So, continuing along on the bumpy journey called the new Fall TV season, here's another show that I was interesting in trying on for a fit. You've already heard about "Pitch" and the fact that I essentially threw it away (haha) after four episodes.
Well, NBC's "This Is Us" is hanging in there with me. But it could be deleted from my DVR queue at any moment. Certainly, I am watching episodes with a finger on the fast forward button. And that, my friends, is never ever a good sign.
This drama arrived with great expectations. The pilot was much bally-hooed. It was said to change TV forever as we know it. It might be able to cure cancer. Oh, yeah, and the pilot episode had an ending that would drop jaws to the floor all across America.
Well, I want to give you the status of my own jaw. It dropped to my waist, not the floor. Just to be clear. The conclusion of the pilot set up the gimmick from which the entire series would live. The only trouble is that I am finding that TV shows built on gimmicks don't necessarily have creative staying power.
Okay, in the pilot, we meet a bunch of unrelated characters who you know will be revealed to be related within the next 46 minutes without commercials. And that was the case. This was a family at various stages of its life. We meet the parents whose triplets are ready to be born. Indeed, they are, but one is stillborn. As a replacement, they immediately adopt a newborn baby boy that has been found abandoned on the streets of Pittsburgh. Given the diversity push of TV today, that child is naturally African-American.
So we follow this family at different eras. The young parents in the late 70s. The young parents and their young children circa 1985. And then the three children as they are in present-day America and in their mid 30s.
Each episode meanders between all three points in time, although a lot of the plot centers around what the children are like now. One son is a hunky actor trying to become a serious thespian. The daughter is grossly overweight and forging a relationship with some guy she met in an over eaters support group. And the other son, the Black adoptee, is a successful but bored businessman with a family but he's also just completed the task of finding his biological father.
Yeah, there's a lot going on. The only problem is not a lot of it is interesting. And the writing after the pilot grows increasingly unclever. It's like the producers went out to Costco and bought cliches in bulk.
The parents are only so-so interesting and we've already learned that Dad is now in an urn at the daughter's house. At the time, the chubby girl's plot line is equally as uninteresting. Meanwhile, the story line with the third kid's biological father seems like it was completely lifted out of a 1980s TV movie. It brings nothing to the creative table.
Indeed, the only character that holds my interest is the kid who's now the actor and even that is starting to wander into familiar territory. So far, he's the only one who has managed to avoid the fast forward button. No guarantees this won't happen moving forward.
I liked the notion of "This Is Us," but the concept is already wearing thin. The producers may have set up the gimmick too well. It only goes downhill from here.
"This Is Us" is the equivalent of owning a Porsche but then fueling it with the cheapest gasoline you can find.
Dinner last night: Stir fry vegetables.