This is Us is getting a ton of attention this awards season, but we were already in love with the show. The heart-wrenching, truer-than-life story of the Pearson family has us both laughing our heads off and dissolving into a sobbing mess every week.

There’s something special about the show that clearly speaks to viewers. Not only that, the cast of This is Us is phenomenally talented, and we love learning about them. Here are 27 interesting facts about the show to pique your interest:

  1. The show was originally called 36.

    That’s the age the siblings were at the start of the series. Show creator Dan Fogelman eventually settled on the better-fitting This is Us.

  2. The first plan was for a movie, not a show.

    That film would have told the story of Jack and Rebecca and their sextuplets!

  3. From the beginning, Fogelman knew how Jack would die.

    Not only that, he says he already knows how the entire series will end.

  4. The show’s first trailer shattered records.

    It got over 50 million (!) views on Facebook within 11 days of its release.

  5. This is Us’ 2017 Outstanding Drama Emmy Nomination was the first for a network show since 2011.

     The winner that year? AMC’s Mad Men.

  6. Sterling K. Brown (Randall) set another record.

    He’s the first African American to win both the Golden Globe and SAG Awards for Outstanding Male Actor in a Drama Series.

  7. The show’s 2018 SAG award got some attention.

    This is Us won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. A network drama hasn’t earned this award since Grey’s Anatomy did in 2006.

  8. The cast has big hearts.

    Several cast members brought their characters’ younger counterparts as their dates to the SAG awards. They didn’t want to leave anyone out!

  9. Kate is based on Fogelman’s real-life sister.

    Fogelman’s sister faced issues similar to Kate’s, and has been a source of insight and inspiration.

  10. Milo Ventimiglia’s character is inspired by his own father.

    Ventimiglia, who plays Jack, has said he draws on his father when playing the character.

  11. Dr. Katowski’s Name has special significance.

    Fogelman took the name of the Pearson’s ob-gyn from his own wife’s father’s family.

  12. Chrissy Metz is talented on and off screen.

    Metz, who plays Kate, is a singer, just like her character.

  13. Metz worked at the agency that cast the younger Kate.

    She even remembers seeing the headshots for Hannah Zeile, who plays her younger counterpart!

  14. Mandy Moore and Ventimiglia go way back.

    Moore (who plays Rebecca) and Ventimiglia first met while Moore was working on the 2002 movie A Walk to Remember.

  15. Susan Kelechi Watson is classically trained.

    While she was in college, Kelechi Watson (Beth) was awarded a scholarship from Denzel Washington. She used it to study Shakespeare at the University of Oxford.

  16. You might recognize Chris Sullivan’s voice from somewhere else.

    Before playing Toby, Sullivan voiced the camel in Geico’s “Hump Day!” commercial.

  17. Kelechi Washington picks her own wardrobe.

  18. It takes 3.5 hours for makeup to transform Moore into the older Rebecca.

  19. Ventimiglia plans on keeping Jack’s famous ‘stache.

    For now, at least: there are plans for a clean-shaven Jack to appear.

  20. The Chevelle Jack drives on screen is Ventimiglia’s own car.

  21. Brown contributes to the script.

    He came up with great ideas and lines like “I’m still black, we gotta go” and “Just your friendly neighborhood black man.”

  22. The cast kept Jack’s death secret with a codeword.

    They called it “The Marble,” because they heard that was what Beyonce’s team called her album Lemonade when it was in production.

  23. The producers kept season 2’s fire scenes secret by saying the sets were for a fake TV series.

  24. There’s a Hamilton connection.

    The daughter of Ron Cephas Jones (Randall’s father, William) played the original Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds in Hamilton.

  25. Ventimiglia’s a hard worker.

    He did 223 pushups for the scene when young Randall gets on his back at karate practice.

  26. Metz only had $0.81 in her bank account when she got the role of Kate.

  27. The cast is like family.

    They even use group messages to keep in touch off-set!

Now you’re ready to challenge your friends to some This is Us Trivia! Do you know any other interesting facts about the show or its cast? Have some favorite scenes or lines to share?