Parenthood – Emotions, Emotions

parenthoodYou guys, it is *really* unfair that it’s not even February and Parenthood is over for the season. It was a truly stellar season. It was a fantastic finale. This show will be, I believe, back next Fall. But seriously, NBC? What else do you have going on? Why doesn’t Parenthood get more episodes?

Sigh. Until next year, I’ll just have to watch DVDs. But right now, let’s talk about the finale.

Kristina and Adam

64984_10151297791137483_20635686_nOf course, Kristina’s cancer has been the major storyline this season. And in the finale, she had to have an important scan done to find out if the cancer had spread to anywhere else. This storyline has delivered such a wealth of material, and such amazing, heartfelt, emotionally powerful yet subtle performances. Do we want that to end? Or do we want it to wrap up on a creative high?

Parenthood has done a good job of making Adam a loving, caring, doting husband without making him perfect. He’s not a mind reader. He screwed up with the wig, and when he presented Kristina with a “You’re healthy again!” trip to Hawaii, she panicked. Because she doesn’t really know she’s healthy yet. I love that this show manages to depict how someone can do something good sometimes, but not have it received that way.

This show has killed it with the soundtrack this year, haven’t they? The noises and music when Kristina went for her big test was perfect. Good news was delivered – Kristina is cancer free. She’s in remission. It was nice to end the season on a positive note, after each episode made us all cry so much.

Julia and Joel

The storyline of Victor’s adoption has been hit and miss this season. There have been questionable moments, and there have been very good moments. At the very least, it gave Julia and Joel something to do. I still think I would have preferred if they’d gone the open adoption route with Zoe, but I’m glad they went through with Victor’s adoption after helping us become invested in it all season long. Sydney’s refusal to attend the ceremony felt kind of forced to me. The words she was using didn’t sound like they would come from a little kid, which is what she is. I don’t think Sydney would want Victor as a brother yet, but I think she’d express it differently.

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A Very Braverman Adoption

Victor’s own conversation with Sydney felt much more realistic. It was simple, and Sydney was still kind of grumpy and told him to get out of her room, but they bonded a little. This plotline has been far from perfect, but in a way some of the inconsistencies represent the tumult of adoption. One day Victor hates his new family, the next he’s worried they won’t adopt him because he broke a vase. Maybe that’s what it’s like to be a confused, scared kid in a new family.

The adoption scene was, as expected, lovely and made the room get suspiciously dusty. Is it allergy season already? Sure, the Bravermans are weirdly close in the way that only a TV family can be. But that’s what makes this show so beautiful. They do heartbreak, but they also warm your heart.

Crosby and Jasmine

Crosby and Jasmine were celebrating their first marriage anniversary, and also dealing with the fallout after Crosby and Renee’s disagreement. This always seemed like a smaller storyline, and compared to cancer it is. But when Jasmine explained how much her mom meant, I understood. I was also raised by a single mom, so that aspect of the storyline really spoke to me.

A baby on the way might be an easy fix, but it’s exactly what would go down in real life. We knew Crosby and Jasmine wanted this, so it wasn’t a surprise. And when something like that happens, that joy can put smaller disagreements in perspective. So Crosby apologized, even though he hadn’t really been in the wrong. I think the writers have done a great job of his evolution from the character we met to the family man we see now.

Sarah, Amber and Drew

Drew got into Berkeley! Yay! This was a nice win for the family consider Amber’s disappointing college application. (Not that she didn’t turn out great anyway, but still, Amber might need to take some night classes or something at some point.) Speaking of Amber, while it was nice Ryan come with flowers in hand to tell her how he’s improved his life, that felt a little easy. Maybe if this season had more episodes, the progression would have felt a little more slow and painful. I love these actors together and that relationship though, so I can’t help but love it even though I had doubts.

Of course, all those doubts were completely erased when Amber went to Ryan’s apartment. I always felt like the car accident from a couple years ago was a part of her decision making when it came to Ryan. But to have that acknowledged, that’s excellent storytelling. That’s what makes these characters so real. Amber was frantic, emotional and terrified. The vulnerability that Mae Whitman brings to the character has always been the best part of her, and this scene was an amazing example of that.

Though I wish that the abortion story had been acknowledged in last week’s episode, Drew getting the news of being accepted to his #1 choice school kind of felt like a “See, kid? It’s going to be OK.” These actors are all so good at conveying feelings without saying anything, I felt like there was an unspoken moment between Sarah and Drew that got a lot across. Drew’s scene with Amy was very good – it was sweet and awkward, and showed that Amy was starting to come to terms with what happened and understood how supportive Drew was. He told her about Berkeley, she told him that she’d gotten into a school in Boston. It was a nice parting for them. They went through a very difficult thing so that they could pursue these bright futures. The mix of emotions was perfect.

I actually held back any tears until the moment when Amber told Drew how happy she was that he got into Berkeley. Sibling stuff, man. I got verklempt.

The weak point of this season has been Sarah’s mess of a love life, and it’s at the point where I think most viewers don’t really care who she ends up with. What’s great about Parenthood is that the writers can make you have feelings about a storyline you didn’t really care about. My heart broke for Mark when Sarah told him that she wanted to make it work with Hank, rather than take him back. It would have been better, I think, if NBC’s promos hadn’t already revealed that Hank would ask her to move.

I like Hank, and I liked Sarah and Hank’s relationship. I loved that he brought over the camera for Max. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing this relationship work out. But Lauren Graham’s not off the show, Sarah isn’t going to move. Ray Romano isn’t going to stay on the show. So what I hope is that the writers realize that Sarah needs to figure things out on her own and that they’ll give her a different storyline next season. I mean, can’t she write another play?

Final Thoughts

Well, that’s the season, guys. Parenthood is an underrated show. The writers and actors don’t even get nominated for awards, let alone win them. But it’s without a doubt, to me, the best network drama on TV. It’s uniquely warm, and honest, and it tells small, real stories. It’s not like anything else I watch, and my TV schedule will feel emptier without it. This has been an outstanding season, and that’s all I can say. (1300 words, man, can I talk about this show.) Now your turn – head to the comments.

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About Jill

Pop culture junkie and TV aficionado. I write sharp and snarky TV recaps at www.couchtimewithjill.com
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3 Responses to Parenthood – Emotions, Emotions

  1. Dana says:

    I can’t say enough how sad it is that we are done with Parenthood until next year. The finale was a great end to a stellar season, and I don’t want to curse anything, but it almost felt like a series finale in some way, just in case, just like season 3 of FNL could have been a series finale too.

    I agree with you that Sydney’s objections felt contrived. I don’t think she would have been enthusiastic to go either, they’ve hardly gotten along all this time and Syd has had to watch them indulge Victor while enforcing the rules with her. THAT would have been a good reason. But no matter, in that judge’s chamber, even though this would have never happened in real life, it was too warm, too perfect, all the right things said, still I wanted Julia and Joel to adopt me so I could be a Braverman.

    I also think that Luke’s (what is his name) transformation is too quick, if they could have only left one aspect a bit rougher around the edges, that would have been okay, they still could have come together. Still Mae Whitman killed her scene and she’s wonderful.

    A few things that made me happy:
    -Crosby walking in on Adam and Kristina. Usually Crosby is the guy you think of when you think of office sex with a woman in a pink wig. Nice to have it be Adam this time.
    -Drew and Amy’s scene. I am glad that they picked this up again and I am super glad that they didn’t get back together and pretend like it didn’t happen. It was a lovely parting. They are nice kids, they aren’t loose and it’s good that even though this was painful, they both have bright futures ahead.
    -I’m glad Sarah didn’t choose Mark (although he is so cute and a good guy) but even though it is likely she will not end up with Hank, there is a reason why she got interested in Hank in the first place, Mark is not the guy for her. I am kind of thinking there might be a road back to Seth.
    -The way Zeek hugged Drew when he told them about Berkeley (and his joy at being accepted all alone). Good acting.

  2. Christine Porter says:

    Thanks for reviewing. I always look forward to reading your take on the show!

    I hope you aren’t jumping the gun about looking forward to next season. I have read that the reason everything was wrapped up so nicely is because there is no guarantee that the show will be back. Hopefully that is wrong.

  3. Jessica says:

    I absolutely agree Parenthood is an underrated show. Many of these actors deserve some noms, and I love Amber pretty much every single time we see her. She kills it every time.

    I have to say I was, actually, disappointed with this season. Out-of-the-ordinary disappointed with a lot of the smaller, but relevant, storylines. Maybe because so much of this show has been so wonderful, so truthful and so real. Kristina’s cancer storyline was handled very well, and Crosby/Jasmine’s new transitions were OK. But, I really, really feel like there were too many issues just glossed over. One being, the Victor/Sydney/bat scenario. To me, it seemed Julia and Joel never addressed that issue fully and it was very serious. Really to that point, Julia had been doing pretty well with Victor, and then suddenly, POOF! not OK anymore. Understandably, a bat was thrown, almost injuring Sydney, but I really feel that whole issue should have been discussed and fleshed out. Sydney, sorry to say, paints a picture of a pretty terrible youngster. I know kids are mean and she is going through a very tough time having to share her parents, but gracious, sometimes she just seems SO mean.

    The other issue I feel was glossed over was the abortion… I really liked how they exposed Drew’s feelings about how he felt like he really didn’t have much of a choice. I thought that was great. But there was nothing, save the scene between Amy and Drew in the finale, to bring closure to that situation. It would have been nice to even see Sarah go back to Mark hat in hand type of thing with a thank you, or some kind of confirmation. Any acknowledgement would have been good. ANY. Holy moly, that’s a huge issue and I feel like it was botched.

    I do agree about Ryan and Amber and how it felt very, very sudden. I don’t know… I was kind of left realizing I didn’t realize how deep, deep, deep their feelings were. And I agree, had they been given more episodes, this storyline could have absolutely been fleshed out more.

    And Sarah. She just annoyed me to no end this season. I thought she treated Mark terribly, and I, honestly, thought it would be best for her character if she ended up alone. It seems she needs a little bit of time on her own to figure some stuff out.

    I actually thought from the two-minute montage of closure scenes that Parenthood is sure to be cancelled for next season. Not sure if you know differently. I think they usually announce renewals/cancellations in May (?). (Don’t know NBC’s logic in cancelling the show, because seriously, you are totally right, they have nothing else going on). Parenthood usually handles such relevant issues so beautifully, usually heartbreakingly and truthfully, so I couldn’t help but feel disappointed this year.

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