I have a friend who once said that some things are cliché because they are true. Phrases that seem trite and overused are sometimes the best way to say what we want to say. They have become clichés because they express a truth like nothing else really can.
At times, I fight against what it seems a lot of people like or consider to be the best. But sometimes, it is because it is actually good that so many people rave about specific things. On Facebook, I’ve seen quite a few people talking about how much they loved the show “This Is Us.” With the school year wrapped up, I decided to give it a try.
I don’t think a show has ever pulled at my heart as much as this one has.
I love how they portray the complexity of the human heart. In this show, families are messy, imperfect, and crucial to our own identity. As the show unfolds, perfect facades crumble to reveal that everyone is striving to get through life doing the best they can and making numerous mistakes along the way. It is very human, which makes it simultaneously beautiful and frustrating. Though the families can be chaotic, a theme interwoven in the show is the importance of family. Whether they are blood relations or adopted family, the experiences we have in our homes shape how we interact with the rest of the world.
In a world that seems to insist that families can be replaced with technology or friend groups, it is refreshing to see families upheld as the place where we grow, change, and become who we are. Imperfect families, with parents fighting their own struggles and children feeling their own unique pains, are the places that shape us and show us how to love. “This Is Us” doesn’t claim that all families are perfect or should be perfect. I would say they are simply claiming that the role of family is irreplaceable.
Part of me wants to go through all of the episodes I’ve watched so far and tell you why I like them. But I won’t, because I want you to experience it for yourselves. Instead, I want to give a quote that comes up multiple times, but it is spoken in the very first episode.
The doctor who delivers the babies tries to comfort the father by giving him some advice. He says, “You took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade.” The show reveals that this sage (perhaps cliché) advice relates to so many people in so many different ways, in the show but also in my own life. This runs as another theme through “This Is Us” because, while cliche, it is true.
In a way, this is the theme of Christianity. From the darkest pain comes the glory of the Resurrection. In the midst of our own difficulties, we can strive to see how grace is present and active, transforming pain into beauty. It doesn’t mean we deny that pain exists, but rather that we choose to see through it and embrace the goodness to be found in this gift called life.
It might be cliche to call life a gift. Regardless, it is true.
(Images: Copyright 2016 NBCUniversal Media, LLC. Used under Fair Use Copyright laws)