One of my favorite primetime television network shows is NBC’s Parenthood, which had its second season premiere last night, so it was a treat to visit sets for the show, including the interiors of Zeek and Camille’s wonderful house, on the Universal Studios lot a few days ago. Both Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia who play the matriarch and patriarch of the Braverman family were on the set, initially tangled up in a mock on the sofa but they parted to roam around the set along with various press members as part of the TCA annual summer press tour. Peter Krause (Adam) and Monica Potter (Kristina) were on set in their much more contemporary house, too, but Dax Shepard was absent while we toured Crosby’s houseboat, which was much larger than I expected. Then we were shuttled through part of the studio to the top of a hill for a Q &A with the entire cast (except for Mae Whitman who plays but was at the premiere of Scott Pilgrim versus the World )
Showrunner and creator Jason Katims was on hand as well to give a preview of what’s coming up in the show’s second season, which premieres on September 15, and includes Sarah (Lauren Graham) going to work for Adam and there should definitely be some sparks there and Adam will deal with a new boss played by Billy Baldwin. Julia and Joel will be deciding whether to have another child and Zeek and Camille will be in couples counseling.
As compelling as the storylines are regarding the parents and their adult siblings, sometimes the most powerful have been between the siblings and their own children…and between the children themselves. Nelson commented that sometimes scenes between Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Amber (Whitman) are eerily close to those he has had with his own daughter.
“The great thing about what Jason and the writers are doing is that somehow it isn’t life imitating art, but it certainly is very relevant. There are scenes that come up that are very close, and I think Lauren and I were talking about it the other day or at least I ‑‑ there was a scene between Lauren and Mae that was so close to a scene that I’ve had with my daughter that was very hard to watch. That’s the beauty of it because it gets so honest, and it gets so truthful that oftentimes it gets, you know, to that place that you don’t like to go, and that’s when you know you’re going to have some fun. And you don’t get that very often,” Nelson said.
The subplot revolving around Maddie and her boyfriend who ends up sleeping with was strong on its own and I found myself remembering one high school boyfriend who, after we had an argument when he visited me where I was going to college, ended up sleeping with one of my closest friends. That was a brutal blow and ended the friendship and obviously the relationship, but I think I was most hurt by my friend’s behavior. The writers handled that emotional turmoil well and how it obviously would impact the parents, too, and their relationship with each other.
It’s not often that sibling relationships are handled as deftly as they are on this drama. These are people who know your history and often the best and worst parts of your personality and your soul and they know how to draw blood and where to “hit” but there is a bond there that is so powerful and sometimes overwhelming. Having just returned from a long visit with my own family, it still amazes me that even now we fall into old “childhood” roles and patterns and emotions can become raw and old wounds reopen and we still “bleed.” And no matter how grown up we feel or how we see ourselves, they often see who we really are…or refuse to see who we’ve become if it deviates from our childhood roles.