The new fall hit on NBC, This is Us, has had viewers hooked from the very first episode. And with the surprise ending to that episode, much of the buzz is about Randall’s adoption, including the questions of “Is he adopted?” and “How did they bring him home with no preparation or planning?” Folks are buzzing further about how the adoption angle will play out in the character-driven story lines during the season. The writers have been quite open about the fact that Randall’s character is integral to the dynamics of all three of the intertwined characters. The issues of transracial adoption, particular to the family dynamics that created the opportunity for the adoption, and the cultural norms of the 1970’s when he was adopted, will all play into how the Randall’s character develops and how the relationships between the siblings and their parents unfold.
Sterling K. Brown, who plays Randall, discussed how that plays into his character’s identity. “It will be interesting to see how Randall’s socialization, how he interacts with the African-American community, how his wife grounds him… the struggles his parents make to introduce him to his culture, the things they need to learn.”
The show’s writers are fully aware of the need to do the storylines well and to delve deeply into the many layers of each character’s journey. When it comes to developing Randall’s character, Dan Fogelmann told Entertainment Weekly,
There’s a white family in a predominantly white neighborhood adopting a black child. There are three children in one home which is a stress in and of itself. One of those children is replacing essentially a child who died, and with grief and loss. So there’s a lot of complicated elements in that storyline. And then there’s just the typical elements that happen in life.
I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly looking forward to watching This is Us and experiencing the unfolding of this family’s story. Let’s hope they continue to handle the issues of transracial adoption in ways that are true to the eras acrosswhich the show is set and with respect for the experiences of the adoptee. This is Us airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. on NBC.
Photo Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC