This Is Us


“Do the one thing they always tell writers not to do. Watch T.V.”  From 99 Ways to Get Inspired to Write by Smart Blogger

You may discover interesting plot ideas in television shows; however, some programs may teach you about good quality writing.

Watching the television show, “This Is Us,” may help you learn to use flashbacks as well as flash-forwards effectively in your writing. If you’re not familiar with this show, please view it starting from the first episode. There was a jaw-dropping revelation in the last scene that set the pace for future episodes. When I viewed that episode and others a second time several weeks later, I picked up on the foreshadowing I missed the first time around.

This drama weaves the past and present seamlessly in every hour-long episode while portraying humor, diversity, obesity, career crises, abandonment, family dynamics, panic attacks, and death with an abundance of love, emotion, and passion.

Writers for this program are superb. They create surprising moments in every episode. A clue to the heart of the series is found on a lamp table in a seemingly insignificant photo of three apparent friends. This well-placed clue reminds me of a child’s shoe tossed aside and ignored in Mary Higgins Clark’s novel, Where Are the Children?

Without giving away the plot of “This Is Us,” I ask you to take notice of what a fireman did, now illegal, while standing in a hospital waiting room. I later realized that scene was a flashback. The superb writers returned later to that character, revealed his backstory and his significant connection to the main characters.

The appearance of a family friend in a different role, surprised me and generated extensive, detailed discussions the next day with avid fans of the show.

When you view the show, take note of the way the writers interweave the past with the present. You can learn good writing from them.



    • Karen Kittrell on March 12, 2017 at 8:21 pm
    • Reply

    I watched this show at the beginning of the season. You are absolutely correct about keeping straight the time period. Half watching the show at the end of the day, I did get confused about the parents with small children and the grown children in the later time period. Every episode was well written with dynamic characters. I will watch it as a season later, I’m sure. And I will look for the foreshadowing. Great Post!

    • Kelly Bixby on March 8, 2017 at 11:00 am
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    I’m not one to watch t.v., but I’m intrigued by good writing. Hope I can find This is Us on video. Thanks, Barbara.

    • Kook-Wha Koh on March 6, 2017 at 1:35 pm
    • Reply

    It is a good story.
    I enjoyed to read it.

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