Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Guilty Pleasure

     Adam is not sure where to turn next. He lives in Berkeley, Calif., with his wife and two children. He recently found out his son Max is autistic, or at least on the spectrum. Max has had some flare-ups in school, and if things don't go his way at home he falls apart and has a temper tantrum.

     Meanwhile, Adam's parents are having marital difficulties. Adam and his sister Sarah found out their dad made a bad real-estate investment. Their dad is afraid to tell their mom -- and when she does finally find out, she is devastated. She feels that her husband never trusts her, never shares his life with her. And this brings up a long-repressed problem in the marriage. The dad had had an affair -- it happened a while ago, but it was never resolved, never forgiven. The result:  Adam's dad moves out of his house and into Adam's spare bedroom. 

     As if that's not enough, Adam's 15-year-old daughter Haddie is going out with an older kid in high school. He pressures her for sex, and when she turns him down he has a fling with Haddie's cousin Amber. Meanwhile, Haddie is learning how to drive. Her mother is teaching her. And it's not going well.

     Does this sound like real life to you? It's actually a summary of what's going on in Season 1 of the TV show that B and I have been binge-watching. I don't know how we discovered it. I think one of B's friends told her about it.

     We backed into this show -- watching Season 5 first, and falling in love with it, then going back to watch Season 1. We actually think Season 5 is better than Season 1. I don't know if our first exposure gave it a freshness that has been lost after watching a dozen episodes, or if the show has just gotten better. Or maybe it's because Ray Romano, one of my favorite actors, joined the cast for Season 5.

     Anyway, in Season 5, Adam's wife Christina is recovering from cancer and running for mayor of Berkeley. Adam must have lost his job, because he's working with his brother managing a music studio. Their niece Amber is breaking up with her fiance and getting interested in a member of a band. The parents are back together, but the mother is going on a trip to Italy with her art class. And Haddie. Haddie has disappeared from the show. If you know what happened to her, please don't tell me. I want to find out for myself!

     After we finished watching Season 5, we searched Netflix and found the entire backlog of the show. We finished watching Season 1 last night, and started in on the first episode of Season 2.

     The show, by the way, is called "Parenthood," and I recommend it highly. It's billed as a comedy but is in fact a soap opera -- but a good one. The new season begins next Thursday night, Feb. 27, on NBC.

     The show was developed by Jason Katims, who has "Friday Night Lights" and "Boston Public" to his credits (neither of which I've watched), and who has a new show coming out, "About a Boy" based on the novel and movie. Ron Howard was involved in creating the show back in 2010, though he's apparently no longer involved.

     So . . .  watching the Braverman family struggle through the vicissitudes of modern life will make you laugh and make you cry. And here's a bit of gossip: Actor Peter Krause, who plays Adam Braverman, and Lauren Graham, who plays his sister Sarah Braverman on the show, are dating each other in real life.

     Binge-watching. That's got be a new word in our modern-day vocabulary. Last fall I binge-watched "Orange Is the New Black." But I did that one alone. B saw the first episode and wasn't interested.

     Have you done any binge-watching? I know it's nothing to brag about -- watching lots of TV -- but hey, I've just admitted my own guilty pleasure, so don't be shy admitting yours. Besides, I'm looking for my next binge-watching opportunity. What should I put on my list? I've heard "Breaking Bad" is good. How about "House of Cards" -- anyone recommend that?

18 comments:

DJan said...

I follow Parenthood, too. I watched it in real time and sometimes get anxious for a new episode. In fact, just yesterday I went to On Demand and looked to see if there's a new show yet. Nope.

I binge-watched Orange is the New Black, too. I will do it again, and I just finished binge-watching the second season of House of Cards. I didn't really MEAN to, but I couldn't help myself when they were right there! I once watched four at once but found that three is really my limit.

I highly recommend House of Cards, but do watch the first season first, so you can understand what's actually happening. And who are the really bad guys. :-)

rosaria williams said...

The fun part of retirement is just this little detail of binge television watching. We've watched Call the Midwife, Doc Martin, Treme, and numerous other series that were not watched in real time when we were too busy making a living and raising a family.

gigihawaii said...

David hogs the TV night and day, but I don't complain as TV doesn't appeal to me. He is also a movie buff, and loves to rent movies on Netflix.

June said...

Sounds a leeeetle too much like real life to me. We've been stuck on Dexter for a few months now. About to get the first dvd of the last season! What to DO??? Withdrawal!

I think Mad Men is next. That might be a little too much like real life too. But it'd be somebody else's real life. :-)

Laura Lee Carter aka the Midlife Crisis Queen said...

Tom:
I'm not proud to say my new addictions are Dexter and Breaking Bad, until it got too BAD even for me.
I think we sometimes need a vacation from our own problems, so we go watch someone else's and say, "Well, at least mine aren't THAT BAD!"

Olga said...

i have heard the Parenthood is a good show, but I have not seen it. I binged on the first season of Downton Abbey before the second season started.

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

My goodness. For a while I thought this was your life and Adam was your son. Dianne

#1Nana said...

Haven't watched Parenthood, but I did binge watch the British series MI-5…something like 76 episodes!

Alan G said...

I don't normally watch network television, at least during prime time. I mainly watch movies and documentaries but... I am certainly guilty of one binge transgression. I am a "HUGH" fan of the British television series "Doc Martin" and have watched every episode. It's so bad with me that I actually went out and bought the entire box set consisting of 5 seasons along with two made-for-TV movies, watched all of that, and then continued watching the program every Sunday night while they were airing the reruns on PBS. Now I ask you... how sick is that? Supposedly the 6th series installment is to begin airing this spring so you know where I'll be! :)

Linda Myers said...

Friday Night Lights is the best!

We also binge watched 24, Lost, West Wing, The Closer, The Good Wife, Modern Family, and Homeland.

Retired Syd said...

We binge watched Orange is the New Black, The Killing, and House of Cards (season 1). Everyone was so int Breaking Bad that we are giving it another shot, but I'm never in the mood to watch a second one after one episode, so that doesn't qualify as binge watching. It is our goal to get through season 2 of Breaking Bad before we move on to binge watching the 2nd season of House of Cards.

I'm just trying to figure out what everyone sees in Breaking Bad.

Tom Sightings said...

B and I also watched Doc Martin, but in real time, and same with Downton Abbey. We don't spend a lot of time with TV; but I guess I ought to admit that neither one of us is above watching a little bit of trash now and then. Maybe that's a topic for another post: what's the trashiest TV program you will admit to watching?!?

Douglas said...

Currently, I am hooked on "Black Sails", "Justified", "Revolution", "Blacklist", "Intelligence", and "True Detective" but I do not binge-watch anything. Nor have I ever... if "binge-watching" means watching the entire season (or even several episodes) at one sitting. I tend to watch in "real time."

Anonymous said...

I watched the first episode of Breaking Bad, my favorite High School teacher was a chemistry teacher, I thought the whole premise of turning into a meth dealer was absolutely a desperate act on any human being, never watched another episode the Orange is the new black I could not get it at all, we have Netflix streaming only choices we like are british detective stories and good movies, not the trash they have now..We cannot for the life of us get people who watch the drivel they call HBO series now, I mean really? Since we only get a few days sunshine here I would rather be outside and enjoying the weather, walking and exercising and gardening..Parenthood is great if one chooses to watch the whole thing, I am always too busy and so is my hubs we skip it..retirement to us is not watching tv and Netflix or Netflex HBO series. Do enjoy your blog but on this one we say no

Anonymous said...

I loved House of Cards, I bought all of season one on Ebay.

I do love Peter Krause from Six Feet Under, I watched that one disc at a time from Netflix and it took forever to do six seasons.

gabygeezer said...

We are set up to automatically record every appearance of a couple of our favorites. Tops is "Castle," which originally appeared for about 10 years and periodically is rerun. We watch two or three episodes at a sitting--sort of a "mini-binge."

Hope said...

Love Parenthood and have watched it in real time. We binge watched Friday Night Lights and were sorry when we hit the last episode.

Have tried to watch Breaking Bad, but like Sydney, I just don't get the attraction. The meth issue is just too ugly to be enjoyable to me. Right now, I am binge watching Parks and Recreation, which I haven't seen. A good laugh is important in surviving this endless Midwest winter. Better weather = less TV, but for now it's a life saver.

Cheers!

Kirk said...

I don't binge watch but do watch complete series on Netflix. Recently completed all 8 seasons of Dexter; thought the quality of the last two seasons dropped off.

I also watched all but the last season of Breaking Bad, which is now posted on Netflix. I avoided it on TV as I hate all the commercials. So that's my next one.

Also plan to watch the new House of Cards, but recently revisited the original BBC series - a classic.