Why Jack Pearson of This Is Us Is the Epitome of Manhood
If you haven’t seen This Is Us, which is returning with its second season on September 26, you’ve been missing out. This family drama is heartwarming without being too sappy or sentimental. It offers a nuanced take on issues like racism, body image, and addiction without being too preachy. Each of its characters is easy to identify with. None of them are perfect—in fact, they’re deeply flawed but undeniably good people just trying to get through life. After all, this is a show that believes in people’s inherent goodness.
And nowhere is that more apparent than in the character of Jack Pearson, played by Milo Ventimiglia. For those who have been fans of Ventimiglia since his Gilmore Girls days, it’s bemusing to see skinny, sullen, rebellious Jess now playing a well-muscled family man who sports a wicked mustache and has Mandy Moore as his onscreen wife, Rebecca Pearson. As any fan of This is Us will tell you, Jack is an amazing father who manages to turn even life’s worst lemons into something resembling lemonade.
For instance, at the start of the series (which is partly set in the ’70s), he and Rebecca are expecting triplets. But tragically, one of them is stillborn, and Jack is understandably devastated. But when he sees an abandoned African American baby lying in the nursery next to his twins, he becomes convinced that he and Rebecca are meant to adopt the infant.
Over the years Jack is completely devoted to his family, and it becomes apparent that the kids draw emotional strength from him. When his plump daughter Kate is bullied because of her weight, or his adopted son Randall gets panic attacks, he knows exactly what to say and do to make them feel better. It’s difficult for any parent to admit to their child that they’ve been wrong, but Jack has no problems with swallowing his pride and apologizing to Kevin for making him feel overlooked.
Equally admirable is how devoted Jack is to his wife. Whenever Rebecca becomes a little snippy—as any woman raising triplets is wont to do, instead of getting annoyed, Jack responds with affection and good humor. When they’re going through a rough patch in the marriage and an attractive officemate makes a pass at him, without missing a beat Jack says, “Enough with this crap. I’m a married man. You’re embarrassing me, and you’re embarrassing yourself.” As one of his golf buddies remarks, “He’s going to make us look bad.”
While Jack isn’t particularly successful or well-off, he always manages to provide for his family, and never hesitates to make sacrifices for them. When faced with the choice of starting his dream business, or staying with a job he hates to put Randall through private school, he chooses the latter.
But he definitely isn’t perfect—at some point in the series, he struggles with alcoholism. But what’s different about him is that the moment his wife sits him down and calls him out on it, he gets his act together and sobers up. His devotion to his family becomes even more impressive when it is revealed that his own father was a cold, uncaring man who physically and verbally abused his mother. In fact, it’s probably because of his background that he is so determined to be a better husband and father.
Pretty much every guy who watches This is Us admires Jack Pearson. We think it's because he shows that being a man isn't about the way you dress or how successful you are—it's about how you preserve your integrity and take care of your family.