Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Okay...Maybe I'm Officially Old...

So, there are many shows that I watch regularly. Either live or via PVR. and most of them make sense: Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, The Venture Brothers, Glee, Boardwalk Empire, Fringe. I've given Mad Men a try twice, and can't seem to make it past the middle of the first season before giving up. Why? I just don't care about a single character. Odd, I know, because The Wire was filled with unlikable characters and that's one of my favourite shows ever. I still like House, but that's mainly because Hugh Laurie is so great. The show itself is incredibly predictable.

Anyway, all those shows make sense to me. They're firmly in my wheelhouse. They're either a genre show, or a superb drama, or in the best cases a mixture of both. But there's a show that I'm coming to realize that I enjoy more and more every time I watch it, and it really surprises me. That show is Parenthood.

My wife and I have been big fans of Peter Krause ever since Sports Night and Six Feet Under, so that was what initially led to us giving the show a try. At its heart, it's a fairly conventional show; a family drama about the trials and tribulations of raising a family. Normally, I avoid stuff like this for fear of it being nothing but "very special episodes" or unadulterated sudsy melodrama (how's it going, Brothers & Sisters?).

But Parenthood avoids too much of over-the-top soap operatic hysteria. The show is really about raising kids, and most of the conflict comes not from obvious melodramatic issues, but fairly family real-life problems. It skirts the line occasionally, but is saved by smart dialogue, a style of using over-lapping delivery that creates a sense of realism, and absolutely across the board stellar performances. Seriously, it's even made me like Dax Shepard, and I did not think that was in any way possible. There are some real standouts here, particularly from the kids and especially the superb Mae Whitman.

It's rare that a show ends, and you spend ten minutes talking about the choices made by the characters to your co-viewer, and it's in a good way. That happens in Parenthood after every episode. Maybe it's because I'm a dad now, but mostly I think it's just because it's a really well-done show. So, hopefully more people jump on board and give it a shot.


Timelords said...

Old, yes.
But given that I don't watch it, and I'm just as old(er) and like Peter Krause as well, I think it has more to do with being a parent.

Nerdlinger said...

Maybe you're right, but you're still older than me.

Timelords said...

Yeah but I make up for it with immaturity.