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.