Anyway, I was just watching last night's Parenthood and thinking again about how much I like that show! It really is just super-excellent. Well-acted, well-written, emotional without being hokey...it's just great. And in last night's episode in particular I was struck by how realistic the characters are. There is absolutely NONE of that Glee bullshit (and bullshit used by countless other shows) where complex characterizations are thrown out the window in favor of some exciting plot. These are people with REAL reactions to REAL situations, and even though they're not always what we, as an audience, might hope for from the characters that we love, because we love them we are able to understand why they have those reactions. Take Crosby and Jasmine. Oh man I would love for Crosby and Jasmine to get together and be together forever and make more beautiful babies, but I also absolutely understand why that might not be the right thing for them right now. On a lesser show, their dalliance would have had huge dramatic repercussions, but on Parenthood, it is simply an opportunity to demonstrate the ways in which Crosby continues to mature.
I have two big issues with many television characters: (1) that they don't communicate in a normal, helpful way; and (2) that they often seem to have no capacity for forgiveness. TV can often be a world of black and white, where a thing is just WRONG and totally unforgivable. But that's not how the world works! People change, people have great capacity for contrition AND for forgiveness, and I really love that Parenthood shows this. It doesn't demonize characters simply because they make a wrong decision; in fact, almost all of the many characters on the show have made awful mistakes in the past. But the Bravermans, like a real family, are able to communicate and apologize and forgive and try to move forward from a better place. Watching Parenthood is like watching a reality show where the stars don't know they're being filmed - making it greatly superior, at least where authenticity is concerned, than those often boring, fake, narcissistic day-in-a-life reality shows.
If you're looking for a show that has drama but also humor and nuanced, relatable characters, than I can't recommend Parenthood highly enough. Plus, the cast really is phenomenal. How adorable was that scene with Mark and Sarah? SO ADORABLE. I hope that Parenthood has found a strong enough audience to be renewed for another year, because I can't think of another network drama that is as good as this one. Good watching for the holiday season if you need to be reminded that other families are just as crazy as your own. Go forth and watch!