This is Us

By Dan Fogelman NBC, 2017, Tuesdays at 8/9 central time Last week launched the new season of This Is Us, an NBC drama series that showcases the lives of three children — Kate, Kevin and Randall — and their parents. The show flips back and forth between their childhood and present day. Uniquely the show centers around the transracial adoption of Randall and how that has impacted the lives of all the family members. Sterling K. Brown, who plays Randall became the first black actor to win the Outstanding Lead role in a Drama Series since the late 1990s at the Emmys just a few weeks ago. The show has captured the attention of viewer nationwide, but especially those in the adoption community. In the first season, This Is Us highlighted the challenges of raising a transracially adopted child in the 70s, shared Randall’s reconnection with this dying birth father and the issues he faced growing up as a black child in a white family. It also showcased Kate’s ongoing difficulties with losing weight and her complex relationship with both her mother and her twin brother Kevin. In addition, the show draws attention to Kevin’s mixed feelings about having a black brother with a starkly different personality than his own and how all the children’s experiences play against those of their parents who were raising three young children. These complex issues are dynamically displayed in this series, highlighting the fact that the writers have done their homework on the intricacies of transracial adoption and the many ways it not only impacts the child who is adopted, but all the family members. Some transracial adoptees have worked with the show’s writers and actors to help them understand what it means to grow up black in a white family. Other shows like The Fosters have drawn light to foster care and adoption in recent years, but This Is Us does an impeccable job of really digging into the deep stuff in a realistic way. While this show is a must-see for all those impacted by transracial adoption, adoptive parents should be aware that it could drag up some deep and difficult feelings for children. Conversely, it could prompt some equally deep and difficult discussions between parents and children. As the new season gets underway, it will be interesting to see how the transracial adoption issues continue to play and how they tackle foster care issues as Randall and his wife prepare to become foster parents. This season is sure to have everyone on the edge of their seats. — Reviewed By Kim Phagan-Hansel

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