As part of the Paley Center for Media’s 15-day tribute to TV’s top shows, both the actors from the series and executive producer Jason Katims discussed the recently concluded fourth season before an exuberant crowd at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills.
PARENTHOOD is a one-hour drama inspired by the box-office hit of the same name. This re-imagined and updated Universal Television/Imagine Television production follows the trials and tribulations of the very large, colorful and imperfect Braverman family.
One of the highlighted points of conversation was how the character of Kristina Braverman dealt with a season-long cancer diagnosis. After undergoing a mammogram, Potter relayed her experience to executive producer-creator Jason Katims but, unbeknownst to her, Katims and his writing team had already broken a cancer storyline for Kristina.
Said Peter Krause, who plays Kristina’s husband, Adam Braverman: “The most rewarding part was telling the cancer story truthfully. It was challenging to maintain fear since Monica and I lean toward comedy.”
Another storyline that had viewers engaged all season was the decision Lauren Graham’s Sarah Braverman had to make between fiancé Mark Cyr (Jason Ritter) and colleague Hank Rizzoli (Ray Romano), with whom she had romantic feelings. Ultimately, she chooses Hank but finds out he is moving to Minnesota to spend more time with his daughter.
“I saw it differently. I felt that the finale left it open,” Graham said. “Sarah made a choice and then Hank’s like, ‘I’m moving to Minnesota,’ so to me there was a lot of energy in both areas. I did not view it as she chose one or the other necessarily.”
Said Ritter of the moment when Graham told him she was choosing Romano’s character over his: “I remember standing in the classroom and listening to Lauren say those things, and it was like, after all this time, it all ends right here? It is heartbreaking because you do become invested. This is a real family that’s been created.”
During the question-and-answer session, one member of the audience said she had flown in from Italy specifically for the panel and to meet Graham. She presented Graham with a bouquet of yellow roses.
PARENTHOOD stars Krause, Graham, Potter, Dax Shepard, Erika Christensen, Sam Jaeger, Savannah Paige Rae, Max Burkholder, Joy Bryant, Tyree Brown, Miles Heizer, Mae Whitman, Xolo Mariduena, Bonnie Bedelia and Craig T. Nelson as the family patriarch.
Serving as executive producers are Katims (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS), Lawrence Trilling, and Oscar winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon).