There are several anticipated television series finales to look not-so-forward to in 2015. There’s “Mad Men,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Glee,” “Nurse Jackie,” and “Sons of Anarchy,” among other well-known and beloved shows that are calling it quits this year.
I will miss some of these shows, but there is one show’s end that is a particularly hard pill to swallow. That show is NBCs “Parenthood.” An hour-long family drama that’s narrowly escaped cancelation several times before, is locking up the feels vault for good this Thursday at 9 p.m.
Based on the 1989 film of the same name directed by Ron Howard, Parenthood was rebooted by Jason Katims, the executive producer of the television show “Friday Night Lights.” It premiered in March 2010 with a cast of familiar faces like Craig T. Nelson, Lauren Graham, Peter Krause, Dax Shepard, and Monica Potter. What began as a 20-years-newer-looking version of the original movie gradually became one of the most heartwarming and endearing shows on television.
Viewers like myself grew to love the show because they could see their own lives and families in it. The show has received critical acclaim, because of having one of the main characters be diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. We watched the character of Max grow from a kid to a teenager, fighting against the adversity of Asperger’s, alongside watching the challenges that his parents, Adam and Kristina, faced raising Max in not-always-easy world.
We also watched Kristina battle breast cancer, a topic that isn’t always visited head on in network television. They didn’t sanitize this plot line, and they showed what was scary and sad about cancer–nausea and all. They even showed Kristina smoking marijuana to fight the nausea, which is quite a free-thinking image for a show that is also set in Berkeley, Calif.
This show can be unpredictable in the plot lines it creates, but they’re shown in such realistic ways. In season four, the character Drew, a high school senior at the time, got his girlfriend pregnant and she got an abortion. This is a topic that is hardly shown on television, and it was portrayed in an emotional but not melodramatic way.
It sounds obvious now that this show has had some sad story lines, but I think part of the glue that held the show and the family together was the humor of the actors and characters. I almost want to call this show a dramedy because of all the funny moments I’ve seen over six seasons. A lot of that humor I credit to Monica Potter, who plays Kristina Braverman.
She sells the sad moments so well, but she always has the best one-liners and comedic timing. If Potter had a late night talk show, (a television format that is unfortunately void of women) I would watch it in a heartbeat.
Another part of the glue was the chemistry of the actors and the warmth that the family emitted together. This show garnered friendships, as is clear from the many tweets that I see the actors exchange to each other in real life. Mae Whitman and Miles Heizer who play sister and brother Amber and Drew Holt, even live with each other in real life, platonically I might add.
The characters on this show could definitely fight and scream over each other, but they also showed a tight knit bond, from brothers Adam and Crosby running a record label together, to the many dance parties that the family rocked together.
I can’t write about Parenthood without mentioning the music on the show. For starters, the show actually has a theme song, “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan, something that is hardly seen on television shows these days. Like I previously mentioned, Adam and Crosby owned a record label, which saw acclaimed indie acts like Dawes and Glen Hansard performing. The characters weren’t half bad themselves at music, we’ve seen Amber and Drew show off their musical talents over the years, and their mother Sarah, played by Lauren Graham, who gave a tearjerker performance of Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game” on this past week’s episode.
I also need to give my appreciation to the show’s music supervisor Liza Richardson, who picks the best indie and older gems to fit the mood of the show. I think we have a lot in common in music tastes, and I know most certainly that I want Richardson’s life. Can I have your life please?
Parenthood was my weekly supplier of “the feels,” and I’ve found while writing this article that it’s hard to decide whether to write about this show in past or present tense because it isn’t quite over yet. There is one episode left, airing this Thursday on NBC at 9 p.m., and it’s hard to imagine how I shall get my weekly “feels” on without this show around anymore.
At least I can always relive it on Netflix. If you haven’t watched this show already, please do, and be sure to have tissues.