Sunday, September 26, 2010
Over the course of last year, I began to feel the same about "Parenthood" as I felt about "Brothers and Sisters". Both shows have powerhouse casts that should become a good ensemble. There is good chemistry amongst the actors, good premise, good acting, smart writing for the most part but NOT ONE ADULT I could relate to or admire or even LIKE. "Parenthood" only really has one character on the whole show that I can stand to watch. This is a problem. I decided I was not going to watch the show this year based on that information.
About two weeks ago, NBC showed three episodes of the show from the end of last season (focused on the character I like). I had the TV on and got sucked into the episodes. That night, I decided to give the show another chance. I watched the first episode of the season - not impressed, but not totally turned off.
THEN, I watched the show this week. Frenetic is the only word that comes close to the feeling that was portrayed on this show. Everyone talks at each other, loudly and in whiny voices, often talking over each other. There is very little to like about any of these people, although they remind you of the most neurotic, passive aggressive and just plain selfish people you have in your life. I spent most of the hour trying to keep my blood pressure under control. I realized that these folks are too much like some of the people I actually have to deal with in my life and the others are too annoying to invite into my home in the evening when I am trying to relax.
I miss well-written sitcoms, to tell you the truth. There are so few of them these days. Sitcoms are easier - they are not bloody (CSI) or disturbing (Law and Order:SVU) or soap opera silly (Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice). A smart, funny comedy allows your mind to relax, think about something else and laugh. That's what I want in a television show. It helps me understand why people like so-called "reality" shows - at least most of those aren't stressful. In fact, last night, as I was watching the new "Hell's Kitchen" episodes I taped this week, I was a little jealous of Gordon Ramsey - he gets to throw things, swear, yell at people and throw them out.
If you want to watch "Parenthood", I highly recommend you watch the movie. Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Rick Moranis, Diane Weist, Jason Robards, Keanu Reeves, Joaquin Phoenix (then Leaf), Harley Jane Kozak, and a few other notables. The movie was funny, sweet, moving, gentle. The characters had foibles, but they were a family that loved and supported each other through all their trials and tribulations. There is an element of frenetic-ness, but Mary Steenburgen has a calming influence as the matriarch who stands in her gentle power and the love she has for her family. This is what I was looking for in the television show, since it was "inspired by" the movie.