Review: Parenthood

NBC’s Parenthood has now been on the air for three seasons, something many thought would never happen.  After many strong episodes this season, I decided it was time to review NBC’s #1 drama.

With such a large cast, you think it would be difficult to fall in love with every single person, but it has been surprisingly easy – especially this season.  Let’s now dive into the main character plots that have happened thus far this season.
Perhaps the biggest change would be the addition of a new Braverman; baby Nora (who I’m assuming is named for the late NBC producer who died on set during season one).  It adds yet another character to the series, but I think its a great addition.  It fully allows us to see how this large family deals with a new child in the clan.  It also brings out the terrific acting of Monica Potter, who left her family in the middle of the road while wanting to go play mini-golf in last week’s (11/1/11) episode.  Babies usually add nothing to a series, but I think this is an addition that will have a positive impact on the series.
Even with the addition of baby Nora, another baby looks to be on the way.  Julie Braverman-Graham (Erika Christensen) and Joel Graham (Sam Jaeger) already have a seven-eight year old daughter, but want another child.  We learned last season that Julie is unable to have another baby, but it appears that her co-worker will give up her child to Julie, through adoption.  This offers yet another look into how this family deals with pain and somehow finds various options to get to where they want.  I’m hoping for the best between Julie and Joel; they really deserve it.
Another positive of the season would be the expanded look at Amber (Mae Whitman) and Drew (Miles Heizer).  For over two seasons, it always felt like Drew was just there for the hell of it.  His character has expanded the most we have seen in three seasons, which even includes the addition of his first girlfriend (from the 11/8/11 episode).  I think every viewer has always felt love for Drew, so to see him get a girlfriend is a major positive.  Props also have to be given to Mae Whitman for her portrayal of Amber, the eldest daughter of Sarah Braverman (Lauren Graham).  She moved out of her grandparents house and now has her own apartment.  We have really seen her grow since the pilot episode, where she had a loser of a boyfriend.   She never did go to college, but it offers a different spectrum of how to look at life.
The storyline between Crosby Braverman (Dax Sheperd) and Jasmine Trussell (Joy Bryant) is also very strong this season.  Jasmine has moved on from her relationship with Crosby and recently started dating their  sons doctor.  There is a lot more to be explored with these relationships, since they just began two-three episodes ago, but it’ll be exciting.
While there have been numerous positives this season, there are also some disappointments.  My biggest complaint would be that Haddie Braverman (Sarah Ramos) and Max Braverman (Max Burkholder) seemed to have been pushed to the back.  After Haddie’s breakup earlier this season, it seems she has no storyline to work with, even with college coming up for her by next season (should there be one).  Max, who has always been a terrific actor in this series, seems to be nowhere now, except for an occasional line.  I understand that his storyline has been pretty much explored, but there has to be something there for him to do.  I’m hoping the writers really make him sparkle again!
Parenthood continues to get better and better each season, with the third season the best yet.  If you’ve never seen Parenthood before, it’ll be difficult to start now, but I’d try buying the DVD’s and get into it as soon as possible.  If you are a current viewer, I think you’d agree that this has been a terrific season thus far.
OVERALL GRADE: 9.5/10
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