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5 Reasons to Watch The Final Season of NBC’s Parenthood

5 Reasons to Watch The Final Season of NBC’s Parenthood

5 Reasons to Watch The Final Season of NBC’s Parenthood

If you aren't already watching this gem, we have five good reasons why you should.

When NBC’s Parenthood debuted in 2010, it was one of those shows that defied description. Not wholly a drama, not really a comedy, it seemed an unlikely choice for NBC, a network notorious for demanding straight drama or straight comedy. A family saga similar to Brothers & Sisters with a touch of Gilmore Girls (including that show’s erstwhile star, Lauren Graham) thrown in, the epic series following several generations of the Braverman clan won hearts and ratings and critical acclaim.

Addressing a wide-array of issues, Parenthood has replicated American middle-class life in many ways by showing how different life can be even in one family: one child has Asperger Syndrome, another is a lesbian. There is an interracial marriage, a single mother, a pregnant teen and a life-threatening–and altering–battle against breast cancer. There are numerous affairs and there is forgiveness.

The final season premiered Sept. 25. If you want an alternative to ABC’s #TGIT, Parenthood is definitely a worthy option. And for devotees? The saga continues, with all your favorites back at the old homestead.


5. The Kids Are All Right

Children — teens as well as younger kids — are central to the Braverman clan. The conflicts that arise between and among the four adult Braverman siblings–Adam (Peter Krause), Sarah (Lauren Graham), Crosby (Dax Shephard) and Julia (Erika Christensen)–are often due to the kids in their respective families. This isn’t Modern Family, but it’s definitely a modern family, which means big and blended. The patriarch and matriarch of the clan, Zeek (Craig T. Nelson), a Vietnam vet and jack of all trades and Camille (Bonnie Bedelia), an artist, round out the generations and the complexities.

4. Mr. Mom
Parenthood is one of the only shows on TV to have men in stay-at-home parenting roles. Joel Graham (Sam Yaeger) is Julia’s husband and some of their conflicts have revolved around his staying home to care for the couple’s children, Sydney and Victor, while Julia pursued her career as lawyer in a top law firm. (This season those roles shift, creating new conflicts.) Does being a stay-at-home dad alter men’s perspective on their masculinity? Parenthood goes there.

3. Bringing Up Baby

Babies matter on Parenthood. In season 3, Kristina (Monica Potter) and Adam had a third child, Nora, after Kristina became pregnant unexpectedly. Their other children, Haddie (Sarah Ramos) and Max (Max Burkholder) were teenagers and they were in their early 40s, so the pregnancy was not without problems. And then Adam missed the birth!

Crosby and wife Jasmine (Joy Bryant) have a new baby, Aida. But Amber (Mae Whitman), Sarah’s daughter and a musician, is pregnant now, raising complex issues for the family when she decides to have and keep the baby.

2. But I’m a Cheerleader

Haddie Braverman (Sarah Ramos) is the most complex of the third generation of Bravermans. Compelled to excel because of her brother Max’s Asperger’s, she’s worked hard at everything–including being involved with boys. But at the end of last season when Haddie came home from Cornell to visit, she didn’t come alone. She brought her new friend, Lauren. But when Max saw Haddie kissing Lauren, she had to reveal to her family that she was in a lesbian relationship.

1. Mother Knows Best

At the heart of Parenthood is Kristina (Monica Potter), Adam’s wife and mother to Haddie, Max and Nora. Kristina is a linch-pin for the entire Braverman clan, destined to fill the role of matriarch now held by Camille. Kristina is the person to whom everyone turns for help and for support–which she gives unfailingly. But Kristina’s battle with breast cancer created a plethora of problems for her and the family and left her feeling isolated and terrified. Yet as she battled back, she became a role model for women also dealing with the disease, addressing every issue from fear of dying and leaving one’s children and partner, to finding the right wig (the hot pink one was the best). Potter makes every episode worth watching. She and Lauren Graham burn up the screen with their powerful presence. Despite their mutual strengths, these are women who are still deeply vulnerble–and oh-so-relatable.

VICTORIA A. BROWNWORTH is an award-winning journalist, editor and writer and the author and editor of nearly 30 books. She has won the NLGJA and the Society of Professional Journalists awards, the Lambda Literary Award and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She won the 2013 SPJ Award for Enterprise Reporting in May 2014. She is a regular contributor to The Advocate and SheWired, a blogger for Huffington Post and a contributing editor for Curve magazine and Lambda Literary Review. Her reporting and commentary has appeared in the New York Times, Village Voice, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer. Her book, From Where We Sit: Black Writers Write Black Youth won the 2012 Moonbeam Award for cultural & historical fiction. Her novels, Ordinary Mayhem and Cutting will both be published in winter 2014. Follow her on Twitter @VABVOX

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Victoria A. Brownworth