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Why we're so addicted to watching 'This is Us' and crying

Why we're so addicted to watching 'This is Us' and crying
From Mashable - February 4, 2018

Warning: Spoilers for the first and second seasons of This Is Us are below.

Every Tuesday night I have a fun little tradition where I change into my pajamas, grab a snack, cuddle on my couch with a blanket, and spend one full hourhaving a good, raw, knuckle-biting, mascara-bleeding kind of cry.

Sound horrible? I am well aware. But a year and three months ago I decided to letNBCsheartbreakingly dramatic primetime show,This Is Us, into my life and these weekly sob fests are the repercussion.

I am not alone. Over 14 million people around the world spend their Tuesday nights the exact same waywillingly allowing the show's protagonists, the Pearson family, to emotionally destroy them week after week.

Why? That's what I was dying to figure out. So I consulted an expert.

We know what we are in for

Since Sufjan Stevens' tearjerker "Death With Dignity" began playing the first second of the pilot, Jack, Rebecca, Randall, Kevin, and Kate have brought viewers on a seemingly never-ending series of obstacles.

In 31 episodes we have secondhand-experienced the loss of a child, the loss of a parent, an adoption,family therapy,career changes,sibling rivalry, andmarital issues. Weve sat helpless on our couches as Kate struggled with her weight loss journey, as Jack and Kevin battledalcohol addition in different decades, and asRandall broke down in tears on the floor of his office.

We have survived, but not without destroying dozens of tissues in the process.

"I joke with people that This is Us is my weekly date to have a good cry," Kristin Wynns, a clinical psychologist based in North Carolina, explained. "So many scenes have moved me to tears, but it's often the scenes in which the characters are struggling with their relationships, their lives going off track, or with battling demons from the past that are so moving."

Fans, including Wynns, go into each episode knowing full well they will be emotionally wrecked, and just in case they had any doubts, the cast is sure to fully play up the pain.

The actors have gone so far as to record a dramatic PSA with Entertainment Weekly apologizing for making everyone cry. They watch the episodes together in advance and share pictures of THEMSELVES crying. They have even created promos that are quite literally them sobbing into tissues.

What more of a warning do we need?!

In fact, the "proceed with emotional caution" messages surrounding the series are so exaggerated that people who have never seen a single episode can tell it's here to destroy.


So as we anxiously await the dreaded reveal of Jacks death, I could not help but wonderif we know it's going to hurt why the heck do we keep watching?

Here's why we insist on torturing ourselves

According to Wynns there's a perfectly good explanation for wishing these overwhelming emotions upon ourselves. (And no, it's not that we are all masochists.)

"As humans, we love the idea that we are not alone," Wynns said. "Even though the plot line of This is Us may be very different from our struggles and obstacles, we enjoy watching this show because it reminds us of so many universal truths about suffering, love, relationships, and the human experience."

Wynns said she and her colleagues often discuss the show, noting how the characters have the potential to remind viewers of their own personal experiences.

On Tuesdays we ugly cry

This Is geniUs

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