I almost didn’t write this post because it was one of those things that I felt like needed to be posted within a day or so of it airing, but even though I knew I wanted to write this post I just didn’t have the energy in me to do it until 4 days after the finale of Parenthood aired. I guess there’s not statue of limitations on these things, so even though it may seem a little late better late than never I guess.
I have loved Parenthood throughout its six seasons on the air. I have never thought it was a perfect show by far, but it was a wonderful character based drama the likes of which don’t much exist anymore. It was absolutely wonderful at depicting the smallest parts of life, but it often misstepped when it addressed larger stories or just brushed things under the rug like they never really happened or mattered. In order to enjoy the smaller moments though you just had to ignore the parts that didn’t work so well, and I was happy to do so.
I have to admit that the final season didn’t have as many moments in it that I resonated with as I did with some seasons. I thought the finale was perfect for the show though. The best parts of this show were the ones where you just felt like you were off to the side eavesdropping on the Braverman’s lives. I loved just seeing the family together being silly and acting like families do. I felt like they did that perfectly in this episode with Sarah and Hank’s wedding being the real focus.
I think weddings work so well for ending shows like this because they provide a realistic reason for all the characters to be together and be in a joyful situation. I stopped watching ER many seasons before it eventually ended, but I always felt like the episode it should have ended on was the one with Abby and Luka’s wedding. That episode felt like a finale for me, and since I only watched a couple of the episodes at the beginning of the next season in my mind it’s what I like to pretend was the ER finale.
This finale of Parenthood reminded me of that episode with the wedding. All the family was gathered together and just enjoying each other like people do at a wedding. I appreciate that after building to Zeek’s death during the whole season they didn’t make his death and funeral the focus of the episode. I like that his death was just a small moment with him dying in his sleep, and it wasn’t some big dramatic thing.
The flash forwards showing each Braverman family unit a few years down the road were perfect as well. I loved that Julia and Joel now have a family of four kids composed in the same way that the four Braverman kids were. And hello Amber marrying Jason Street! I totally squealed out loud when that flashed up on the screen. It’s of course unrealistic that all of their lives were so happy and that Crosby was able to keep the Luncheonette afloat, but I wanted the characters to be happy in the end. I also loved that the end showed them playing baseball and scattering Zeek’s ashes on the field. It really harkened back to the beginning of the series, and I’m also a sucker for finales that call back to their beginnings. I thought it was the best ending the show could have had.
Now lets talk about the music. Jason Katims is known for his use of music in his shows. I heard more talk about it in critic circles with Friday Night Lights, but I think he did the same with this show. The finale was jam packed full of music from one to the other and every song just fit so beautifully that I was in awe. It doesn’t hurt that it was a bunch of songs that I love to start with. The songs perfectly underscored every scene including the ones that played during the wedding that were just the kind of songs you would expect would be playing during Sarah and Hank’s wedding reception. It was of course only fitting that the series should end set to “Forever Young” since Bob Dylan’s version served as the show’s theme song throughout its run. The beautiful, slowed down version sung by Rhiannon Giddens and Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam was the perfect song to send this wonderful show off into the sunset. I’ll miss you Bravermans.
Not every song was available, but of course I put together a Spotify playlist of the songs they used in the finale.