"So many people look to our show and to the Pearson family to see like, 'Oh, how are they handling it?' " Chrissy Metz tells PEOPLE about This Is Us addressing the coronavirus pandemic

By Karen Mizoguchi
September 15, 2020 10:44 AM
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This Is Us
Maarten de Boer/NBCUniversal

When season 5 of This Is Us returns this fall, viewers will see the Pearson family navigate the realities of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Creator Dan Fogelman told fans in August that the NBC drama will "attack things head on" by addressing the global health crisis and other current events. With the season 5 production kicking off later this month, the actors have already gotten scripts for the first two episodes. Chrissy Metz tells PEOPLE that there are many storylines to look forward to, including the pandemic-themed arc.

Speaking about the "magic of This Is Us," Metz, 39, says the cast and crew are raring to go back to work.

"We're going to get it done, and everybody is on board and ready to go," she says. "We have the scripts, we're ready to go, they're just making sure that there are every single safety protocol in place, and are working really hard, just diligently, to make sure that everybody from the crew to the cast to the production are going to be safe."

Metz has been quarantining in Nashville, where she has been working on her debut album. She says she is "excited" to return to Los Angeles to start filming again and incorporating real-world circumstances into the Pearson time periods.

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

"I was hoping that we would address what was going on in the world because I think that so many people look to our show and to the Pearson family to see like, 'Oh, how are they handling it?' and 'What is it that they're doing?' " she says. "Because they do it imperfectly, I think people relate to it, and they're like, 'Oh, okay.' So I was excited to see that we are definitely addressing what's going on, and that we don't necessarily have the answers, because none of us do because we're all living in it real-time."

Metz adds, "I know it's going to be challenging because it's so raw and real, and it's happening as it's happening, so that's kind of interesting. The silver lining is that we've never had this experience before. I think we also get to approach subjects that people are really concerned about or want to talk about, so I'm looking forward to it."

While some may enjoy TV as a form of escapism, Metz argues that This Is Us fans will find healing in watching the Pearson family. "For me, I totally get the escapism, but I'm a person who wants to talk about things and wants to see how everybody's feeling about it, and wants to know where everybody's at mentally and emotionally," she says.

"I have found that in my life, in just generally speaking, the more honest I am, the more raw, and vulnerable, and honest I am, the more healing there is. And for me, the escapism has never really worked because I think that's what we're all trying to do, we fill the void with all sorts of things, and eventually, you have to come back down," Metz explains.

"If you come back down and you can't figure out how to sort through it all, then you're really screwed, you know? So for me, it helps me in many ways, personally. While I totally get it and there are some great shows out there for all of that, I'm also grateful that we get to talk about the stuff that is going to help me as a person, not even as an actor, or a woman, or as a character on the show," she adds.

In addition to This Is Us, she is using another platform to connect with fans during the pandemic.

The "Feel Good" singer launched her radio show Country Faith Radio with Chrissy Metz on Apple Music this summer, sharing some of her favorite playlists that include a mix of contemporary country and roots-leaning gospel and Christian music.

"Everyone knows that I have no qualms about talking about my higher power, and I find that to be really important for me and for my mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. It just seemed really right that I could incorporate the two," she says of her show. "I've always wanted to do a radio show, I never knew what it would take, but it's super fun. I get to talk to people who I'm real fans of. I get to be on the other side of asking the questions, which is very different."

Season 5 of This Is Us premieres Nov. 10 on NBC.

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