From 2010-2015, the tv series Parenthood graced TV series. Enter the Braverman family. Parents Camille and Zeek. Adult children Adam, Julia, Sarah and Crosby and their respective families. Stir into that pot a plethora of health, wealth, and emotional issues. Add in pregnancy, family coming home, illness, children off to college and family separation…and you have the recipe for 6 seasons of nonstop action.
Zeek and Camille are head of the house, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. One thing that we do learn through the 6 series is that they were hiding a secret, not from each other, but from their children.
Adam, Julia, Sarah, and Crosby are a delightful mix of both of their parents. Each has their own quirks and likeable elements. This is what makes the show work. Each character is real. Each character has flaws. Each character has times when they act irrationally. Each character knows that when push comes to shove, family is what matters.
Adam is married to Kristina and together they are raising Max and Haddie, together with Nora, a late addition to the family. Curveballs seem to be continually thrown at the family, whether it be from their own offspring or their nieces and nephews but what makes this family work is communication. The script clearly shows that Adam and Kristina talk each night which enables problems of the day to be discussed and solutions sought. Adam is played by Peter Krause. He is strong and steadfast in his portrayal but in one scene, you see him crumble. Sublime acting is seen as he breaks down to his dad that “something is wrong with his son”
Julia and Joel are a family with their daughter Sydney. While some would argue Sydney is a little precocious, others might say ‘determined’. Julia is a lawyer and Joel, an extremely capable stay at home Dad. While this ticks over well for some time, there are times when Joel is no longer fulfilled and needs something more. Despite some major hiccups along the way, such as problematic adoption and marital woes, they come together with a new addition to their family. While Victor and Sydney clash initially, it is beautiful to see the friendship that forms between them. The stern front needed for Julia’s lawyer persona is ably played by Erika Christensen. What Erika can put across so well, is how that stern front is left at the lawyer’s office door when she gets home. She is really playing two versions of herself, and this is beautifully done.
Sarah can be described in so many ways. Thinks of everyone before herself. Hopeless romantic. Loves her children dearly. Her Dads favourite child! Rough diamond. Hard worker. All these statements describe her but when you put everything together, you have a hard-working single mum of 2 who loves her children so much. Sarah moves home to get her life back in order. While her children rebel at this initially, everything comes together for her. She must overcome issues to get to that perfect ending. Family conflicts. Becoming a grandma! Her daughter in a severe car accident and more. But Sarah is resilient and that is testament to Lauren Graham, actress that takes the role. She plays the role with a toughness and a vulnerability. The ability to switch between the emotions so quickly is demonstrated in every episode as she navigates life.
This brings us to Dax Shepherd who portrays Crosby. How do you portray the adult child who lives on a boat and brings washing home to Mum? How do you portray the adult child who had a one-night stand 5 years ago and is gifted a son? How do you portray the adult child who struggles with some things in life? Answer: Ask Dax to play the role as he nails it 110%.
We see Crosby with his on/off girlfriend and an air of arrogance about him. He is told on several occasions by his siblings that “this is not how life is” and he “needs to sort things out”. We then see Crosby presented with a son he never knew he had. This is where we see Crosby change as he negotiates fatherhood. It is an honour to watch Dax grow in this role. It was very easy to see the pure joy in his scenes with his young co-star.
This brings us full circle to Camille and Zeek. Craig T Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia are the bookends for this family. They cheer them through the good times and hold them up through the bad. While Camille supports her family, Zeek is a tough love man. One such example, when Sarah’s daughter Amber was in her accident. Zeek took her to the yard to show her the car remains and told her “We nearly lost you”. He explains how he dreamt of his grandchildren and that she was never to mess with his dreams again. Tough love and tears but needed.
Parenthood is a beautiful show and brave. It gives you normal family life but does not shy away from anything. During the 6-season run, we are gifted car accidents, medical issues, runaway children, adoption gone wrong, pregnancy, drug use, underage sex, Asperger`s, Cancer and more.
The actors involved in the show from the youngest to the eldest have all played a pivotal role in putting this show front and centre. Re-runs on Amazon prime are a gift, so if you have not seen it… go check it out.