Finding a television show on NBC that I can really care about is pretty rare. Which is probably why I never gave Parenthood, the television series, a fair shot when it first started. And I’m really sad that that happened. Especially because this show seems to have filled some of the Friday Night Lights sized whole left in my heart. Most likely due to the many shared cast members and production staff. That alone should have drawn me to it right away.
Over the last 4 days of marathoning the first 3 seasons, I’ve really gotten to know the family, the Braverman clan. I have bawled my eyes out and laughed my butt off. Both of which surprised me. For anyone who is used to a loud family, always talking over each other, always getting in each other’s business and always being the most important part of life, the Bravermans will make you feel right at home. For those who never had that, they will make you feel as if you always have.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a big fan of the 1989 movie of the same name, staring Steve Martin and I wasn’t sure how the series would stack up. It’s remarkable how well they’ve done, following those established character cues while also adding more depth, more heart and just the right amount of added drama. If you know the movie well, it will be easy to match each television character to its movie counterpart. And the casting of these counterparts is absolutely phenomenal. There is not a weak actor on the show, including the many familiar guest stars they have flowing in and out of the lives of the central family structure. Lauren Graham is flawless as is Mae Whitman who plays her daughter. Monica Potter and Erika Christensen are stunning, never failing to make me cry right along with them. Dax Shepard has blown away any expectations I ever had and the rest of the cast is equally recognizable and amazing. I have fallen in love with every single one of them, flaws and all.
People who know me, know that I am a big fan of over the top drama and crazy plot lines, even the ones that make me roll my eyes. The beauty of this show though is the subtly of the conflict and the realness of the story. Not one of the characters faces a problem that I myself or a loved one hasn’t faced. And it’s the family’s reactions to and resolutions of these conflicts that make them ever more endearing and heartwarming. No one is perfect. Bad things happen. But family always has your back.
The first 2 seasons of Parenthood are available on Netflix streaming and season 4 will be airing this fall on NBC. Time well spent.