By: McKayla Kovach
One of NBC’s currently most loved television series, “This Is Us,” is back this fall and tackles the difficult topics that are currently happening in America. The romantic, drama, tragedy, family-centered show aired the premier of season five on October 27th, 2020 with a two-hour special.
While “This Is Us” continues their plotline from season four into the new season, topics such as the Covid Pandemic and Black Lives Matter Movement are also incorporated and will likely play a large role throughout the entire season.
“This Is Us” has never been privy to incorporating emotionally challenging topics in their plot and dialogue. Themes of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, physical health issues such as obesity, reproductive health issues, racism and LGBTQIA have all played a major role. In both America and the show, the Black Lives Matter movement may be the most paramount issue to be faced yet.
In this clip from the season five premier, a deeply honest and important conversation occurs between black brother and white sister, Randall and Kate Pearson, involving Black Lives Matter. Randall implies the severe racial injustice of George Floyd’s death when saying that “this isn’t the first black person to be killed on camera.” As the conversation continues Randall reminds Kate that “things like this have been happening to black people for years and we’ve never talked about it.” With such a large platform and audience, it is great that “This Is Us” is portraying the exhaustion, anger, and sadness that the black community as well as others are facing.
As viewers, we are abruptly reminded that the Black Lives Matter movement has been an ongoing fight throughout the entire history of our country. Protests and riots may have seemingly started over one black death, but indeed the death of George Floyd was just the tip of the iceberg. This movement is not just for black deaths that are rarely portrayed in the media, but for the black deaths caused by police brutality and black deaths that never received justice or corrective actions to be taken.
Education on matters such as basic human rights regarding Black Lives Matter is something that is lacking in the United States. If including these topics does anything, I hope it encourages people to do their own research, make their own opinions and most importantly take the corrective actions to further prevent these injustices from occurring.
“This Is Us” audience demographics include 79 percent white, 8 percent African American, 7 percent Asian, 7 percent Hispanic and 2 percent other. By incorporating Black Lives Matter into one of the most popular current television shows, we hope to see a continuous increase in support, empathy and donations towards the black community and racial injustice funding in America.
As television shows continue to premier their newest seasons this fall and winter, I hope to see a continued theme of raising awareness on important matters such as the Black Lives movement. “This Is Us” has certainly set a great example for the television and film industry to uphold.
Lawler, Kelly. “Study: How Diverse Are the Audiences for ‘This Is Us,’ ‘Empire,’ ‘Westworld’?” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 29 June 2018, www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2018/06/28/how-diverse-audiences-us-empire-westworld-nielsen/738216002/.