I thought about writing a Top 10 Episodes list to celebrate Parenthood coming to an end this week, or even something like a list of the most heart-wrenching scenes (done so well by HuffPo that I teared up just reading it) but those didn’t feel right to me. I’ve watched Parenthood from the beginning and it’s been one of my favorite shows since the pilot aired. I can’t just say goodbye to it with an impersonal Top 10 list.
Parenthood was created by Jason Katims who is one of my very favorite executive producers and show creators. I still remember the night I decided to start watching Friday Night Lights. I was 18 or 19 and had just broken up with someone and was depressed and heart broken and just sososo sad, and my best friend told me to give the pilot a shot. “The football scene is similar to our high school football experience,” she said, selling me right then and there. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
As any fan of Friday Night Lights knows, it didn’t take me long to fly through all available episodes. I watched the final season as it aired, and cried as I said goodbye to a show that I had only just found.
I’ve spent five years watching and investing in Parenthood, so it’s only going to be harder. I’m not ready for Monica Potter to stop portraying Kristina Braverman so perfectly. No more Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman as mother and daughter? Nope, no thank you.
Maybe it’s because I’m close with my family or maybe I’m a sucker for a show that makes me cry, but I connected with Parenthood more than most shows. I have a sister like Julia/Sarah and a brother like Crosby and I’m definitely the Adam of the bunch. I loved watching the Braverman’s grow right along with mine.
Parenthood going off the air means we’re really running low on family dramas which is a shame because, while I love my Veeps and my Arrows and my Scandals, I find a lot of comfort in something a little more relatable and grounded in reality. When Haddie went off to college, I remembered my own experience of leaving my parents for the first time. When my uncle died of cancer a year ago, I rewatched season four and sobbed through all of Kristina’s scenes. When the Braverman’s came together to sit down for dinner, I longed to do the same with my own family who were so far away. There’s just something great about watching a family on TV and going “yes. That. Yes.”
Tomorrow’s episode will end Parenthood’s 103 episode run, and it’s safe to say that about 99 of those have made me cry at least once. At this point I’m not sure it’s possible to watch this show without crying and it’s part of why I love this show so goddamn much.
I’m not going to sit here and say Parenthood’s final season was perfect. Budget issues prevented viewers from spending as much time as possible with the Braverman’s. I won’t even get into the time wasted on Hank and Sandy because it’s too late to change anything. We’re going into tomorrow’s episode with a lot left to be done. Sarah’s getting married to Hank, this whole Adam/Crosby/Luncheonette ordeal still has to be solved, Haddie has to come back, Drew will maybe say a line, and then we have to squeeze in the death of a main character. I’m certain I’ll have to pause the episode to clear the dust out of my eyes several times, and I hope it’s a satisfying ending because after six seasons that’s what I want most: the Braverman’s to get a deserving sendoff.
I’m guessing we’ll say goodbye to the Braverman’s on a baseball field with every family member accounted for and talking over each other. If you need me, I’ll be on the couch with a glass of wine, getting ready to start Episode 1 on Netflix so that I relive every moment. Dammit, I’m going to miss this show.