Every decade or so, an iconic TV family is born- they enter our living rooms, and ultimately our hearts, with their familiar personalities, relatable stories, heart warming dialogue, and in some cases, laugh out lout comedic moments. In the 50s and 60s it was the Andersons, the Nelsons, and the Cleavers; in the 70s, the Bradys and the Bradfords; the 80s, the Huxtables and the Keatons; the 90s, the Barones, the Conners, and well, the cast of Friends may as well have been a family; in the 00s, the Taylors really brought it home (and if you don’t know who they are, you seriously are missing out), and of course, the Sopranos made arguably the biggest name of them all (I know they don’t exactly typify the ideal American family, but they were certainly iconic!) Which brings us to today… enter the Bravermans. I don’t know about you, but I cannot get enough of them. So much so that when I nestle in bed on Tuesday nights at 9:58pm and eagerly tune into NBC (one of the few times that I actually make “appointment” TV) only to find that it doesn’t say “NEW” on the Parenthood listing in my cable guide, I’m severely disappointed. A whole day, nee week, of anticipation crushed in one fell swoop. Pathetic? Maybe. But there are few shows that really grab me – and it was no surprise to me when I learned that Jason Katims, head writer and executive producer of my beloved Friday Night Lights is also the creator of Parenthood. The man knows how to write realistic dramas that suck you in and never let you go. He literally had me at the opening credits.
Sure, I’m admittedly defenseless against the heartstring-tugging dialogue that he so skillfully crafts, but it’s not just about that. I think at the crux of it all is the fact that while we are all so busy living our insanely hectic lives, barely making it through each day without our heads spinning out of control (at least, that’s how we New Yorkers do it) there’s something so grounding about following the ins and outs of each member of these families and their individual and collective lives, the ebb and flow of their failures and triumphs- something settling, emotionally engaging, and above all, entertaining. Maybe it’s that I don’t even come close to having that kind of visibility into the lives of my own friends and family (as much as I would like to, it would be logistically impossible), that I take comfort in at least knowing exactly what is happening with the Bravermans week to week. It’s also that it’s just so damn entertaining. I know I said that already, but it deserves to be said twice! It’s beyond well written and incredibly executed by a perfectly cast ensemble.
So, after three torturous weeks, the Bravermans were finally back last night. Let’s break it down: Amber is doing quite well for herself these days, and was just promoted to become Bob’s assistant, but I’m concerned she is flying too close to the fire and may end up wrecking everything if she isn’t careful, as she is previously known to do. And is it me or should the guy running for office stop hitting on an 18 year old? On to Julia and Joel- if Zoe changes her mind I will seriously lose it- they have been amazing to her and it will break my heart if that doesn’t end well. And if Crosby hasn’t come a long way since his major indiscretion with Max’s therapist (as much as I would LOVE to see Minka Kelly back on the show) then I don’t know what character development is. I don’t know how I feel about Jasmine moving in with Dr. Joe- I’m sort of over the whole Jasmine/Crosby thing but I can’t blame the writers for constantly going back to that well. Like most will-they-or-won’t-they scenarios, that will probably go on for quite some time. And just when I think I’ve had enough, Crosby goes and gives her a custom made doorknob out of an old ballet bar that he’d intended to give her back when he first bought the house, which Jasmine is obviously touched by, and there I am- rooting for them yet again! What can I say, I’m a sucker for a ballet-bar doorknob. And Sarah, well, no surprises there. Another emotional breakdown, that if nothing else, suggested that we will might be seeing more of Jason Ritter. And I can’t say I’m not happy about that.
In the end, Parenthood is one of those shows where, much like with Friday Night Lights, I’m baffled by the lack of viewership. It’s good TV, people! If you don’t already watch it, you better get on board before its time is up. Because like all their predecessors, the Bravermans will not be around forever. And if you are already a fan, then may you keep watching…and “may you stay forever young.”
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