NBC’s Parenthood kicks off its third season this Tuesday at 10/9c, and thankfully there’s no shortage of family drama. Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) are back out of love — but for how long? Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina are baby-bound — but will complications ensue? Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Mark (Jason Ritter) are in puppy love — but there’s a twist. And that’s just a third of the Braverman clan!
Showrunner Jason Katims answers TVLine’s questions about what to expect from the heart-wrenching drama’s new year.
TVLINE | Let’s start with Crosby, Jasmine and Jabbar. Where does Season 3 find this dysfunctional family unit?
From the beginning of the season, we’re watching these parents — who have the best possible intentions for the sake of their son — trying to move on with their lives. But that becomes more complicated as they both get romantically involved with other people. One thing we will be exploring over the season is whether or not Crosby and Jasmine still have feelings for each other. We’re not ignoring the fact they there’s such a great chemistry between them, but we do want to explore the idea of co-parenting.
TVLINE | We know that D.B. Woodside is coming in as Jasmine’s love interest. Is Crosby not a fan?
D.B. plays Jabar’s pediatrician, and that’s how we first meet him. There is a chemistry between his Dr. Joe and Jasmine, and Crosby isn’t happy about that on several levels. He doesn’t think it’s a great thing for her to be dating Jabbar’s doctor. Though given his history, it’s hard for him to get up on a high horse — but he does anyway.
TVLINE | Talk a little about Crosby and Adam’s new business venture.
From the pilot, the relationship with Adam and Crosby was one of the most central to the show and one that I’ve always thought was very endearing, so it felt right that this would be the moment for them to go into business together. Adam’s been out of work for months, and Crosby wants to step up and prove himself. Joel gets involved with it a little bit, too. And it does so much for the show by giving us an excuse to have scenes with characters who might not otherwise interact. There’s also the exciting possibility of having a recording artist coming in, like [we'll be doing with] Cee Lo Green. But ultimately it becomes less about the business and more about the brothers.
TVLINE | Are you looking to have musical guests come in on a more regular basis?
No. Right now, we’re using the studio in a realistic way. It’s a big deal for them to have Cee Lo show up in the bay area and use their space, but as of now we don’t have any further plans for a big name artist like that.
TVLINE | Fans are eager to see John Corbett’s return as Seth. How does his reappearance impact Sarah?
That’s a four-episode arc starting in the fifth episode of the season. Basically what happens is Sarah is just starting to build a relationship with Mark, which feels really great, when Seth returns and complicates her life quite a bit. I’m really excited about this story. John Corbett did such an amazing job last season and really inspired us, the writers, to come up with a storyline that pushed things further between the two of them. There’s such a great depth in their scenes together.
TVLINE | Do Mark and Seth interact at all?
They do, but the story is mainly about Sarah having to juggle between these two men.
TVLINE | Mae Whitman absolutely stole the show last season with such a dramatic arc. How does Amber fare out on her own this year?
I agree with you about Mae, she’s just fantastic. We’re really want to tell the story about Sarah letting go of Amber. On the one hand, she is doing great starting out on her own. But on the other hand, she’s still a little bit lost. Amber presents so adult, and yet she’s still 19 and very young, so we’ll explore that duality.
TVLINE | Meanwhile, Kristina is rocking a serious baby bump in the premiere. Is it safe to assume we’ll see that baby sooner than later?
Kristina is pretty pregnant at the beginning of the season, about seven months along. She will have the baby fairly early on, somewhere over the first half of the year, but we wanted to play some episodes of her pregnant. Monica Potter is so funny and so great in those scenes.
TVLINE | And the baby will be happy and healthy? No complications?
In terms of the birth, yeah, absolutely.
TVLINE | How is Max adjusting to life in Season 3? Any new developments for him?
Max is starting a new school, so he’s mainstreaming. We have a really nice story between him and Jabbar where the two cousins really connect at school, but then what happens when that connection doesn’t work out as well? And how complicated does that become for the adults around them?
TVLINE | Based on what we see in the premiere, Haddie seems to be having a bit of a rough time. Is that a theme carried on throughout the year?
The first part of her story is about what happens at the end of the premiere and how it affects her relationship with Alex. You start to see that these two begin to feel they’re going in disparate directions in life right now. We ultimately want to examine Haddie’s senior year and what’s she going to do in terms of college. Also, how that choice might be complicated by the fact that her family is in a challenging position financially. Her options aren’t as open as she’d like them to be.
TVLINE | How long is Michael B. Jordan around as Alex? Is it left open for him to return?
Mike is here for the first four episodes this year and we’re hoping he’ll return later this season, depending on his schedule.
Excited about Season 3 of Parenthood? Sound off with your opinions in the comments! And for all my TV scoop and interviews, follow me on Twitter @MegMasters.