If there is one show on television right now that embodies the “ideal” family life and its many dynamics, it is the series “Parenthood”. I have personally been hooked on this show since season one, and it was just renewed by NBC for a fifth season. Some of the words used to describe the Braverman family on their Facebook page include: loving, real, funny, offbeat, wise, strong, loyal and loud. In any family dynamic, there are always a different cast of characters, but Parenthood does a great job of bringing together a diverse cast of characters and making up the ensemble casts that are so popular on television today.
The ensemble cast of two parents, their four children, and all their children/grand-children provide many different stories to follow and delve into as well as various character personalities. The Hollywood Prospectus article titled, “Why it’s time to Binge Watch Parenthood”, focuses on the relatability of the characters and their wide spectrum of personalities. Because this show is a multi-generational ensemble, chances are that viewers can relate to at least one of the characters in the series. The show provides different characters like hipster troubled youth in Amber, lovable and childish younger brother Crosby, and strong, wise, stubborn Zeke Braverman, the father and rock who keeps his family together through all the trials they face. The ensemble cast of characters helps make it easier to relate to at least one character, whether it’s type A bread winner Julia Braverman or loving and devoted husband and father, Adam Braverman. The diversity of the cast and the different ways they choose to lead their lives helps to draw in a wide range of viewers and as the Hollywood Prospectus article says, “more people should be watching binge watching this show” (Litman).
The characters come together in a way that we hope our family will always be there for us. Not that the Braverman clan, as they are known don’t have any problems; it is the way they work through these issues as a family unit that is so intriguing. The two parents, Camille and Zeke, are always there to offer advice and teach their four children what is right and what is wrong. From Sarah’s divorce to Julia’s problems conceiving a child, the two parents are present as two strong characters that represent wisdom and comfort for their four children and grand-children. The New Yorker said in its analysis of the show “Parenthood” that at first glance many people might put this show in the soap opera genre because of the many scenes of the characters dancing in the kitchen and its borderline risk of corniness. The huge ensemble cast of characters also represents a characteristic of the soap opera genre, but the acting is a couple steps up from that genre and the storylines deeper and more realistic. According to The New Yorker, this show along with “The Good Wife” are the two best dramas on television right now (James).
One character that the show especially took a risk with is 11-year old Max who has high-functioning Asperger’s disease. This storyline revealed how truly strong the Bravermans’ are, especially Max’s parents, Adam and Christina. I work with a woman who also has a son with high functioning Asperger’s disease and she told me how she was so moved by the representation of two parents wading through the difficult waters of how to cope with this form of autism. Knowing that these characters are reaching people in their homes like this, illustrated to me just how relatable these characters are to people. Having watched this show from its inception, Adam and Christina’s struggles were inspiring to me; they revealed to me their strength and hardships in facing this situation. Because they are flawed characters, the audience has a chance to see them grow as people and develop as character. This plot line has also shown a lot of the familial aspects to the show because it shows the support system of the rest of the family and how their loyalty towards one another strengthens their characters.
Parenthood captures a lot of problems that every day people face, from single motherhood, adoptions, disability, marriage/divorce, and even abortion. This show does not skip a beat on touching on family issues and the family as a unit. In my opinion, this show captures the ups and downs of a large family and the functioning of their dynamic. The relatability of the characters, and the viewer’s ability to watch them develop with each episode, makes this one of the best ones on television right now. If you’re looking for a feel good show that might cause you to shed a few tears, Parenthood is a must see; the story line and characters will be sure to capture your attention one way or another.
· James , Poniewozik. N.p., n. d. 26 Sep 2013. <http://entertainment.time.com/2010/03/02/tv-tonight-parenthood/>.
· Juliet, Litman. “Why It’s time to Binge Watch Parenthood.” HollyWood Perspectus. 26 Sep2013.http://www.grantland.com/blog/hollywoodprospectus/post/_/id/66357/w hy-its-time-to-binge-watch-parenthood