Carolyn Martin Buscarino (full disclosure: in the words of Darth Vader, "You have a sister!") reminds readers that NBC's critically acclaimed new show "Parenthood" is not simply a spin-off of the 1989 hit movie starring Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen, it's also the second time around for a spinoff. (The first one, shortly after the movie, flopped). The latest is considerably better, and Buscarino, a mother of two young boys (and who reviewed Amazon's Kindle for us) notes in our online Culture section that, in the midst of a sea of cliches, "Parenthood" movingly portrays the joys and struggles of life with children.
Perhaps it’s unfair to expect a family dramedy to avoid clichés. After all, one of the strangest (and sometimes most annoying) experiences for veteran parents is hearing new mothers and fathers breathlessly recount the daily challenges of parenthood as if they were the first people in the universe to experience them. It’s tempting to condescend to these newbies, but when been-there, done-that parents allow themselves to rediscover parenthood through their friends’ unjaded eyes, everything in their own lives can become new again.
This is the unexpected and often deeply touching delight afforded by “Parenthood.” Hackneyed as they are, each tired scenario is given new, vibrant life by the sensitivity, daring and charm of the almost uniformly superb cast. Lauren Graham’s luminous face fearlessly reveals every flicker of vulnerability, uncertainty and hopelessness threatening to overwhelm Sarah as she struggles to get back on her feet (illustrated, in a clever visual metaphor, when she teeters perilously in her new boots).