Tuesday, October 11, 2011

'Parenthood' Deserves More Of My Writing Time...

Why don't more of you watch Parenthood?


Or, if you are watching it, why aren't more of you talking about it? And by "you," I'm using the collective "you" that actually includes me, too. Because I'm more at fault than anyone. I am a member of the press by day, and yet more than selecting it as a weekly Primetime Highlight, I don't shed much of a spotlight on the show. It isn't for lack of trying, but busy production schedules have hampered my attempts to conduct interviews during the season, and heading to Media Village just discourages me from writing more in-depth previews when I find there isn't even artwork available for most of the episodes.

But all of those are just excuses, right? Really, I could be writing reactionary pieces regardless. Certainly the episodes of late have inspired me enough; Julia (Erika Christensen)'s adoption storyline alone has hit extremely close to home. When I did have a chance to interview both Christensen and series showrunner Jason Katims back in the spring, they stressed how long an endeavor the adoption process can actually be, and yet this season the new baby seems to be falling into their laps quite easily. Even for TV time. That alone has the gears of my mind turning. And yet I still don't write.

I don't write even when Adam (Peter Krause) has me cracking up. I don't write even when Max (Max Burkholder) breaks my heart. I don't write even when Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) makes me cheer. I don't even write when Sarah (Lauren Graham) reminds me of Lorelai Gilmore! I don't write because instead I want to fully immerse myself in the mere moments I have with the Braverman family every week. So many kids these days bury their heads in technology or social media during family gatherings, taking the weird, wacky, and wonderful people around them for granted. But I never had a big, loving family like the Bravermans and so I want to soak up every minute undisturbed right now. It's my way of feeling like I belong to something bigger, even if just for a few short minutes every week, even if not on all major occasions and holidays. The Bravermans are my surrogate family these days, but I shouldn't be so selfish to keep them all to myself.

And if I'm being really honest, I also don't write because I don't know where to begin. There is so much to say, and yet everything I want to point out seems so simple and obvious.
Katims' own writing puts me to shame. Every week I come out of Parenthood so inspired and yet so defeated at the same time. Because regardless of what I execute, I feel like it can't hold a candle. And I come away with the same commentary every week anyway: "That was amazing/That was such an unexpected laugh/I love [insert character name here]/I love that adlib/I need more tissues."

The best parts of Parenthood are just the moments between characters-- simple and often short moments where they stand around the kitchen or sit around an office or the backyard, moments that are often adlibbed or otherwise riffed between actors, moments that capture the love between them and the complexities of their history. And those are moments that you really have to just see for yourself, rather than coming here to read my attempt at trying to describe them or capture their magic.

But I am going to make a more concentrated effort to write more about this show-- to write something about this show-- even if it is "just" here, and even if it is sophomoric at times. Parenthood is the new Friday Night Lights (minus the football, which really should make me like it that much more!), and I don't want it to only get the recognition it deserves after it has already gone off the air. There is something to be said for being underrated, but in television, underrated unfortunately often results in prematurely canceled.

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