a show right?” The show that I am talking about is the show that everyone is talking about, This is Us. If you haven’t watched it, I’ll try not to ruin any surprises.
The show’s plot follows a family focusing on each member’s individual journey following them back and forth between their past and present. We are able to understand each character fully because viewers are constantly seeing flashbacks of each characters backstory. This technique is really brilliant and allows characters to develop more quickly and helps us to get to know what really makes them tick
I am particularly intrigued with Randall’s story and his struggles throughout his life of coping with being a black child adopted into a white family. Although his life was full of privilege and he had loving parents, he struggles with this void in his identity. In the first episode we see him seek out his biological father and the relationship that develops between them has made my heart expand with love. I absolutely melted when we were introduced to William. His unending love for his son that he knew he wasn’t good enough to raise really spoke to me. Was William a bad person because he gave his son up? How could he just stand back and watch for all of those years? These questions flowed through my mind and I couldn’t help but let their realities sink in. This is real.
One of the reasons that everyone is watching and talking about this show, is that it hits home on more than one truth. The reality is that life is messy and the show has captured that in many ways as you see each character struggle with their own problems and hardships. My favorite quote from the show really just sums up the entire premise, “I like to think that one day you’ll be an old man like me talkin’ a young man’s ear off explainin’ to him how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade.”
I like to think of YOU when I hear that quote. As a CASA volunteer you may not be able to change something horrible that happened, you may not be able to change much at all because that is out of your control; but you can take the sourest lemon-that is child abuse and turn it into hope.
And that is all we can ask for, isn’t it?