The second half of season 4 began Jan. 1st on NBC @ 10pm. I read about this series because it was on Rob Owen’s Top 10 list for 2012 for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. He said that season 3 & 4 were terrific, so I decided to find out for myself. Wow, he was right!
What stands out for me are the honest communications that are made by characters who are grown ups. More than once someone takes responsibility by saying “I was over reacting.” People know how to have important conversations, they learn from each other & they risk being vulnerable.
If you are unsure how to be intimate with someone you love, sample some of their honest conversations. Intimacy depends upon authentic conversations about hard things. Intimacy requires vulnerability; I’m scared. I’m hurt. I’m jealous. etc.
Intimacy requires the time to tell your whole story instead of the image conscious version. This show takes it’s time layering authentic moments in the characters and intertwining their stories. That’s what makes this a family worth knowing.
It’s easy to watch 10 minutes & judge it as a soap opera. Stay for 60 minutes and you find yourself responding to the genuine emotions.
Jason Katims is the creator of this show as well as my favorite t.v. show for understanding teenagers “Friday Night Lights”. He has an autistic son and so does the eldest son of the four Braverman siblings. It is so poignant, in revealing the frustrations, & the worries and how autism affects everyone in the family.
Last January Emily Nussbaum in The New Yorker said “If it gets cancelled, I may never recover.”
We live in a culture that deflects real conversations, hiding out in false assumptions that being truthful will hurt, instead of recognizing that truth is a building block in the infrastructure of deeper intimacy. These characters consistently own up to the truth with each other and recognize their failings.
There is a palpable respect for differences when Crosby acknowledges that only his African-American wife can really explain prejudice to their biracial son. An unwed pregnant mother changes her mind about giving her baby to Julia & the pain for both of them in this reversal of fortune is raw and translates across the small screen.
It’s very hard for us to be vulnerable in real life & it is rarely depicted in pop culture.
One of my favorite scenes is when Ray Romano (who is smitten with Lauren Graham who plays Sarah) shares his anguish because his wife is taking their daughter and moving 1,000 miles away and he is helpless to stop it. I am proud to live in the state of Pennsylvania where this would be against the law. Too many women are casual in their disregard that BOTH parents are really important to kids.
This show has left me in tears with the realness of what happens. Tonight is your chance to join the audience & discover a family that often communicates with respect & authenticity (unlike so many of us in real life).