Expectations of Parenthood.
by Meredith O'Brien
I’ve got my fingers crossed. Big time. Why? The new NBC drama Parenthood which premieres Tuesday March 2. I’m hoping that it’ll do for the TV family drama what Modern Family and The Middle are currently doing for family comedies, elevating the form.
If the pilot episode is any indication, Parenthood will be jam-packed (a bit over-stuffed, to be honest, but that might just be the pilot) with an array of child-rearing issues and a variety of moms including a couple of single moms (one divorced with no job, one never married), a couple of married ones and one wannabe mom with a commitment-phobic boyfriend. The kids give these women a run for their money: There’s a rebellious 16-year-old daughter who smokes and almost gets busted, an angsty 14-year-old boy who misses his unreliable drug-abusing dad and an 8-year-old boy who dresses as a pirate and is freshly diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.
A large focus of the premiere episode is placed on Sarah Braverman, played by Lauren Graham, who made a name for herself with Gilmore Girls in the role of Lorelai Gilmore. (Lorelai, as you might recall, was a character who grew up in an affluent home yet got pregnant at age 16, refused to marry the baby daddy, ran away to an inn where she made her way up from being a maid to the owner of her own business.) However Graham’s new single mom character has a different backstory, she’s divorced from the drug using musician, has no job, no money, must withstand the criticism of her more successful younger sister and has to move back home with her parents, bringing her teenaged children with her including a daughter who seems to possess a particular talent at getting herself into trouble. Sarah’s life is a mess. So are her kids’ lives. How will she survive living in her parents’ home? Can’t wait to find out.
Sarah’s aforementioned critical younger sister is Julia (Erika Christensen). She’s a hyphenated last name, BlackBerry-obsessed corporate lawyer whose husband Joel feels quite comfortable with being an at-home dad to their young daughter Sydney. As much success as Julia has achieved with her career, she’s jealous of her husband’s bond with Sydney and feels a sadness in her bones every time she’s pushed aside by her daughter who openly prefers his company and his assistance with everything.