'Parenthood' EP Talks Season Five Plans
Parenthood has long been one of TV's best dramas (no matter what those myopic Emmy voters say), but Kristina's universally lauded breast cancer storyline seriously raised the bar for season five. Thankfully executive producer Jason Katims is more than ready to rise to the challenge.
Armed with an all-new arsenal of heart wrenching tales (fractured marriages, impending weddings, spurned love returns), Katims spoke, at length, with ETonline about his plans for the upcoming 22 episodes, and promises that Parenthood's DNA will not change one iota despite their new, high-profile timeslot. First watch this sublime sneak peek and then read on to find out what's next!
ETonline: The preview for season five makes it look like Ryan and Amber are headed down the aisle. What does their relationship look like this season?
Jason Katims: It looks like a couple of things. First and foremost, it's sweet and romantic, but also complicated. It was clear from last year this is a relationship that is not without its complications, and this was a story that we originally thought of as 5 episodes, but because of the way Matt [Lauria] approached Ryan and the chemistry he has with Mae [Whitman], we wanted to continue it. He inspired me to keep telling their story this year. I think we're going to see two people who are very much in love, but also very young. It brings up a lot of questions for our other characters, especially Sarah [played by Lauren Graham]. This is what I find interesting: here's a wonderful young man who served our country and is a hero, but Sarah knows that he's also had some issues that are very real. Plus, Sarah got married when she was very young to someone she was madly in love with and look how that turned out. The failure of that has informed so much of Sarah's life, so I'm excited to see Lauren strike the balance between knowing Amber's an adult now, but thinking "she's still my daughter and I don't care if she hates me, I'm going to speak my mind." That's what excites me. Like, when we're in the writer’s room and they start arguing, I know we're on to something. Last year it happened all the time with Hank and Mark. There were literally shouting matches and I saw the same thing play out online. To me, when you have people trying to put their best foot forward but facing conflict, that's when stories are the most interesting.
ETonline: Speaking of Hank, Ray Romano is back for a good portion of this season. What made you want to bring that character back?
Katims: A lot of what we're doing this year with Hank isn't about his relationship with Sarah. It's one of the things that makes me so excited about the show right now; we already have this incredible ensemble cast, and now we have these amazing recurring characters, so it makes the canvas of our world so big. It reminds me of Friday Night Lights towards the end where we had the amazing main cast, but these other characters, who were not series regulars, like Billy Riggins and Grandma Saracen and Herc and on and on. They were every bit as beloved as our series regulars and that's something I love about this season because we really get to expand upon the pairings. There's some great stuff with Sarah and Ryan that I think fans will love. There was a scene last year with Dax [Shepard] and Erika [Christensen] where Crosby and Julia were at dinner and he noticed that she was upset. It was really one of my favorite scenes we've ever done because we hadn't seen that much interaction between those two and it really tapped into a wonderful dynamic I wasn't anticipating. This year, we're really looking for those opportunities to expand beyond our normal pairings. We will absolutely do stories with Hank and Sarah, but Ray's arc is not kicked off with a Hank and Sarah storyline. What really brings Hank back into the fold is his relationship with Max.