Goodbye Sarah Braverman, You Will Be Missed


One of my closest friends is getting married this week. I’ve been invited to watch her wedding, but then I know I’ll never see her again. It’s going to be hard because I know she has so much going on in her life: her dad is dying and her daughter just had a baby. I used to see her almost every week, but now there will be this big void. I just don’t know what I’m going to do now that I can’t catch up with her.

Yes, I’m talking about the TV show Parenthood. After six seasons, I will never see Sarah Braverman again. The last episode airs on Thursday, January 29th on NBC.

I don’t need much prompting in order to cry at a television show, but there has been something a little bit comforting knowing that every week, without fail, Parenthood will make me sob. When discussing all of this sobbing, Lauren Graham, the actress who plays Sarah Braverman, has a lot to say:

“I’m trying not to be emotional because I don’t want to be manipulative if it’s not truthful and doesn’t belong. But I do appreciate that it’s something to look forward. I feel the fans have embraced that as ‘Here’s my hour where I can identify with these people, but it’s not me so I can enjoy crying or enjoy having an emotional release.’ That’s our jobs as storytellers, to make a connection. I’m proud of that. It’s become like a club.”

Emotional connection is just one of the reasons why fans have been so invested in Parenthood. The storylines have sparked some really interesting conversations between my friends and I. We’ve texted through live episodes as a character battled cancer. We’ve debated plot lines about adoption and divorce. We’ve yelled at the TV when characters we weren’t fond of returned. (Yes, I’m talking about the English teacher.)

Having a glimpse into life with the Bravermans gave me a brief window into what it might be like to be in a large family. Many times I flinched and recoiled from the arguments and over-talking, but often I found the large gathering of people around a dinner table endearing and special.

Graham perfectly explains why the show has been a must-see for so many:

“This show is about all the iconic moments of life — birth, death, marriage, conflict, loss, hope, joy. In each of these characters we have some moments that most people — or many people — go through in life. Here are all the things that life might bring and here are some people either succeeding or failing. I don’t know why shows about that are so few and far between. It takes a unique combination to just make stories about people interesting enough, with no crimes to solve or law cases. It’s relatable. It’s a show about family.”

Beyond the actual show, there is a part of Parenthood that I have always been impressed with. After every episode, they publish a resource post from experts. These posts are full of data and supportive information about the topics presented in the episode. The level of social obligation that the producers have taken on to create this content is to be commended.

For the most recent episode where we see Amber welcome her baby, the show provided thoughtful commentary on single mothers as well as a list of seven ways to help new moms like Amber. Other posts provided information on post-operative failure, singular focus and the autism spectrum disorder, and how to open your own charter school.

Graham’s next project is Kate on Later. She will co-write, executive produce, and star in the show about a late-night female talk show host. (Ellen DeGeneres will also executive produce.)

Meanwhile I’ll try to carry on without Sarah Braverman. I don’t want to say goodbye, but I know we all must. I’m going to hope that the final episode let’s us know somehow that everyone is okay. Well, as okay as things can be in the Braverman family.

Will you be watching the finale of Parenthood? Bring your kleenex and come sit by me!

Image source: Parenthood NBC

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