Parenthood Interview: Jason Katims and Monica Potter on Kristina's Cancer Storyline
Parenthood Interview: Jason Katims and Monica Potter on Kristina's Cancer Storyline
Carla Day
Carla Day
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Parenthood has never shied away from sensitive topics, rather it faces them head on and addresses them in the most realistic fashion possible. The show has tackled issues from infidelity, an adoption gone bad, unemployment to even more difficult ones such as racism and Aspergers.

Now in its fourth season, Parenthood is focusing on Kristina's battle with breast cancer, which  is an disease that has affected many viewers or their family members. 

Jason Katims, executive producer, and Monica Potter, who plays Kristina Braverman, participated in a conference call earlier this week to talk about this heavy hitting storyline.

The decision to tackle the breast cancer storyline

Katims: I struggled with that decision because I thought it was difficult subject matter and subject matter that could be challenging to both - from the point of view of storytelling, and sometimes too to watch it. 

And it was something ultimately I decided to do and felt it was incredibly gratifying and in a lot of ways cathartic to do that. And so that sort of gave me courage to approach this storyline and I just felt it was something that was something that I kind of went through with my life and my family.

Potter: I was on-board, I actually emailed Jason over the summer, I went for my first mammogram in April. And I thought, I just had mentioned it to my husband, "This would be a great storyline."

And knowing that it touched Jason personally, I just reached out and said, "What if we tried to do a storyline on Kristina?" And he emailed me right away and said, "I got the chills," because they had been working on that storyline already, which was kind of cool.

The affect on Adam and Kristina's relationship

Katims: I think that whole issue of Adam wanting to fix things and wanting to come in and be the person who's going to make things better and fix her, and her needing for him not to be that in this case and play a different role. 

I feel like Adam is somebody that we've seen as he's assumed the role of being like the sort of, the go-to person or the rock of not only his nuclear family but his extended family.

And I think this is challenging to Adam to be able to sort of  play a role that's slightly different for Kristina and be there to support her, but not necessarily be the person to make all the decisions in terms of what they want to do medically and all that.

I think it's ultimately something that sort of deepens their connection with each other.

Kristina's family

Potter: We touched on that, which I sort of really like where the writers have hinted about what kind of family Kristina's from, over the years. And I don't know, I feel like this is her family, you know? I feel like the Bravermans are her family. I like the back story that they're sort of touching on, which we're just starting to do.

Katims: Yes. It's a little bit of a tricky thing, to be very candid. Because, we've talked many times about bringing Kristina's family members into the show. It's always challenging with that on this show because we have a show that's about an extended family, and we have a very large cast.

So we've avoided that a little bit, even though it's always been very tempting. Because you really want to know Kristina's family.

... we're not introducing her family, but we're addressing, in a storyline, her family and we're seeing Kristina affected by her family's, basically, their lack of presence through - as she's going through this.

Potter: Which I think is kind of more telling about her family.

Katims: Right.

Potter: You know, it's not there right in front of your face, it's just the hidden little things that she's dealing with her family.

(Photo courtesy of NBC)

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