Thursday, September 13, 2012


Do you watch Parenthood?  I love this show.  In all honesty, I'm really not sure if there has ever been an episode that did not make me cry.  The writing is superb and the family dynamics are portrayed with the perfect amount of beauty and dysfunction.  Each episode finds a way to celebrate the best parts of parenting and family while exploring deep places of fear, hurt, and uncertainty.

I can't tell you how many times Aaron and I have been talking (or arguing) through a difficult parenting decision or troubleshooting a behavior issue in one of our children (or ourselves) and said, "This is going to sound dumb, and I can't believe I'm about to say this - but remember how Gabby used that sticker system with Max?  What if we tried stickers?"  We don't take all of our parenting advice from Parenthood (now that would be crazy) but let's just say that if we miraculously end up turning out four productive, caring people into this world who love us and one another, you better believe Parenthood will be mentioned in my short, imaginary acceptance speech at the make-believe banquet where parents go to receive made up awards.  At this banquet all the nominees ride in on unicorns and fat-free, sugar free desserts that taste exactly like the fat-filled, sugar-filled varieties are served to guests by rainbow fairies.  You really should attend.

I can't put my finger on why this show speaks to me every week or why I love the characters so much I wish I could jump into the television and live next door to one of them.  Maybe it's because the idea of extended families living near one another, sharing daily life with each other, and committing to love one another and work through problems no matter what is something we all long for but few families are able to fully experience.  Maybe we see ourselves and our own families in the homes on the show.  We see what's good and should be celebrated about our familial relationships - as well as the areas of struggle, failure, and pain. This show conjures up complex thoughts and emotions because each episode either touches on something raw and real in my own, present-day home, emotions I have as I remember my upbringing and family, or feelings about the current dynamics within my extended family.  If Parenthood is anything - it's wonderfully and horribly human.

The new season started on Tuesday.  Every week I'm going to attempt to put into words the moments during each episode that moved me or inspired me.  I'm not going to write a summary of each show.  I'm simply going to write about an overriding idea, theme, feeling, or memory that was triggered while watching each week.  In that way, even if you don't watch Parenthood, we can still discuss the honest ideas and emotions this show dives into during every episode.

If you watch this show, why do you like it so much?  Which family on the show mirrors your current-day family closest?  Which family on the show mirrors the family in which you grew up?  Which character do you most identify with on Parenthood?  I'll meet you in the comments section to share my answers.  Join me?

Related:  I Take All My Advice from Parenthood, and that's not Weird at All.


The Links said...

Matt and I love this show too. I just love how it shows real problems that real families have. So much of TV is just soooooo not real. And it's nice to see families that are more like ours in TV.

Hendrick Family said...

I too love how honest it is about how wonderful AND hard parenting is.

The family I grew up in has a lot (not all) of the family dynamics of Sarah, Amber, and Drew. It's been good to watch their family. I can better see and understand both sides of the single parent issues watching their relationship.

Our current family probably looks more like Adam/Christine Braverman's family - except that Aaron is a little less Type A than Adam. Aaron is a good blend between Adam and Crosby. In real life, I feel like I'm more like Sarah's character trying to raise a child with similar issues as Max.

So - imagine that for a moment. I wish I could channel my inner, chart-making, calendar keeping Christine. That would sure make things work a little better around here.


Kelli said...

Love this show! But I just discovered it and have been watching it while my husband travels- jsut finished season 2 and now I'm wishing that he was watching it with me- may just have to start over... And I'll have to hold off on the online convo until I catch up but I love this idea!

Melissa said...

Love the show! I started watching it because they were showing life with autism. Even though Max is much higher functioning than my daughter, I can relate on some issues. I also loved watching Gilmore Girls so I love that I can see "Lorelei" again. :) Love the honesty and craziness of their big family!

Diabra said...

Love this show. I try to banish, I mean gently tuck in my big kids so I can watch it uninterrupted by a snack making teen. We are most like the Braverman family, without autism as a factor. I'm juggling big kids needing me, but not "right this minute" needing me like my little kids. It is tough. I was willing Christine to get Adam stay home so she and Hettie could have a fun night out by them selves. Lucky Hettie came cameback for a second hug, that one armed pat on the back wasn't cutting it for me!

La Dolce Vita: The Sweet Life said...

Love it too! Such an example of how stinking hard the parenting gig is. I get teary almost every episode.

Rebecca said...

So this makes me smile. I have been watching Parenthood for the last week after Melanie at mentioned loving the writing. I'm always a bit behind things because I live in Mexico and don't always hear about good shows. So anywho, I've been watching and laughing and panicking. I'm 34 and have been married a year and we are going to start trying for a baby next month. So here I am watching Parenthood with my Mexican husband at my side, explaining what is happening on the show and oh my word Haddie has this boyfriend and then her cousin ends up sleeping with him and we can't pretend that crazy never in a million years things like that aren't going to happen to us and then Max has Aspergers and Grandpa and Grandma are having a rough time in their marraige and please don't let that ever happen to us when we are old and and and. Finally my husband told me to come up for air and chill the heck out. He keeps saying it's is just tv, to which I reply yes I know but all of this stuff really happens and this is a real possibility for all of us and....and then he said that maybe I need a break from Parenthood.

Hendrick Family said...

Ha, ha, Rebecca!! Yes! Exactly - all of that! Don't take a break too long. The show only gets better and better!


The Long Awaited Home said...

I love this show too. The writing is amazing, and the actors are totally relatable. It's funny without being stupid. I watch very little tv, but this is one show I never miss. I DVR it so my hubby and I can watch it together. Looking forward to your take on it each week.


Lindsey said...

Andy and I love this show too! I dream that someday we will be Zeek and Camille. You know, minus infidelity and a little more of the gospel shoved into those heart to heart conversations. I sigh a huge sigh of relief at the end of every episode, "okay, NOBODY has it all together so I can stop trying so hard to pretend like I do!"

I think I relate most to Christina. I am very stubborn and type A about things, I want everything to go off without a hitch and often emotionally melt down when things don't happen like I want them to. I am often blinded by my own (unrealistic) expectations and am so frustrated when life and sinful people get in the way of my perfect picture (think, the episode where Christina wanted her family to go mini golfing)

And my dear, sweet husband ends up trying to figure out how to deal with me and make things "right".

But I also really relate to Sarah in a lot of ways too. Man, I can be so insecure about how I am doing as a mom. I question myself A LOT and yet somehow (a lot of God's grace, I am certain) I wake up most morning ready to try again.

Andy reminds me a lot of Adam and Crosby as well. Feels the weight of his responsibilities like Adam but also is easy-going.

And while Georgia is only 2, I see the beginnings of a Hattie. Perfectionist and tries so hard for our approval and our recognition.

Anyways, I'm glad you're doing this. Just thinking about who we are like has revealed some new ways to be praying for my family.

Mary Beth said...

I love that all of the characters are fully developed. There are no trite, one-dimensional members of the Braverman family. Everyone clearly has flaws and strengths, just like in real life! It helps me love those around me when I'm reminded that everyone is carrying a burden, fighting a battle, and excelling at something.

Caiti said...

I just told the TV last night to stop allowing Parenthood to make me cry. I was holding it together until they showed the previews for next week.

My current family looks nothing like any of the Bravermans, but in my mind my future family looks a lot like Adam and Christina's family. Although some of Crosby and Jasmine's dynamics might make an appearance occasionally.

I grew up in a family much like Julia and Joel's. Dad at home most of the time, mom out making a living. It's nice to see a strong female figure still on TV!

Keep watching! I think it gets better with every episode.

Amanda @ wandering said...

I love this show - I watched it originally b/c of Lorelai :), but have fallen in love with each of the characters. My grwoing up family is probably the closest to Sarah, Amber, Drew - b/c my dad left when I was 12 - and I lived with my mom and younger brother.
My kids are so little right now it is hard to determine who my present family is most like. I think I am a mix of Sarah and Christine - if that makes sense.

adventuresofjackandme said...

I love love love this show! By far my favorite! I find I most closely relate to Christina-- for better or worse. I think you're so right about people wanting this type of life with their families. I do for sure! It's amazing how close they are, good & bad times. I watch every episode multiple times. I'm obsessed.

*Jenna said...

I have loved this show from day one! Haddie's relationship with her parents triggers so many memories of my own relationship with my parents. Her going off to college brought be back to that day! I too cry and laugh in EVERY episode!

We Are Family said...

I've never even heard of it - Guess I better turn on our TV on something other than PBS.

Beth said...

Love that show! The dialogue is so realistic (people talking over one another, different topics going on at once, etc.), and not everything is fixed at the end of each episode, nor are there huge overdramatic events each time either. Just a great portrayal of different families dealing.

This week, when Hattie was blowing her family off, and then stopped to look at the timeline they had made her. . .wow. I might cry just thinking about it.

Elizabeth said...

I've watched Parenthood from day one! Strangely, I can relate to almost every character in some way. I'm fascinated with the whole Berkeley thing, and I totally want Adam/Christine's house. But the biggest draw for me is the beautiful display of how complicated, messy, and downright miserable family dynamics can be! Family systems are awesome!

Courtney Griffin said...

Heather, when I read your blog I think, "Oh, how I wish we still lived in B/CS so I could sit on Sunday nights at NL and hope all the Biblical and life wisdom would somehow seep out of you and into me by osmosis, like I hoped it would so often in college..." (Is that creepy? Let's skip over that if it is. :)

I only just recently started watching Parenthood. Jimmy and I watched all three seasons in record time because it's just THAT good. I would love to say I'm a mix of Sarah and Christine, but I think the only thing I take from Sarah is the "not having it all together," because as we watched and saw Christine have one emotional meltdown after the other, that's when Jimmy would say "Oh that is SO YOU!!"

As I am frequently ailed with baby fever and want a little one but also just want God to tell me, "Ok NOW is the time," (I'm still waiting on that) this show is a huge reality check for me. I think after a few episodes of watching the real life, not idealized dramedy I said, "But the Terry's and the Duty's (and your family) and all the NL families didn't make it look THIS HARD." I should be encouraged that at the end of the day, all of those families, fictional or not, are still smiling and going on and somewhat, keeping it together.

Sara said...

I love this show for just so many reasons....I am a sister, so I love the whole sibling/in-law stuff....I am a special education resource coordinator, so I love the asperger storyline...I have a college girlie, so Hattie and her mama touched my heart in sooo many ways this week...I have friends in the process to adopt, so Julia's true confessions and crazy lady parenting hit some truths as well. Love it.

meg duerksen said...

it is my favorite show! :)
i love how they talk over each other like real families do. i love that they are not alike or perfect. i love that adam and christina have a respectful marriage. i like the show so much because it seems like it's just real enough to dream about your own family that way. you can see how it could work out for your family because it happened's dumb but it's true. you can hope that your angry teenage daughter will come back for one more hug as she goes off to college because she is like caddie sometimes. you can hope she turns out ok because she is like amber too and she is turning out ok too...not perfect but ok.
we are like adam and christina. my family i grew up in was like none of them. maybe zeke and camille?

Captain said...

I just looked up this old post of yours to admit ... before you starting talking about Parenthood, I had never heard of it (look for a big rock, lift it up and apparently that is where I live).

Anyhow, you inspired me to start watching it. I started with season 1 on Netflix and I LOVE it. It is a rare show my husband and I both enjoy (now that Friday Night Lights is over). I want to work myself up to current time and be surprised, so I refuse to read your Parenthood posts, but I'll get there eventually.