The Series Philosopher

Philosophising about the 'S'-word: Watch… and learn

This Is Us

the-series-philosopher-this_is_us_logoThis Is Us is an American television comedy-drama series created by Dan Fogelman (Pitch, The Neighbors, Grandfathered) that premiered on NBC on September 20, 2016.

The ensemble cast stars Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Sullivan, and Ron Cephas Jones. It is about the family lives and connections of several people who all share the same birthday and the ways in which they are similar and different.


The series follows siblings Kate, Kevin and Randall as their lives intertwine. Kate and Kevin were originally part of a triplet pregnancy, conceived in a bar, Froggy’s, bathroom during Super Bowl XIV. However, their biological brother was stillborn. While their due date was October 12, 1980, they were born six weeks early on August 31. Their parents, Jack and Rebecca, intent on bringing home three babies, decide to adopt another newborn (Randall), a child who was born on the same day and brought to the same hospital after his biological father abandoned him at a fire station.

Episodes weave through the stories of the past and present of the characters, with most scenes taking place in 1980, 1989–1990, and the present day (2016–2017). Flashback scenes take place in Pittsburgh, while current scenes are typically split between Los Angeles, New Jersey, and New York City.

Cast and characters


  • Milo Ventimiglia (HeroesUltimate SpiderMan, Wolverine, Gotham) as Jack Pearson (born August 31, 1944; date of death unknown): Rebecca’s husband, Kate, Kevin and Randall’s father. All three of his children are born on his 36th birthday. Jack always wanted to find out who Randall’s biological father was, and never knew Rebecca had found him. Jack is struggling with alcoholism.
  • Mandy Moore (Grey’s Anatomy, EntourageRed Band Society) as Rebecca Pearson, née Malone (born 1950 or 1951): Jack’s wife, Kate, Kevin and Randall’s mother. Rebecca strives to be a better mother to her children, and has issues with Jack’s alcoholism.
  • Sterling K. Brown (American Crime StoryAmerican Wives, Person of Interest) (modern day), Lonnie Chavis (age 9) as Randall Pearson (born August 31, 1980), originally named Kyle: Jack and Rebecca’s son, and Kate and Kevin’s brother. When he was a newborn, he was dropped off in front of a firehouse by his biological father William, and then taken to the hospital, where he was adopted by Jack and Rebecca.
  • Chrissy Metz (American Horror Story: Freak Show) (modern day), Mackenzie Hancsicsak (age 9) as Kate Pearson (born August 31, 1980): Jack and Rebecca’s daughter, Kevin’s sister and former personal assistant who lives in Los Angeles, and Randall’s sister. When Kevin decides to move to New York, he fires Kate in order to have her try to build her own life, apart from him.
  • Justin Hartley (Revenge, Smallville, The Young and the Restless) (modern day), Parker Bates (age 9) as Kevin Pearson (born August 31, 1980): Jack and Rebecca’s son, Kate’s and Randall’s brother. In high school Kevin played football, wearing number twelve.
  • Susan Kelechi Watson (LouieThird Watch, The Following) as Beth Pearson: Randall’s wife, whom he married circa 1999. They have two daughters, Annie (Faithe Herman) and Tess (Eris Baker).
  • Chris Sullivan (The Knick) as Toby Damon: Born in Palm Springs, California, Toby is Kate’s fiance, whom she meets on her 36th birthday at a weight-loss support group. Very confident with his own obese image, he encourages Kate to have better self-esteem.
  • Ron Cephas Jones (Luke Cage, Mr. Robot, Banshee) (modern day), Jermel Nakia (in flashbacks) as William Hill (nicknamed Shakespeare): Randall’s biological father. Formerly a drug addict, he got clean after he thought he saw a monkey on the streets, then realized nothing good comes from a person being on the street at 3:30 at night.


  • Faithe Herman as Annie Pearson: Randall and Beth’s younger daughter.
  • Eris Baker as Tess Pearson: Randall and Beth’s older daughter.
  • Jon Huertas (Con Man, CastleSabrina, the Teenage Witch) as Miguel: Jack’s best friend in the past and Rebecca’s second husband. He is hated by Kevin after his dad’s death.
  • Gerald McRaney (House of Cards, Mike & MollyLongmire, Undercovers) as Dr. Nathan Katowski (“Dr. K.”): An elderly widower, whose wife of 53 years was named Caroline.
  • Janet Montgomery (Entourage, Black MirrorSalem) as Olivia Maine: Kevin’s former stage’s partner and ex-girlfriend, she is very cynical. After breaking up with Kevin, Olivia vanishes and stops showing up for the show rehearsals, but later returns to find Kevin dating Sloane.
  • Ryan Michelle Bathe (American Wives, Boston Justice) as Yvette: a close family friend of the Pearsons, and their initial conduit into black life.
  • Jill Johnson as Laurie: a member of Toby and Kate’s obese club.
  • Milana Vayntrub (Silicon ValleyER) as Sloane Sandburg: the writer of Kevin’s play, she begins to date Kevin at his family’s cabin following his breakup with Olivia.
  • Denis O’Hare (American Horror Story, The Good WifeThe Comedians, Brothers & Sisters, True Blood) as Jessie: William’s friend who was once his romantic partner.
  • Adam Bartley (Longmire, NCIS: Los Angeles) as Duke: works at a horse stable and provides a support system for Kate during her stay at an adult weight-loss camp
  • Alexandra Breckenridge (Save Me, The Walking Dead, Dirt, The Ex List, American Horror Story) (modern day), Sophia Coto (age 10) as Sophie: Kevin’s childhood love and ex-wife. He tries to reconcile with her after his relationships with Olivia and Sloane end.
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