On Thursday, January 29, the series finale of the NBC show “Parenthood” aired. For us devoted viewers, the following weeks have been filled with denial and symptoms of withdrawal. For those of you unfamiliar with “Parenthood,” I’m about to tell you why it was one of the best shows on television and why you should start binge watching it on Netflix right now.
Executive producers Jason Katims, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer took inspiration from their family lives in the creation of “Parenthood.” If the name Jason Katims sounds familiar that is because he was the producer of the popular show “Friday Night Lights.” So for those of you who fell in love with FNL, you can be sure “Parenthood” will not disappoint.
The show follows the Braverman family. Zeek and Camille are the patriarch and matriarch of the family. Their four adult children – Adam, Sarah, Crosby and Julia – are at different stages of life, some are married and starting their families, others are struggling after divorce or living the life of a bachelor. The show maps the growth of the characters and their families. We watch them find themselves, learn from one another and challenge one another. Taking this show with me to college was like going home every Thursday night at 10:00 p.m. for an hour with my surrogate family – the Bravermans.
“Parenthood” is so true to life that there is sure to be something for everyone to connect with. This is a show about the human experience. Any life experience imaginable is sure to be explored: being a working mom or a stay at home dad, putting family or career first, finding your passion late in life, the dynamics of interracial marriage, adoption, divorce, rebellious teens, college applications, pregnancy, cancer, etc. Every episode is sure to move you in some way.
The absurd drama found in popular shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” is not what “Parenthood” is about. Someone doesn’t die at the end of each episode and all the characters aren’t sleeping together. The emotional moments in “Parenthood” come from simple, true-to-life experiences like the entire family rallying behind a struggling cousin or showing up to one of the grandchildren’s baseball games just because they love each other so much. This is wholesome television.
The sixth and final season was one of the toughest. I think all the viewers knew where the last season of “Parenthood” was headed. A show about the circle of life was going to take us full circle. Nothing seems more quintessentially Braverman than the final moments of the show, a Braverman family baseball game.
The show flashes forward intermittently to each of the characters’ future lives as characters and run and laugh together on the field. Everyone is doing well and their families have grown. With the juxtaposition of endings and beginnings you are flooded with emotions of pride, joy, sorrow and heartbreak for the family you have grown to love as your own. That is the power of “Parenthood.”
There is nothing like this show on television right now. Nothing earth-shattering has to happen for you to understand pain or happiness. It brings people together just by telling the truth. With the closing of this show, the world of television has a huge gap to fill.