It is very likely that you are not and will never be a Parenthood person. First, as I have said before, if you don’t like crying this is probably not your show. But before you write off crying, let me say I think there is an actual scientifically-based need for senseless crying caused by low-stakes situations that have nothing to do with your own life. In this form of not-Freudian approved catharsis, your body releases all the tension and repression of daily life without connecting to any of your actual ur-traumas. In other words, you will gain no advancement as a human from this form of emotional release but you will gain everything in lowered stress levels. Okay, should you watch Parenthood?
1. The very last episode just aired. If this information makes you feel relieved like “well at least I will eventually reach the end” then yes, you should start watching. But you will miss out on Vulture’s amazing cry-caps (I guess you could read their archives).
2. If you are a big fan of Gilmore Girls or Friday Night Lights tread cautiously. This show has neither the comedy of GG nor the teenage humping of FNL. But if you liked both of these shows, then yes, treat yourself to some Lauren Graham and Jason Katim’s style montages to indie music tracks.
3. If you have a vexed relationship with your parents, don’t watch this show. It will only make you feel bad about how much greater your life could have been if Coach was your dad.
4. Do you sort of want to have a baby or have recently had a baby? Watch this show! It will affirm all your life choices. The basic premise is that no matter what other successes you have in life (even a successful marriage), your progeny and your parents are what really matters. This is a bizarre and conservative premise, but damn, I bet it would feel good for parents or prospective parents.
5. Do you sometimes wish that you could just love characters? Are you tired of complicated Breaking Bad and Mad Men folk who repel you even as they gain your respect? Then you deserve some Parenthood. As with Parks and Rec, you don’t have to worry that anyone will be revealed as a monster.
6. Does a stay at home dad who is also really good at building things (and could totally go back to work if needed) make your loins quiver? Not sure? Then feast your eyes on this face:
Joel could be you fake-husband for 100+ episodes! What, is his jaw too square? Are his eyes to emotive? Does his sensitivity offend you??!!
If you are on board with Joel, you are on board with Parenthood.