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Family Tragedy and the Television

Casey and I have our favorite shows and we watch some of them each night after our daily responsibilities are done. Some of our favorites are Blue Bloods (How can anyone not be glad that Tom Selleck is finally back on TV?), Revenge, Modern Family, and New Girl.

Because each of our favorite shows have to be moderate in the amount of crazy that happens throughout the storyline, I have my list of favorite shows that I watch on my own when Casey isn’t around.  Shows like Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, and The Walking Dead are too crazy for Casey and end up sending her into a mental slump.

Those shows don’t seem to have the same effect on me.  Grizzly effects, like those in The Walking Dead don’t seem to have any effect on me.  The only show that I watch that Casey doesn’t, the one that seems to stick with me throughout the week, is Breaking Bad; and that’s mainly because I automatically wonder if every RV that I pass while driving around town is a mobile meth lab.

However, there is one show that both Casey and I watch that seems to really be bothering me lately when it’s over.  I love and hate watching Parenthood all at the same time. It has to be one of the most depressing shows ever put on TV. For those who haven’t watched yet, it’s a show that’s based around two sisters and two brothers, their parents, and their own families. The show can rotate through five different family units to demonstrate some of the struggles and rewards families experience in real life.

The good thing about a show that can rotate through so many families, is that it can cover a lot of ground and is great at highlights all sorts of different struggles that families face. This is also the problem.

One family has suffered through financial troubles. Two families have struggled through affairs. Another family has gone through the experience of sending a child to college while having another child with Asperger’s. And on and on and on it goes. It seems like by the time the show is finally done and ready to be pulled from the airwaves, these fictional families will have gone through every tragedy possible.

The most recent struggle involves breast cancer. The mother of the child with Asperger’s learns that she suffers from breast cancer. Of course, the cancer can’t easily be removed with a simple surgery. Parenthood has to make it more complicated, and I’m sure it isn’t a coincidence that all of this happened right in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Watching all of these families go through these struggles, even though they are fictional events, makes me wonder if my family is just waiting for the other shoe to drop. We’ve been lucky so far. Is it our turn to go through some of these struggles? Are they just around the corner?

These aren’t new worries for me. I don’t remember anything all that stressful happening to my family as I was growing up. None of my sisters got sick. We didn’t get hit by cars. (Well, I was hit a few times but I’m still here.) No divorces ever happened. It always seemed like my family was too lucky and that it will all catch up to us at some point.

So far that hasn’t really happened. I have a younger sister who is going through one of the nastiest divorces I’ve ever had any experience with, and that’s saying something since I do practice some family law as a lawyer. But outside that, we’ve all remained relatively tragedy-free.

So, while I love watching Parenthood because it is so well done and it can show us how much joy families can bring to us, I have to hate it at the same time and I constantly find myself knocking on wood hoping nothing bad is waiting for us around the corner.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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