Parenthood: A Fine First Year

I am beaming with pride for Parenthood. This little show began inconsistently, slowly, a little unsure of itself, and grew gracefully into one of the most poignant shows on television. Over the show's first 13 episodes, the Braverman family grew up, got funnier, and turned the unoriginal premise of parenthood on television into something entertaining, educational, relatable, and even desirable. And, as requested, we got to see more of Craig T. Nelson. Here's a rundown of how Parenthood rounded out its first-season run last night in the season finale:

Haddie (Sarah Ramos) and Amber (Mae Whitman) finally made up.
Parenthood had me convinced that there would be some sort of bitchy showdown between the two cousins over their shared boy toy, Steve (Asher Book). Both rebelled in their own ways in this episode; Haddie dyed her hair black and Amber hitchhiked to a truck stop in Gilroy. (Hitchhiking to Gilroy is about as cool as wearing a Hollister shirt. Northern Californians know this.) But their angry-word-filled teenage angst culminated in a beautiful, dialogue-free moment that was punctuated by a weepy Ray LaMontagne melody. The two embraced in a diner as Adam (Peter Krause), Kristina (Monica Potter), and Sarah (Lauren Graham) watched through the window, speechless.

Sarah grew up decided to stay in Berkeley.
Sarah has been struggling to balance Amber and Drew's (Miles Heizer) needs with her own for the whole season. She relocated from Fresno to Berkeley with Amber and Drew, she resorted to bartending after a job opportunity fell through, she had to move back in with her parents to save money, and she began dating Amber's teacher, Mr. Cyr (Jason Ritter). In short, she's had plenty of reasons to doubt her parenting skills. But the kind words of Mr. Cyr, twelve years her senior, convinced her not to run away from her problems—and to admit to Adam that she broke his tail light. I hope this hot young teacher sticks around next season. Who says wisdom comes with age?

Crosby (Dax Shepard) grew up and decided to move to New York.
Hearing little Jabbar (Tyree Brown) call him "Daddy" was all Crosby needed. In two triumphant moments of maturity, Crosby chewed out Zeke (Nelson) for cheating on Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) and then refused to let Jasmine (Joy Bryant) and Jabbar move to New York without him. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Independent Crosby next season, even if Shepard himself isn't. He joked during an interview, "I hope that he becomes even more dependent on them so that I can spend more time with Craig T. Nelson in scenes. I'm not ruling out moving in with Sarah and just having half the family back at home. In this economy, it's not a bad option."

Parenthood has so many great options for next season. My only hope is that Julia's (Erika Christensen) storyline is strengthened. The dynamic between her and her stay-at-home-husband Joel (Sam Jaeger) is fascinating, and their daughter Sydney (Savannah Paige Rae) is just plain cute. I'd like to see them deal with more than a competitive hippie mom, a clingy ex-boyfriend, and a rubber-band ball—they can definitely handle it.

What did you think of the Parenthood season finale?

Follow writer Stefanie Lee on Twitter: @StefAtTVDotCom

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