What is it about a television series that sucks us in?
This was food for thought most recently as myself and over 5 million viewers said goodbye to the Bravermans of the hit television show Parenthood.
Admittedly I rarely (if ever) watch it at its regularly scheduled time. The DVR is my BFF in the way of television viewing. My days start at 5 a.m. and well ... up until 11 p.m. for a television show, is just plain hard. I need sleep or at least that’s what I tell myself as I lay in bed at 3:30 a.m. on a regular basis.
Yet I digress.
Last Thursday night I committed to watching the series finale with the rest of the viewers. Truthfully I started 10 minutes late, so I could blow through the commercials. Only then to become annoyed at the number of commercials, did they not know? This was our last hour with the Bravermans and these ads were cutting into that time.
Yes, I honestly thought those words and have no shame in sharing it. These people: The Bravermans, a typical odd, dysfunctional and completely relatable family were deserving of their full one hour of air time.
Yes, I am aware that these are fictional characters. I’m also aware that they were each brilliantly written. So much so, that there were actually episodes where I couldn’t help but wonder if I had a friend or two moonlighting as a series writer. That’s when you know you’re onto a quality show.
I first became a fan of Parenthood, the movie in the early ‘90s with comedian Steve Martin and an all-star cast to pack the house. I still love that movie.
When we (the kids’ father and I) first tuned into the Bravermans on television, we expected more comedy than drama. Silly us. While this television show held many funny moments, it mimicked true life (in my opinion) more accurately. Life is indeed ‘funny,’ but that is packed among a lot of real ‘stuff.’ Stuff which often brings stress, conflict and emotion. If you’re lucky, truly lucky, you share all of that with people who have learned to laugh not only in the good times, but when the tears fall as well. That’s what Parenthood showed us.
As the show concluded last Thursday night, I could not help but be grateful among my sadness. My life took a serious transition during the airing of this series. A transition which, at times, made it hard to watch. As I grew, I learned to embrace all that looked different and yes, laugh through tears with those I loved. The Bravermans were good at that.
Mostly, I admired the accuracy in which characters and life situations were portrayed. One episode which still stands out for me, was one in which Max Braverman was sent to Sixth Grade Science Camp and how he handled that. The rawness of that episode as he acknowledged his differences from the back seat as his parents drove him home, still breaks my heart. As parents, we all journey through that pain. The pain of wanting to make it all alright for our children.
Oh, who am I kidding? If you have been a follower of this show, chances are this could turn into a ‘remember that one episode’ type tennis match. That’s the beauty of the great ones. The television series that holds your interest and sparks your memory.
Sort of like that good friend you hated to see move as a kid. You held great hopes that you’d stay in touch, but in your pit you knew it was time to grow. That’s what the Bravermans did for viewers; they both entertained us and helped us grow.
In the great words of singer/songwriter Bob Dylan and the theme song of this epic series, “May you always be courageous. Stand upright and be strong. May you stay forever young, Forever young.”
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.