Parenthood Owes Me Money For Tissues

Tomorrow marks the end of an era. After six seasons, our beloved Parenthood comes to an end. It’s been a rocky road over the past few years, and I’m not just talking about the fact that it could’ve been cancelled by NBC at any given second. No, I’m talking about the literal ups and downs this show has taken us in just this little sliver of a peek into the Braverman family history.

“When are we going to know? I need to get off this roller coaster.” – Sarah Braverman having a meta moment while talking about Joel and Julia’s relationship status

Creator Jason Katims has nailed down the subgenre of “Shows That Make You Super Emotional And Attached To Fictional Characters In An Unreasonable Way”, and this is no different. You’ve witnessed it in Friday Night Lights, and you’ve witnessed it with Parenthood. I mean, this guy fucks with your heart so much that it should probably be a crime by now (An example taken from the series finale, which is aptly titled “May God Bless and Keep You Always,” a lyric from Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” the show’s theme song. LIKE CAN U NOT).

In saying that, Parenthood is known for its emotional storylines. It’s known for eliciting an unexpected and unmentionable amount of tears. When I went to the PaleyFest panel for the show a couple of years ago, they actually handed out packets of tissues with the Parenthood logo on them. That’s how synonymous crying is with this damn show. Every week, there’s at least one emotional scene where you find yourself with tears in your eyes. Because I’m a crier by nature, this stat is higher for me.

“I think that Parenthood is a good litmus test to see if you’re emotionally okay. If you tune in… and you don’t laugh a little bit, and cry a little bit, you might be a sociopath. You might need professional help.” – Peter Krause on the psychological impact of the show.

And while there have been many scenes that have made our eyes well up, I’ve picked my personal favorites that make me cry just thinking about them. I’m sure the entirety of the series finale will be added to this list, but for now, let’s focus on the magic moments from the past six seasons that will stay in our hearts forever. Like Dawson Leery before her, this is ranked on a scale of 1 to 5 Crying Ambers, 1 being a little tear up in the eyeball region, while 5 is straight up ugly cry pray to Jesus that no one ever sees you.

Thank you Parenthood. We laughed, we cried, we learned more about ourselves. But mostly we cried. So thank you.

*possible spoilers ahead if you’re not caught up. in chronological order! and a lot of mae whitman because she’s the best crier in the world*

Season 2, Episode 17: Amber yells at Seth

1 Crying Amber

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Seth comes back and tries to assimilate back into the family in a totally normal way as if nothing’s wrong and he hasn’t been absent from the kids’ lives, but Amber totally calls him out on it, and you can tell she’s letting out years of frustration in one fell swoop.

 Season 2, Episode 22: Zeek confronts Amber after she gets in a car accident

5 Crying Ambersamber crying 5

Amber’s lowest point comes when she spirals into a drunken depression and gets into a super bad car accident. Luckily she survives and has to face the wrath of Zeek Braverman. He brings her to the junkyard where her totaled car is, and says a line that marked the first time I had really broke down and ugly cried while watching the show:

“I dreamt you, Amber. You do not have permission to mess with my dreams.”

Turns out that the brilliant Craig T. Nelson rewrote that speech on the spot and Mae had no idea what he was going to say. They did it in one take, and that’s the take they used.

Season 3, Episode 4: Alex says a final goodbye to Kristina

4 Crying Ambers

amber crying 4

Haddie’s first real boyfriend, Alex (played by the smokeshow that is Michael B. Jordan), is, on paper, the total opposite from Haddie. When their differences become too glaringly incompatible, he breaks up with her. But when he says goodbye to Kristina, you realize that Alex needed to be a part of this family as much as Haddie needed to love and lose the first boy that completely changed her world. And the Bravermans changed his world too.

Season 3, Episode 17: Julia realizes Zoe isn’t giving her the baby to adopt

5 Crying Ambers

amber crying 5

Despite being all, ‘hey if you’re not using that baby’, and Zoe ‘agreeing’ to give Joel and Julia her kid, Zoe changes her mind at the last minute to raise the child by herself. The moment where Julia realizes the time and effort and heart she’s put into the baby she thought would soon be hers, wouldn’t be going home with her – Julia shatters into a million pieces.

Season 4, Episode 1: Haddie leaves for college

4 Crying Ambers

amber crying 4Before all this Kristina stuff goes on, she and Adam send their first born off to college, thousands of miles away from Berkley to Cornell in upstate New York. A lot of us can relate to this, which is why this scene is so important. So when she says goodbye to her family, she knows it’s the end of an era, and things will never be exactly the same again.

Season 4, Episode 5: Adam talks to Haddie about Kristina’s diagnosis

3 Crying Ambers
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Woof. The whole Krisina cancer storyline is a doozy, but the beginning of the arc brings a lot of tears. From Kristina silently confirming to Adam she has cancer, to this scene where Adam has no choice to talk about her diagnosis with his college-aged daughter, these scenes were always hard to take. But the great thing to take away is that Peter Krause is such an incredible actor. In just this phone conversation alone he perfectly portrays a man who is just trying to keep it together.

Season 4, Episode 5: Kristina tells the family she has cancer

5 Crying Ambers

amber crying 5

This is perhaps the most memorable scene in the entire series. Everything about it is perfect. The family is all gathered and Kristina finally has to tell them she has cancer. It starts with us hearing her say, ‘I have something to tell you’, and the sound goes out. The camera pans to all the family members, and because each actor knows their character so well, they each respond to the news differently. I think my favorite is when the camera goes to Crosby, and he looks like he’s in shock, mainly because he had been giving Adam a hard time about the business, and now he realizes how much of an ass he’s been while he’s been dealing with Kristina’s diagnosis. And he does it in one single stare.

Season 4, Episode 11: Adam watches the video Kristina made in case she dies

5 Crying Ambers

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Kristina suffers a setback in her cancer battle, and in the event something went awry, she decides to make a video for her family. The result is another brilliant scene from Peter Krause, but also one that will tear you to bits.

Season 4, Episode 14: Crosby consoles Julia about adopting Victor

2 Crying Ambers

amber crying 2

For some reason, Crosby and Julia never get a lot of screentime with just the two of them. But this scene features the two babies of the family, with the usually unreliable black sheep of the family, Crosby, assuring smart, perfect lawyer Julia that she’s a better mom than she thinks she is, and that he’s admired her strength for years.

Season 4, Episode 13: Drew comes crying to Sarah after Amy’s abortion

3 Crying Ambers

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After Drew’s girlfriend Amy finally decides to get an abortion, we see Drew having a really hard time coping with it, and he finally lets it all out by just going to Sarah’s house and sobbing in her arms. It’s a realization that while he may not have been ready to be a father, there was still a part of him that thought he could.

Season 4, Episode 15: Joel and Julia officially adopt Victor

4 Crying Ambers

amber crying 4

This is the scene that makes you want to become a Braverman.

“Beautiful family you have.” – Judge

“They’re something aren’t they?” – Zeek Braverman

*Didn’t realize this until I rewatched the clip, but the judge is totally the guy who played the Stars Hollow Rabbi in Gilmore Girls.

Season 5, Episode 10: Ryan tells Amber he’s re-enlisting

3 Crying Ambers

amber crying 3

 Literally as soon as Ryan gets back from duty, he asks Amber to marry her. But after a while, his demons get the best of him, and instead of facing real life and a future with Amber, he decides to re-enlist instead, leaving an extremely stunned Amber speechless and beyond mad, and Ryan numbed from the pain.

Season 5, Episode 18: Kristina comforts Max when he realizes he’s different

5 Crying Ambers

amber crying 5

Max realizes that kids treat him differently because of his Aspberger’s, but doesn’t comprehend why they’re treating him like crap. But the heartbreaking part of this scene is seeing Kristina and Adam, who are not only unable to properly give Max an acceptable reason, but are so frustrated that there’s not much they can do to change it.

Season 5, Episode 21: Kristina says goodbye to Gypsy

4 Crying Ambers

amber crying 4

I know her name on the show is Gwen, but she will forever by Gypsy from Gilmore Girls. Anyways, Kristina became friends with Gwen while they were both receiving chemo treatments, and because Parenthood isn’t one to ignore what happens in real life, Kristina has to give one (teary) final goodbye to her friend, who is nearing the end of a losing battle with cancer.

Season 5, Episode 22: Zeek and Camille slow dancing in the empty house

3 Crying Ambers
amber crying 3

It took some cajoling, but Zeek and Camille finally sold their iconic house. And while we’ve been with that home for five seasons, Zeek and Camille had been its occupants for decades as they raised their kids and grandkids. One of the final shots in the house is the outline of the two heads of the Braverman clan slow dancing in an empty room, acknowledging both the good times that happened there, and the new memories they’ll make in their new home.

Season 6, Episode 10: THE ENTIRE EPISODE

10 Crying Ambers

amber crying 5amber crying 5

WHERE TO FREAKING BEGIN. The entire opening slow-motion montage of all the kids getting the call Zeek was in the hospital (gave me goosebumps). Drew crying in the car after it wouldn’t start. Julia calling Joel her ‘husband’, the makeshift baby shower for Amber where the women give her advice? Honestly cried through 90% of that episode. It was one of the roughest hours of television, ever.

Season 6, Episode 12: Amber names her son Zeek

3 Crying Ambers
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5 thoughts on “Parenthood Owes Me Money For Tissues

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