It's time to confess, I'm in love with Randall Pearson on This Is Us




I'm quite sure you are, too.

How can you not love this man?

I know Randall isn't a real person, he's a television show character brought to life by some mighty fine acting by Sterling K. Brown.

Throw in excellent scripts for every episode, a "time period" prop closet the size of Texas and you have the perfect storm for success. But I still love him, fictional character be damned.

Not much of a television viewer, I prefer movies or Blackhawks hockey games when I need to be entertained on the small screen. I tried watching Friends once but didn't understand it. That's probably a good thing.

In January, after hearing all the praises for This Is Us, my husband and I decided to give it a try. Starting with the pilot, we binge-watched the series through blubbering tears to get caught up in the storyline.

We were hooked in the first four minutes. Big time.

I've never seen an extended family portrayed so realistically in the entertainment world. Every single character has something I can relate to and have empathy for, from Toby to Rebecca. Each role is perfectly cast, from Beth to Dr. K.

Child actors have always seemed a little too "practice emotions in the mirror" and stage-mothered. Perfect teeth, expensive haircuts and an abundance of adorableness.  In flashbacks, the Pearson triplets remind me of your kids. They resemble my own kids when they were young, picked right off the playground. Not a Screen Actors Guild membership on the line or a self-conscious, passing glimpse to the camera lens to be found.

I love this Pearson family at every age.

Randall and I don't have anything in common. He's African-American, adopted by a white family as an infant after being left at a fire station in Pittsburg. Brilliant in math at his private school, he's now a successful derivatives trader. He lost his beloved adoptive father, Jack, as a teenager and recently lost his "finally found" biological father, William.

I'm a white female, old enough to be his mother and no adoptions have occurred in my family. Math is a sore subject with me and I haven't a clue what a derivative is. I lost my dad in my late thirties.

So why has Randall gotten to me on the television screen?

Because he's brilliant.

I love him.

When he's on the screen, every word coming out of his mouth is worth listening to. I'll rewind to watch his scenes over and over again.

Randall's history of anxiety and panic attacks is heartbreaking and non-Hollywood true to life. A mental collapse in his office was raw but also subtle. Trying to keep it together, you can see the pain inside his head by a simple trembling hand. How refreshing.

I know, I've been there too, Randall.

The Thanksgiving "Pilgrim Rick" episode is my favorite. I've probably watched it 764 times. Not fond of Thanksgiving as a child, Randall wants every fourth Thursday in November to be just like this one. That includes eating hot dogs wrapped in Kraft singles and rolled in crushed saltines with Thanksgiving dinner. Wearing his late father's special Pilgrim Hat and unraveling the ball of yarn from Kate's itchy sweater while expressing what you are thankful for are mandatory. A family screening of the movie, "Police Academy III," completes the long-standing Pearson Thanksgiving traditions. Now what's not to love about that? I want to spend Thanksgiving at Randall's home.

This family is frightfully authentic. Not a laugh track to be heard.

Speaking of tracks, the music soundtrack has us running to You-Tube to look up songs by Cat Stevens in the seventies. The music plays a leading role worthy of an Emmy.

This Is Us doesn't resemble a television show with actors making their marks. If feels like multiple hidden cameras are documenting a real family behind closed doors, but not in a Kardashian kind of way. This is a family you love. The Pearson's story weaves the past into the present and back again flawlessly like a Mozart symphony.

Health issues, loss of jobs, death, forgiveness, anger, bullying, humor, self-worth, trust, falling in love, falling out of love, addictions, disappointments, resolutions. It's all there. The stuff of life.

This is all of us.

Randall's relationship with his newly-found, biological father William is fraught with emotion and eventually, deep love and devotion. William is dying of cancer when they finally connect after thirty six years. Their father-son road trip to William's roots in Memphis is a love story for the ages.

William was right, Randall. Roll down the windows. Listen to the music. Let someone else make your bed.

In their short time together, William taught his uptight son to appreciate the small miracles in life, throw caution out the car window and slow down so you can get to know your mailman.

Good advice, dad.

I can't wait to see where the next season takes you, Randall.

You are a terrific father and the child you hope to adopt will continue the circle of your life.

I have total faith in you.

You are a beautiful man.

I love you.

Even if you are a television character.

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Filed under: Lifestyle, Observations

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