If you are a devotee of Parenthood, this quandary makes both perfect sense…and is perfectly frustrating.
When Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Mark (Jason Ritter) initially began dating, I was thrilled. Is there a cuter couple in TV-land? I challenge you to find one. Their engagement was the only logical conclusion.
Get them to the altar, tie the knot, add a jaunty bow.
But then Ray Romano joined the cast as Hank — crusty, blustery, more-age-appropriate Hank. He and Sarah made sense, too. (Plus Mark suddenly turned into a woman…so really, what else could Sarah do?)
Now Mark has found his balls and is challenging Hank for Sarah’s hand — who will she pick? More importantly, who do you want her to choose?
Back in March of last year, I spanked Ron Howard’s new family drama Parenthood.
It had suffered the double misfortune of being forced to miscast its lead actress (Maura Tierney, who had become seriously ill) and enter the television year at mid-season, following the hugely popular breakout comedy Modern Family.
Thanks for playing, guys, but the family show and hit of the year had already been crowned.
I was also disappointed in what I found to be stereotypical characters and storylines. But I had already set the DVR — the cast, including Lauren Graham, Peter Krause and T. Craig Nelson, was really good, after all — so I hung around to see what developed.
Two years later, I’m still here.
And last night, when Alex broke up with Haddie — and told Kristina that she was the mother he had never had and that he loved their family — it was gut-wrenching. I literally blubbered. As I struggled to see the TV screen through my tears, the memory of that blog entry floated in my memory’s eye.
When I first heard that this movie remake was coming to television — and that Ron Howard was attached — I was pretty excited. Visions of ‘Arrested Development’ started swirling in my brain.
Then you guys had a bad break when actress Maura Tierney became ill, and you were forced to re-cast and delay the series to mid-season. Now you are the ‘other family show;’ the brilliant “Modern Family” has already captured the imagination and allegiance of the American audience and the critics.
Admittedly, you have started in a hole. But now your writers are digging you an even deeper one.
With all the talent you have in place — Lauren Graham, Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause, Monica Potter and Dax Shepherd – you are wasting them on tired storylines and family conflict we have seen time and time again. Sure, a diagnosis of Asperger’s is unique to network television, but your treatment of the issue isn’t.
Your actors are better than this. And if you loosen the reins a bit, I’ll bet your writers are, too.