Parenthood: “I’ll Be Right There” (Episode 4.06)Photo courtesy of Danny Feld, NBC TV Reviews Parenthood
Attention to those who write off a show after one season (networks and viewers alike): Parenthood is what happens when you give a show time to find itself and grow into a blossoming show with relatable characters with real heart and soul. Parenthood has been on a steady incline for some time now and ever since Kristina’s cancer storyline was revealed a few episodes into this fourth season, the show has yet again found itself speaking to the world with an honest filter—something more shows should think about doing.
Last week’s heartbreaking (a word I realize I use over and over again when talking about this show, but seriously, it is heartbreaking) episode dealt with Kristina telling the entire family she has cancer. Tears were flowing (both on screen and in my living room) and the episode ended with the Bravermans closer than ever. In “I’ll Be Right Here” the journey continues with Haddie back at home taking some time off from Cornell and doing school work from across the country and Max continuing his run for student body class president.
With a daughter saying she wants to take a semester off, a son with Asperger’s about to give a speech in front of the entire school and a wife about to enter surgery, Adam has a lot on his plate. While the obvious choice for the show is to focus heavily on Kristina’s journey, focusing on the spouse of someone with cancer is just as important. The show also does a commendable job revealing other members of the family’s emotions. Amber, on a first date with Ryan, realizes she may not have been as loving to her aunt as she should have been. Julia, fresh off of quitting her job, is trying to be a “super mom” by making a flow chart for who should be at the hospital at what time, while Crosby just wants to be involved.
Meanwhile Sarah is moving in with Mark. Finally. But everything isn’t as easy as it should be. Her son Drew doesn’t want to leave his grandparents’ house and Hank, her boss who she has previously kissed, shows up on moving day. The latter ends up getting roped into helping them move. You know, I’m glad Sarah exists for many reasons, mostly because her plots would always make great clichéd sitcom episodes, but because this is a drama, we get a fresh take on things—and the fresh take is realness. Sitcoms make light of comedic situations in life, but sometimes funny moments are serious, and that’s what Sarah and Parenthood as a whole try to do.
It’s great to see a family that is juggling so much come together for an in-law. It’s great to see a show with such wholesome qualities still on the air. Time and time again shows find a way to be edgy and draw in huge ratings, but Parenthood doesn’t try for a lot of glitz and glam; nor does it add drama for the sake of drama. The show may be focused heavily on the big picture, but it is really the small moments that make it truly special. It creates something that feels so real, it’s like watching your own family on screen.