Peter Krause

Channel Guide - Large

NBC’s Parenthood is a drama deserving of the kind of veneration normally reserved for Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and other cable TV darlings. Based very loosely on the 1989 Ron Howard-directed comedy of the same name and developed by Friday Night Lights writer Jason Katims, the series is a deft mix of humor and gut-wrenching poignancy that can, rather amazingly, turn its audience into bunch of sobbing fools without having to resort to emotional manipulation. Parenthood revolves around the Bravermans: Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and Camille (Bonnie Bedelia); their four adult children, Adam (Peter Krause), Sarah (Lauren Graham), Julia (Erika Christensen), and Crosby (Dax Shepard); and the significant others and kids of the four siblings. They’re a family so close-knit and mutually supportive that they’d seemingly rather die than not do everything together—they attend little league games and school plays as a 16-member unit. They are the kind of “fight hard but love harder” crew that should be nauseating to watch. Yet, these characters are written and portrayed with so much honesty and as a result Parenthood is never repellently schmaltzy.

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Welcome to the Saturday edition of Channel Guide in which Merrill Barr takes a look at an episode from that past week in the world of television that really stood out above the rest. If there isn’t a good episode, well there’s always plenty of back logged TV to be brought into the spotlight for you to check out. There are very few television shows that actually improve over time. Usually nothing ever comes close to matching the magical discovery of who a show’s characters are, and how they interact than what takes place in that first season. The season where everyone is fresh faced and bright eyed before their lives take a one eighty with either tragedy, comedy, action or all of the above. One could probably count on two hands the shows that really surpassed their first season. Well now we can add another show to that list: Parenthood. And there is no greater proof of that than in the season 2 finale “Hard Times Come Again No More.”

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets an added dose of tiger’s blood and Adonis DNA to make it through all the movie-watching he endures. He bats about .500 in his screenings, really liking some but struggling through others. After a visit to the wild west of Rango, he finds his fate adjusted by a mysterious fleet of men with stylish hats. Then, he realizes how ugly Number Four really is before staying out all night, drinking with Topher Grace and Teresa Palmer… who looks a lot like Number Six.

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