I really, really liked Parenthood this last season. I loved, loved, loved the longterm storytelling technique. Few shows would have the patience or grace to pull off such a tactic, but Parenthood pulled it off beautifully. Not all the story lines worked all the time--cough, Julia's near stalking of the coffee cart girl, cough--but they all worked well enough, enough of the time to satisfy me.
I found the Crosby-Adam storyline more uneven. I didn't hate the secretary/cheating story. Didn't love it though. Also didn't love some of the awkward Cee Lo Green stuff and the Adam being cool stuff. Sometimes, I wanted to kill Kristina for all her butting in. But, on the whole, I was happy. I mean, I hated that Adam always got to be the good guy, and, no matter what, Crosby was always viewed as the screw up. But that's frustration with life, not the show. I find Crosby and Adam's relationship pretty fascinating, so it was a pleasure to simply watch it in action.
In this respect, the finale frustrated me. The show did such a great job all season portraying the money struggles of Adam's family. Then, in the finale, when he's given an opportunity to solve them all, he doesn't take it. He tells Haddie she can have it all, all she's worked so hard for all these years, but then he takes that back. In the finale at least, there were no repercussions. I really hope there are next season.
Generally, though, I liked the finale. Drew and Amy had sweet small moments. Jasmine and Crosby finally got their happily ever after. Now, I may have thought the whole separated parents storyline might have been a little bit more interesting to see longterm, but I don't really care. I just liked seeing them so happy. I also liked that Mark might stick around--he's just so sweet, I don't want to see him go.
I also loved that the finale functioned so well as both a season and series finale. To me, that is a real achievement. Throughout this post I’ve been talking about next season, next season, next season. Given the relatively low ratings of the show, there may not be a next season. If so, I really think the final episode is a good end to the series. Everyone is left in a happy, satisfied place. Crosby has Jasmine, Jabbar, and a successful business. Adam has Kristina and the kids and Crosby and everything. He may not have all the money he needs, but he has people who love him. Sarah has Mark. Drew has Amy. Amber is actually pursuing something resembling a career path. Haddie is going to Cornell. Julia and Joel have their new little boy. Everyone has at least some degree of a happy ending.
At the same time, though, there are now a ton of new stories to tell. What is going to happen with Sarah and Mark? Are they actually going to get married? What will be the fall out of Adam’s decision? Will Crosby and Jasmine really be able to make it work? And, of course, how are Joel and Julia going to deal with their new son, who is older than their daughter? There is a ton of exciting material for next season. To me, the Joel and Julia adoption is the perfect type of cliffhanger—one which generates tons of new stories, but isn’t too ridiculous or out of step with the universe of the show.
This year both my mother and my best friend fell in love with Parenthood. Given the amazing season they had, I’d dare to suggest you’d have to be insane not to.