You may be one of the 5+ million who tuned into watch the finale of Parenthood recently, or like me you might be following the show in another country on Netflix or Hulu. In whatever way you came to fall in love with the Braverman clan you’ll have to say goodbye now.

My heart sank on learning that the show was ending. When it first launched 8 million tuned in to meet Crosby, Julia, Sarah, Adam and the whole family. By season 4 numbers had dropped massively and season 5 didn’t help things as critics complained the storyline was stretched to fit 22 episodes when it only required the original 13 episodes per season. Season 5 ratings were as low as 1.3 million average per show.

Besides popularity issues, budget issues also emerged. Netflix helped out for a while but to no avail. The show must stop.

I was gutted. Absolutely gutted. The only other TV series that’s left me with such raw feelings was Band of Brothers (if that counts) and maybe Friends (before it was overplayed). Unlike critics, I never found Parenthood drawn out or mundane, rather I looked forward to each and every episode.

For many people, including myself, Parenthood became a virtual simulation of a loving family environment, filled with belonging, acceptance and community. I felt invited into the Braverman family as they journeyed together, overcame obstacles and forgave each other.

My wife and I were glued to the TV screen. We cried when Julia and Joel separated, laughed when Crosby… was just being Crosby and I wept when Kristina and Adam wrestled against cancer. I yelled at the screen when Sarah dove into another meaningless relationship and cheered for Zeek as he worked to save his marriage.

So much happened.

 

joel and juliaBut it wasn’t just the emotional ride that was attention grabbing, it was what was being communicated.

My parents got a divorce when I was younger, so watching Sydney and Victors response to their parents separation melted me. I processed emotions that have laid dormant for years.

Dax Shepard, who plays Crosby, may never know that he helped me, a skinny white guy in New Zealand, to take a risk to follow my passions.

Zeek Braverman’s attitude to his wife changed my attitude to my wife with lines such as “I see ya, I hear ya”.

I have a friend with asperges and watching Adam and Kristina handle raw emotions with Max broke me. I understood their dilemma, and I can assure you such emotions were not virtual or simulated. Parenthood leapt to life and communicated to me on a deep level.

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My Parenthood Dilemma

It got me thinking how many people Parenthood has discipled (for lack of a better word) around the world. How many people were impacted, changed and even healed because of this TV show. People with asperges who may never walk into a councillors office, divorcees who may never seek help, young parents who feel isolated, were all reached and discipled in the comfort of their own home.

Wow. I spend my life trying to reach people and Parenthood, over the course of 5 or so years, reached millions worldwide. Maybe I should give up my job and become an actor, maybe I could help more people that way. Who knows?

Sure there are other shows out there but I love Parenthood’s multi generational approach and the values, ethics and beliefs it portrays. It was a rare gem.

Maybe this blog is a whining complaint but it’s also left me wondering what I can take from this series? A greater value for family and friends perhaps? A love for good TV?

Whatever the case, thank you Parenthood, cast, crew, and directors, for changing my life.

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