Sunday, March 15, 2015

Parenthood - the television series - midterm review

2010 - 2015
3 stars - you'll see
ALR Green - heck, nobody even has a dog until season 4

OK, I'm only halfway through season four, but I'm on kind of a review role today and figured I'd get this one out of the way (I can always update it if I change my mind by the end of the full six seasons).

Parenthood is a soap opera type series about the Braverman family. Mom, Dad, four adult kids, and their families. This show rates three stars because it is a nice, mindless fluff when one is ill or otherwise requires a distraction. I binge watched during our endless winter of weekly blizzards as it seems that I wasn't able to do much other than look out the window and worry. 

I'd liken this to a 21st century version of The Waltons meets The Brady Bunch. Now I know several people that I like who swear by this show and to those among you who couldn't bear to see it end, well, best to stop reading right now, because there is so much I don't like about it that I'm going to have to limit my commentary. So why do I keep watching? Well, because there are still times when I need something to shut off my brain and this seriously fits the bill.

Here's my (partial) list of why I think Parenthood is a dorky show (in no relevant order). Warning, contains spoilers.

  1. Do these people ever work? For real. It seems like everybody is ducking work at all times of the day to attend to family affairs. And when they aren't ditching work, they've got family members just dropping in for a chat. Seriously? If my brother or sister kept showing up unannounced at work they'd get a serious talking to. What a relief when Julia finally gets caught out for a major screw up at work because she's been playing hooky to (hello?) wait in the parking lot outside of school all day so her adopted son doesn't freak out. Then, of course, she takes the high road and quits before she can be fired, but husband Joel is going to have to sharpen up his saws because it will take a lot of bathroom renovations to make up for her salary. Oh, and speaking of adopted kid whose mom went to prison, what's up with that? No visitation? No lingering behaviors (other than the ones which can be overcome by Braverman love)?
  2. Every scene (and I mean every scene) is a setup for yet another family moment. Yes, friends, nobody is every really doing anything except waiting for somebody else to show up and have a chat. Sure, Grandma might look like she's puttering in the garden, but not for long, because within 30 seconds, oh look, it's Crosby looking for advice on child rearing. 
  3. Pack life. Every family member at every family event, every time. Nope. Oh, and no friends outside of the family (well, some friends with benefits - see item 5).
  4. The women always seem on the verge of crying. Yup. What a weepy bunch. Gah! The men don't fare much better. They fall into the categories of flaky, overly macho, or stoic. They all like baseball. 
  5. With a couple of minor exceptions, any new character who gets more than a few lines is destined to either have sex or try to have sex with one of the main characters. It didn't take me too long to figure that one out. By season four, it wasn't even a challenge to figure which Braverman they would hit on. Once a character has served his or her purpose, they get written right back out. Like they never existed. Be gone, non-Braverman!
  6. How old is Grandma anyway? This one bugs me. What a missed opportunity! I'm saying, "Hey, that Bonnie Bedelia doesn't look old enough to be mother to Peter Krause et. al." Turns out I was right as she's only 17 years older than him. Oh boy! We could have a plot twist about how she got knocked up and had a shotgun wedding and she might even get to show some real emotion. Nah, that would never happen.
  7. Where did the money come from to pay for Cornell? Because Adam got fired and invested all his money in the Luncheonette and then didn't sell it (WTF?) even for $2M and according to Kristina they went through all their savings and yet, somehow, they paid the tuition to send Haddie to Cornell. Maybe through good thoughts.
  8. The season to season tightening of clothing. At least this only happened with one character, Julia, but, oh man, how does she even move with all that body hugging spandex on? 
  9. I just don't like these people. Well, except for Max and Drew (two of the Braverman grandkids). They're cool, but they don't get much face time, so there's that.
  10. Finally, there is the myriad of sloppy details. As in why does Kristina switch from an electric toothbrush to the old fashioned kind and why did Haddie's hair get bigger all of a sudden?
Well, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Watch it, don't watch it. Just don't ever confuse it with reality. 


  1. I totally agree with your assessment of this show. I stopped watching after the first few years. I was getting real tired of the dialog all being done on top of each other especially where the teenage kids were involved.


  2. We watched an episode or 2, but found the behaviors you disliked to be overwhelmingly idiotic. Thank the stars for streaming services which give us options for binge watching during this neverending winter.