Phoning Home with This is Us
You know how with a best friend you can go a span of time without talking because you are living your busy days and then suddenly it gets to be too long and you call and connect and everything falls into normal? That’s how I’m feeling with This is Us right now. It’s been too long.
I long to connect with the family that has somehow become mine.
I didn’t know our stories as adopted people could be accurately portrayed outside the bundles of our own skins until I saw Randall on This Is Us.
There's that moment in E.T. when the sweet alien reaches out to the sky and says, “E.T. phone home” when you try not to bawl because, at least if you were in the theater in 1982 and had no idea what was going to happen, you experienced the longing E.T. carried in his strange little body for the place he came from and you could also see the heartbreak on Elliot’s face because, I think, he saw E.T. as his and wanted his house to be E.T.’s home. He wanted E.T. so stay, but E.T. had the pull of home in his heart.
I saw that conflict in Randall. He loves his family, but he has the need to phone home in his heart. We got to see what happens when he meets home, his father, and how his mother in particular has to deal with her fear of losing her man-child to the planet of origin.
As anyone who has moved to a different country or state or even town can tell you, having two heart-homes is work. Our heart is one unit and it doesn’t like to be split. This is Us does such a fine job of showing how Randall negotiates loving two fathers, and then the memory of two fathers. The writers don’t make it look easy. They make it look real.
It makes such a difference to see your feelings and experiences acted out and validated on television. It means you are not alone. It means you are part of an us, and I am so grateful.