‘This Is Us’ producer swears they never intended to make us cry so much

THIS IS US -- "Jack Pearson's Son" Episode 115 -- Pictured: Sterling K. Brown as Randall -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
THIS IS US -- "Jack Pearson's Son" Episode 115 -- Pictured: Sterling K. Brown as Randall -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC) /

This Is Us executive producer Ken Olin says it was not their intention to make us cry. Too late.

This Is Us is incredibly effective at making you cry. Even when you think you’ve made it through an episode tear-free, they hit with you an end scene montage like a ton of bricks that has you all out sobbing by the time the credits roll. Say, for example,”Jack Pearson’s Son.” Totally fiiiiiine, finish line in sight, but then Kevin runs out on his opening night to find a panic-attack-stricken Randall frozen on the floor of his office, finally being there for his brother in ways he never was in high school. Crying just remembering it.

In any case, according to executive producer Ken Olin, creator Dan Fogelman and the whole team behind This Is Us genuinely do not intend to make us cry so much. It’s just kind of a by-product of writing organic, truthful stories people can connect to.

Speaking on an Entertainment Weekly panel at ATX Television Festival in Austin, Olin compared the crying phenomenon (#TissueTuesday) to the fan fervor surrounding Jack’s death. Which is to say, it was one of many emotional layers of the story that frankly just got away from the team:

"It’s like the idea of crying. How it’s become this… the tissue thing. I know that our intention from the beginning was not like, ‘Ehh, when do we make ’em cry? All right, now? Wanna make ’em cry now? Naah, let’s make ’em cry [then]…’ It’s always, for Dan, writing from an organic place, a truthful place."

I mean, okay, but really? They don’t think about when to throw a well-placed emotional gut punch at all? On a red carpet, also at ATX, Olin’s answer was still no:

"I don’t know what to say about that. It hasn’t been our intention to make people cry. I think our intention is just to depict characters and stories that feel truthful and speak to all sorts of different kinds of people. maybe people are just feeling like they need some kind of catharsis."

Ugh, fine. His argument makes a certain kind of sense. But the road to emotional destruction is paved with good intentions and at the end of the day, watching This Is Us is still the entertainment equivalent of cutting onions and we’re still left buying tissues in bulk.