The premiere episode of “Parenthood’s” fourth season Sept. 11 used the time-tested Ron Howard philosophy that a multiplicity of relationships is an avenue of growth. Howard, who is the Parenthood executive producer and someone who’s been a TV veteran for 54 years – since starring as “Opie” on the famed Andy Griffith Show – knows that real family love is the wanting to give with no thought of getting. Such was the case during this 9/11 premiere season episode - that caught fans up with the Braverman clan - now some five months since the Season 3 finale when the show featured a rare mixed race “television marriage” between Crosby and Jasmine.
Parenthood evolves from the original movie
The first season of “Parenthood” premiered on NBC back in 2010; while this TV show, says its executive producer Ron Howard, is loosely based on his 1989 film of the same title.
However, unlike Howard’s original Parenthood movie, this TV series takes on many more pressing issues facing families today.
For instance, the issues of as raising children in a single household, Max and family dealing with his Asperger syndrome, Adam and Kristina facing an “empty nest” with Haddie going off to college, Amber again having casual sex with somebody at work - while her Uncle Adam defends her honor, and Crosby wondering about his relationship with God.
Family values played out on TV
Overall, Parenthood has faced some poor ratings in recent years; while also receiving great reviews and lots of “Baby Boomer” fans on Facebook and Twitter expressing their loyalty to this “rare family drama on network television.”
In turn, those who enjoy this show – states one fan on Twitter Sept. 12 – “realize it’s about serious issues that all American families are dealing with thanks to the show’s careful characterizations that make us care for these Braverman family characters.”
Others also say they appreciate the great writing, skilled direction of the program and its stellar cast that seems to “take it up a notch with each episode making us cry and truly appreciate this family.”
Thus, the return of NBC’s “Parenthood” – when it returns to its regular Tuesday airtime on NBC at 10/9c – means one of TV’s few family-focused drama programs about love has survived for its fourth season.
Television is “aesthetic;” that is, it gives pleasure by presenting various elements of classic literature. At the same time, “Parenthood” shuns violence, sexual titillation and other usual TV horrors in hopes viewers will tune in to watch the loving Braverman clan instead of CSI, Criminal Minds and Sons of Anarchy that also air on Tuesday evenings.
Love survives on “Parenthood”
Unlike other TV dramas that focus on revenge, murder, sexual conquest and other motivations, the Parenthood philosophy is that when plans crumble and there seems to be nothing left, it’s family and family love that sustains us.
For instance, the “Parenthood” credo – that’s voiced at the end of each episode; while previewing what’s coming up on next week’s episode – is “life is about family, and family helps you get through life.”
In turn, Ron Howard learned that lesson – as did most of America in the Sixties – when Opie’s “Pa” Andy Griffith reminded his son that “love survives” when explaining to his young son how they will press on with life after the death of Opie’s mother and Andy’s wife. Flash forward 54 years later to 2012 and that message of family love is presented on primetime TV, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, as if it were a badge of honor that waters your eyes.
Ray Romano goes dramatic on Parenthood
While the addition of Ray Romano to the Parenthood cast has resulted in a lot of discussion about the comedian going serious, TV Guide praised “Parenthood” this week; stating it’s good stuff to challenge Romano “with a not-so-lovable role as a surly photographer who hires Sarah (Lauren Graham)."
However, as fans surely noted during this Sept. 11 airing of the first Parenthood episode, we will seeing much more of Romano's character who seems to be starting to fall for that Gilmore girl.
In turn, Graham’s role as Sarah on Parenthood is “Lorelai Gilmore returned to us,” Tweeted one devote fan of Graham’s very successful early 2000 series “Gilmore Girls” that ran for seven seasons, with Graham stepping right into her current role on Parenthood shortly after her Gilmore Girls series ended.
Thus, it was a sort of déjà vu for Gilmore Girls fans when Graham got into that same sort of heated “early love” banter with “Everybody Loves Raymond” Ray Romano being introduced as “Hank” the Braverman clan photographer during this 9/11 first episode.
For instance, Sarah makes a very brave statement at the start of this first episode of the new season by stating how she’s “trying to transition from (her job) bartending. It’s rough out there.” Thus, this short remark speaks volumes for millions of other Americans trying to balance family with “it being tough out there.”
Sarah falling in love again
Sarah is then is hired by Hank to help him with a photo shoot; while Graham's skill at playing a woman falling for man is almost high art.
However, Sarah screws up her first photo assignment with Hank. In turn, Sarah has no idea that she’s done, or fired on the spot.
In turn, Sarah arrives at Hank’s photo shop the next morning to hear Hank assert: “What are you doing here? You’re fired, you’re fired, wasn’t that obvious?”
Still, there’s something happening between Sarah and Hank that also often occurs in classic literature when plans crumble and what’s left is sometimes something called love; with the show asking fans to tune in next week for more family drama on Parenthood.
Parenthood now airs each Tuesday evening at 10/9c on NBC with the show’s super soundtrack consisting of 10 songs including the theme song for Parenthood, “Forever Young,” by Bob Dylan who said he also watches the show.
Image source of the NBC logo for the family drama “Parenthood” that returned for its fourth season on 9/11. Photo courtesy Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parenthood_(2010_TV_series)