Parenthood. It was a movie that Ron Howard directed in 1989. He tried, unsuccessfully, to turn it into a sitcom shortly thereafter. Now, 20 years later, it seems to be a hit drama. I know I watch it, mostly because of Lauren Graham. (I loved Gilmore Girls!)
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen the Parenthood season finale, go away now!
At the beginning of this season, Joel & Julia begin trying to conceive. In one of the last episodes, it’s revealed that Julia has uterine scarring, and won’t be able to conceive again. Immediately, she throws herself into being the best mother of one child that she can be. But, by the last episode, she helps deliver a baby, and decides that she wants to adopt.
In the last moments of the last episode, Adam is looking for a retainer (a device used in the movie too) and finds a positive pregnancy test. He thinks it’s his teenage daughter’s, but it turns out, it’s his wife’s. And, he’s just lost his job that very day. (In the movie. Steve Martin’s character finds out his wife is pregnant the day that he quits his job.)
So now the adoption community is abuzz – will the show do justice to adoption? Will there be any truth in the plot, or will it be the typical Hollywood fantasy? No one decides to adopt one day and is handed a baby the next (hear that, Glee?). Adoption is a long, arduous process. I appreciate needing to cut some of it for length and lack of drama, but I truly hope that we’ll see a distillation of how adoption really is.
Blake at Blake’s New Face wrote an open letter to the producers of Parenthood. I concur, so, instead of writing my own missive, I recommend you read hers.
The only part I disagree with is that adoption can’t be done in one season. Given that the show is an hour long, and the season spans about a year, I think adoption can be done. The producers can cut out some of the decision process (domestic or international? foster adopt or private?) and start the season with J & J starting their home study. Many domestic adoptions are completed within one year. Although I would find the decision making process interesting, I can see how perhaps the producers might want to skip that part. It would probably be best to show J & J matching with an expectant mom during the last episode, then making one of the first episodes of the following season deal with that drama.