all of the feelings (a post about parenthood, the show, not the life stage)

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it’s saturday night. i’m currently sitting on my couch, hair in a messy bun, dressed in an over-sized sweatshirt and polka dot pajama bottoms, huddled under a blanket, typing this note to all of you. i hope you have a good visual right now.

i just watched thursday’s episode of parenthoodat almost three-quarters of the way through, i was hopeful i would make it all the way through without an ugly cry. but then (SPOILERS ALERT, LOOK AWAY, LOOK AWAY, in fact if you’re not caught up through last week’s episode, stop reading altogether, but i mean, when you are caught up, totally come back, k?) that scene with kristina and the deaf girl happened and the feelings, my LORD the feelings.

if you also tune in thurdays to keep tabs on the braverman clan, you know how emotionally taxing this show can be. i can’t help but feel making it through its approximately 43 minutes (without commercials) every week is like a little cathartic release. whether they’re happy tears (kristina recounting her and adam’s proposal story to amber or the scene with crosby, adam and drew discussing joanie mitchell) or tears of sadness (just the whole joel/julia-marriage-crumbling story line), parenthood just seems to have a monopoly at pulling on those heart strings.

and this season, i’m kind of all about amber (don’t worry crosby, i still love you, too). maybe it’s because i see a little bit of myself in her (i know that’s lofty, i am not even remotely as hiptery cool as she is, would NEVER be able to pull off a green streak in my hair, and most certainly cannot sing or rock a bold red lip like she can). i see how she remains in a relationship that she knows deep in her gut isn’t right, and how she’s slowly losing who she is as a result. i see her justify the bad because it still doesn’t quite eclipse the good, though if we’re keeping score, it’s still an evenly matched game. she loves ryan. but perhaps she’s allowed her love for him overshadow the love she has for herself. the kind of love that gives you the courage to walk away from a toxic situation and the kind of love that reminds you that you’re worthy of so much more.

every week, juliet litman, an amazingly prolific (seriously, she uses words i definitely don’t remember from my SAT vocabulary flashcards) contributor for grantland (a blog where sports meets pop culture), writes a recap of the latest parenthood episode. this week’s summary was per usual, spot on -most notably for her attention to a seemingly small moment shared between grandpa zeek and my latest girl crush, amber.

“when I’m trying to evangelize about parenthood, my pitch goes something like this: even though the situations may be melodramatic, it hits the right notes emotionally,” juliet writes in this week’s article. she’s precisely right. this show gives you the feelings. all of the feelings. the happy ones and the sad ones and the ones that lie somewhere in between. sometimes it even makes you get in touch with emotions you thought you had long since dealt with and gotten over (fun!).

sure, i’m sitting here wiping tears from my eyes after watching a television show that i’m aware on a logical level is nothing more than paid actors manifesting contrived situations dreamed up by a writer, producer and director on a television set that isn’t even set in the berkeley, california. but on an emotional level, these tears remind me that this show is still based on real life. it hits so close to home that sometimes, it actually becomes home. the truth is, we all have a little braverman in us. we’re an amber or a crosby or a drew or a hank (i realize that only one of those characters is an actual braverman, but go with me on it). maybe we haven’t survived cancer or spent our life savings on reviving a worn-down recording studio, but we’ve all had a “i just need my family right now” moment. and just like the clip above displays, parenthood beautifully captures that sentiment week after week.

gah, i just love this show.

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