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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Gerstenberger

This Is Us

Over the past four years my wife and I have enjoyed watching the dramatic series This Is Us on NBC. Perhaps our enjoyment is tied to the fact that the early years of the series take place in Pittsburgh with plenty of references to western Pennsylvania communities, culture and sports teams.

However, it is also intriguing for us to follow the exploits and lives of members of the Pearson family as they age. In fact, several characters who have been “killed off” in earlier seasons, still have prominent roles in the current episodes due to producer Dan Fogelman’s effective use of flashback techniques which take place throughout each show.

As a result, it is not unusual to be introduced to new characters (who’ve yet to be born) or other individuals who’ve been influential in the lives of one or more of the characters at some point in their past life. In fact, part of the fun in watching the show is trying to figure out who all these seemingly random people are and how they fit into the story line.

In a recent episode viewers are introduced to a young couple, Nasir Ahmed from India and Esther Pariente from Argentina. Other than a few brief vignettes in which we see how this couple initially meets and the fact they eventually get married and have a son, the viewer is at a loss to see how they fit into the story.

As the episode progresses, much of it involves family members who are separated due to COVID and schedules at a time when several new parents are enjoying the birth of their children. Due to the miles that separate them, they use Facetime to introduce grandparents, aunts and uncles to the newest members of their families.

As the episode concludes and the credits roll, we learn that Nasir Ahmed is a real-life inventor whose work in the field of Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) in the mid-1970s is the technology that has made image sharing and video conferencing possible on high-definition digital TVs, Facetime, Zoom and other image-sharing platforms.

If you’re not familiar with This Is Us, you might enjoy this episode.

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