SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read any further if you’re not caught up on season five.


Parenthood continues to be the best family show on television in season 5 of its run on NBC. Regular viewers of the family drama also know that instead of popcorn, what you’ll be reaching for is that box of tissues you need to keep handy when spending time with the Bravermans.

The head of the Braverman clan, Zeek and Camille get a chance to shine this season in a look at how a marriage changes and where it goes in those later years when a couple who has raised a family has to decide how they want to spend their remaining years. Will Zeek and Camille sell their home and start a new adventure or is there still plenty of excitement left right in their own backyard? As the two contemplate this question, it’s a heartwarming pleasure to watch the reflection, negotiation and compromise at work in a long-term marriage that’s still evolving.

After battling cancer, Kristina makes a strong comeback with a run for mayor of Berkeley against her former boss the slimy Bob Little.  It’s a welcome story line that puts the focus on a different aspect of Kristina besides her role as a mother, which can make her character overbearing at times. In a realistic turn, which is one of the shows greatest strengths, she loses the election but gains insight into how much you can accomplish when you take risks and live life to the fullest. Speaking of life, is oldest daughter Haddie still among the living? She’s been missing in action the whole season without so much as a mention, phone call or Skype session.

In a surprising and frustrating turn of events, overachieving daughter Julia and her husband Joel once a seemingly unbreakable couple are going through marital problems they may not be able to resolve. This is the one story line that feels forced.  Although it has led to some heartbreaking moments, I don’t entirely buy that Joel would move out because of a few arguments and the fact that some chubby dad kissed Julia. While I can see the appeal of wanting to explore the common problem of divorce, it would be more interesting to see Julia and Joel do what it takes to work it out.

At the end of last season it seemed like the annoying Hank who never romantically clicked with Sarah had finally been dispatched for good but like a New York City roach that can’t be destroyed, he returned this season. Apparently the show’s writers have not only overestimated the appeal of Ray Romano but are blind to the fact that he and Sarah have zero chemistry. Note: see Twitter.

It turns out the person Hank does mesh with perfectly is Adam and Kristina’s autistic son Max. The relationship that has developed between the two since Max went to work in Hank’s photography studio is funny and touching. The two are like a grouchy married couple that deep down have a genuine affection for each other.

In the Amber and Drew camp, Amber is dealing with the fallout of her breakup with the brooding Ryan while Drew is off at Berkeley busy navigating the hookup culture he’s too soulful to embrace.

Crosby and Jasmine are busy adjusting to the new addition to their family, baby Aida. Crosby, who wasn’t around for Jabbar’s early years, experiences firsthand what it’s like to deal with a newborn. In ‘Limbo,’ one of the season’s outstanding episodes, Aida’s baptism leads to a look at how conflicting needs and emotions often lead to miscommunication. During a family dinner the night before the christening all the tensions and rivalries that have been simmering come to a head to highlight the delicate balance of all family relationships. It’s these real, awkward family moments along with the spontaneous, happy ones that we’ve all experienced that make Parenthood such an authentic, revealing and unifying examination of family life.




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