7 Most Gut-Wrenching Moments from 'Parenthood' That Made You Ugly Cry
By Denny Directo
For six beautiful seasons, Parenthood made us feel so many feels—actually make that all of the feels. From the glorious highs and the devastating lows, we've shed tears of joy and despair along with the Braverman family of the NBC drama. Before we bid farewell to Jason Katims' beloved series, it's only fitting that we countdown to some of Parenthood's most gut-wrenching and tear-jerking moments. Grab your tissues for this one because you’re about to full-on ugly cry.
Max Braverman's struggle with Asperger's syndrome is a narrative that plays out through the entire series and guides many of Adam and Kristina's most emotional storylines. But it's in the show's pilot episode when Adam acknowledges Max's condition for the first time to Zeek— "Dad, there's something wrong with my son" — that brings the waterworks every time.
But in true Parenthood fashion, the episode ends with a touching moment: the entire Braverman family in tow gather to watch Max play baseball, AKA the moment that had us wishing we were a Braverman, too.
Season 2, Episode 22- "Hard Times Come Again No More"
Zeek, played so perfectly by Craig T. Nelson, is a model father figure for his children and grandchildren. In spite of his stubborness and tough exterior, it's in Zeek's more intimate moments one-on-one with members of the family that reveal he's just a big ol' softie with a big ol' heart. Whether it's urging Joel to fight for his marriage to Julia or giving Drew his treasured Pontiac, Zeek is always there for his loved ones. But no moment was more tear-inducing than the tough love he lays on Amber after her wreckless behavior nearly kills her. "I dreamt you, Amber," he tells her. "You do not have my permission to mess with my dreams." Damn you, Zeek.
Season 3, Episode 17- "Remember Me, I'm The One Who Loves You"
Of all the characters in the show, Crosby Braverman, the charming rogue of the family, has arguably experienced the biggest transformation. From a coasting bachelor to business owner and family man, Crosby embraced adulthood in a big way. One of his better days was finally winning Jasmine back after an overnight camping trip with his estranged fiance and their son Jabbar. The torrential downpour and Death Cab for Cutie's "Translanticism" playing in the background only added to the joyous moment.
Season 6, Episode 7 "These Are The Times We Live In"
Joel and Julia's marriage woes and near divorce was one of the most divisive storylines for Parenthood fans. What was once a perfect marriage deteriorated over two seasons and it nearly killed me. But there weren't enough Kleenex in the world when the pair shared an elevator following divorce mediation at their attorney's office. It was a scene acted out so beautifully and with few words by Sam Jaeger and Erika Christensen — the despair in that moment felt all too real.
Season 6, Episode 12- "We Made It Through The Night"
Amid all the tragedies this family suffers through, it's a treat when the Braverman's experience a fleeting moment of joy. Amber giving birth to her baby in the penultimate episode is one of them. She introduces her new son to Zeek and reveals that she's named the baby after him — "I want you to meet your great grandson Zeek." It's a beautiful tribute to the Braverman patriarch that is undercut by the fact he may not live long enough to see this little boy grow up. GAHHHHHHHH.
Adam and Kristina would literally do anything to protect their children. Hell, they opened up a school for kids just like Max! But on one fateful night, the parents relent and let Max go on his first overnight school trip. After Max is the victim of a cruel classmate who urinates in his canteen, Adam and Kristina's worst fear is realized. On the drive home, Max asks why the other kids hate him: "Is it because I'm weird?" It's completely gut-wrenching and as Kristina climbs into the backseat to comfort her son, the tears flow.
Season 4, Episode 11 "What to My Wondering Eyes"
Kristina's brave cancer journey was no doubt one of the most emotional storylines of the entire series and Monica Potter's poignant performance had us weeping for days. But nothing (and I mean, nothing) was more devastating than when after Kristina clings to her life after going into septic shock, Adam watches a video she left her three children (Haddie, Max and Nora) in the event that she dies.
And tonight there will be more tears. So many tears. The series finale of Parenthood airs tonight 10/9c on NBC.
Tweet along with Denny during tonight's finale: @DDirecto.