March 3, 2010

Parenthood: A Show That…Isn’t

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I was thrilled for the premiere of NBC’s new show, Parenthood. And then I screened it.

A Ron Howard original, Parenthood left me expecting big things, and rightfully so. The show, loosely based on the movie from the late 1980s, and starring Craig T. Nelson (Coach, Poltergeist), Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls), and Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), disappoints.

The cast of Parenthood

In it’s hour-long premiere, the show proves to be an awkward mix of shows Modern Family and Arrested Development with other shows like Seventh Heaven and ABC’s 1999 serious series Once and Again. And of course Graham appears to still think she’s playing Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls, her older headline, and speaks faster than the ear can interpret. This time, her whole “incompetent mother” shtick just isn’t funny. Because it isn’t supposed to be.

ABC’s Once and Again

The issue? The subject matter has the potential to be funny – a kid wears a pirate costume to school, the family’s patriarch is overly machismo and too loud at his grandchildren’s sports games, a son has a biracial child he didn’t know existed, and a troubled teen gets arrested for pot possession.

But we don’t laugh. Instead, Howard decided to try a different route and examine these problems instead of poking fun at them. What’s more, the show is peppered with cheesy guitar fills and Nissan commercials starring members of the cast…because it’s the car for a real family with real problems.

Advertised as an awkward-yet-funny sitcom, Parenthood tries to be something it just isn’t

And probably can’t be.

Original Author: Samantha Hartzband