If last night’s Parenthood is the end of the road for the Braverman clan, that might be okay. Not because we’re ready to live in a world without Parenthood — perish the thought — but because the episode went to such lengths to seem like a finale. So much so that the show pretty much dropped every real piece of drama in favor of tidy, heartwarming resolutions.
But Parenthood used to be about the messiness, the heartache, the lack of resolution. Back in the day, Haddie’s fights with her parents were ultimately unresolvable; her brother would always get different treatment than she did, and that was just going to have to be okay. Amber’s overwhelming disappointment in and frustration toward her father won’t ever be resolved; that’s just part of her. Last night’s episode glossed over, pretended to resolve, or completely ignored any real conflicts. Everything got gobbled up into a happy ending black hole of infinite cheerful density.
Julia’s worries about adopting Victor? Gone! Sydney’s righteous frustration over suddenly having a sibling? Resolved! Whatever happens, let’s never, ever talk to a family therapist, Bravermans. Only Ryan goes to therapy. So congratulations, Victor! You’re now part of this amazing family, even though what seems like the most amazing thing about them is that they are kinda rich, relatively lucky, and way, way up in each other’s business. (They love each other very much, which is nice, but is that really so extraordinary?)
Oh, it’s nice to see Amber in love, though engagement rings seem a little premature. And Jasmine and Crosby seemed so thrilled with their baby news, it was hard not to be swept up in the moment. The only person who sort of got screwed was Sarah, and it’s not as if anyone was truly rooting for her to “make things work” with Hank. What “things”? The full extent of their relationship is her teasing him about his neuroses, him struggling to say something about his feelings, and then awkward smooches. As sweet and devoted as Mr. Cyr always was, he never seemed like a fully hatched human, and his relationship with Sarah had an expiration date from its earliest incarnation when he was Amber’s teacher-crush. Remember when Sarah wrote a play? And was going to be a playwright or something? Just barely. Instead, the show shifted and suddenly the only story lines she had were romantic ones.
Here’s hoping Parenthood comes back. And here’s extra hoping that when it does, it goes back to its old self.