Parenthood's Kristina facing cancer as episode also goes to funky town

Sometimes life hands us serious health problems; as was the case during the cliff-hanger ending of last night’s Parenthood episode when Kristina Braverman learns she has breast cancer.

The word “healing” has become a television word because drama shows such as Parenthood features somebody going through cancer or other adversity and “hopefully” being healed. Thus, the second episode of the new season of Parenthood – that aired Sept. 18 on NBC – left fans wondering if Kristina Braverman (Monica Potter) is going to be healed after her doctor says she has breast cancer. In turn, Potter gives one of those heart-wrenching performances where one can feel her being numb, as if her feelings were paralyzed after learning she may die. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) breast cancer is one the most common cancers “among women in the United States. It is also one of the leading causes of cancer death among women of all races.”

At the same time, last night’s very moving Parenthood episode about the Braverman clan also included some light hearted moments when Adam (Peter Krause) shares with his brother Crosby that he and wife Kristina – who we later learn has breast cancer – like to schedule special times in the evening for what Adam calls “Funky Town,” or code for when he and Kristina to have relations. While his brother Crosby scoffs at the need to schedule time for sexual relations, he later does the same when he texts his wife Jasmine that it’s time for “Funky Town.”

Monica Potter’s character facing cancer

What Parenthood does so well as a TV family drama is to focus on a particular issue that may be largest thing any family has ever experienced. Thus, this cliff-hanger - from the recent Sept. 18 episode of the show with Kristina learning she has breast cancer – is yet another opportunity for Parenthood to share how family love can be the one thing people facing cancer really need.

Monica Potter, 41, plays the role of Kristina Braverman in NBC’s family-drama Parenthood. She’s the mother to a teen, Haddie, who recently left home for her freshman year at Cornell.

In fact, there’s some heart-felt moments with Kristina and Adam sharing how much they miss their oldest who is now off at college; with Adam telling his wife “there is this hole, like a piece is missing,” and Kristina crying and saying how much she misses Haddie.

Kristina also has a newborn daughter at home and a very challenging teen son named Max who suffers from Asperger syndrome (AS) that is an autism spectrum disorder.

In other words, she has a busy life as a full-time mother who just learned - at the end of last night’s episode - that she’s facing a late stage breast cancer diagnosis that more or less came out of the blue after a routine breast exam.

Thus, an interview for the TV Guide website this week features Potter explaining how her character is being put through the wringer as this Season 4 of Parenthood gets underway.

In fact, Potter told TV Guide that she had a gut instinct about what would come next after the script mentioned her going in for a routine breast exam. "A lot of women that I know deal with breast cancer — a lot of close friends actually — and I had e-mailed [series creator and executive producer] Jason Katims before the season started and I said, 'What if Kristina develops breast cancer. I think it's a really timely issue."

Real-life cancer becomes "real" on Parenthood

At the same time, TV Guide explained that Potter did not know that Katims’ own wife had battled cancer years earlier.

"It was this wild coincidence that that happened, but it was also very encouraging," Katims said in the TV Guide story. "This is obviously a very difficult story that has very challenging and emotional elements. So the idea that - not even hearing that it was something that we wanted to do - she was interested was very exciting to me. Clearly this was something that she was ready to dig into."

However, Katims said his leading lady had one caveat: "She said, 'I don't want to cry in every scene.'"

Thus, now fans of Parenthood know why there’s been speculation about heartache being a new story arc for Adam and Kristina as this diagnosis of cancer seems like the end of her life, and possibly the beginning of this characters death. Let’s hope not.

For instance, what happens on a fictional television show is much different than in real life because nothing is ever as bad as you the fan anticipate it will be for these TV characters.

And, it’s clear from the previous three seasons of Parenthood that the writers seem to tuck the message of family love deep within the folds of one’s possible greatest fear of loss. So the characters of Parenthood may soon learn again that love always heals and provides the Braverman family with the way into the future.

Moreover, the Parenthood previews for next week’s episode – when it returns at its regular Tuesday 10/9c air time on NBC – shows how the Braverman family is stepping up to support Kristina and Adam as “this family” faces the cancer together as families often do.

Image source of Monica Potter who plays Kristina Braverman on the NBC family drama series Parenthood. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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