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Why 'This Is Us' will take on protests and coronavirus in new season

October 24, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

THIS IS US -- "Forty Part 1/Forty Part 2" Episode 501/502 -- Pictured in this screengrab: (l-r) Eris Baker as Tess, Faithe Herman as Annie, Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth, Sterling K. Brown as Randall -- (Photo by: NBC)

The NBC drama returns next week with storylines inspired by current events. The decision to wade into heavy waters like the coronavirus pandemic and racial injustice was one not made lightly, creator Dan Fogelman told reporters on Friday.

But the decision to wade into heavy waters like the coronavirus pandemic and racial injustice was one not made lightly, creator Dan Fogelman told reporters on Friday.

"It's more about just American life, and when I was sitting down and weighing the decision of what we were going to do and just considering where our show lives -- with like this American family that has a lot of different pockets and spans time -- it felt almost irresponsible not to kind of take on the moment. "

The episodes remain told through the lens of the characters who viewers know and love, Fogelman assured, with the focus always on "talking about the human experience and not the political experience. "

"Actually, one of the things I said when we first got these episodes was 'It's like the eavesdropped in on people's lives,'" she said.

In the series, Randall, a Black man who was raised in a White family, "has a really interesting sort of come-to-Jesus moment through these first two episodes that we'll see on Tuesday that I think it's fascinating," actor Sterling K.

The episodes airing Tuesday were produced under something of a time crunch after the show, like others, was delayed in its production start due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It was important to Fogelman and producers, however, that the first two episodes air before the November election.

"Not because they're political but because I think they're difficult and then hopeful," Fogelman said.

Though the cast now follows protocols and wears personal protective equipment to remain safe, little else has changed, Fogelman said.

Fogelman credits the work they've put in over the last five years for their efficiency as a production, as well as the cast.

Fogelman said they move forward this season keeping all the ground it's covered so far in mind as they touch on current events.

"We have not been afraid to touch on things like addiction or body image or race, or Alzheimer's or any of the myriad of things we've taken on," he said.

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