Top 5 Parenthood Story Arcs


Today we should’ve gotten a new episode of Parenthood. However, with the month-long hiatus we’re facing until the return of the farewell season (there are only four episodes left people! I am not ready!), I thought it’d be fun to look back at the best and most memorable story lines from the show’s six-season run.

  • Amber’s descent after not being accepted to college

While it was heart-wrenching to watch tough-as-nails Amber crumble after she was not accepted to Berkeley, it was even more heart-wrenching to see her spiral out of control. Getting drunk, and driving drunk, led to a near-death car accident; the way the show treated this story line cemented my love for Amber and the Braverman clan. Zeek, in David T. Nelson’s best scene in all of Parenthood, took her to see the totaled car and told her he dreamt of family, including her and all of his other grandchildren, while he served in Vietnam. “I dreamt you, Amber. You do not have permission to mess with my dreams.” No scene on Parenthood has impacted me as much as this one.

  • Haddie and Alex

It may be the genius of Michael B. Jordan, but the story lines that arose from Haddie and Alex’s relationship were different and interesting: Haddie dating a black man, an older man, and a recovering addict. But Alex’s character was so caring, so attentive, and so self-aware that he quickly went from being misunderstood by the Braverman family to being an active member. That’s why when he left, I could not stop crying. In his final scene, opposite of Kristina, he tells her thank you for providing him with a support system as he cries. Never over-the-top, Parenthood deals with all of its characters, including recurring ones like Alex, with respect. I miss Alex (and Michael B. Jordan’s face).

  • Drew and Amy’s abortion

One reason I think Parenthood is such an important television show is because it frames issues that are current. Parenthood could be real life, and a lot of shows on primetime are not realistic. Parenthood‘s take on abortion mostly focused on Drew, who has become one of my favorite characters. Drew is shy and sort of meek; thus, I enjoyed how delicate the writers, directors, and actors took on the issue of abortion. It was not at all politicized and all we saw was how difficult and traumatic that kind of experience can be. When Drew came home after going to the clinic, he knocked on Sarah’s door and broke down. Miles Heizer and Lauren Graham completely sold this scene and took my breath my away.

  • Amber and Ryan’s courtship

I must admit that the past season and a half of Parenthood has not been kind to Amber and Ryan. The story seemed to drag–he left, he came back, he left, he came back. But typically, their sad moments always meant something to the story. For example, Amber didn’t want their relationship to be like Sarah and her dad’s relationship and needed time and space to decide and be ready. And their happy moments were also meaningful and fantastic: what is better than Amber and Ryan running into the beach and hugging each other as the sun sets in the background? Their entire early relationship was powerful, tender, and emotional. It was a tearjerker roller coaster all right, but it was always for believable reasons.

  • Kristina battles breast cancer

Kristina’s breast cancer story line was a stark reminder that these actors are top-notch, with Monica Potter earning a much-deserved Golden Globe nomination. The breast cancer story line was handled so eloquently: it was never about making you cry just because. The scenes Kristina had gave me a glimpse of what cancer can do to a person and how hard it is for all of the people involved. No Parenthood endings with soft music have left me crying as much as Kristina telling the rest of the Braverman family about her diagnosis.

Since there are not many episodes left, I know to be ready for a few more tears. We’ve been teased that the next few episodes will be rough, and many are theorizing that Zeek, the patriarch of the family, will pass away. I know it will probably be handled well and I’m grabbing my tissues in anticipation. Until then.

Parenthood airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.


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