Shows You Should Be Watching: Parenthood

In another addition of “Shows Colleen cries over a lot” I’m here to talk about NBC’s Parenthood.

Warning: This is not a spoiler free article

So a couple of years ago I walked into my loft (which is a small area of my house that my parents set aside for me and my sister to watch TV/hang out with people etc…) and my sister was watching some show on Netflix. When I asked her what she was watching and she said Parenthood. I was bored, so I decided to sit down and watch the rest of the episode with her. I think it was like the fourth episode, and I kind of liked it. So a couple weeks later when I was bored again I was scrolling through my Netflix queue and saw it in there I decided to watch the first few episodes. I liked the show, but at this point I didn’t have a laptop so it was a lot harder for me to motivate myself to marathon shows, so I had a casual relationship with the show.

Flash forward to first semester of my freshman year. I now had a laptop and needed a show to binge watch. I remembered Parenthood and then kind of hardcore marathoned it until I caught up to the current season (season five).  From there I watched the show live as best I could.

Sadly, after a long period of negotiation and a very stressful week of renewals, the sixth season will be Parenthood’s last. With a 13 episode season to wrap up story lines, I’m so sad to see this show going off the air.

I’m so sad that the show is going off the air because in my opinion, it’s one of the best (if not the best) shows on television.

It focuses on three generations of the Braverman Family living in Berkley California, with emphasis on the second generation.

The reason this show is so great, is that it feels so realistic. The writing and the acting is so amazing that it always feels so true to life. On most TV shows during group scenes, only one person talks at a time. This is sometimes true on Parenthood, but not always. The Bravermans are loud and opinionated and it shows. At family dinners, everyone is talking over one another trying to get their voices heard, or there are multiple conversations happening at once. Which is so true to life. Any family dinner will have a lot of different conversations happening with everyone fighting to be heard.

The show could easily become soap-operaish, but the way they handle difficult subjects is an art form. I cry nearly every episode, usually both happy and sad tears.


The way the show has dealt with difficult subjects like abortion, cancer, divorce, and adoption among other things was so good because they didn’t sugar coat it, but it wasn’t in your face. There’s a phenomenal writing team that works with a phenomenal cast of actors who seem to truly care about the show they are on creates a great balance.

I’m a sucker for anything Mae Whitman (Amber Holt) does  (seriously Avatar the Last Airbender, Arrested Development, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower are such amazing things and I love them all. Also she’s in everything. Find a show and she’s probably been on it at some point). And this show is no exception. Any time Amber cries, I’m probably crying too because Whitman’s emotions are always so raw and pure.

Monic Potter (Kristina Braverman) is another strong player for the show. She’s consistently robbed by the Emmys but no more than during Season 4. **Spoiler** Cancer story lines are extremely common in the TV world. Give a character cancer to boost drama. However, Potter was SO incredibly amazing that I couldn’t help but feel connected to the Braverman family watching her struggle. I wanted her to get better, as if she was a member of my family. The video in the Christmas episode kills me every time I watch it. I tear up sometimes just thinking about it.  One way I loved that they handled this specific story line is that once Kristina went into remission, that wasn’t it. The cancer was still there in season 5. We saw Kristina having to get her yearly check up and waiting for days with baited breath to see if she was still cancer free. We felt her guilt when a close friend lost her battle, and she was still alive (seriously that episode KILLED me).

Erika Christensen (Julia Braverman-Graham) and Sam Jaeger (Joel Graham) came in strong for season five. In the past few seasons they were always the perfect family. They had some struggles, but this past season they really got their time to shine. Their relationship dynamic was seriously shifted and we still don’t really know what’s going to happen so I can’t wait to see what season 6 holds for their family. 

I’m not ignoring the other three Bravermans, Adam (Peter Krause), Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Crosby (Dax Shepard). All are great characters. Adam has the biggest family, and as the oldest feels a responsibility to his siblings. He tries his hardest to make everything perfect. His character development has been great to watch, because he used to be super practical taking few risks, but after teaming up with Crosby to start their own business he loosened up. The dynamic between Crosby and Adam since their business partnership has led to some great character development. Crosby mellows Adam out by making him take risks, while Adam made Crosby mature. The was Shepard plays Crosby is important because he starts as a childish bachelor, who realizes he’s the father to a 5-year-old kid and has to completely change his lifestyle. It could be easy to hate Crosby for being immature and childish at times, but you don’t. It’s all in the acting. HIs relationship with Jasmine (Joy Bryant) has also done wonders for his character development.

Most people know Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls. However, when that show was on, my parents wouldn’t allow me to watch it. Since then I’ve seen a couple reruns, but not many. I love her as Sarah though. Sarah is a very lost character. As a single mom to two kids, Amber and Drew (Miles Heizer), who never went to college, you can’t help but root for her. We’ve seen Sarah try to find her calling in many episodes. I really hope that however the season ends, Sarah is happy. I don’t really have an investment in her love life, like many do. I just really want Sarah to find something that she loves to do, and keep doing it. I want her to find her way and be happy.

The first generation Bravermans Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) and Zeke (Craig T. Nelson) are pretty cool too. As the head of the family, they’re always there to help their kids and grandkids. They got more of a storyline in the fifth season which made me like them (especially Zeke) a lot more as characters.

Drew has slowly worked his way into my heart. Since I watched all of the show at once, when it first started Heizer was young and I liked his character, but didn’t have any strong feelings about him at the time. Then suddenly around season 4 or 5 I realized I was kind of in love with his character. Oops. I’ve always been hot and cold about Haddie Braverman (Sarah Ramos), as far as her story lines went. I’m still pretty neutral about her character, though since the actress herself is in college, Haddie hasn’t been around much lately to change my opinion.

There’s so many characters on this show that I could keep talking forever. To cut down, I’ll talk about the rest of the kids together. Let me say this: when it comes to child actors they’re either really really talented, or really really awful. The child actors on this show fall under the category of really really talented. Seriously, I wish I could be HALF as talented as some of the kids on this show. Max Burkholder as Max Braverman is absolutely amazing as he’s grown up. He started out so young and has developed into such a talented actor. For the longest time I thought that Burkholder actually had autism. No one can throw a tantrum as well as Sydney Graham (Savannah Paige Rae). Xolo Maridueña does a great job playing the emotions (or lack thereof at points) of Victor Graham. Tyree Brown is adorable as Jabbar Trussel (also Jabbar reminds me a lot of my cousin).

Bottom line: this is one of the greatest shows on television. It only has one season left which is horrible. Everyone should be watching this show in it’s final season because it deserves all the fans it has. I can’t wait to see what the show has in store and I’m really thankful it got renewal for a final season so we weren’t left with any dangling story lines. I’m happy we get closure.

Seasons 1-4 of Parenthood are available on Netflix and season 5 is online at

Season 6 premiers Thursday, September 25 at 10/9 Central.

Stop reading this now and go watch the show



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