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10 times 'Parenthood' made us cry ugly tears

I know what you’re thinking, Parenthood fans. “Only 10 times?” It’s a good question. After 99 episodes, at least 90 of them have left us rocking in a corner with tissues stuffed up our nostrils and affixed under our eyelids to cease the flow (I know that’s not just me).

Since we’ve had a few weeks off and have a few more to go before Parenthood returns—and we need to restock our Kleenex supply—I thought you might be missing your weekly sob-fest. But because I don’t want to contribute to the already acute case of agony you are feeling as the series nears its end, I’m keeping this list short. No need to send you back to the corner just yet.

Amber crying (Parenthood)

Here are 10 times Parenthood made us ugly cry, in no particular order (although I pick No. 3 as the ugliest, no contest). You’re welcome.

1. Season 2, episode 22: When Amber falls off the deep end and gets into a serious car accident, Zeek takes her to the junkyard to see her totaled car and explains how when he was in Vietnam, he’d dream of his future grandkids. “You do not have permission to mess with my dreams,” he tells her. It’s the first of many times we see the strong connection between these two, and the first of many tears we’ll shed while watching them together.

zeek and amber1

Later in the same episode, when Amber breaks down to Sarah, apologizing for putting her through everything and promising she’ll be safe, we break down ALL OVER AGAIN.

Amber crying - Parenthood season 2

Add to these two moments the very end, where Kristina tells Adam she’s pregnant, and this episode is enough to bring on early-onset hysteria. But Parenthood was just getting warmed up; we had no idea what season 4 was about to lob at us.

2. Season 4, episode 5: When Kristina tells the rest of the family that she has cancer. After Victor’s baseball game, the entire Braverman family is celebrating when Haddie suddenly shows up from Cornell. Everyone’s looks of happy surprise quickly turn to worry when Kristina begins to cry and tells them, “I love you all so much, but there’s something I need to tell you.”

Parenthood - Kristina telling family she has cancer

And just like when she broke the news to Adam, the rest of the episode is simply set to music as we see each Braverman register the shock and horror of Kristina’s news.

Family reacts to Kristina

3. Season 4, episode 11: While pretty much every episode of season 4 reduced us to a weeping pile of mush, watching the video Kristina made for her kids in the event of her death brought us to our knees. And then we cut a hole in the floor and sank even lower.

If, like me, you still can’t watch this scene in its entirety, use this GIF to remind yourself of Kristina’s message (not that it’s any less gut-wrenching).

Kristina makes a goodbye video for her kids

4. Season 4, episode 13: When Drew breaks down telling Sarah about Amy’s choice to have an abortion. The killer of this scene was the fact that we knew Drew didn’t want Amy to make that choice, yet he had supported her and been such a man in the face of disaster. But the minute he saw his mama, he fell apart. And so did we.

Parenthood - Drew crying

5. Season 5, episode 18: When Max realizes that he’s different from the other kids, thanks to a bully who pees in his canteen.

Max wonders why people laugh at him

And then Kristina, who can’t take hearing her son’s pain for one more second, unbuckles her seat belt and climbs into the back seat to hug him—even though Max hates hugs. BUT SHE DOESN’T CARE.

Kristina comforts Max

6. Season 5, episode 21: When Kristina’s friend Gwen—the woman who helped give her strength through her days of chemo—loses her battle with cancer.

7. Season 5, episode 14: When Joel tells Sydney and Victor he is moving out. No matter whose side of the Joel/Julia battle you’re on, this one was tough to watch. I even felt sorry for insufferable Sydney.

Joel tells kids he

8. Season 5, episode 21: When Amber realizes that she needs to tell Ryan goodbye once and for all.

Amber and Ryan say goodbye

And then they do it in the hospital bed. (Okay, fine. That part didn’t make me cry, but the above goodbye scene did, especially when she said, “Bye, buddy.”)

9. Season 6, episode 2: When Zeek tells Adam that he’s refusing surgery because he wants to go out on his own terms, and in a rare show of fear, Adam wonders aloud what he’ll do if his dad dies.

Zeek tells Adam that he

Side note: This scene also gives us information that I dread and fear will come back into play when Parenthood returns in January: Zeek telling Adam that he wants his ashes spread on a baseball diamond when he dies. Closing my eyes and hoping I’m wrong and that I didn’t just jinx it.

10. The rest of season 6: Because I fear the biggest, ugliest tearjerkers are yet to come, I’m giving the final spot on this list to the last four episodes. It’s time to stockpile our tissues and pre-pay for therapy, my friends.


Parenthood on NBC

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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