"This Is Us" star Milo Ventimiglia arrives for the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards in 2019. File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES, May 24 (UPI) -- This Is Us star Milo Ventimiglia said the series finale, airing Tuesday, is no different than any of the emotional episodes they have done over six seasons.
"We just keep doing exactly what we've been doing for six years," Ventimiglia, 44, said recently on a Television Critics Association panel.
This Is Us told the story of the Pearson family. In the '70s, Jack (Ventimiglia) and Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore) had twins and adopted a third.
Their children, Kate (Chrissy Metz), Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) are adults in the present. The show flashes back and forth between the siblings' childhood, present and future.
"It's six years now of just pedal to the metal, 100% every single time," Hartley, 45, said.
The drama has been filled with emotional moments, like Jack's death in a house fire. Randall had more than one nervous breakdown, and adopted a troubled girl, Deja (Lyric Ross), with his wife, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson).
Kevin dealt with alcoholism and broke up with the love of his life, Sophie (Alexandra Breckinridge). This season, Kate went through a divorce with Toby (Chris Sullivan), with whom she has two children.
For several seasons, present day Rebecca dealt with Alzheimer's Disease. Last week's episode flashed forward to the future when Rebecca dies. Hartley said the show has given each actor moments to shine.
"I'll see a monologue that Sterling will have or a monologue that Chris will have or that Milo will have," Hartley said. "You read them and you go, 'I cannot wait to see what this actor does with this.'"
Moore, 38, had a pivotal scene in this season's Thanksgiving episode, in which Rebecca insisted her kids not limit their lives to take care of her. Moore played Rebecca from being a teenager to an elderly woman.
Moore, in turn, said she was impressed by one of Ventimiglia's scenes. In a flashback to a time prior to the house fire, Jack attends his own mother's funeral. Moore said that was an example of This Is Us at its most emotional.
"Jack is so stoic and is able to kind of be there for his family," Moore said. "Watching [him] just completely lose it and break, my heart was just in my throat during that particular scene."
Hartley said that Ventimiglia's funeral episode highlights This Is Us's dramatic strategy. Hartley said the show has major emotional milestones infrequently enough that they make the maximum impact when they arrive.
"It's like when my mother twice in my life has said [expletive]," Hartley said. "When she does, everything stops. That's what Milo managed to do."
Watson, 40, said the final season made her emotional earlier than she expected it to. The cast has known that This Is Us would end in Season 6 since the third season.
In 2019, NBC renewed This Is Us for three more seasons, which creator Dan Fogelman said would be the end. Still, Watson said it hit her when Moore filmed her last scene with Jon Huertas, who played Rebecca's second husband, Miguel.
"I started filming them just walking to the van," Watson said. "I was like, 'I hope you guys don't mind me filming you, but this is one of the last times we're going to be walking to the van.'"
This Is Us airs at 9 p.m. EDT on NBC.