No Ordinary Mom.

by Meredith O’Brien


“I was running so much that I was falling short on everything.”


While I can’t exactly relate to a mom who, along with her husband and two teens, was suddenly granted superpowers after a small plane carrying her family crashed into a body of water, I can relate to her complaint that no matter how fast or much she tried to tackle all her responsibilities at work and at home, she couldn’t really keep up with everything.


Until she got those superpowers.


When that mom, the fictional Stephanie Powell on ABC’s new show No Ordinary Family, realized that with her new super-human speed she could accomplish all her tasks at such a rapid clip that she suddenly had ample time to be with her family (to help her son with his homework and have a nooner with her husband), I was envious. Super-envious. What I wouldn’t give to be able to complete my responsibilities well and with lightning speed and still be able to spend time with my kids and spouse at my leisure.


As the Powell family came to grips with their pre-superpowers inability to balance work and family – the dad, police sketch artist Jim Powell, felt like a failed artist although he was the parent who spent more time with his children – the children begged Stephanie and Jim to get their acts together, with the daughter saying, “This family isn’t broken, you are.” Maybe a little bending of the time-space continuum will help improve things for the Powells, as the superpowered parents will finally have time for everything on their plate. Wouldn’t THAT be amazing?


While I imagined myself vicariously living through Stephanie and possessing super-human alacrity, over on NBC’s Parenthood this past week things were much more flesh and blood as mere mortal parents with feet of clay made fools of themselves while they pushed themselves upon their unwilling children.


I watched the cautionary tale in the form of Kristina Braverman, the mom of a teenage daughter who’d decided to run for class president, take over Haddie’s campaign, insist that Haddie create a campaign platform, harass Haddie about reading a book about speeches and provide her with unsolicited advice on what colors to use on campaign posters. In response to her mother’s hectoring, Haddie blew up at her and told her to buzz off. (Note to self: Do not micromanage my daughter’s possible foray into middle school journalism world, no matter how much I might be tempted to do so.)


As the episode -- ironically entitled, “I’m Cooler Than You Think” -- continued, the picture it painted of thoroughly flawed, distinctly unheroic parents didn’t cover the characters with glory.