Browsing: Parenthood

Parenthood
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If last week’s premiere of Parenthood was table setting, then Thursday’s episode (“All Aboard Who’s Coming Aboard”) were the appetizers. We haven’t gotten into the main course that will be the dramatic tensions and fireworks that the season promises, but we’ve whetted our appetite with some tantalizing developments that herald a bountiful feast. So now that I’ve gotten my food analogy out of the way, let’s dig in.

Right there in the cold open, we get the Braverman’s welcoming Ryan home from his service overseas. And while there was some brief talk of holding off on their announcement, Amber blurts out their impending nuptials pretty much as soon as they walk through the door. And while everyone else lights up like its Christmas, Sarah’s face drops like a rock. This is troubling news for her. While any parent would be concerned for their child’s well being after an impromptu marriage proposal, Sarah can’t help but feel a foreboding sense of déjà vu. And while Adam points out that Ryan is not Seth, one senses a tiny bit of doubt in Sarah’s mind as she and Amber bond over bridal magazines and appletini’s.

Parenthood
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As Thursday night’s premiere episode went, this was mainly a table setting episode. Of slightly dealing with the fallout of last season’s events while setting up the big plotlines for this season. And as far as execution goes, the episode lived up to its title “It Has To Be Now” and wasted no time in getting things going.

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Moving onto the other “screw-up” of the 4 Braverman siblings, Crosby is the one adult character of the series that has gone through the biggest transformation. Starting off as a man child who worked as a recording engineer while living on a houseboat, this is a guy who was still doing his laundry at his parents place and sleeping through a parade of women. In the pilot, one of his ex-girlfriend’s, a black dancer named Jasmine (Joy Bryant) comes to him and tells him that he has a five year old son named Jabbar (Tyree Brown). This completely up-ends Crosby life, and since then he has gone from the irresponsible free spirit of the siblings to a married businessman with another child on the way. But this path to maturity was not easy.

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Next up in the family tree, we have single mom Sarah Braverman (Lauren Graham) and her two teenage kids Amber (Mae Whitman, the hardest working actress in showbiz) and Drew (Miles Heizer). Having never seen an episode of Gilmore Girls and only familiar with Graham due to the immortal phrase “Fuck Me, Santa!”, I was going in with fresh eyes for this actress whose developed a somewhat rabid cult following online.

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In the adaptive transition of telling a specific kind of story from one medium to another, the process of turning a hit film into a TV show has always been a daunting task. For every M*A*S*H and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Friday Night Lights, there’s a dozen other shows that have all crashed and burned. One film that had not one, but two TV spin-offs was Ron Howard’s 1989 film Parenthood. Remembered nowadays mostly for having Steve Martin in a cowboy costume at a kids birthday party, the film (which admittedly I have never seen so I can’t comment on its quality) had a malleable enough premise (four branches of an extended family in Southern California living their lives and raising kids of varying ages) to lend itself to being turned into a TV series. But despite having considerable talent both in front of and behind the camera (Ed Begley Jr., Thora Birch, David Arquette and freaking Leonardo DiCaprio in the cast and Allan Arkush directing and Joss Whedon writing), the 1st attempt at turning the film into a TV show only lasted one season and promptly disappeared. Normally everyone involved would just move on and consider it a noble but failed experiment. But if you’re Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, one of the most powerful producing duos in Hollywood today, you simply wait 20 years and try again with Jason Katims, the guy that turned Friday Night Lights into one of the most critically acclaimed but little seen network dramas of the previous decade, at the helm.