Edit ModuleShow Tags

"This Is Us" Captures Spirit of Pittsburgh

Show creator Dan Fogelman says the success of the partially Pittsburgh-based show caught him off guard.




Photos Courtesy NBC

 

In the fifth episode of “This Is Us,” Kate Pearson struggles to explain to her boyfriend why she watches the Steelers by herself every Sunday with only her dead father’s urn beside her.

“Football is a really big deal in my family,” she says. “Like really big.”

It’s hard for Kate’s boyfriend to understand — he’s not from Pittsburgh.
 

But show creator Dan Fogelman grew up here, and the partially Pittsburgh-based show combines the heart of Fogelman’s signature work (“Crazy Stupid Love,” “Tangled”) with a whole lot of Steel City love, and it’s proven to be a winning combination: “This Is Us” ended its first season rated as the top new show.

“I grew up in Pittsburgh in the ’80s. The Steelers were everything,” Fogelman tells Pittsburgh Magazine in an email. “Franco Harris was my favorite player, and almost every drawing or doodle I did as a kid had a bearded running back in it. While football wasn’t a big part of my ‘household,’ it was a big thing to my father and I, so I kind of extended it to the entire family here.”

The Pearson family’s early years include time spent at the pool with Steelers floaties, Pittsburgh Penguins pennants on the boys’ bedroom wall and talk of growing up in Bethel Park (Fogelman was raised in the South Hills).
 


Expect more of it in season 2, which premieres Sept. 26. The set up of the show involves lots of flashbacks, so the early years of the Pearson family (led by mom Rebecca, played by Mandy Moore, and dad Jack, played by Milo Ventimiglia) in the Steel City will continue to be shown.
 


 

Fogelman admits he was surprised by the popularity of the show, which was originally nominated for 11 Emmys.

“[At first,] I thought — if things broke our way — that we might get some good reviews. Find a smart, loyal audience. But a time-shifting family dramedy … it’s not something you write and think it’s going to blow up like an X-Men movie. So the ‘success’ of the show caught us all off guard. A fun surprise.”
 


Related: Pittsburghers Know “This is Us”


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

More From The 412

CMU Study: Candidates' Grammar at a 6-8th Grade Level

CMU Study: Candidates' Grammar at a 6-8th Grade Level

Donald Trump generally scores the lowest while Abraham Lincoln remains the benchmark.
20 Brilliant Photos From the 2014 St. Patrick's Day Parade

20 Brilliant Photos From the 2014 St. Patrick's Day Parade

Upwards of 300,000 Pittsburghers turned out in green. PM was there to capture the party.
Pittsburgh’s Mayor Goes ‘Undercover’

Pittsburgh’s Mayor Goes ‘Undercover’

Mayor Bill Peduto will appear on the Dec. 21 episode of CBS’s “Undercover Boss.”
‘Breaking Bad’ Trivia Night Coming to Pittsburgh

‘Breaking Bad’ Trivia Night Coming to Pittsburgh

Think you’re an expert on Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s meth-making empire? Test your knowledge at James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Matt Murray's Focus is on the Journey, Not the Destination

Matt Murray's Focus is on the Journey, Not the Destination

The Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender already has his name on the Stanley Cup — twice. Matt Murray may be a champion, but he’s still working diligently to improve his game.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2017 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2017 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine highlights the unsung heroes of the health care field: our Excellence in Nursing honorees, chosen by our panel of distinguished nursing professionals.
Restaurant Review: Superior Motors

Restaurant Review: Superior Motors

Kevin Sousa’s long-anticipated project fires on all cylinders as a restaurant. But, will it fulfill its larger mission?
Pittsburgh City Steps: An Artist Tells Their Stories

Pittsburgh City Steps: An Artist Tells Their Stories

Artist Laura Zurowski is on a mission to document Pittsburgh's public steps in an unorthodox way.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Can't Get No Satisfaction - Renters in Pittsburgh?

Can't Get No Satisfaction - Renters in Pittsburgh?

A new study suggests Pittsburgh tenants are far from thrilled with where they live.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Just in Time for the Holidays: Miracle Returns to Downtown

Just in Time for the Holidays: Miracle Returns to Downtown

The over-the-top holiday-themed bar opens at the Original Oyster House the night after Thanksgiving.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

The winner received the most votes among five dogs, four cats and a bunny.

Comments


Steal the Crown Jewels at Escape Room 51

Steal the Crown Jewels at Escape Room 51

The new escape game is instantly among the best in town.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Are Steelers Good Enough to Overcome Themselves?

Are Steelers Good Enough to Overcome Themselves?

The time has come for the offense to more often resemble what everyone thought it would become this season, as opposed to sinking on occasion to a Cleveland Browns-esque level of ineptitude.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Justice League Could've Been Worse (But Should've Been a Lot Better)

Justice League Could've Been Worse (But Should've Been a Lot Better)

Reviews of "Justice League," "Wonder" and "Lady Bird," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
One for the History Books: A Cathedral of Learning Proposal

One for the History Books: A Cathedral of Learning Proposal

This groom-to-be popped the question at new heights, potentially making him the first person to propose on top of the University of Pittsburgh’s signature structure.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Iconic Kaufmann’s Building Gets New Lease with Luxury Apartments, Hotel

Iconic Kaufmann’s Building Gets New Lease with Luxury Apartments, Hotel

The developer behind Kaufmann’s Grand on Fifth Downtown promise to meld the historic with the modern as it readies to open more than 300 residential units featuring voice-command system Amazon Alexa, plus a rooftop infinity pool, restaurant and bar.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments