‘A Million Little Things’: Is the Show Based on a True Story?

One show that stacks up to the This Is Us era of cry-watching entertainment, is ABC’s A Million Little Things. Since the series premiere, a group of eight friends struggles to navigate life after the loss of Jon — a husband and father who died by suicide.

With season 2 in full swing, series creator, DJ Nash, has a little insight on the show’s inspiration.

What is ‘A Million Little Things’ about?

'A Million Little Things' cast
‘A Million Little Things’ cast | Robert Trachtenberg/ABC via Getty Images

A Million Little Things follows a group of close friends in Boston who are dealing with the loss of one of their own. Because of the loss, the friends become closer.

The official ABC synopsis reads:

“They say friendship isn’t one big thing, it’s a million little things, and that’s true for a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life.

“After one of them dies unexpectedly, it’s just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way, they discover that friends may be the one thing to save them from themselves.”

Is ‘A Million Little Things’ based on a true story?

While A Million Little Things wasn’t inspired by a group of eight real-life friends, it was inspired by Nash’s experience with losing a friend in a similar way. More so, the show mirrors how Nash realized the importance of friendship a little too late.

“One day I was walking and I ran into a buddy of mine, and we both lit up. It was like ‘dude!’ ‘Dude!’” Nash explained in a teaser video.

They made plans to meet the following week, but shortly after, Nash learned his friend died by suicide.

“I don’t feel for a second like my lunch, our lunch could’ve saved him,” Nash previously said. “But I do feel a lot of seconds, like, we could have had one more lunch.”

“I truly love this idea that everything happens for a reason,” Nash said. “At his funeral, I promised myself I’d live differently. I think that’s what you do when someone goes too soon. You use their death as a way to remind yourself to keep living.”

‘A Million Little Things’ doesn’t sit well with all

The show received criticism for its problematic premise (and glamorizing suicide and mental health). Aside from Jon’s death, Rome (Romany Malco) has depression and was thinking of ending his life the day he received news of Jon’s death.

Some thought Rome’s depression was a plot device instead of the medical condition that requires serious and immediate attention. A previous Huffington Post review of A Million Little Things guffawed at the friends using such a loss to grow closer.

“I didn’t want to lend the approval of my tears to a show about how a man’s suicide could actually be a great wake-up call for his friends,” the review said.

Nash said he created ‘A Million Little Things’ with great care

Reviews aside, Nash told the Los Angeles Times he took great care in arranging a suicide prevention public service announcement following the series premiere.

The announcement included Talinda Bennington and Mike Shenoda — wife and Linkin Park bandmate of the late Chester Bennington who died by suicide in 2017.

“I think there’s absolutely nothing romantic about suicide — it’s a real conscious thing in our [writers’] room. We’re not romanticizing the story. We’re telling it in an authentic way,” he said.

He continued: “If you watch the show, you’ll see that these people’s lives are changed because of this. I don’t think [people] will watch the show and say, ‘Oh, I should do that too.’ If anything, it’s a cautionary tale of what can happen. It is something we take unbelievably seriously.”

What’s in store for season 2 of ‘A Million Little Things’?

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Much of season1 followed the aftermath of Jon’s death and the cryptic clues he left behind. Rome decided he wanted a baby with wife, Regina (Christina Moses), but her childhood traumas prevent her from wanting children.

Gary (James Roday) is in cancer remission, but fears it’ll return. He finds himself in love with a woman also in remission from breast cancer, Maggie (Allison Miller).

Eddie (David Giuntoli) is a recovering alcoholic who cheated on his wife, Katherine (Grace Park), and coincidentally, got Jon’s wife, Delilah (Stephanie Szostak) pregnant.

As for what’s to come, Katherine may have returned to Eddie after discovering he fathered Delilah’s baby, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy.

Maggie and Gary are still trying to find their footing after moving in together, and Rome and Regina may or may not get on the same page on whether to have a baby or not.

Nash said in the same L.A. Times interview, season 2 will focus on the ways grief changes over time. After reading the book, “Life After Suicide: Finding Courage, Comfort & Community After Unthinkable Loss,” by Jennifer Ashton, Nash decided to include her in the storyline.

Episode 6 of A Million Little Things Season 2 will feature the author as herself. She’ll talk about “how the second year in some ways is harder than the first year because the first year everyone’s aware it’s your first Thanksgiving, it’s your first Father’s Day, it’s your first whatever.”

He added, “In the second year, that safety net that you have kind of goes away a little bit and people think, “Oh, you’re better now,” but you’re not.”

Even if A Million Little Things isn’t completely based on a true story, there are still pieces of Nash, and the friend he lost, in each episode. Grab your tissues for season 2, airing Thursday nights at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.