"Parenthood" is back, and so too are the "Parenthood" cries. Although, this sixth and final season seems like it might spend a little too much time with a tearjerking "potential loss." HuffPost Entertainment editors Lauren Duca and Leigh Weingus chatted about what this central plot line could mean for the ending of our beloved family drama. This post contains spoilers if you have not watched the first two episodes and feelings if you have.
Duca: Okay, Leigh, we have to talk about "Parenthood." I'm worried. And not about Joel and Julia or Amber and the growing individual inside her womb. But the fact that we are going to spend this entire season wallowing in Zeek's slow death. Back in September, Jason Katims said this final installment would centralize around "the potential loss of someone." Is the painful, ham-fisted dying of Zeek our fate here? It all seems too obvious.
Weingus: While I think it's entirely possible that "Parenthood" will throw us for a loop and kill off a character that isn't Zeek, I don't think that's Jason Katims' style. Even when you look at "Friday Night Lights" (Katims' other masterpiece), did anything overly dramatic and manipulative ever happen on that show? Other than Landry killing that guy to protect Tyra, not really. If I had to guess, I'd say the bulk of this season will probably be us watching the slow and steady decline of the Braverman family patriarch.
As for a "potential loss," we already had that with Kristina in Season 4. Sadly, I think this one's going to be the real deal.
Duca: The idea of the Braverman family hoisting up the mortality theme again is a little much for me though. It's also already become corny. Adam says to Zeek, "What would I do [if you die]?" Uh, continue living and be a grown man/husband/father? I mean, yes, that would be so sad. I will cry 1,000 tears if/when it happens. I just think that kind of helplessness is too much too soon ... and part of the reason I was crossing my fingers the central conflict might be something else.
I have already envisioned a final scene where Amber is giving birth where Zeek is dying, and there are just not enough Bob Dylan covers in the world to make that not excruciatingly predictable.
Weingus: Oh, yeah, I agree. And although I adore Zeek, I'm not sure his death would be quite as devastating is Kristina's would have been. He's lived a full and great life, and it kind of fits well into the final "Parenthood" chapter. We lose the oldest member of the Braverman clan while Amber brings a new one into the world.
As for that final scene, yeah, I've envisioned it. It's definitely going to include the most emotional montage of all time and a Bob Dylan song. Can we talk about this Amber pregnancy, though? We were both pretty freaked out by the idea of it after the Season 5 finale, but I'm somehow more accepting of it now ... especially after that sweet moment Amber and Zeek had.
Duca: Yes, we were so freaked out! What shifted? Maybe it's so easy to accept because there was none of the usual prancing or "Why is Amber sick in the mornings could it be morning sickness?!"-type bologna. They cut straight to Amber being pregnant, and even put it in the trailer. I appreciated the straightforwardness of the way it was presented. The way she's dealing with it is also interesting and refreshing. On some level, it's revelatory of how little we really know about Amber. She was troubled in high school and she's certainly more mature in this post-Ryan (and post-drunk-dad drama) moment of the show. There's a lot she has to figure out though, and a lot we now have the opportunity to figure out about her. Maybe keeping the baby feels so right, because she it's not an obstacle in the way of some broader life goal. If anything, it's an opportunity for her to give her life more meaning and focus.
Weingus: I could actually get behind that. I think often a surprise pregnancy helps a young single woman get her ducks in line really fast. I think in Amber's case, it's clear that she'll rise to the challenge and like you said, it will give her life more meaning and focus. Okay, but let's talk Ryan a little more. When do you think she'll tell him what's going on? Or do you think she's going to avoid telling him at all?
Duca: The argument for her never telling him is what? That there's too much pain and destruction between them? That his mom is too cray? That Matt Lauria is not available to participate in Season 6? I like that she decided to keep the baby regardless of whether he is up to the challenge, but it will seem contrived if she never tells him. At the same time, I'm kind of burnt out on Amber-Ryan drama. What do you think she'll do, Leigh? (Side Note: Ray Romano trying to figure out how they did it in a hospital bed is all of us.)
Weingus: Oh, gosh. Thinking back to the storylines I've been most interested in the past two weeks -- excluding Zeek, of course -- I would say it's definitely the Joel/Julia saga. Julia's new guy is super attractive and everything, but you really can't do better than Joel, even though he did turn into a bit of an alien last season. I really want them to get back together, and I'd love to see them go in that direction in tonight's episode. How about you?
Duca: I am so ready for those two to find each other again. There is some discussion to be done of what exactly Joel was feeling when he pushed away so forcefully. She was right, when she said he refused to talk (aka turned into an alien). I am willing to bet you one of Camille's paintings that they'll have that conversation or at least come together soon enough. Let's be real. Julia's new guy is a plot device. A sexy plot device, but a plot device nonetheless. At this point, I'm just holding out for the push they need to be something other than Zeek's slow death. Hopefully, "Mean Girl" Sidney will do the trick.