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Past Episodes Talk: It's the Braverman's World

A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from the first four and a half seasons of Parenthood. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

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Can I request that when the new season starts, there is just one thread - as in "Season 6 Discussion" or something?

 

There isn't enough poster traffic for this show to warrant individual episode threads, and so much discussion about characters and plotlines covers more than one episode. It's unwieldy to jump from one thread to another to comment about a plotline. And it's more interesting to have one healthy thread trucking along with multiple posts than individual episode threads with a dozen posts each, stretched out over a week. Of course this thread is dead right now, but I don't anticipate a lot of traffic even when the show starts. It's not a popular show.

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@Shermie, episode topics will continue. If it isn't working after several episodes into the new season, we can revisit the idea.

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Okay, so this is the series I chose to watch during a recent surgical recovery, using it as I transitioned back to working out too. I'm mentioning that because I saw it a) under the influence of drugs b) as a welcome distraction from pain c) while releasing endorphins into my system. I'm not sure if all of that served to paint the series in a rosy light, or what, but I really, really enjoyed it from start to finish up through season four, which is all that Netflix or Amazon Prime has available for free. I liked it enough that all day yesterday I kept scolding myself that I could certainly wait the six or eight weeks it was going to take for the next season to be available, rather than buying it on Prime.

Years ago I'd watched the pilot and it just didn't catch me. Mostly it was Crosby's character combined with the presence of Craig T. Nelson (and his infamous food stamp comments that made me dislike the guy) that kept me at bay. Plus, it was little soon after Gilmore Girls for me to be able to see Lauren Graham as Sarah Braverman, vs. Lorelai Gilmore. I also felt like I could really tell that Sarah Braverman's character was really styled for the particular affect of Maura Tierney vs. Graham (something I continued to feel throughout the first season).

But I swiftly grew to love everyone involved, in that way I think people do love their families. That was something I really appreciated about the series. Every single last character was tremendously flawed (except perhaps Joel) , but also had good traits that were reliably there. I also liked that the series depicted a truly committed family, without lobbing the lord around as a reason for that connection or making me want to hurl a la 7th Heaven (which I've seen about six episodes of and still resent its very existence).

The teens had sex, which was realistic and the kids were not adorable, for the most part. Max is about the hardest character to take on TV, but as that's about half the point of his character, it really fit. I liked that even the kids registered as people, flawed as could be too. Sometimes they were super winning, sometimes just the most grating characters on TV.

The questionable hair choices of Mae Whitman were often pretty distracting, as was the series tendency to rely a little too much on Amber as the go-to emoting unit for almost any story-line. The series could absolutely stoop to a lot of emotional manipulation (Kristina's cancer and the courtship of Crosby and Jasmine) and from my perspective, it thankfully decided to back-off of featuring Craig T. Nelson's character too much.

Finally I have no end of gratitude -- and was genuinely surprised by -- the story in which a teen girl got pregnant, and without a tremendous amount of fanfare, lectures, or nervous breakdowns afterward -- went and quietly had an abortion. No last minute miscarriages to save the show from controversy, some tears and understandable sadness, but the character had an abortion. Aimee had an emotional reaction to that, but the show didn't feel the need to slut-shame or make her march towards the great beyond in a guilt-ridden suicide attempt.

I liked that Adam could be the absolute best character, or the guy I wanted an anvil to drop from the sky and smoosh, often within a five minute period. I liked that I grew to really appreciate Crosby's good traits, even while I sort of wanted to throttle him. Or that Kristina could be such an emotionally needy character one moment and then a stalwart tower of strength the next.

I think poor Lauren Graham's Sarah Braverman is the character I reliably remained emotionally distant from in almost all stories. I love LG, she's great. She is an actor with a bunch of identifiable mannerisms and a style of delivery that -- although I've seen roles in which she didn't use it -- is something she employed here as Sarah, and it was the same quirk filled mannerisms she used for Lorelai. Or nearly the same. In the end it didn't matter and Sarah Braverman became an entirely separate character for me, with a predictable character trait that kept me from ever warming to her: she reliably had the worst judgment in men and the worst decision making abilities about her relationships with them. Mark made a lucky escape, even if he didn't know it and the entirely charmless Hank did too. Congratulations to Ray Romano on that role, he's a very quirky actor and often plays characters far too eager to be liked. He took that and turned Hank into a bitter jackass, whose only appeal that I could understand for Sarah was that he was a primarily off-putting Project Relationship (most women get over the need to have an I Will Fix You, you Guy you relationship by their late-twenties). Romano did great work as jackass of a character.

I think John Corbett really did fantastic stuff as the recast Seth (dude did show up in the pilot after all, and was demonstrably Not Corbett) and since he usually plays the Good Guy Everyman, it was fun to see him as the bloated, losing-his-looks nightmare ...only to have him clean-up to prettier when his character was clean.

But that's a reliable problem for Sarah's relationships. I continually found myself looking to the actor playing off Graham to try and figure out what Sarah could possibly be thinking. It's not really a criticism of Graham, but she still felt a little miscast to me throughout.

Edited by stillshimpy.
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I've finally watched S3, which was actually pretty good -- much better than S6 for sure.  But I'll bet Adam was really kicking himself for not convincing Crosby to sell their Luncheonette recording business for, gasp, over $2 million back then, given what it devolved to by the end.  Guess the cachet of recording in that historically significant location wore off as people realized it was mainly a place for family feuds!

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I think it may have been in Season One but I can't remember the episode but nothing epitomized why I disliked Kristina's righteousness so much as when one of Max's classmates intended to throw a party and not invite him- and Kristina actually went up to the little girl in class and did her best to guilt trip her to invite Max. Then when the girl's mother tried to confront Kristina, Kristina guilt tripped her into coughing up an invite. How I wish the girl's mother had told Kristina that if Kristina ever attempted to approach her daughter on school grounds without the mother's express permission, the other mother would do everything she could to have Kristina banned from setting foot on the campus for non-essential purposes. Of course, the girl and her mother were one-shots we never heard of again but I really wish Kristina had been called on that stunt!

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I promised a friend that I would give this show another chance so of course need to appeal to you guys for help :) Which seasons were your favorite and least favorite? (I've heard from a couple of 'real life' people that S2 is the best, but I trust the opinions of people on this site!) 

 

And which were some of the best episodes, particularly for a Julia/Joel fan (one who liked them together and doesn't particularly want to watch their later series dyfunction!), someone who liked bonding among the Braverman siblings, and someone who wasn't really fan of Adam or Kristina or Max in large doses?!  

Edited by amensisterfriend.
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And which were some of the best episodes, particularly for a Julia/Joel fan (one who liked them together and doesn't particularly want to watch their later series dyfunction!),

 

 

There's a lot of good stuff with them being cute in season one and season 2. There's a good episode, I think it may be season two, where Sydney finds a dead bird and the two have to decide how to explain about death and heaven. 

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