Last Thursday, the fifth season of Parenthood premiered on NBC. After an incredibly tough year, the Braverman clan is back, and hopeful for a fresh start. While there are sure to be many bumps in the road, the premiere ended on a surprisingly upbeat note.
Parenthood is arguably the most underrated show this season; it never fails to make you sob, and it's the closest thing to a real-life family dynamic on television. The Bravermans go through all of life’s unforeseen challenges together, and despite their sibling rivalries, marital tensions, and relatable awkwardness, they manage to do so with the utmost unconditional love. It’s the kind of closeness that either makes you wish your family was closer or grateful for how close your family is, and while I fortunately relate more so to the latter, I can’t help but wish that I, too, was a Braverman. In advance of tonight's episode, here are 10 reasons the Bravermans are our favorite TV family.
1. When You’re a Mess, Someone’s Always There to Help Clean You Up.
Sarah’s love life is always — and I mean always — a mess. Even after you thought her and Mark (aka Mr. Cyr) were headed for happily ever after last season, her friendship with Hank (played by the wonderful Ray Romano) had us questioning whether or not it would last. While it didn’t, we were hopeful that maybe, finally, her and Hank would work. But even though they too parted ways, everyone has always been there for Sarah, the stand-alone single mom. While she can be self-involved and irresponsible, she’s had some tough breaks, between her addict ex-husband and her financial troubles, but people are always there to make sure she lands on her feet.
2. They're Forgiving.
Even after Crosby cheated on Jasmine with Max’s babysitter, causing him and Jasmine to split up and forcing Kristina and Adam to let go of the only babysitter who could meet their autistic child’s needs, Crosby was eventually let back in to the family with open arms. Even though it took delivering Kristina’s baby to get her back on board, in time, everybody (even Jasmine) was able to forgive and move forward.
3. They're Overly Competitive.
Like most big families, the Bravermans like to make a competition out of everything, and while that's sure to lead to some unnecessary rivalry, at the end of the day, they are always each other’s biggest cheerleaders.
4. They Talk About Sex in a Real and Health-Conscious Way.
Whether it’s Kristina and Adam’s scheduled trips to “Funkytown,” or their painfully awkward discovery that Haddie had become sexually active, the Bravermans don’t shy away from talking about sex. Upon discovering Haddie’s sexual activity, Kristina takes her to the gynecologist and encourages her to go on birth control.
Last season when Drew’s girlfriend decides to abort an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy, he stands by her side. While Drew, unable to hide his heartbreak about the abortion, confides in his sister and later his mom. It may always be awkward to talk to your family members about sex but the Bravermans remind us that even when you make mistakes or things go wrong your family should always be there to support you.
5. They See Their Fair Share of Challenges But Are Stronger For Them.
Last season alone, the Bravermans dealt with Kristina’s breast cancer, Drew’s abortion, and the birth mother to Julia and Joel’s second child changing her mind about letting them adopt the baby. It was a truly heartbreaking season, but these trials have only brought them closer together.
6. They've Always Got Each Other's Backs.
When Adam had a baby on the way and was laid off from his previous job, he decided to take a gamble on Crosby’s lifelong dream of opening a recording studio. The two have managed to find some success together, and even hired Amber, their floundering niece, to help them out.
7. They're Always Willing to Add Another Member to the Family.
Whether it was finding out about Jabar, Jasmine and Crosby’s first child, or welcoming significant others, the Bravermans are a big family that has no problem with getting even bigger. The scene in which Victor’s adoption became official was perhaps the most heartwarming of them all, as each individual member of the family pledged to be there for him in their own unique way.
8. They Love Each Other Even When They Hate Each Other.
No other show quite captures the unique and temporary hatred that comes from sharing your life with someone, whether it's sibling, spouse, parent, or child. As each Braverman child lashes out against their parents or rips their siblings’ head off for no reason, viewers cringe, as they remember how awful they once were. The Bravermans make us even more grateful that we had such forgiving families, and that we managed to grow out of those tendencies.
9. Sometimes They Love Each Other Too Much.
Those of us who can relate to just how close-knit the Bravermans are can also relate to just how overbearing that closeness can be. There’s nothing quite like a family’s ability to be in each other’s business all of the time. It’s smothering but ultimately supportive, and as we roll our eyes in agreement, at the end of the day you just feel lucky that you can relate.
10. They Are Each Other's Dream Come True.
In what is, by far, one of the most sob-inducing scenes in Parenthood, Zeek takes Amber to the junkyard to show her the totaled car in which she had recently, and irresponsibly, gotten into an accident.
As he forces her to look hard into the mistake she just made, he says, "We almost lost you Amber. I know you had some bad breaks ... You gotta suck it up girl. You’re a Braverman. You’ve got my blood in your veins … You do not have my permission to mess with my dreams.” In that moment, you realize that the reason they all truly love each other so much is because whether they wanted it or not, they ended up with a complicated but beautiful family, and they won’t let anything get in the way of that.