This Is Us

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
This Is Us TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Adult-oriented dramedy puts a fresh spin on family ties.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 16 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show makes a major theme of the proverbial "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade," stressing values such as strength, perseverance, courage, hope, and gratitude. Other important themes include family, communication, and human connection.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are flawed but gain strength from family connections. Mothers and fathers make important and lasting influences on their children; brothers and sisters support each other unconditionally. Male characters are sensitive and open to expressing emotions (and they certainly have lots of opportunities on this often tear-jerking series!). 


Some storylines involve death and illness (including infant loss).


Sexual situations include foreplay with some sexy talk, bare male torsos, and bare buttocks.


Characters use words such as "damn," "hell," "ass," "dyke," "crap," and "screw."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking, sometimes to excess; cigarette smoking. A main character is an alcoholic and the habit creates problems within the family.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that This Is Us focuses on the lives of adults who are grappling with decidedly adult problems, from weight and body image issues to reuniting with estranged parents who abandoned them. You'll hear characters use words such as "fat ass," "suck," "bull dyke," "crap," "damn," and "screw you," and you'll see some kissing, along with bare male chests and buttocks. There's social drinking, too, occasionally to drunkenness, and some secondary characters smoke cigarettes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGreat G. February 6, 2018
Warning!!!!this show is very sad and depressing at points there is an adopted African American child an obeast sister and brother who is an alcoholic much of th... Continue reading
Adult Written byChristian-Phili... September 21, 2016

Well Worth Watching

What an awesome show. It is well written, well acted, intelligent and provocative. It's definitely well worth taking the time to watch. I was pleasantly su... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySomebody26 November 6, 2018


This is Us has stellar cast, and the writers incorporate new characters and storylines into the show flawlessly.
Kid, 10 years old January 24, 2018

I Love This Show!

Everyone in the world should be watching This Is Us. It is a great show and good gor anyone over 10.

What's the story?

THIS IS US links the lives of three characters who, at least on the surface, couldn't be any more different -- except that they all happen to share the same birthday. Kate (Chrissy Metz) is a single girl locked in a lifelong battle with her own body. Kevin (Justin Hartley) is a successful sitcom star who longs to be taken seriously. And Randall (Sterling K. Brown) is a devoted dad who's determined to find the father who abandoned him. Meanwhile, expectant couple Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) are poised to become parents for the first time. Turns out, all these characters are part of the same close family. They deal with love, loss, illness, and both joyous and tragic moments, while the viewers get to see how the past affects the present, and how this caring family unit grows and changes over a period of nearly 35 years. 

Is it any good?

In addition to compelling characters that defy stereotypes, this fresh take on family drama delivers a surprise twist that will likely hook you. Its unique pilot sets up the show's interesting premise (spoiler alert): it takes place in two timelines. The Pearson family is shown in both the '80s and the present day, and it's fascinating to watch how the past affects the present for each character. In less capable hands, the twists, turns, and family drama might seem melodramatic, but as it is, each reveal is more moving than the last and often will elicit a storm of tears. Families with teens who can handle complex emotional issues will enjoy watching (and crying!) together as the Pearsons figure out how to keep it together over the years.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about This Is Us's central theme of "taking the sourest lemons that life has to offer and turning it into something that resembles lemonade." How are the characters attempting to apply that mantra to their lives? Is it possible to put a positive spin on every problem?

  • To what degree does This Is Us push the envelope in terms of casting and character development? Why is popular media that defies commonly held stereotypes so important?

  • How does This Is Us compare to other shows about family relationships and human connection? Is it making an obvious attempt to be different, and does it work?

  • How do the characters in This Is Us demonstrate communication, courage, and gratitude? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love family drama

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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