Milo Ventimiglia is trying to measure up to a ghost, and the task is nearly impossible.
The actor stars as beloved father and husband Jack Pearson on the drama "This Is Us," but fans have a hard time separating the real man from the character, for better or for worse.
"It's hard to live up to Jack," Milo told E! News. "Everyone assumes that I am Jack. I thought Mr. Cunningham [of "Happy Days"] was America's dad, and I'm not even a father, you know. I guess the words that I'm so fortunate to speak and the character that I get to embody, I'm very grateful."
Jack is universally loved, and one of the biggest fascinations of the show is determining the circumstances of his death. Milo also loves his character, but he can't pinpoint a favorite moment.
"I find myself trying to slow down time, to just be appreciative," he said. "Every interaction he has with his kids, knowing he has a ticking clock, is much more significant. Every moment he has with his wife, even the bad moments, is much more significant because of that ticking clock."
One misconception, Milo points out, is that Jack isn't a perfect man, despite many people essentially wanting to anoint him to sainthood.
"Who would want somebody who was completely flawless?" Milo said. "Not any of us, if we're being honest with ourselves. There is no such definition as perfect. I think there's something amazing about the flaws that happen in between the goodness."
One person he sees a lot of "goodness" in is his wife Rebecca Pearson, the character played by Mandy Moore.
Of his TV wife, he said, "The weight she has to play, deep in her soul, of losing a husband, losing a baby years ago, trying to keep her family together—the Jack that is inside of me, his heart breaks for, you know, seeing his bride go through everything so heavy."
Okay, pass the tissues again.