Watch it and Weep

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The best part about back-to-school season for me, I’ve just come to realize, is that my husband and I can commence our Tuesday “date night” routine. See, my almost 3 year old has sleep-over Tuesdays at my mom and dad’s every week during the school year and it a) is the highlight of their week – not just my parents, but my daughter’s too because she cannot get enough of them and b) makes it easier to get her to the private Armenian pre-school that is conveniently only five minutes from my parents’ home while about 45 minutes from mine (long story, but it works). So, last night was our first official date night of the season and we explored some of the new haunts of our neighborhood, starting with a great little Spanish tapas and wine bar right on 51st Street and 9th Avenue, followed by a yummy cocktail at a not-quite-as-new Mediterranean spot nearby called Medi, followed by a pop-in at another new wine bar on 44th street a block from our home. All this to say that when we got home at around 10pm (I know, we are party animals, right??) I was content to relax and read a magazine or just channel surf until something interesting caught my eye. But imagine my delight when I looked over at the DVR and noticed the red light indicating that something was being recorded, and I suddenly remembered that my beloved Parenthood was finally back on NBC.

Needless to say, we immediately flipped it on and commenced catching up with our favorite characters, whom we hadn’t seen in what seemed like forever. I had almost forgotten all the twists and turns with which the previous season had concluded and found myself saying things like “Oh, that’s right! Julia and Joel adopted that little boy!” and “OMG, Haddie is heading to Cornell!” Every minute that followed the “previously on Parenthood” segment was utter delight (and you might want to stop reading now if you haven’t seen it yet). Watching how things were unfolding for the Bravermans was like catching up with my own family – I loved seeing where the summer had taken them (Amber now works at The Luncheonette!), how the children had changed/matured in the short time we hadn’t seen them (Max is so not a kid anymore), and how much more complicated life had gotten for at least two of the four Braverman siblings between the adoption for one and the college send-off for the other.

And can we talk about the genius casting of Ray Romano as the socially awkward photographer from whom Sarah fenagles a job? The scenes featuring the two of them, both in his office and on the set of the photo shoot, were sheer brilliance. Ray’s delivery is the perfect complement to Lauren Graham‘s perfectly awkward timing – the two together created moments that were so uncomfortable and yet simultaneously so enjoyable to watch. While it was somewhat predictable that despite her lack of experience in photography she would end up with the job, given her incredibly personable interaction with the mourning family during the shoot, I was willing to let that slide since I was obviously entertained by it all. Sometimes you just have to go with it, and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for them in the coming episodes.

And finally, as the title of this blog conveys, there was many a tear shed throughout the course of the episode. I don’t know which was more tear jerking: the powerful scene between Haddie and Max as she tries desperately to connect with her younger brother before she heads off to college; the scene where Julia admits that she is having trouble “falling in love” with her newly adopted son; or the tender moment shared between Crosby and Jabbar as they gaze at the stars and talk about faith. Crosby brilliantly navigates the challenging subject matter and explains how he believes in his son, his wife and his family, and cleverly gives Jabbar a different (and I would argue more relatable) perspective on religion than the one his mother-in-law had already bestowed upon his young, impressionable son. I wouldn’t be surprised if parents across the country are feverishly searching online for the script to help them craft equally effective advice to share with their own children.

I would be remiss if I left out the final scene of the episode where Haddie says good-bye to her loving parents as she embarks upon the next chapter of her life, heading clear across the country to attend Cornell University. I was so emotional – not so much because Haddie finally let down her guard and actually cried as she realized that she was about to leave her family for the first time, but more so because her mother finally got to connect with her daughter before she took off, which was all she had really wanted. Was that so much to ask? As a mom, I cannot imagine how difficult it will be to send my daughter off to school one day… I’m getting a lump in my throat just thinking about it.

So, there you have it. We are back in full swing and the Bravermans have managed to bring me to tears more times than I can count in the very first episode. I cannot wait to set my box of Puffs tissues conveniently at my side as I sit down again next week to watch my favorite TV family.

Now voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell me which of the teenage Bravermans is your favorite?


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