'Parenthood': Am I falling in love with the Bravermans?

parenthood-320.jpgSo NBC officially renewed "Parenthood" for a second season this week and, because of that, I thought it might be time to give the show another shot.

TV shows, to me, are not unlike relationships in that I often don't want to invest too much of my time and energy unless I know they're sticking around.

Besides, I'd sampled it in the beginning and found the pilot to be flawed. I was well aware that there was potential there, but it pained me to see all that great onscreen talent led astray with unnecessary dialogue and, well, I think that was really my only problem with it. There were lines that I would've cut and the characters didn't seem one hundred percent real to me. 

Yes, I can be very picky. Especially when there's great potential. 

But, I digress. 

I jumped back in with both feet this week and, unless this particular episode was some sort of diamond in the rough, I do believe we've got another pilot-was-ehh-but-the-series-is-kind-of-brilliant situation on our hands.

I don't know, maybe I'm getting a little too excited too soon, but damn it if those Bravermans didn't have me at hello last night.

Holy $#*! is all I have to say about a scene between Lauren Graham -- of "Gilmore Girls" fame -- and Mae Whitman -- of Michael Cera's weirdo girlfriend Ann on "Arrested Development" fame -- who play a single mother and daughter struggling through the latter's adolescent rebellion and issues stemming from the former's divorce. 

The level of investment they sucked me into in a matter of like ten seconds is almost embarrassing. But the acting was nothing short of A-list, in my opinion, easily rivaling the mother-daughter relationship Graham had with Alexis Bledel on "Gilmore." Is that blasphemous? A little bit, I know. But there, I said it.  

And the rest of the cast ain't slacking. 

Oh, and those writers with their flawed dialogue that I mentioned before? 

They're kind of killing it now (I mean that as a compliment).

I can't tell you how perfectly in sync the words seem to be with the characters Peter Krause, Erika Christensen and Dax Shepard are portraying. The subtle comedy that's coming across makes it look like there's a good bit of improvisation going on. I have no idea if there is, but again, that's a compliment. To both the writers and the actors.

And, on top of that, I actually like these Braverman people. 

Peter Krause pulls off the perfect husband role in such a way that he's just completely unhateable... though you might find yourself wanting to kill his onscreen wife simply because you're jealous.  

Erika Christensen is spot on in her depiction of a young wife, mother and attorney who's just trying to do her thing and keep the whole boat afloat... the way the character dealt with this week's storyline predicament -- Their daughter was exhibiting signs of autism, which another kid in the family suffers from -- made me both cry and laugh. 

Dax Shepard is doing the charming idiot thing like nobody's business.

The old "Coach" Craig T. Nelson, as the family patriarch, is overbearing yet well-meaning, embarrassing yet hilarious. 

Bonnie Bedelia, who plays Nelson's wife and the family matriarch, had me tearing up, telling her daughter -- Lauren Graham's character -- that she is the kid she sees herself most in. She had a very simple line -- "Daughters hate their mothers, I think it's the law of nature... But then they come back" -- which was delivered nicely and, at the end of the episode I thought, they sure did illustrate that well. 

Anyway, I do go on.

Point is, there's great stuff happening here.

Dare I say the genius of "Friday Night Lights" producer Jason Katims is shining through? Because I'm feeling shades of "FNL"-like quality here. I hope I'm not too premature in that declaration.

Guess I'll have to keep watching to find out.


"Parenthood" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC

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