How “This Is Us” Embodies The Best Qualities Of Romance Novels

How “This Is Us” Embodies The Best Qualities Of Romance Novels


by Joanne Eglash

From This Is Us’ first episode, I felt as if I were watching the very best aspects of a romance novel in TV form. From Rebecca’s and Jack’s love story to Kate’s and Toby’s struggles to Randall’s and Beth’s multi-dimensional marriage, This Is Us is unique in showcasing so many different versions of romance.


Rebecca and Jack

It all begins, of course, with Rebecca (portrayed from idealistic young woman through matured adult by the lovely Mandy Moore) and Jack (how much do we love you, Milo Ventimiglia? Let us count the ways).

This Is Us gradually shared how Rebecca and Jack became a couple. Their very different backgrounds reminds us of the basic elements of many romances: A man and a woman overcome their differences (she has dramatic dreams of success in New York as he strives to find his way in the world after Vietnam) to fall in love.


Kate and Toby

Kate (played by break-out star Chrissy Metz) and Toby (portrayed by Chris Sullivan) have a very different love story than Rebecca’s and Jack’s. If Kate’s and Toby’s love story were a romance novel, it would be in the genre that shows how a determined man can help the woman he loves learn to love herself.

For Kate, her weight seems to always play a role. And when she struggles to get pregnant, the depth of Toby’s love for her (complete with his charming wit) is shown when he tries to help her cover up her IVF treatments from Rebecca and Miguel.

As Miguel takes out the rice puddings to display the hidden needles and related IVF treatment items, Toby steps forward and announces, “I’m a heroin addict.”

And when it comes to getting married “for better or for worse,” Toby’s decision to stop taking his anti-depression medication to help Kate get pregnant is heartbreaking. Like romance novels where the hero sacrifices himself for the heroine, we know (or at least hope) that Toby's story will have a happy ending with Kate. But watching him go through withdrawal is chilling.

We’re rooting for you, Kate and Toby, to have the most adorable Katoby kids!


Beth and Randall

Randall (portrayed by the award-winning Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (played by the stunningly talented Susan Kelechi Watson) have a love story that contains classic romance novel elements.

Randall is the hero who strives to do good, with Beth helping to balance his intense mood fluctuations. But when it’s heroine Beth’s turn to need someone to support her, can our hero Randall step up?

Of all three This Is Us love stories, it’s the romance of Beth and Randall that provides the most suspense right now.

What will happen next? We’re looking forward to season three of This Is Us to provide the sure-to-be romantic answer.


About the Author


Joanne Eglash received her B.A. in English literature from UCLA, where she was the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, the Daily Bruin. Since graduation, Joanne's accomplishments range from writing about technology for a computer company to authoring articles about romance for a dating website. Her hobbies include hiking, games, and entertaining her cat.

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