DISCLAIMER: If you don’t watch Parenthood on NBC, this post probably won’t make any sense to you. If you don’t, here’s a fun guide to the cast to keep you up to speed.
Pro tip of the day: Watch Parenthood because it’s great.
I’ve been catching up on Parenthood, NBC’s heart-warming and gut-wrenching drama all about family, on Netflix over the past couple weeks. When I first got into the show a couple years ago, I instantly felt a connection to Sarah Braverman and her rogue, outspoken daughter Amber, for all the obvious reasons: being a single mom, Sarah’s interactions with Amber reminded me a lot of the interactions I had with my own mom growing up; being the daughter of a drug-addicted absentee father, I could see a lot of my own angst and, shall we say, “colorful” language played out on screen; Amber and Sarah are freaking hilarious sometimes and so am I (humble, too, I might add) and are, quite frankly, hot messes sometimes. (FUN BONUS: Amber is also a musician and Sarah, we find out in season 2, is a also writer! So there’s that!)
I guess the connection was obvious to my husband as well because, after witnessing a rather passionate monologue by Amber, Dan turned to me and said, “Wow, I didn’t know you wrote for this show.”
That prompted me to rattle off all the reasons it was so scary to watch Amber and Sarah on TV because it was like watching myself. But then Dan said something really surprising to me.
“You’re more like Julia, actually.”
His comment made me scoff at first.
Julia, Sarah’s sister and Amber’s aunt, is very different from Amber and Sarah. She’s been described by other characters on the show as, quote, “a little intense”. She’s a busy lady, what with being a successful lawyer by day and trying SO HARD it almost HURTS to be a perfect mom by night. Her husband Joel — a stay-at-home dad to their daughter Sydney — is much quieter than she, a bit subdued I’d say, but is completely adored by her and is head over heels for her.
At first, I struggled to find anything in common with Julia. But as the episodes wore on, I started to see what he was talking about. I am a working mom. Dan is a work-from-home dad. I have been described as “intense”. I am louder, probably to a fault, than he. In all of these ways, I mirror Julia. But Dan’s point was proven at one point during season 2 when we watched an exchange between the two of them that we swear we’ve had in the past.
There is no doubt that I used to be a hot mess like Amber. Maybe even as hot of a mess as Sarah. And I’ve been pretty reluctant to relinquish that identity because it defined me for so long. But now, I’m Julia. I’m kind of put together, but not without my own obvious junk. And that gives me hope for Amber’s character (no spoilers, please — still working through season 3!).