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'Parenthood' wraps up fifth season with terrific acting, writing

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"Parenthood" - "The Pontiac" (Season 5 Finale)

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God, I hope NBC doesn’t cancel “Parenthood” after five seasons. Not because the show left on any major cliffhangers (there was one minor one) and not because the season five finale was poor (“Parenthood” is the most quality show on network television and doesn’t do poor episodes), but simply because it’s the best show on network television and needs to hang around at least one more season, ratings be damned.

Where to begin with this busy season finale?

My favorite aspect of “Parenthood” this season hasn’t actually been a Braverman at all, but Ray Romano’s second season as Hank Rizzoli, a professional photographer and ex-love interest/potential lover interest for Lauren Graham’s Sarah Braverman. Romano’s storyline got even better this season with the realization through his friendship/mentorship with Max (Max Burkholder) that he may have Asperger’s. Romano’s portrayal of Hank is among the best on network television and if there is a television God should warrant him an Emmy nomination for his work. The biggest question revolving Hank coming into the finale would be whether or not Sarah would fill him in on whether or not she would like to give their relationship another go. The result was very pleasing, and the biggest smile inducing moment of the finale for me personally.

All season long there has been relationship drama between Joel (Sam Jaeger) and Julia (Erika Christensen), as Joel moved out after feeling betrayed by his wife. The finale didn’t really give a finalization of this storyline, which may upset many fans if the series is not renewed for a sixth season, but I felt the finale did the storyline justice with the struggling couples’ final scene together. There is still some work to be done with these two to completely rekindle their relationship, but I’m glad series show-runner and episode scribe Jason Katims didn’t take the easy route and instantly put the two back together, just to be pleasing to fans.

Based on the most spoiler-ish previews I’ve ever seen from a television show I was incredibly worried about the storyline revolving Haddie (Sarah Ramos), the eldest daughter of Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina Braverman (Monica Potter), who was returning home from college and making her first appearance on the show this season. The previews gave away the fact that Haddie wasn’t just back from college for a visit, but back as a lesbian. I thought it was an incredible stretch for this series, especially given the fact that we’ve never seen any reason for Haddie to be a lesbian in the past. However, thanks to Katims’ writing and the terrific performances by Krause, Potter and Ramos the plot point went off without a hitch and somehow, given everything we knew about Haddie before, seemed to work.

Also, in the finale Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and Camille Braverman (Bonnie Bedelia) finally say goodbye to their beloved house where they raised their family. It was a true bittersweet moment, complete with a terrific grandfather/grandson moment between Zeek and Drew (Miles Heizer) when Zeek gives him the GTO he and his other grandson, Victor (Xolo Mariduena), had renovated together (which also led to a sweet grandfather/grandson moment earlier in the episode).

For a second during the finale it looked like the storyline between Amber (Mae Whitman) and her on-again-off-again love interest Ryan (Matt Lauria,) recently injured in a car accident, would be complete with Ryan heading back to Wyoming with his newly introduced and abusive mother (played by Annabeth Gish), but then we get the quick shot of Amber purchasing a pregnancy test kit, giving us the only real cliffhanger (and minor one at that) of the season five finale.

As previously mentioned, “Parenthood” is the best (and most naturalistic) drama currently on network television and it would be a travesty for NBC to cancel such an amazing series. Business is business, that’s understood, but “Parenthood” has such a loyal (albeit obviously small) group of fans that I think NBC would do itself a lot of good to renew “Parenthood” for a half-season final season, much like it did with the similarly ratings-challenged, but loyal fanbase show “Chuck” a few years ago.

The season five finale of “Parenthood” honestly would make for a good series finale, if it ends up working out as that, but here’s hoping for one more season of the Braverman family.

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