Why I Won't Be Watching "This Is Us"



Last night I watched the premiere of "This Is Us".  It's probably not a show that I would have jumped to watch, except that I saw so many people mentioning it on Facebook the day after.  A Christian author (who shall remain nameless) even touted it as the possible next "Parenthood", so I figured I had to check it out.





First, I have to say, I really do like the premise underneath the show.  I saw the surprise "twist" coming from the start.  Spoiler alert (skip the rest of this paragraph if you don't want to know) - two of the characters are living in an earlier timeframe and are the parents of "triplets" - the other characters in the show, one of whom was an adopted triplet.  I thought this could have been a great way to promote adoption in a positive way, so what I have to say next comes as a disappointment in more ways than one.

I started to get a little uncomfortable watching the show, starting with some brief backside nudity and crude sexual jokes.  Okay, maybe I'll have to overlook some things if I watch this show, I rationalized.  But maybe it could still be good.  So we kept watching.

Then, and I feel uncomfortable even typing this on my blog so excuse the broken words: they actually showed a clip that looked like bea.stiality po.rn and the two characters watching it made a joke about it.  They made a joke about it.

Guys, THIS IS NOT OKAY.

And that's when I realized that all my rationalizing, overlooking other crude things in the show, was maybe not okay either.  Because where does it stop?

They showed footage to portray be.ast.ility, for goodness sake.  On a mainstream TV show.  This is 100% wrong, and no one has said anything about it that I can see.  I examined the footage further to make sure it was really what I thought before I wrote this, and though it is "fake" po.rn, that makes no difference to me.  Maybe you think me naive for being shocked, but I am.  I would rather be shocked by depravity than numb to it.  We are seriously at the point in society where we not only joke about obscene behavior, but now we are showing visual glimpses of it.  We are training mainstream, prime-time TV viewers to find this okay.
  
And I say WE, because we are all a part of this.  We all allowed our media to get to this point, including those of us who are Christians, which I know is most of you reading this blog.  We rationalize, and we overlook, and now this is where we are.  A TV show visually showing and promoting se.xual devi.ancy and animal abuse, and no one mutters a word about it.  Where is the outrage?  Where are the Christians standing up and saying no?  Where are our standards?  If we watch shows like this and say nothing, they are in the gutter.  Our standards are in the gutter.  And maybe that shouldn't shock me, but it does.  That's where we are.  And it's only going to go down from here unless someone says no.

So that's why I am not watching that show.  I am deeply disappointed in it, but I think I'm even more disappointed that no one that I can see, no other believers in Jesus or even believers in decency, are crying foul.  So that's what I'm doing here.  I hope you will think seriously about this before you decide to view this show, because you have a part in what we will become.  And I want no part in a show that allows something like this.

Note: The clip is right around the 30 minute mark, for those of you who may want to confirm.  And an update - I have been informed by a couple people that the source of the video is a dolphin "trick" that just looks inappropriate.  As I said earlier, it was clear that it was not "real" po.rn - obviously, because if it was, the producers would be in jail for distributing ILLEGAL material.  But regardless of the clip source, in the context of the show, it was clearly meant to be a be.ast.iality po.rn clip, because the characters joked about legality.  There is no other way to interpret that scene, and I stand 100% by everything I said above.  
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Heather said...

Wow! I honestly missed it, but I believe it. Mainstream media is so twisted these days. I'm icredibly sad, because I was looking forward to the show. Thanks for standing up, and making it known...I don't need or want that kind of filth in our home. Ugh. :( :(

Leslie said...

I admire your honesty. I watched the show and enjoyed it and I never saw that clip during the show. I will definitely be more mindful of this.

Michelle said...

You know what makes me sad is the Christian Author promoting thos show like its the best thing ever. That is why I watched as well and even from the first scene I was like, she liked this? The show touched so many people but for me it left me feeling sad and disappointed. I watch all different shows so I wasnt shocked per se but the fact that its promoted as so good and wholesome is just sad.

Gina babybluemom.com said...

I have not ever heard of this show before. My husband and I just started watching Parenthood together. Even though it stresses us out a bit we have enjoyed it and it brings me back to some of my earlier Gilmore Girl days. Anyways, thanks for the synopsis on this and sad to hear what mainline TV is allowing now a days. I feel like so many shows and movies add these "extra" scenes and they are clearly not needed or adding anything special to the show itself.

Allison said...

Thanks for your honest review. I was thinking about watching it due to a well known Christian's promotion of it on social media. I will probably just skip it now.

Emily grapes said...

You pretty much hit it on the head with "where are your standards?" Too many find all this funny and "normal". They/we (lets be honest) most of the time, me, are all becoming numb to it because it's shoved in our faces on tv, billboards, and the internet (which I think has gotten so much worse with their sexual ads and articles). We see it and think, 'meh, what's the big deal' when it's really a huge deal and I appreciate you commenting about this show. I can't get it over here but have seen lots of people talking about it in the states.

Julie S. said...

I watched and I didn't see that scene you are referring to. Did you watch on tv or on Hulu? I'm wondering if the versions are different.

Caravan Sonnet said...

I am SOO thankful that you shared this review. I am heartbroken at where TV and media has taken us in this country. I literally wept after I read your post. Truly our country is need of great prayer. I was so thankful that you chose to share your thoughts. I too had seen many christian people encouraging and supporting this show and was thinking about checking it out when I saw your post. It breaks my heart to think that we as Christians help promote this show instead of taking a stand against this type of show. THANK YOU for sharing. Can I share your post? Your words were beautifully written and so well said.
Blessings, Rebecca

Carol B. said...

Good for you!!! I haven't even heard of the show (so who's naive now?) but I just wanted to encourage you in continuing in doing what is right! You are brave to go against the flow - as show it on social media - and all the better for it. :-)

Blessings,
Carol
puretsimple.blogspot.com

Kaylene Elise said...

thanks for the heads up. I was wondering about the show as i'd also seen it mentioned on facebook several times.

Heather Grace said...

I appreciate your honest review, and I think you're right to not watch it if it's going to brush up against your morals too much.

However, as a Christian woman myself, I feel a bit like you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater here. The brief nudity was shown between a husband and a wife and the scene with the "dolphin sex" was so short I barely even remembered it. The overall message of the show is what grabbed me... an inside look into very intimate parts of a family's life as it's changed forever and how their relationships evolve over time. I LOVED it!

I've now watched the second episode as well, and it's very apparent that the show is about people who don't have traditional Christian values. But, I don't feel like this offends my sense of morality. If anything I believe I can appreciate their lives and their choices for what they are without feeling like it will affect my own life and choices. (This isn't to say that they're "bad" people in the show... they just don't abstain from premarital sex or drinking to excess). Plus, I think the overall show is quite heartwarming and I'm excited to continue to watch the love and relationships between all of the characters.

Michelle said...

People have been praising this show, so I'm so glad you wrote this. I'll be staying away! I agree--this is not okay and we shouldn't have to compromise our values.

Callie said...

Heather, thanks for expressing your thoughts here - I understand what you are saying, but I can't say I agree with your position. Just because there are some other good parts in a show doesn't mean we shouldn't carefully evaluate what kind of things we are letting into our homes - and what it says to others when we are willing to overlook things that frankly, should never be overlooked. We are talking about ILLEGAL behavior (to perform and to watch), something that is absolutely grievous to God, that was joked about in this show like it was no big deal. It IS a big deal. Where are we going to draw our lines? They must be drawn at some point. Hollywood will never stop trying to push it, and we need to decide how much of it we are going to take, and how much is too much. Something that vile should NEVER be on a primetime TV show, and I'm honestly pretty disappointed that so many Christians are excusing it, as if a few good parts make up for characters watching be.ast.iality po.rn, with us viewing a glimpse of it. There are many good shows on TV that explore family relationships and DON'T allow this disgusting material. It's not as if This Is Us is our only option - and even if it was, so what? I think it speaks a lot to how much we have let ourselves become desensitized if this doesn't shock us, and if we are willing to overlook it for the sake of a few feel-good moments.

Anonymous said...

I googled This Is Us dolphin scene just because I was aghast to see that and assumed there would be a lot of negative comments about it online. You're right that people seem to not think it's a big deal. I'm actually an atheist so none of the nudity or human sexual relationships are bothersome to me but I think the dolphin thing would be crossing a line for anyone with good judgement, regardless of religion.

Callie said...

Totally agree!

Callie said...

Thank you for commenting! I totally agree, it is definitely crossing a line, and I'm pretty disappointed that everyone is so willing to overlook it. There has to be a line somewhere, and I think everyone should think a little more critically about this kind of thing.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for having the courage to speak out! My husband and I have started show after show on Netflix (we live in Russia), only to encounter a sex scene (outside of marriage) in the very first episode. Even if they are just waking up on the "morning after," it kind of ruins it for us. Sometimes we forget and try again later and wonder why we stopped watching 3 minutes in. I'm kind of surprised how many of my friends are promoting Gilmore Girls right now. I'm tempted to watch it myself, but I know the values will make me uncomfortable. I do think we draw the line at different places based on how God has convicted us, and since becoming a mother there isn't a lot that I can tolerate. Where are the family-friendly shows?

Ashley said...

I haven't seen it and am not going to. We got rid of TV 2 1/2 years ago, and this is why! We only watch DVD's or Netflix now. Even cartoons, we have to be selective.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your review. We have heard so many Christians talking about this show, I finally decided to look for details online and stumbled on your review. Though my family takes a strict stand on what is viewed on our television (we always ask, "Would we watch this with Jesus?" which rules out most everything, including old tv shows and movies), we try not to judge the choices made by fellow believers. However, it's appalling how many of us Christ-followers embrace the shows and movies put out by Hollywood. Pre-marital sex, profanity, infidelity, homosexuality, drug use, beastiality, rape, murder...we've become desensitized to what is clearly against God's Word and His character. We justify what we watch even though Hollywood pushes and promotes what is clearly influenced by the evil one. Our family has made the mistake of watching a t.v. show that a pastor has touted. (Case in point...Downtown Abbey, a show very popular amongst believers at our church. A show that featured homosexuality and infidelity.) We no longer pay attention to suggested movies or t.v.shows that Christians call "clean." With that being said, our family often feels like prudes, so it is encouraging to read that there are others out there who feel like we do. We will skip this show, but say in closing...just as important as purity is the fruit of the Spirit which includes loving and being patient with those Saints who may not have the same convictions my family and I do.

Karen Arnavat said...

OH My Goodness THANK YOU so much or writing this and those who are feeling the same exact way that I was/am after watching the new episode last week. It has been so heavy on my heart over the last week whether I should watch again tomorrow night or not. I was totally convicted by the openess of homosexuality, and all of the premaritial sex. I had actually text a good friend of mine (she is a Christian)and asked her if she was convicted by any of the content and she said NO she and he husband LOVE it but if it is in my heart not to watch it that is my thing. She said she felt it was one of the "cleaner" secular TV shows out there now. I kept thinking but it clearly has content that goes against everything about God. I am so glad I googled Should Christians be watching "This is Us" today. I am thankful for the Holy Spirits discernment (somethings I seem to brush off but this one stuck). God bless you all - Karen

Anonymous said...

I had watched the first season ... binge watching and missed some of the things mentioned. This previous episode last week put me over the edge. The producers started rather cleverly introducing an extended version of the godless things only previously alluded to in the first season. I will no longer watch the show.

Trina said...

Thank you for your article. I too became very curious about this movie because people have been talking about it. Yesterday, I heard someone even mention it on Christian radio so I said "oh this must be a good show". As I was starting the first episode, I was shocked to see a man's behind. On the first episode! I was shocked and I immediately turned off the TV. I googled "Should Christians watch "this is us" ?"and was lead to your blog. I am so thankful for bold and honest Christians like you. I have no interest to continue watching this show. As Christians, we really have to be careful what we feed our minds. Thank you.

sandi said...

Wow....I thought I was the only one who saw the 'dolphin' scene and quickly turned it off!! Would you even believe that an associate pastor at our church told the congregation that EVERYONE should watch this show and how he cries almost every time it comes on!! I...could...not...believe...my...ears. I just don't understand where purity went. Thank you for your honesty ❣

Maggie said...

I keep seeing all my Christian friends recommending it on Facebook too, which is the only reason I ever tried watching the show. My husband and I couldn't make it past the first 5 minutes with the indecency without turning it off. I was just looking for Christian reviews bc I keep seeing it recommended by Christians I really respect so I was wanting to find out if those first few mins of the first episode were indicative of the whole show... apparently so. :( I'll continue not to watch. It is sad that even other Christian media reviews (like Plugged In), while it mentions that there is partial nudity, don't warn against watching it.

Anonymous said...

I purchased season 1 on Amazon to rewatch. I missed the dolphin video the first time but not the second. THIS IS US is now THIS IS SICK. No matter how good the rest of the episodes, I cannot support a show that makes light of animal abuse. It is not funny!

gardenia rangel said...

We started watching this show my husband and I seemed ok at first then came the nudity like you said and the gay couple. The worst shocker for me was hearing one of my pastors recommend we watch it like if it had such great values to share christians really are falling away God said this would happen. Thank you for all the information your awesome 👏🏼 god bless

Cathy i Ambrose said...

I missed the clip. But when a character started using the Savior's name in vain, I was done. I love Him too much to let that one slide.

Unknown said...

But you were okay with Parenthood? I watched that show and really enjoyed it, but I did wish they had been a bit more modest in the behavior, especially of the teens. I was late to the game on this one, I've enjoyed it but since this family isn't Christian in a real sense, can we expect them to live by biblical commands? I would not let my daughter watch it as I don't think she is mature enough to understand the complexity of the issues. Thanks for your review though, I have similar thoughts about our entertainment choices. Very sad.

Callie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Callie said...

Hi, I'm not expecting secular characters written by secular writers to behave in a godly manner. What I am expecting is some standard of decency in what is being shown on prime-time television, and what was supposed to be portrayed in that clip was way over the line. Parenthood didn't have anything even comparable to what they were promoting as "normal" here. As I said above, we're going to have to draw a line somewhere, or where is this going to end? I haven't watched any of the show since the premiere, so I can't speak to the "issues" you're addressing. Thanks!

Kelley said...

Psalm 101:3 alone is probably a sufficient response to this comment.. I am sad that these sins were discussed here as if they were no big deal. Nudity on screen is not okay simply because the naked couple "is married." First, they are actors and are not married. Secondly, marriage justifies your spouse seeing your nudity, not a million strangers. And finally, there are many men (and women) who have struggled through addiction to pornography and may have been caused to stumble by these scenes. It is NOT okay. And beastiality is a very big deal, even if it was only for a moment so brief you almost forgot about it. Feelings don't change God's Word, which condemns these things.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your obedience and boldness to stand up and speak the truth. This show has deceived so many with its nuanced ways of normalizing and glorifying sin. I pray that God would convict all those who call themselves by His name.
From a pastor who has been sickened and saddened by the support from those who go by Christ name.
God's favor to you and your family

Car Lady said...

I saw that scene. I just watched part of the first episode today and was completely appalled. Sad that some "Christian" friends recommended this show. This is in no way for christians.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for calling this out! I am googling trying to make sense of the vile scene I just saw. I’m not religious and will watch just about any ‘quality’ programming (loved Parenthood) regardless of belief system. I couldn’t agree with you more, this went too far. Christian or not - no, it’s absolutely not ok to make light of animal abuse or appalling behavior that has no place on a screen let alone a family show. This first episode will be my last.

Unknown said...

Thank you for this. I was mortified. Then o was thinking, is that what I really saw or are they just being crude about something that was really an innocent dolphin encounter. It offended my spirit terribly. Like I had just seen porn. I won't be watching either. I wanted to give it a shot because i have heard so much about it but that was a no deal breaker kind of thing for me. Glad to know I saw what I saw and the adversary can't just double talk me into thinking I didnt.

Unknown said...

Hi, I have been an avid fan of the show since season 1 episode 1, I have hung on every episode and wept over many of them, but for some reason I watched last week and decided my life would feel less stressed without this show, I'm culling shows from my lineup and this is one I will drop, I'm glad to read the comments here, I was unaware of any porn scene, very sad that it's there desensitizing our moral compass

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