PaleyFest 2013: The Cast of ‘Parenthood’ talk Tearjerking Episodes and Trying to “Exist in the Moment”

paleyfest-parenthoodOne thing was clear from the PaleyFest event on Thursday night—the cast of Parenthood is definitely on board for a fifth season.  But the series’ fate is in the hands of NBC, who has yet to renew the acclaimed (but noted ratings-challenged) show.

Paleyfest is a night where television fans can gather to celebrate some of the best shows on TV.  The panel at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills was a full one—with show-runner Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights) on hand with pretty much all of the cast, including fan favorites Dax Shephard, Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, and Monica Potter.

The theme of the night was how emotional the show can be—moderator Michael Ausiello noted that the series has become somewhat famous for its tearjerker quality.  After airing an especially moving episode, “I Have Something I Need to Tell You,” from earlier this season, most of the audience in the theater was plucking Kleenex from boxes being offered by ushers.  The storyline featured in the episode is about Kristina’s bout with breast cancer.

“The most rewarding thing was telling the story truthfully and accurately,” Krause said.  The actor is just one member of the cast who pulled his weight this season as Kristina’s husband, Adam, and faithful support system throughout her illness.

The idea of portraying relationships and honesty is often a keystone for the writers of Parenthood.  One of the more controversial episodes of the season occurred when the teenage son of Graham’s character got his girlfriend pregnant.  “This one was a particularly difficult one,” Katims said, about having the girlfriend ultimately decide to go through with an abortion.  “It’s a tricky subject matter, but I felt in my gut that it was a story I wanted to tell.  We set out in a way to make sure we were accurate, but to also be very sensitive.  I didn’t want to politicize it…We wanted to get underneath the story and tell them in a way that we feel is as real as possible.”

The audience questions revealed this connection to truthful and realistic plotlines, when several attendees mentioned their own struggles, including being gay, adopting children, and facing their own bouts with cancer.

But that’s not to say the night wasn’t without humor.  Graham spoke about finding out her TV boyfriend, Jason Ritter (who also appeared at the event), was shooting a pilot with her former TV daughter, Alexis Bledel (from Gilmore Girls.)  “They always trade you in for someone younger, don’t they?” Graham joked.

It was apparent how comfortable the cast is with each other, especially when Mae Whitman (who plays Graham’s daughter, Amber) remarked how it’s a nightmare for any director to work with the cast as a whole in large family scenes.  But the lightheartedness among the cast has resulted in a camaraderie that has only made the cast stronger.  After several seasons working together, they’ve finally jelled.

“We shoot with three cameras, both sides of the scene at once, which allows the actors to react to each other and exist in the moment—and what happens in those real moments would never have been discovered,” Katims said.  “So many of the greatest moments of the show have come from that process…The actors are now so in-tune and know how to do it that I think it elevates the scene and makes it seem much more lifelike.”

Now it’s up to NBC to make sure that the cast gets to continue turning out this quality show for a fifth season.  

1 Comment

  1. Kristen

    March 14, 2013 at 5:43 am

    It has to get picked up for another season! The show is amazing!

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/jeff-bridges-hell-or-high-water.jpg
Jeff Bridges on Creating a Character, ‘Hell or High Water’ and Playing The Dude
"I use elements of myself—I see my parallels with a character—and find similar things in my own personality." - Jeff Bridges on Creating a Character
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/benjamin-bratt-actor.jpg
Benjamin Bratt: “For as limiting as the opportunities are for actors and actresses of color I’ve been very blessed”
"...it's dangerous to keep going down the same artistic path." - Benjamin Bratt
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/watch-keegan-michael-key-explain.jpg
Watch: Keegan-Michael Key Explains Why “Improv actors are at war together”
Check out Key's points on why it's so important for improv actors to have each others' backs in the clip above.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/norman-reedus-actor.jpg
Norman Reedus on Acting: “If it’s something you really want, you have to roll with the rejection”
Norman Reedus is a fan-favorite star on The Walking Dead and was in the cult favorite film The Boondock Saints. However, in the dozen years between those two gigs Reedus had experienced ups and downs in his career and in many cases he was cast in very small roles in big movies or lead roles […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/frank-grillo.jpg
Frank Grillo on Being Typecast: “I welcome it”
"I hear actors pooh-pooh the idea... people might see them as a certain thing. I welcome it" - Frank Grillo on Typecasting