If you’re reading this blog post in hopes of getting parenting tips or my views on the experience of parenthood, I’m sorry, but you’ll be disappointed. Instead, I’m bringing back Stuff Devon Likes for a very special review of one of my favorite TV shows: Parenthood. So you won’t be getting any parenting tips from me, but who knows? Maybe you can get some from the show. You’ll have to watch it to find out.
Parenthood is an NBC drama about an extended family, the Bravermans. Zeek and Camille are a newly-elderly couple with four grown children. Adam, the oldest, and his wife Christina have two children, Haddie and Max. Sarah has two teenagers, Amber and Drew. Crosby is a bachelor. And Julia, the youngest, has a daughter named Sydney with her husband Joel. The show is based on an 80’s movie of the same name, but the plot differs greatly. The extended family dynamic of the show gives it a really cool vibe and connects all characters in neat ways.
Parenthood was created by Jason Katims, the same guy who created Friday Night Lights, and it has the same amount of heart as his previous show. I don’t know what it is about this guy, but he really knows how to make great TV. If you’ve seen Friday Night Lights, you’ll know what I’m talking about, and you’ll definitely want to give Parenthood a try. Not only does it do a great job of connecting you with the characters and pulling at your heartstrings, but it also features a ton of Friday Night Lights actors as well.
As the title suggests, the show is primarily about being a parent. It explores what that means for each of the different characters at different points in their lives. The show starts out with Sarah, a single mom, moving back into her parents’ house with her two teenagers. What does parenting look like for her? For her two elderly parents who are no long empty-nesters? What does parenting look like for Adam and Christina, who find out at the beginning of the show that their eight-year-old son has Asperger’s? Or for Julia, who’s trying to balance her hectic work life as a lawyer with her responsibilities as a parent and a wife? And it turns out that the one character to whom you think the title “Parenthood” doesn’t apply, Crosby, actually has a five-year-old that he’s just finding out about. What does parenthood look like for him? These are the questions set up in just the first episode of the show.
Throughout the series, we see the Braverman clan go through all sorts of things that families can relate to. Holiday gatherings, birthday parties, weddings, adoptions, career changes, marital conflicts, rebellious kids, and major health crises. They face all of these and more throughout the course of the show. But the cool thing is that it always feels organic and realistic, not forced or fake. And the Bravermans always face these things together, as a family.
The show features a lot of really cool relationships throughout the years. The four Braverman siblings spend plenty of time together, and we get to see what it’s like for their significant others to be a part of such a close-knit family. Many storylines are dedicated to how the kids in the family interact with their siblings and cousins. And since they’re all in one big family, there are plenty of opportunities for unique, cross-generational character pairings in storylines. One of my favorite things about the show is that since it’s about a family, almost every major cast member appears in every episode, even if they don’t play a major role in that episode’s story. The Bravermans are always getting together for some special family event, so you always get to see your favorite character or characters.
And unlike other shows on TV, the main characters generally are there to stay. Like all families do, they change and grow and even fight sometimes. But they always stick around. The main cast stayed the same throughout the series’ six seasons, with the exception of one major departure and one major addition in season four. But again, the change was organic. It felt like something a normal family would go through.
I could go on and on about how amazing the cast of the show is. But all I’ll say is that the actors capture their characters so well. Each character has so much depth, even from the very start, and as they grow and change, the actors do a great job of keeping up with them. The kids on the show are wonderful actors, and it’s really fun to see how much they change over the years. Plus the show has some amazing guest stars, some who stick around for major arcs and others who just show up for an episode or two, but who all leave the show better for having them.
Parenthood ended its six-season run last week with an amazing, heart-wrenching finale. I was sad to see it go, but I was so happy that it got the ending it deserved. And I’m so glad that I was able to enjoy such a wonderful show when it was on the air. The first five seasons of Parenthood are on Netflix, and I’m sure they’ll put the last season up around the same time they release it on DVD. Parenthood is definitely worth giving a shot. If you just want to see a wholesome show about a family you can root for, check out Parenthood, and let me know what you think of it. Thanks for reading, friends, and I’ll see you next week!