The last episode of Parenthood has come and gone. It delivered on the story about the Braverman’s over the last six seasons, giving us closure on all fronts with the family we’ve come to know and love as TV fans.
Here I chat a little about the sixth season of Parenthood, the people behind it, and where a few of the cast can be found today.
Throughout this final season of the show the predominant story arcs that were floating over our heads included…
- the Luncheonette,
- Joel and Julia’s marriage,
- Amber’s pregnancy,
- Hank and Sarah’s relationship,
- and Zeek’s heart condition.
There will be spoilers in this piece.
As this final season came on the air, fans had many things to worry about. The lightest piece of the Braverman tale was Hank and Sarah’s relationship. Hank finally started putting all the pieces together in his head and asked Sarah to marry him. True to Hank, his proposal of course, was ill-timed, but he put it out there and after a bit she accepted.
Of course this set the stage for what would become the event of the finale and the series, having family and friends gather for one last time. And because of concerns over Zeek’s health, they rushed the wedding to hold it as soon as possible.
As everyone bantered about, there was one moment, one photo op, where the entire family stood together, and you realized, this entire group of family and friends was made possible by Zeek and Camille. The power of love, friends and family. No matter what.
That is what Parenthood was about all these years.
Amber had her baby and her grandparents let her move in with them since she was under duress about her job with Adam and Crosby.
Adam and Crosby came to a crossroads as the Luncheonette had been slowly failing on them. And then it was vandalized and they suddenly found themselves with a windfall of insurance money. But Adam needed more financial security than what the studio was providing.
Crosby was pretty depressed about his dream being canned. He was so depressed that we were getting depressed with him. But then he had an idea on how to make the Luncheonette work, without needing a partner.
And rather than working for ‘the man,’ Adam took over running his and Kristina’s school for the gifted.
Last season Joel and Julia had a straggling relationship after a few poor decisions by both. But time and love won out. Plus some whacky luck netted them another adoption.
Then there was Zeek. Zeek and his developing heart condition we were learning more and more about that had started last season and continued on through this final season.
All this season we watched in fret as Zeek was given options on how to deal with his impending doom. But then he decided to just enjoy his life and not go through the ordeal of major surgery and the aftermath that comes with such an event.
We went through most of the final episode and everything was coming off without a hitch… weddings, family get togethers, NEW adoptions and new business adventures.
But just when you thought they were going to close out the show and let us ponder Zeek’s future, they did it to us. Zeek passed peacefully in his chair, shortly after having walked his daughter down the aisle.
After his passing we jumped to the family spreading his ashes on a baseball diamond and then we were treated to a family softball game and glimpses of their futures, of what will become of the Braverman clan.
It was the perfect ending to Parenthood, showing more of the same of what we’ve just experienced for the last six seasons. It was sad to know we were watching the last episode and at the same time satisfying to see the writers visions for their future beyond it.
For all the guilty pleasure entertainment that Parenthood provided over the years, you have to stop and consider with whom to say thank you to.
Thanks to series writers Jason Katims who contributed to the bulk of the series episodes (103), and Sarah Watson (14), Lowell Ganz (14), Ron Howard (14), Babaloo Mandel (14) and David Hudgins (10), who all contributed to double digit episodes.
Part of the magic of the show comes from the team of writers whose work is translated by the cast. In this case, Katims past included the 1999 series Roswell, 2001s Boston Public and the great series called Friday Night Lights. It’s obvious he’s good at creating relationships between a group of characters. And right now he’s working on About a Boy.
Ganz resume included the 1973 series The Odd Couple, 1974 series Happy Days and 1976s Laverne & Shirley. He even worked on Joanie Loves Chachi. He’s also had a fairly prolific movie writing career, contributing to Spies Like Us, the original Parenthood movie, and City Slickers.
Yes, I threw out a name that seemed familiar and it was that same, the one and only Ron Howard. The series was based off the 1989 movie that he wrote and directed. In that movie the names and characters were different, and it starred Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Joaquin Phoenix, and more. In this movie, the family was the Buckman family.
Mandel had also contributed to Happy Days while Hudgins had previously worked on Everwood, Past Life and Friday Night Lights.
As you can see, the writing team has some great experience and successes to their credits, which explains how the show pulled on heart and humor strings all at once. So thank you to all the writers.
Is the Parenthood cast doing anything new?
IF you’ve been watching the show long enough, you know the cast has been in and out of various other projects. IF we take a quick look at the top-billed cast:
Peter Krause (Adam) is in a 2015 movie, Night Owls, which is in post production.
Mae Whitman (Amber) has been pretty busy during the show and has 34 film credits in her resume. Right now she’s voicing April O’Neil in the animated TV series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which has to be better than that latest Ninja Turtle movie) and has two movies coming out this year, Rock Dog and The DUFF. (We even saw an ad for one of her upcoming movies during the finale.)
Lauren Graham (Sarah) was in a film titled Max and has a few upcoming hopeful TV projects/pitches as exec producer and writer: Someday Someday Maybe and Kate on Later.
Erika Christensen (Julia) is slated for a few movies in development: In Limbo and The Idiot.
Dax Shepard (Crosby) has 23 movies to his credits and is pitching for a remake of the older series, CHiPs, as the writer, producer, and director.
Monica Potter (Kristina) can still be seen on The Young and the Restless.
Sam Jaeger (Joel) surprised me when he popped up in American Sniper, but I could not see past “Joel” in the film. He has 18 film credits to his name.
Bonnie Bedelia (Camille) does not seem to have anything on the immediate horizon right now. She’s taking it easy.
Max Burkholder (Max), who is 17 at the time of this writing, has one film in post-production right now, titled Babysitter. He’s been in The Purge and several other flicks to date. He’s voiced characters in Family Guy (even now), The Cleveland Show, My Friends Tigger & Pooh as Roo, and voiced Chomper in the 2007 show, The Land Before Time. He seems to be on a path to a bright and busy future. That’s good. I really liked his character.
For me I enjoyed Amber’s development while Sarah drove me crazy with her intrusive mother mode. Julie and Joel had me on a crazy fence with their stupid decisions over the last year.
I loved Kristina’s political and later professional pursuits and of them all, I loved Max’s journey and his portrayal of Asperger Syndrome. His character and his character parents brought to light the struggles a family with a special needs child goes through, both internally and publicly.
Kristina also brought to light the battle one out of every eight women experience when confronted with cancer, in the story arc concerning breast cancer. They did leave out the all important critical factor of what the patients go through over the next five to ten years after they “win” their battle against cancer. TV cleans up that act, but as anyone in this aftermath of dealing with cancer knows, Tamoxifen is a familiar and troublesome factor to deal with after the fact.
Regardless, the show took a few moments here and there to aim a light on various critical subjects through the years and that was a great thing they did.
Check out Jason Katims farewell note on THR
Parenthood will be missed but alas, the story of this family did not resonate strongly enough with enough TV viewers, and hence, we (an estimated 5.5 million viewers for the finale) bid the ongoing story goodbye and I can only assume I can speak for the fans in saying goodbye to the Braverman clan and thank you to the creative forces behind the show and NBC for airing it as long as they did.
Now… what will be our next guilty pleasure on TV?