Review: “Parenthood” As Solid A Show As You’ll Ever Find

Written by Spencer Sterritt November 02, 2011

Debuting in 2010 as a mid-season replacement for The Jay Leno Show, Parenthood has been allowed to proper in a dependable Tuesday night time slot and has become one of the most consistent family drama/comedy shows on television. Based on the 1989 Ron Howard movie, and developed by Friday Night Lights show runner Jason Katims, it follows the Braverman clan and their problems.

The four Braverman children, Adam, Sarah, Crosby, and Julia, played respectively by Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Dax Shepard, and Erika Christensen, have all grown up (though not all have matured, namely Crosby) and have children of their own. Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia play their parents, who have unfortunately been marginalized more and more as the show has continued.

You can tell everyone's going to get along just fine

Each episodes roughly follows the same pattern of all four Braverman’s having plotlines that thematically connect with one another within specific episodes, and continue through out the season. Sometimes it seems that Adam Braverman is more involved with the plot than others, especially Julia’s character, who is often marginalized to silly or irrational plot lines that never relate to the larger seasonal plots. An example of this is in late season 2, when Adam finds himself in conflict with Crosby and Sarah, while Julia deals with her daughter by herself.

Though the dynamic between the family members can sometimes be skewed, the dynamic between comedy and drama is almost always perfect. Each family member capably shifts between the two tones with ease, though there certainly are not punch lines. The comedy and drama both pull from the emotions and reactions of others, and the occasional earnestly romantic scene where you can’t help but smile at how cute it all is. Also, since the Braverman adults have children of their own, there are always little kids around to say adorable things that make you laugh.

They always end up looking this happy

To be fair, the kids also come with their own fair share of drama. One character who immediately stands out is Max Braverman, Adam’s eleven year old son. He has autism, and his grapple with the disease is what provides most of the conflict in Adam’s life. A stellar example of this can be found in the episodes which aired in 2011 during sweeps week, where Max learned about his autism, and Crosby slept with Max’s counselor. If anyone is hesitant about jumping into this show, I heartily suggest watching the episodes from sweeps week, as they were consistently great television across the board.

Parenthood Season 3 Promo

To be honest, the show has not always been great. Overall the show started strongly, and within the episodes there is always one plot that is stellar, but most of the time Parenthood is good, not great. It certainly never hits the highs that Modern Family hit in its first season. It also doesn’t help that Parenthood shares so many similarities with Modern Family; many will be content to just watch Modern Family and let Parenthood go. Viewership has gone up, but rating share has gone down, averaging roughly 6 million viewers and 2.03 rating share.

If you desire a solid family drama comedy, nothing flashy, but just a well-acted show with more dramatic gravitas than Modern Family, or you need a replacement for Gilmore Girls, you would be hard pressed to find a better show than Parenthood.

My Rating: 7/10

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About Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt: former Editor-In-Chief for We Eat Films, future President of the Men With Beards Club, and hopefully candidate for ruler of the world.

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