NBC’s ‘This is Us’ and the Vietnam War

It looks as though the upcoming third season of the NBC-TV family drama, This Is Us, will have a significant Vietnam War theme. That’s because NBC just announced that the acclaimed novelist Tim (The Things They Carried, Going After Cacciato, etc.) O’Brien has been hired as a consultant for Season 3, which begins in September. O’Brien’s fictional work in the aforementioned acclaimed novels (and most of his others) is heavily influenced by his tour of duty as a infantryman in the Vietnam War.

Viewers learned in previous episodes that the male lead character, Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), is a Vietnam War veteran, but what happened to him in country and after coming home has yet to be fully explored. That certainly will change with O’Brien on board the script writing team.

“Jack is holding onto a lot,” Ventimiglia told Entertainment Weekly. “Anyone who is in the theater of war is experiencing things that a civilian on the streets has no idea about. War is horrible, and if you’re right there in the middle of it to see the atrocities, you can’t not be impacted by it. So only getting a glimpse of Jack hopping out of a helicopter with an M16 rifle, looking like he’s in the shit, he wasn’t just a mechanic. Or he was just a mechanic. But also, I think Jack in his younger years saying he was just a mechanic is just a way to put off other questions, because Jack had adjusted his own perspective on life post-war and moved forward. And man, that’s just God-given grace if anything. It’s nothing anyone can ever expect to have, but Jack was fortunate enough to have a clean perspective moving forward and manage whatever emotional distress he experienced while he was over in Vietnam.”

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