I'll be honest, Parenthood fan: I'm a newbie.
With our regular critic facing a last-minute emergency, and with TV Fanatic not wishing to disappoint readers that have come to expect a detailed review every week, I watched my first episode of this NBC drama last night and I can safely say: it won't be my last.
As a huge fan of Friday Night Lights, it comes as no surprise that I'd easily fall for a Jason Katims-produced drama that relies on solid acting, realistic characters and quality dialogue.
On "Meet the New Boss," Parenthood passed what I consider to be the test for any series of this nature: making cliche-ridden storylines feel fresh and interesting.It's not like we haven't seen most of these situations before: a daughter seeing a boy behind her parents' back; a father feeling old and unhip. Heck, the speech Camille gave Sarah about how you can't always protect your children has been featured on approximately 97 other shows (seriously, I counted).
But when based around layered, interesting individuals, these plots don't feel trite. They feel like... real life. The problems most of us face on a daily/weekly/yearly basis have typically been faced by countless others before us. Still, when they happen to you, they're new and pressing.
That's what it felt like to watch Parenthood. I've seen many girls on TV continue to date a guy against their parents' wishes. But I hadn't seen Haddie Braverman do it before, and it took less than one hour for me to feel like I really knew this young woman. She clearly means well and struggles trying to balance pleasing her parents with being a strong, independent woman.
The episode also left me cracking up on more than one occasion, especially when Kristina paid more attention to the video game in bed than her husband. It's hard to blame her, though. Come on, she beat a monkey!
Arrested Development fans such as myself also had to appreciate the inside joke of former recurring player Mae Whitman (Amber) referencing the cuteness of Michael Cera.
In closing, I was going to leave out a Tearjerker Moment of the Week because that's the copyright of our regular reviewer, Amye Archer. But then Amber told her mom that she can fly, too, and, well... you got me, Parenthood. You got me good.