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Coming to terms with the end of 'Parenthood'

As Parenthood gears up for its final farewell early next year, scores of fans are stockpiling tissues in anticipation of what looks to be a very emotional goodbye. Since learning of the show’s fate late last spring, surrogate members of Team Braverman have let their outrage—and grief—known via social media (see an example Tweet after the jump).

The show’s Facebook wall is also full of comments voicing indignation about the show’s cancellation. Bottom line is this: Fans are upset. Really, really upset. And they should be. Parenthood is a breath of fresh air on network TV. Oh, sure, it’s full of tear-jerking moments that render even the toughest soul into sniffling messes each week, but that’s life—and that is precisely what makes this show so important to its fans.

Over the course of its six-season run, Parenthood has had a bumpy ride; it seems each season ended with uncertainty, and many with abbreviated episode orders. When season 4 was thought to possibly be the last, every storyline was wrapped up in case there wasn’t a season 5: Crosby and Jasmine learned about her pregnancy, Kristina got the all-clear and she and Adam celebrated with a trip to Hawaii, Drew got into Berkeley, and Sarah ended up with neither Hank nor Mark (which was actually a good thing, remember?). And when season 5 got a full 22-episode order, we all rejoiced because the Braverman life could continue! And it did, until May, when once again every storyline came to somewhat of a conclusion as the fate of the show—and of the Bravermans—was on the bubble. Add all that uncertainty to the emotion of the stories, and it’s been an exhausting ride, hasn’t it? I think this show has kept Kleenex in business:

But as angry and sad as the fans have been, Jason Katims (PH‘s show runner and one of its executive producers) made something very clear: This final season is a gift. Being able to go out on its own terms and to put a period on every storyline is critical, not only to the people in and behind the show, but to all of us who live and breathe with them. Because we do. In an era where it seems most shows on TV are about investigating crime, the drama of the ER, and all sorts of scandals, this show has been a breath of fresh air. Sure, it’s messy and complicated and emotional, but it mimics life and family, and it’s that familiarity that draws us in and keeps us invested, no matter how much it makes us cry.

To many fans, Parenthood has been much more than an hour escape each week; it’s been a lifeline that has helped them through situations and issues that mirror those that the Bravermans are going through:

Children with special needs, job stresses, separation issues, life-threatening illnesses, financial ups and downs—the Bravermans have helped many know that they’re not alone. We’ve cried tears of laughter, sadness, and joy together, and as a result, Parenthood has touched many lives over the past six years on a much deeper level than as simply a television show.

But even though we’re resisting it, our goodbyes would have been so much more heartbreaking if they had to be done without closure, no matter how difficult we know that closure will be (i.e., the impending “circle of life” storyline that we’ve been promised is coming … and the reason my local Target is out of Kleenex). While it’s understandable that we’re heartbroken about losing a family, we should be grateful for the end we’ve been given, even if we might not agree with how it’s playing out. Because isn’t that why we love this show? Much like our own families, we don’t always agree with things that are done or decisions that are made, and we can’t control the fate of the members we love. All we can do is take the ride and try our best to enjoy it, because that’s life. And that, in essence, is what Parenthood has always been about—and still is—even in its goodbye.

With only four episodes left, it’s understandable that we’re getting emotional, especially when it looks like we all might have to say goodbye to our team captain forever. But let’s try to pull ourselves together, dry our eyes, wipe our snotty noses, and man up.

Oh, who am I kidding? Let’s do what the Bravermans have taught us to do in times of crisis: Gather together, cry a few tears, and then dance like we’ve never danced before.

Parenthood dance party

Parenthood on NBC

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TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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