NBC’s Emmy-nominated series “This Is Us” returned to television for its fifth season on Tuesday, October 27. The show—starring Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley, and Chrissy Metz—is known for telling diverse stories and tackling important issues, such as race, sexuality, addiction, body image, and adoption, authentically. But this season promises to be the most true-to-life of them all, as the harsh realities of 2020 become the backdrop for the Pearson family drama.
This year, unlike any other, has undoubtedly brought the world to its knees. The COVID-19 pandemic forced some of the biggest cities across the globe into lockdown. Schools closed early. Restaurant and small businesses shut their doors for months. Social distancing and other COVID guidelines hampered interactions with loved ones, near and far. Then the Black Lives Matter movement came to the forefront and shun a light brighter than ever before on police brutality and the systemic oppression of black Americans.
During a press call for the show before the premiere, creator Dan Fogelman confirmed that “This Is Us” would incorporate both matters into this season’s storylines and shared why he made the deliberate decision.
“Our choice has been to be apolitical. We don’t speak of Democrat or Republican, or you know who, on the show. It’s more about just American life. When I was sitting down and weighing the decision of what we were going to do, just considering where our show lives with this American family that has a lot of different pockets and spans time, it felt almost irresponsible not to take on the moment,” he said. “It’s really what these characters, if they were real human beings, would be dealing with in the world right now.”
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“It’s such a unique perspective for someone like Randall, who’s always sort of questioning his identity as it is. He knows that he is black, but the way in which he was raised and the conversations that happened in his house are not necessarily representative of the conversations that he wants to have with his children, by virtue of what didn’t happen,” Brown, who plays Randall, said.
“One of the things I said to Dan when we first got these episodes was it’s like they eavesdropped in on people’s lives. Like everybody in America, they just kind of had an ear to their door because so much of it was things that I had lived or I know people have lived.”
“The world is a brilliant, resilient place. We fight on…This pain is not forever. This moment in time is not forever. Nothing is forever—except us,” Beth says to Randall.