Parenthood is not a show I take lightly. It’s not something I put on in the background. Parenthood is a show I devote my full attention to because it cares enough about its audience and its audience appreciates and reciprocates that. The fans, us, we’ve been through a lot with this show (oh, Victor…). But there comes no more trying of a time than the dawn of every season. Will the Bravermans survive another year? That’s an absurd question because, well, have you met them? They do not go down without a fight.
Parenthood is NBC’s dramatic rock. No, it doesn’t get the biggest viewership (though it posts very healthy gains when the DVR audience is factored in and it’s live audience is small but consistent) but it’s been steady for the network, has won its timeslot for the majority of this season and wherever NBC puts it on the schedule, it tends to do well. It’s been a critical darling ever since it’s first season, and this very short fourth season is no exception.
The season finale for the fourth season is one of the best episodes of this show I have seen, and one of the best hours of television I have seen. It was my dream episode of Parenthood: little yelling, little talking over one another, lots of resolution, lots of new possibilities and storylines, and a great scene with the entire family. Everything worked! Even Drew! Even Victor The Villain! Only Parenthood could make me like a character they had me despising last week. I thought Christina’s cancer storyline, though wrapped up perfectly with a little help from TV land, was honest, authentic and breathtakingly portrayed by the unrewarded Monica Potter. Emmys, take note, this IS her year. I love that Julia didn’t back out of adopting Victor because a Braverman would never. I loved it all, really.
I read a lot of critics say that while it worked greatly as a season finale, if it were to be a series finale that would be great too. Sure, if last night’s episode ends up being the show’s series finale, I’ll be perfectly content. But also: fuck that. I say that with such vigor because I’m fairly confident the show will be renewed but also because I want this to happen. I want to see Jasmine & Crosby’s pregnancy. I want to see Drew experience College and all it, um, has to “offer” (probably, finally, well, you know…), I want/need to see Christina’s road to recovery. I want Parenthood go on for a very long time, not for my selfish reasons entirely but because it deserves to. Parenthood is one of the few television shows that constantly reward its very loyal audience, either through storyline or just by simply being renewed every year even when it doesn’t look too bright.
NBC, do the right thing. See everyone next year?