OPINION: ‘A Million Little Things’ is the emotional rollercoaster we deserve


“A Million Little Things” premiered on ABC on Sept. 26. Photo credit: ABC/”A Million Little Things” Facebook page

Ashlynn Gallagher, Contributor

Warning: This article contains spoilers for “A Million Little Things.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 26, ABC premiered the pilot episode for a new series titled “A Million Little Things” and so far, I am hooked. I cried way more than I would like to admit, but I also laughed a surprising amount. After it was all over, I found myself staring at a dark screen wanting more.

The pilot opens with husband, father and businessman John Dixon (Ron Livingston) completing what we can assume is a very important business deal. As the phone call ends, we see John standing on his office’s balcony. He hangs up the phone, smiles and breathes a sigh of relief when the camera switches to his assistant screaming and running towards him. The camera then goes back to an empty balcony and it becomes very obvious that John has jumped off.

From there on we closely follow his group of friends and how they are choosing to cope with the news of John’s suicide.

Dixon’s best friends include Eddie Saville, (David Giuntoli) former musician turned guitar teacher and recovering alcoholic who believes that John’s death should be the reason they all live better lives.

There is also Rome Howard (Romany Malco), an aspiring filmmaker that is stuck directing pizza commercials with a seemingly perfect life, but unbeknownst to his friends and family, has more in common with John than they think.

Gary Mendez, (James Roday) the classic cynic of the group, is currently in remission for breast cancer (yes, men can get breast cancer). As for the rest of the characters, you will just have to see for yourself.

Dixon’s suicide is not the main event but more so the purpose for how the characters will handle their own life issues. This allows us, the viewers, to focus more on the future and fate of the cast ultimately showing us that hope can be found in the most darkest of places.

However, because of Dixon’s death, we do not have a strong personal connection with him. Due to Dixon’s friends fondly remembering him, we only know of his life through the stories they share, never fully seeing his character for who he was. How they decide to build off John’s death in future episodes is what I am excited to see.

Given the shows backbone is suicide, it’s no surprise that it is sad. So, if you’re anything like me and cry during every single ASPCA commercial, keep tissues near.

However, creator DJ Nash has a way of bringing humor into the situation, which was a nice surprise. Like any great show, they have already set up many twists and surprises that only the viewer knows about.

I know many of you are probably thinking, “Oh great, another show glamorizing suicide.” I get it.

To many people, suicide and mental illness is still a taboo subject that until recently hasn’t been widely discussed. Isn’t it time we stop avoiding topics such as these because they make us feel uncomfortable and start exploring why they make us feel this way?

Honestly, if it wasn’t for recent celebrity suicides such as Robin Williams, Chester Bennington, Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, I don’t think we would be having these discussions at all.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 44,965 Americans commit suicide each year. For every suicide there are 25 attempts, and if that doesn’t paint a big enough picture, suicide costs the U.S. $69 billion annually.

So yes, maybe topics like these can be uncomfortable or difficult to have. But if you ask me, I would much rather address the issue at hand than lose a loved one. I think that so far, “A Million Little Things” has the potential to do that.

Finally, I loved seeing the men of this show crying in tough situations. No man should ever feel they lack masculinity or make others uncomfortable for simply expressing themselves.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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