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Review: Parenthood beings season four with the 'Family Portrait'

Parenthood (2009) poster

Written by : published Tuesday 11th September 2012

Review: Parenthood beings season four with the 'Family Portrait' main image

Parenthood returns following the adventures of an imperfect but loving family. Has it been four seasons already?

The passage of time side, it’s been five or six months in real time since we last saw the Braverman clan and in the season four premiere of Parenthood on NBC which aired tonight titled "Family Portrait" sees the whole crew concerning themselves with the new family portrait. So how does the portrait go? Well as always there are other things going on such as saying goodbye to Haddie Braverman (Sarah Ramos) who is off to college and there is the question of whether or not Mark Cyr (Jason Ritter) will be in the picture or not. And is that Ray Romano as the guy who is taking the photos?

What is great about Parenthood is that the series makes you feel like you’re watching a real family with a huge list of ups and downs and how sometimes it is all about the little victories that really matter most. For the Bravermans this season, Haddie leaving is a big deal and with Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter) they want her last week to be perfect. But is it perfect for her or really perfect for them and the other Bravermans? It seems and is a cliché a bit, which is the harder you try to make something perfect the worse it actually gets; as the week wears on, Haddie becomes more increasingly frustrated without any alone time to herself constantly doing family functions; meanwhile Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) deal with Jabbar learning religion from his Grandmother (Jasmine’s mother).

And while some of these are interesting ideas and concepts that are tackled in tonight’s episode of Parenthood, I’m sure that the real interest for some will be the return of Ray Romano to television in a reoccurring lead role since his ratings maligned (yet incredibly fantastic) series Men of a Certain Age.*

(*) – I know he appeared in The Middle but I consider it a different beast than an hour-long series.

Hank looks at family portraits

Romano plays the role of Hank, a moody and grumpy Romano-esque character who is the photographer who is taking their family portrait of the titular episode. And it just so happens that Sarah (Lauren Graham) is in need of a job after apparently quitting her bartending gig. How fortunate for Sarah that Hank has a help wanted sign in his photography studio window. 

Parenthood is of course, a great hour of television (though “Family Portrait” did seem to drag a bit for some reason much to my own chagrin) but the real greatness of the episode and hopefully for the rest of  the season is Ray Romano. Romano was amazing in TNT’s Men of a Certain Age (a few reviews of that show found here, here, and here with an audio interview with co-creator Mike Royce here). There is a general sense that Ritter will be out as a love interest for Sarah, and despite the amazing-ness that is Jason Ritter as Mark Cyr in Parenthood, Romano’s addition as Hank is so superb that as a possible replacement to Sarah’s love interest, it further creates the ideology that Romano should always have a television show as he is fantastic.

Overall Parenthood returned with a great hour of television that gave us the joy of Ray Romano but also questioned the validity of family portraits, leaving/going to college and the difficulty of adopting a child. As the season continues, what else will Parenthood try to tackle? Whatever it will be, I will be at the front of the line watching and wanting to find out.

About the author goodbadgeeky


Nick ‘Nitro’ Arganbright has an extreme love for a good story, whether it be in film, tv, video games, comic books, music or more and it shows in each article and podcast he produced. The titular podcast he produces is called The Good The Bad & The Geeky with co-hosts Jon Bettin and Nathan ‘DJ Meat’ Haley. The podcast has helped him make a few contacts within in the industry which he hopes to use to entertain and inform readers of his reviews on Examiner.com and The TV King, offering an average joe opinion that is often overlooked in major print and online publications. If you’d like to e-mail him, please do so at [email protected] or you can tweet him on twitter at @goodbadgeeky.

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