There are times when we watch our favorite television shows and we find characters that embody all the qualities a person wants in an actual human being. The compassionate husband and father from This Is Us, Jack Pearson (played by Gilmore Girls and Heroes alum Milo Ventimiglia), is one of those characters that many of us just love and some are still trying to figure out. He possesses all the unique qualities that make women wish they could be with him and men wish they could be him.
I received the initial hype for This Is Us from my friends and family who were following the NBC drama and added it to my list of Must-Watch TV Shows for the Year. They did not give a significant amount of information about the show; instead, all they told me was that it focused on a special set of individuals whose lives intersect because of a shared birthday. But there is more to the story than one would have guessed. At the beginning, the audience is introduced to a husband named Jack and his pregnant wife, Rebecca; an actor named Kevin who faces some sort of existential crisis about what direction his life is going; a woman named Kate who has a goal of losing weight; and then there is Randall, a gifted husband and father of two that has a hard-to-explain job and who recently discovers the identity and the location of his biological father. After watching the first episode and being surprised by the intriguing twist that links the characters, I, like many other viewers, was then immediately taken on an emotional ride.
Every Tuesday night, I was always excited to see what story or what direction each episode was going to take, and after the first three episodes, it became very clear that my favorite character was Jack Pearson.
One reason to love Jack is his commitment to his wife, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and his family. He also knows what to say and do at the right time. There were many times when his wife or three children, Randall, Kate, and Kevin were facing extremely tough and tense situations. There is one scene where he addresses his adopted son Randall’s sense of isolation and insecurity by taking Randall to work for Take Your Son to Work Day and he says to Randall, “You are every part my son,” proving to Randall how much he means to him. Even though Randall is Jack’s adopted son, it is clear that he is still his son who has the same qualities and quirks of Jack.
When he is with Rebecca, he is committed to supporting, comforting, and loving her. Even when she feels down, confused, or misguided, Jack always finds some way to be committed to her happiness, either through pieces of memorabilia or abrupt bursts of energy or excitement with the family. Rebecca sees these different exhaustive efforts from Jack and understands the lengths and the risks he would go for her to bring her happiness. For this reason, Jack and his commitment to his family and others around him have inspired many viewers, and it makes them want to work harder to be a better spouse or parent.
Throughout the winding structure of the show’s timeline in the first season, it was never doubtful how hard Jack worked to overcome any obstacles he faced in his life. In this series, he does everything he can to find solutions to problems he faces with his children, job, wife, or self. He is able to seemingly energize his three triplet children by naming them “The Big Three” and focuses an equal amount of attention and care to each of them as much as possible.
This is especially seen during the “Three Sentences” episode where Jack and Rebecca decide to host three separate birthday parties for the triplets’ tenth birthday. Throughout the episode, he runs back and forth between parties, trying to ensure that each of the children’s events is equally entertaining.
Later in the season and further into his marriage, Jack tries to juggle his job at the construction company while also paying attention to his wife’s dream of being in a band and his children’s struggling teenage years. Jack’s time with Rebecca was beautiful and romantic and viewers can see that he put as much effort as he can into his relationship, especially when Rebecca tries to travel with her band on tour and Jack is left in full care of the children. Viewers can see that he is understanding with Rebecca and tries to be the support she needs.
The one thing that is not addressed as much during the show is Jack’s care of himself. Throughout the first season, Jack struggles with alcoholism and uses his hard work to stay sober for his wife and children. Unfortunately, he does stray a little around the later half of the season, but as the first season ends, viewers are left to wonder if Jack will rise from this downfall or if it will, inevitably, lead to his untimely death. It seems we’ll have to wait until season two to find out what becomes of everyone’s new favorite TV husband.
This Is Us returns to NBC on September 26.
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Characters We Love: Jack Pearson of ‘This Is Us’: Photograph courtesy of NBC