Based on the last two (really good) episodes of Parenthood, we’re ready to make this thing official: Mae Whitman, congratulations, you are the best crier on TV. (Better even than all those professional criers on The Hills). As Parenthood’s Amber Holt, the rebellious, but not stupidly rebellious, mistake-prone, old-souled teenager who just slept with her cousin’s boyfriend — both because she likes him and because she is an incessant self-sabotager — you have been putting on a clinic in crying in impressive and heartbreaking ways. We should not be surprised: You have been crying on camera with realistic abandon since you were 9 years old.
First, take a look at Whitman’s cry fests from the past two weeks. Here’s her chat with mom, played by Lauren Graham. This scene makes me forget there was ever a character named Rory Gilmore.
Now take a look at last week’s trying-to-keep-the-tears-back fest, in which Amber tells her cousin Hattie (why tell her, Amber? Why?!) that she slept with her ex-boyfriend.
And now watch the clip that proves Whitman is a veritable crying savant: The one genuinely moving scene from 1998’s Sandra Bullock weepie Hope Floats, in which a 9-year-old Whitman loses it over her father. This cry is so good it seems like it belongs in another movie. So good, you can overlook the fact that the actor who plays the dad may be composed of cardboard. So good, you will forget that making a 9-year-old get this worked up may constitute some kind of emotional abuse. So good.
Congratulations, Mae. May you have to cry in every episode.