Oh, the Bravermans, how I have missed you! After a long hiatus, Parenthood returned tonight with its season 4 premiere, “Family Portrait.” While the Bravermans are far from perfect, they are a loving family and deal with real-life situations without being preachy which makes the show a delight to watch. I love laughing and crying with them.

“Family Portrait”

It’s not uncommon for the Braverman family to have unique rules or customs that are often odd or don’t make much sense. Camille’s rule about who can and cannot be in the family portrait was an exception. Of course, the rule was blamed on Crosby; it’s always his fault, right? 

At the same time, Mark’s need to be be in the portrait was equal parts heartwarming and desperate. His desire showed that he loves Sarah and wants to be part of the Braverman clan, but his relentlessness about it was a tad worrisome. Is he clinging to Sarah out of difficulties with his own family?

Hattie’s off to college

Instead of using Adam and Kristina’s financial troubles as a plot device to keep Hattie close to home, Parenthood instead sent her off to Cornell. Hattie’s anger with her parents before she left rang true. It’s a difficult situation for the parents and the child. From the scheduling outburst, to the family dinner, to Hattie’s awkward time with Max, and finally the parting scene at the airport, they were normal and showed their emotional journey to this coming change. While I will miss Hattie, I’m sure we will see her around the holidays.

Amber’s an adult

With the political office job and politician lover behind her, Amber is working at the Luncheonette with her uncles. Given her love of music, it’s a perfect fit for her. Plus, it supports the strong family bond that the Bravermans. 

Amber showed her maturity with the musician situation. In the past, Amber would have been crushed to be used like that. But, in this case, it was Adam who overreacted; though that was partially in response to Hattie’s approaching departure. When Amber told Adam to back off, she proved that she has grown immensely over the last year. Good for her!

Victor, the newest Braverman

Julia and Joel are going to have their hands full with Victor. Their special treatment of him only made him feel less a part of the family and created a divide between him and Sydney. It would be unfortunate if they don’t start treating him like a son. He has been with them for months and they are no closer to him. The pain on Julia’s face when she admitted she didn’t love him was dreadful to see. 

Max’s treatment of Victor definitely didn’t help the situation either. Victor must feel lost in that large and loving family. If anyone can make it work though, it is Julia and Joel. They are smart, loving, and have so much to offer him. This is going to be a family to watch this season.


Sarah has a job! And, not at the bar. Her interactions with Hank were odd, but full of promise. I adore Sarah and Mark, so I hope that Hank isn’t going to mess that up. Besides, Sarah could use a real job without complications. 

The Braverman Cult

Camille’s answer about religion was very telling about their family and why they are so close to each other. Unlike Jasmine who was raised with a church full of “family,” the Bravermans found their sense of belonging from each other. 

Crosby’s moment with Jabbar looking up at the stars was one of those that make me love Parenthood — honest and touching.

The premiere episode was all I could have hoped it to be. With the time jump, we found out where everyone is now and that will set the stage for the trials of the family going forward this year.

(Photo courtesy of NBC)

Carla Day

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Contributing Editor and Writer for Collider, BuddyTV, TV Fanatic, CliqueClack, and other publications. TV criticism, reviews, interviews with actors and producers, and other related content. Founder of TV Diehard.