Have you been watching Parenthood? Well, maybe you should. Oh, I'm not one to say that you definitely should, you know me, I try to not be pushy or overly vehement in the stating of my ideas at all, I'm just throwing it out there as a choice.
Right now, the world seems terribly uninterested in watching the series, last night it got a 4.5/8 in the ratings (but won the demo with a 2.7). Those numbers aren't particularly impressive especially when you consider its competition – a repeat of The Good Wife, which beat Parenthood, and a V clip show on ABC. Put another way, Parenthood was the only thing new on in the 10pm hour last night and it still didn't win. We're not counting the 6 minute overrun of Lost as new, though hypothetically it could be argued that the overrun hurt Parenthood, especially as the series did better than it did last week… but last week it faced a new episode of The Good Wife.
The thing about the show's not being successful is that it makes me sad. Fine, call me foolish, call me ridiculous about being sad at the poor performance of a TV show. The thing is that I think the show is actually a good one, and not the first good show that NBC has aired over the past few years that hasn't garnered an audience. I'm not saying that you'll like the show, but perhaps, just perhaps, you ought to tune in and give it a shot.
Look, let's start at the top – it has a great cast, and all of whom give good performances. It has Peter Krause, Monica Potter, Erika Christensen, Dax Shepard, Lauren Graham, Craig T. Nelson, and Bonnie Bedelia. That's really a pretty solid ensemble cast – it has funny people, it has serious people, it has people who do both funny and serious, and it also has John McClane's wife (we don't accept Live Free or Die Hard as a part of the canon).
Then, it has these funny and serious actors doing what they do best – being both funny and serious. The show manages a really good balance between more dramatic, distressing, elements and funnier lighter fare. But, I think it does better than just manage a good overall balance as some shows do, it manages a good balance for each character. There are series out there who do funny and serious but almost always hand the serious plots to one or two characters and the funny to one or two others (I'm looking at you Desperate Housewives), Parenthood manages to do it for each character. That really, I believe, goes back to the cast – they have a cast that can handle those changes and make them all believable, and I think it's believability that's the key.