The Libra Gets Upset Over “Parenthood”

I’m watching season 2 of “Parenthood” on Hulu Plus because I don’t have cable until the Gemini moves in (a necessity). An Aries strongly recommended this show to me, to the point I finally decided to watch it. I have mixed feelings: I’m enjoying watching the show, but I don’t like most of the characters.

My main beef is with Adam and Christina Braverman. They absolutely have no control over their tempers; Christina cries instead of dealing with problems (ew); Adam yells too much (and snaps at any family member who happens to cross him when he’s under stress); they do things that they feel they have to do in order to stay a family, and it’s usually a very typical, pre-fabricated parental response.

Christina Braverman, who terrifies the Libra

Meaning, I think that they are blocking out critical thinking skills in favor of hysterical fear of parenting failure. Big surprise. Welcome to America.

For instance, when their daughter Haddie disobeyed them mid-way through season 2, they took her door off her room until they could trust her. Because that works with 16 year old girls. And what was the problem? They didn’t want her to date a 19 year old guy who was in AA and who had his own apartment. Because he was too “adult.” As if he were maybe a porn star instead of a guy who worked at a food bank and tried to turn his life around.

Haddie Braverman, looking miserable

I have a theory:

If these people had a lower median income, they’d be seen as “trashy” and unhinged. Now, part of that has to do with our unfair cultural perceptions of people who are lower income. But another part of it has to do with our misconceptions about people who are upper-middle income– like most of the Bravermans on “Parenthood.” As in, “Look at these people with their nice homes and suburban lifestyles. They’re just looking out for their kids. They may not always make the right choice, but they mean well and do what they can.”

And I realize that the appeal of this show is the reality of how tough parenting is, so a lot of people can watch this show and feel justified or maybe even feel superior as parents. But what if there was a t.v. show that showed how parenthood could be? (To be honest, I think the sitcom “Modern Family” provides that kind of hope, however fictional and problematic it is.)

What if there was a show that didn’t justify miserable parenting choices people make? Like, what if there was a radical show that never once used the argument, “You’re X age, and as long as you’re under our roof, you do what we say”? What if there was a show that never feared a daughter’s sexuality, that never yelled at a kid for telling a lie? A show where parents didn’t yell? Can I please see that?

Just a thought. Which I’m sure many will dismiss because I’m not a parent.

–The Libra


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2 Responses to The Libra Gets Upset Over “Parenthood”

  1. stacey says:

    There was a show where parents never yelled, in fact they used comedy to explain things to their children. It was called the Cosby Show. And while we loved watching the doctor and the lawyer living in their spotlessly clean house, raising their four – no five! – well-behaved, well-adjusted, did well in school (except for the one boy) children, how many times did we say “this isn’t realistic – they never yell at their kids, heck, they don’t even get exasperated in front of their kids”?

  2. Erin "Killer" Young says:

    Hey yo, girl, yo. I recommended this show to you because Jason Katims is the producer of it–he’s the same dude who produced FNL, which I am sure you know (that’s why, duh, I finally figured out, so many cast members are the same on both of these shows). I saw and still see clear links between both programs, which is why I thought you would enjoy it. It seems realllllllll weird to me that you venerate one show and cut down the other. It also seems reallllll weird to me that you begin hating on the characters when you don’t even KNOW them. You have to start a show from the first season to know the characters of any show. That’s kind of a given. Of course Adam and Kristina are gonna seem like psychopaths if you start with season 2. They ARE psychopaths in season 2–but, with some season 1 background, their reasoning would become more clear.

    When we had our little tiff about race/class issues in FNL, one of the points you made was that the show approached race and class in an honest way. I thought about this for a while, and re-watched some episodes, and decided you were right. Yeah, parts of it were over the top (I literally lived FNL growing up, as I am sure you know–same characters, different names and political ideologies, but pretty much the same game–pun wayyyy intended) but for the most part the writers of the show approached race in a refreshing way. They went there, man, they really went there. Far out. I think Parenthood approaches, well, parenthood in the same honest way. Not as honest as the movie this show is based on (not even close), but shit gets real. Shit gets real. Is that your problem? That shit gets TOO real?

    Also, I don’t think that (as you said on FB) “the intersection of race and class” is ignored, at all. Of course Kristina and Adam deny being racists, because, who wouldn’t. But the fact that they are being biased is still obvious, and still brought to audience attention by the writers. Give the audience some credit! I know you didn’t address that particular issue in this blog entry, but whatever, I’m not gonna defend this show on two different internet forums because, come on. It’s embarrassing enough to be defending this show as it is. I like it, but it’s way cheesy and over the top.

    Speaking of that, I also think Parenthood has the same level of all-out, Full House-synth-emotional-cheese-moment GOLD that FNL like THRIVES on. Which is why I thought you might enjoy it. Oh, well. I’m sorry you don’t like it. I still like you.

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