On “Parenthood” & Family Gatherings

Phood_S6_DDKA_horzTonight is a special night in TV Land – “Parenthood” finally returns from its several-week hiatus, just in time to mark the series’s 100th show! “Parenthood” is unanimously our favorite TV show. We actually watch it live on Thursday nights, which feels like a lost art in this day and age of Rokus and Netflix and DVRs. We count down the minutes until the show begins, then watch the hourlong program in rapt, agonizing through frequent commercial breaks. We laugh and we cry (usually James more than me – real talk) and then we bite our nails while watching the preview for next week’s show, thereby starting the waiting process all over again. Clearly, this ritual has become an obsession, but I like that we’ve started a fun little tradition all the same.

Becca passed along this link to me: ‘Parenthood’ Cast Share What They Learned From Being a Braverman. I got emotional reading through it, not only because it brings about an air of finality about the show itself (this is “Parenthood’s” last season, so it will come to a close by spring) but also because it is such a bold reminder of the importance of family. In today’s culture, it’s common to be separated by several states (if not a few countries), and while sometimes that space is important, this shift is wildly different than the way things used to be when families lived mere miles (heck, even blocks) from one another. I don’t think this is necessarily bad, but it’s markedly different, to be sure. Technology and ease of travel has made maintaining relationships simpler but a lot of planning and effort have to go into coordinating schedules, visits, and memory-making. And, frankly, for those families who live down the street from one another, there still can be a lot of planning and effort that goes into connecting with one another. So this begs the question, what do we have to do to connect to our families in meaningful ways?

Of all of the answers to the question of what the cast members learned from their roles on “Parenthood,” I like Lauren Graham’s response best:

“I think for me, the thing I’ve gotten is when in doubt, gather a group. Just fill your house with people, and something good will happen.”

This. Yes. Exactly! Pile your family into your home for a weekend visit, whether or not you have enough space (or clean sheets or blow-up mattresses or spare toiletries). Go over to your mom’s house for dinner, show up to your cousin’s birthday party, invite your brother and his friends over for cocktails. Form a habit, a routine, a tradition. Get people together in the good times and the bad. Celebrate together, grieve together, eat together, read together, rest together. Gather a group, your group. Fill your house with people, and something good will happen.

Image via NBC