If I were being paid to review TV shows, chances are I would not have a job for long. There are few shows that I will actually sit down long enough to watch. Castle, The Mentalist, Bones, Top Gear (The Brit's version, only...the American version is horrible), and maybe a few others that I cannot think of right now, are the only one's that capture my attention long enough to enjoy. The fact that Stana Katic, Amanda Righetti, and Michaela Conlin are in the first three shows has nothing to do with my desire to watch these shows...well, ok, maybe a little...but really it is because the shows are very well written, clever, witty, and they allow my ADD brain to continue working, while remaining seated. The bonus is the above mentioned cast members. Yes, I am a TV snob...if the show is not cleverly written, I do not watch. In addition, I would rather watch TV shows that are on DVD so that I can skip the commercials and watch all seasons in as short a period of time as possible!
I do not remember seeing many advertisements for the show (probably because I was fast-forwarding through them) Parenthood, but when someone mentioned it the other day, it was not a complete mystery. The person who suggested it mentioned that it deals with a family raising a child diagnosed with Asperger's. Of course, I was interested at that point...at least to give it a fair chance. So, I logged onto Netflix and bumped it up to the next in line on our queue.
The DVD arrived in the mail just in time for a Saturday night viewing. My wife and I got our son tucked into bed and plopped down on the couch with the rental inserted into the DVD player. We pressed play, and watched. The pilot was not what I had expected. As a matter of fact, if I had watched the pilot on the day that it aired, I probably would not have given it a second chance. But, fortunately for the series, I had four episodes to watch on one DVD, and since it was Saturday night and I was unable to send the DVD back to Netflix until Monday, I watched the second episode...then the third, and finally the fourth in one night.
The story covers almost every possible angle of parenthood...there's a divorced mom raising two kids - one kid who has authority issues; a bachelor who discovers he has a five year old son from one crazy night with a stripper (this one also has the interracial aspect to it); a family with a stay-at-home dad and a working mother; parents who are old-school and who are having troubles with their marriage; pot-smoking kids; and, of course, the regular, run of the mill family who just found out their son is an Aspie.
The first episode rubbed me the wrong way, simply because of the way the story of the kid with Asperger's was revealed. The story led me to believe that the kid had a problem and that the parents were treating it like it was a disease similar to the black plague. Despite the tears running down my face from seeing a very similar story to my own family unfold before my eyes, I was not thrilled with the way the writers described the situation. Like I said, luckily for the writers, I watched the next three episodes. (I'm sure they're so relieved...)
The next three episodes dug deeper into each family member's story. I guess I forgot to mention that the series is about one big family; the parents (the one's going through a rough patch), and their kids who are adults with families of their own. The "kids" are two brothers (one brother is the slacker dope smoking new parent of the five year old and the other brother is the one with the Aspie kid and a daughter), and two sisters (one sister is the divorced mom with the two kids, one of which is the angry teen girl, and the other sister is the working mom with the husband who stays at home with their daughter.)
By the fourth episode, I found myself in a conundrum. I really enjoy the show, but found that I will need to invest in a larger supply of Kleenex for my wife...yeah, ok, I might use one or two during the series as well, but I swear my contacts have been bothering me a lot lately and I am blaming the tears on that. Hey, it's my blog and my story and I'm sticking to that viewpoint whether you believe me or not. So there! Anyway, the water works were flowing freely during every episode. The show, as it turns out, is well written. What gets me, though, is how did they obtain our story without us knowing? Then, to make it more of a mystery, how did the writers obtain our story a year and a half before we knew our story? Amazing, indeed.
Back to being serious, if you are looking for a TV show to watch about a family full of interesting characters, and you want to see what the first stages of discovering that you have a child with Asperger's are like, rent Parenthood, sit back, watch the first four episodes, and have some Kleenex ready...you know, for those troublesome contacts. Now, we just have to wait for the next four episodes...which we are eager to see.
Disclaimer...(Yes, its a repeat of the last one...but the blog above is new!)
First, let me say that I am not a specialist in Asperger's Syndrome, nor do I play one on TV. What I write or say are strictly my own personal observations and beliefs, so please do not sue me because I said something that made you do something that caused a misdiagnosis, or created a problem, or made you do something stupid. Have accountability, go see a professional, and leave my finances alone...besides, you really wouldn't get much anyway, so its probably not worth your time to call the lawyer on the back of the phone book to see if you have a case. Spend that time more wisely, like figuring out how to subscribe to my blog...and don't ask me about that because I'm not even sure how it works! Seriously, though, if some of the things I say seem like they sound very familiar in your family, set up an appointment with a true professional. While you are waiting for their callback, please, continue reading and leave a note!