This Is Us is a solid fan favourite, but the show proved it can stand with even the heaviest hitter that prestige TV has to offer when it won the award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series at the Screen Actors Guild awards tonight.
The NBC tearjerker (the only network show nominated) which traces the fraught and moving relationships of the Pearson clan, beat out Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, The Crown and The Handmaid's Tale — and no one seemed more surprised at the upset than the cast itself.
This Is Us cast members Sterling K. Brown (who won the award for Male Actor in a Drama Series earlier in the night for his role as Randall Pearson), Chrissy Metz, Milo Ventimiglia, Kevin Hartley, Mandy Moore, Ron Cephas Jones, Eris Baker, Lonnie Chavis, Faithe Herman, Chris Sullivan, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Hannah Zeile came onstage to accept the award.
Ventimiglia, accepting the award on behalf of his co-stars, attributed the show's success to its hopeful message:“To the people that watch with us every Tuesday night and embrace this show that reflects positivity and hope and inclusion: We love you and thank you very much.”
In a year where Hollywood has been coming to terms with issues of sexism, sexual assault and harassment within the industry, it seemed like the frontrunner would be Handmaid's Tale, Hulu's adaptation of the Margaret Atwood classic. But if you think about it, a This Is Us win makes sense. Like Stranger Things, the show has managed to cast incredible young talent, whose growing roles in Season 2 have elevated the show beyond just a cryfest. We're not just gaining insight into Randall, Kate and Kevin as adults — we're learning along with them.
What's more, it's a show that has consistently told stories from a diverse set of perspectives, all anchored in an unwavering sense of family, love and hope for the future. By casting a plus-size actress in a role that is not always about her weight, it has pushed for better representation of plus-size women onscreen. It has made a point of showing experiences specific to Black families with respect and attention to detail, instead of relegating them to second-tier narratives, as so often happens. It doesn't shy away from some tough questions, while making us feel like all things are possible.
So, since the Pearsons may make us cry on a weekly basis, let's all rejoice in the fact that for once, we can watch them with a smile.