Saying Goodbye to the Pearson Family

“This is Us” comes to an end, and why I’ll miss Rebecca most

They have been weekly guests in my home for the last seven years—before COVID was a word, and before Apple TV, Paramount, and YouTube TV were viewing options. Sometimes the visits were heartwarming and fun, but more often, our family gatherings around the kitchen table over Thanksgiving dinners were filled with stress and drama. Together, we’ve weathered untimely deaths, addictions, divorces, and illnesses. Simply put, we’ve been there for each other. Or rather, I’ve been there for them. Truth is, they have never acknowledged my loyalty because the Pearson family is too busy worrying about the Pearson family. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Which is why I’m still here for them, tissue box beside me, preparing to say goodbye to the gang on the NBC hit drama, This is Us after seven rollercoaster years. Are they the most narcissistic woe-is-me group of whiners inhabiting the airwaves today? Perhaps, but, like family, we love them anyway.

I’m loyal to my TV friends. It’s the only explanation I have for suffering through the excruciating final season of How I met Your Mother. It’s why I continued hanging with the ladies on Mom after Anna Faris left the show. And it’s why I stuck with Mad Men long after Don Draper and the gang left the cool martini era of the 60’s. And it’s why I’ll be right alongside those Pearson kids as they stand together around Rebecca’s bed to say their goodbyes to their mother.

Speaking of Rebecca…

After seven years of analyzing each Pearson family member under the microscope, I have concluded that I’m going to miss Rebecca most. Caught between dreams of being a singer, duties to her family, and looking for love again after losing the love of her life, this flawed character is believable and real as she tries to make the best of difficult situations while also constantly reminding her children that they are her everything. The fact that 50+ women everywhere can relate to actress Mandy Moore (AKA Rebecca), currently in her late 30’s, is testament to her acting skills as she regularly portrays Rebecca in her later years. Her acting is believable—whether she is portraying Young Rebecca navigating through courtship, or Mature Rebecca finding her way again post-Jack.  

If you want proof of just how relatable Rebecca is to the everyday woman, let’s look at a recent episode where Young Mother Rebecca goes out to dinner with Jack to celebrate their anniversary. She proceeds to get quite drunk, and when the two of them are forced to rush home to save the babysitter, they later sit down with the kids to discuss what happened. After Rebecca and Jack learn from the boys that the babysitter was “mean” to their sister, Rebecca asks, “What do you mean, mean?” She then pauses, pondering what she just said, and repeats, more to herself, “Mean, mean,” causing her to laugh at her own joke—a joke no one else finds humorous. This small moment is priceless, making me love her even more.  

I measure the likability of TV and literary characters I come across on my viewing and reading adventures based on the type of conversation the two of us might have over a drink. I not only can envision Rebecca and me laughing over drinks, but I can also see myself telling the bartender, “We’ll have another.” While I will miss the entire Pearson family, I will miss Rebecca most. Maybe down the road, we’ll catch up on Netflix.