I owe Parenthood an apology, not that it does anyone any good at this point. I was slow to come on board with the show, from Jason Katims of Friday Night Lights, when it debuted, and it was well into the first season that its rambling, low-key charms really grew on me. Since then, while the show has never been in my top tier of TV series—some of its many, many storylines are powerful, others I can live without—it’s proved a suitable successor to FNL in the genre of humane tearjerkers about everyday life. But I tend to fall behind and catch up in binges, so I rarely blog about it here.
And it’s possible I may not get another chance. Last night was the season three finale of Parenthood, and depending on NBC’s fortunes and the relative performance of its other shows, it could have been a series finale as well. “My Brother’s Wedding,” accordingly, worked to give a suitable possibly-closing moment for most of the characters and storylines, without definitely ending them. Maybe most effective, while also problematic, was Crosby’s wedding with Jasmine, and his falling-out and reconciliation with Adam.
Crosby was possibly my least favorite Parenthood character early on, but I’ve gotten more and more interested in him, as the show has given him a journey, from a boy-man avoiding responsibility to a man determined to set down some roots. The wedding itself was moving, and I loved the characteristic, improvised way it came together, under the direction of Zeek, handing out jobs as if picking out positions for a family softball game. (Love the way he mispronounced “chuppah”—the status of the Bravermans as secular part-Jews, disconnected from the traditions but not wanting to totally part with them, is one of those from-life details Parenthood gets so well.)
The resolution of the Luncheonette dilemma was less convincing, as Alan Sepinwall noted in his review earlier today. I don’t necessarily doubt that Adam would have torn up that napkin, regardless of how much his family needed the money—maybe I wouldn’t have done it, but I buy that he would have. But I don’t buy that it would have been so easy, or that it would come without doubt and consequences, or that he (seemingly) would not have really talked it over with his wife. (Actually, impetuously turning down a life-changing offer for emotional reasons, without consulting the people it would affect, seems less like something Adam would do an more like Peter Krause’s Six Feet Under character, Nate.)
But overall, I liked how the season/series finale gave characters from Sarah to Julia a chance to close their chapters while, at least potentially, setting interesting next chapters. If, that is, another season comes to pass. If not, I appreciate what we got from Parenthood: even, as happens with families, I didn’t say it out loud as much as I should have.