I just finished watching the family-centric drama, “Parenthood,” and let me tell you, it is a phenomenal show. The first bit of evidence I have proving it deserves such a stellar rating is the fact that I meant it literally when I said I just finished watching it. Not even five minutes ago, as the finale came to a close, I was crying and smiling with the perfect blend of sorrow and joy—the kind that leaves you one hundred percent content, not too sappy happy and not too sad. When I love something, I am immediately confronted by the urge to write about it. Hence my writing this now. Only a show of excellent caliber could push me to write about it directly after finishing it at 12am—I could be sleeping! I chose discussing “Parenthood” over sleep! That must mean something!
This TV tour de force of 103 episodes follows the Braverman family as they navigate life’s turbulent waters, leaning on one another in crises and cheering each other on in moments of triumph. The children of stubborn, soft-hearted Zeek and strong, sweet Camille Braverman are split up into four subfamilies that are vastly different, but all lovable and endearing just the same.
Adam's family: kids, Max and Haddie, with wife, Kristina
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Sarah's family: kids, Amber and Drew
Crosby's family: himself, because I don't want to spoil who he ends up with
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Julia's family: daughter, Sydney, and husband, Joel
Each family faces challenges: defiant kids, financial problems, relationship struggles, sickness, behavioral issues, and more; all of this sets up the foundation for moving familial speeches or even wordless embraces of comfort that remind each Braverman that they are all in this crazy thing called life together.
If you are at all an emotional person, you will cry. I am not exaggerating when I say I cried nearly every single episode (multiple times per episode as well). The acting and writing is so finessed and brilliant that every piece of you will feel the emotion of each scene. It will overwhelm you, tugging tears from your eyes before you even realize why you are crying. (Shout out to Monica Potter (Kristina) who is especially excellent at this.) Happy tears, sad tears, tears upon tears upon tears! However, contrary to what you might assume after my rambling about how much I cried while watching, it is overall a very happy, fulfilling show. If you are a sucker for family dramas, this one is for you, I am certain of that.
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"Parenthood" is the most real show I've ever watched. It doesn't rely on bells and whistles, instead it relies on the rawness of everyday situations of everyday people. The characters make mistakes and lash out. They say things they don't mean and hurt people, but what is great about this show is that we see arguments resolved and learn from the growth the characters must undergo. We learn what it means to be a brother, sister, daughter, son, mother, father, uncle, aunt, cousin, husband, wife—we learn what it means to be a family, and that, I think, is the essence of "Parenthood."
One of my best friends, Renée—who happens to be the one who convinced me to open up my heart and soul to “Parenthood” for a few months—describes the show as being “emotional, heartwarming, and goals.” In the modern sense of the word, I’d have to agree with her; the Braverman family is “goals” because they stick together through thick and thin, and they overcome any strains in their relationships, sometimes with grace, other times with a lot of yelling; that's only human.They are goofy and smart and compassionate and wonderful. I could explain a million reasons why they are these things, but I think you should see for yourself.
The three descriptors my mom chose bear many similarities to Renée’s, one even being the exact same: “addictive, heartwarming, and tear-jerking.” Heartwarming is right, the folksy soundtrack overlaying sun-kissed scenes of family love and unity are plenty, and that warmth shines through the TV screen and soaks its blissful viewers. (Sounds like I'm exaggerating, I'm not.)
I won’t talk about the ending—I’m not that cruel—but I will allay any fears you may have about the show leaving you without proper closure. “Parenthood” ties every loose-end and left me at peace with the outcome of the lives of each Braverman subfamily.
Bonus #1: The two theme songs are lovely (especially the second one).
Bonus #2: If you watch, you get the privilege of witnessing the Fever.