Parenthood Emmy Nominee Jason Ritter Talks Mark and Sarah's Future, New Foe Ray Romano

If it weren’t for The Big Bang Theory‘s Simon Helberg, Jason Ritter might never have known he was an Emmy nominee — at least not until a few hours later.

“I got a text from my longtime friend [Helberg] about my nomination, and I had completely forgotten they were today,” the Parenthood star confesses with a laugh.

Here, Ritter (modestly) discusses with TVLine his still-processing thoughts on the Emmy nod — for Guest Actor in a Drama Series — and also weighs in on what Ray Romano’s addition to the NBC drama means for Mark and Sarah.

TVLINE | Congratulations! Take us through your nominations morning.
There have been times where I’ve opted not to wake up and check [the nominations], but I’ve always known when it was on. And for some reason this year it just totally slipped my mind. So, I went from, “Who is calling me at six in the morning? That is unacceptable!” to “Oh my gosh, someone’s texting me again and again — something horrible has happened!’ to this total surprise. I still can’t quite believe it.

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TVLINE | Parenthood is a show full of great actors — including yourself — and you were singled out. That has to feel unbelievable.
That does feel crazy, because I feel like a visitor to the awesome planet that is Parenthood. [Laughs] Even from the very first second I started working on that show a couple of years ago, it just felt so wonderful.  There are so many incredible actors on that show — all the way from the very young kids to Bonnie Bedelia and Craig T. Nelson. I’ve always felt like I’m trying to keep up and not draw attention to myself as the guy who should clearly not be on the show with all those people.

TVLINE | Did you hear from your Parenthood family?
Yeah, I heard from [series creator] Jason Katims, and cast-wise I heard from Lauren [Graham] and Mae [Whitman] and Sarah [Ramos], Peter [Krause]… It’s such a supportive group of people. There’s no ego; everyone is just so happy for me and for the show. I love all those people quite a lot, so it’s nice.

TVLINE | You guys just went back to work on Season 4. Is Mark in the premiere?
Yeah, I am in the first episode.

TVLINE | How quickly can we expect to see an answer to the proposal Mark gave Sarah in the finale?
In the very first episode back, the first time you see Mark, you’ll know exactly where [he and Sarah] are with that question. Obviously, Sarah and Mark have a complicated relationship, so it’s not just one simple thing, but at least you’ll know what the answer is… Or at least an approximation. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Most importantly, is Ray Romano already on set and causing trouble for those two?
I have not worked with him yet. Today is a big day [on set] for him and Lauren though, so I’m actually really glad this all [his Emmy nomination] happened. I was going to spend all day thinking, “Oh, I bet they’re having a great time….” [Laughs]

TVLINE | You said something similar when I was moderating Parenthood‘s ATX Festival panel — that you get jealous for your character when someone like John Corbett’s Seth comes to town.
Totally! Apparently [Ray] is a famously well-liked, a nice, great guy — I’m sure they would be very happy together. [Laughs] But it’s weird. It’s a physical reaction. Obviously, I know I’m not really a teacher dating Lauren Graham, but yeah, when I read that he was coming on the show I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach, like, “Oh, they’re just working together. It’s just a friend thing… They’re not in love.” [Laughs] The thing is, I started on that show and I got hooked on it, so when I wasn’t around for the second season on the set, I still watched it. I began to separate into these two people: Mark, the character, and me, just watching the show going, “Where’s that teacher guy? Come on, bring him back! Get these other guys out of here. She was happier with him.” [Laughs] It’s totally bizarre. I definitely also have a stake in it because I love working with Lauren so much. And I know that if [Sarah] breaks up with [Mark], I would miss working with her and on the show. So, it is a relationship of sorts.

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  1. Dick Whitman says:

    I really hope Ray doesn’t stay too long, I can’t stand the guy.

    • Daniela says:

      AGREED!!!! Sarah belongs with Mark. They should finally give him a contract before the boy runs away and gets his own show. It maybe didn’t work out this season but I’m already worried for the next. It’s so nice to hear Jason say how much he loves the show and working with Lauren. Adore him for being Team Mark+Sarah.

  2. mia says:

    I completely and totally adore Mark + Sarah together. I want them to stay together.

  3. He’s so cute and I love how he talks about Lauren.

  4. Ari says:

    Dear Parenthood: If you get picked up again, SIGN THIS MAN ON PERMANENTLY!

    • Loz says:

      Parenthood has been picked up for Season 4.

      • Ava says:

        I mean if they get a season 5. If they are only getting one more short season there is really no point in adding him in as a regular. Hopefully they’ll know in time for the season finale of season 4 to be less ambiguous.

  5. soarin829 says:

    I genuinely believe that the pairing of Mark & Sarah is one of the best, most chemistry-filled couples I’ve ever seen on TV. Such a natural, authentic connection. I wish he would stay forever… but with each of their current situations, I’m not getting my hopes up :( Well, actually I am, but I’m simultaneously preparing for them to be dashed.

  6. Loz says:

    I really hope that Sarah says yes to Mark’s proposal and I also really hope this character that Ray Romano’s playing isn’t on for very long and doesn’t stir up to much trouble. I am behind Team Mark & Sarah, I hope they get married!!

  7. whisperintherain says:

    I love Jason Ritter and I can’t stand Ray Romano, so it’s pretty clear who I’m rooting for here! Parenthood is my favorite show currently on network TV and I wish NBC had given it more than a measly 15-episode order for Season 4, though. Everyone on the show is great, but now that County was not picked up to series, they definitely need to up Jason Ritter to series regular!

  8. comedyfan says:

    Ray Romano was wonderful on “Men of a Certain Age”, so while I hope he doesn’t “stick around” for a long period or anything (definitely pro-Mark/Sarah, and I love Jason Ritter), it’ll be nice to see him on TV in a dramedy again.

  9. Mitholas says:

    It’s so endearing the way he talks about the show. Very nice. I’ve always liked his character, but I have to say that putting them through all these hoops keeps their relationship interesting. I do hope they end up together more permanently at some point.

  10. sarah says:

    I loved Sarah and Mark from the start and I think they are the best together! I really hope that is what happens!

  11. Jen says:

    Hmmm Jason Ritter or Ray Romano? No brainer, Jason of course! I love their relationship and will be so sad if it is over. My sister and I watch via text every week, and are always saying, “Don’t tell me Sarah screwed this up with Mark!”

  12. Kari says:

    PH should’ve found a way to keep Jason on-board! Mark & Sarah are terrific together. I will miss him when he’s gone!! :(

  13. Sarah totally belongs with Mark so they should not break up.

  14. BDollar says:

    Jason is just adorable as his dad was! I love the story line of Mark and Sarah better than any other relationship on the show. “parenthood” is so awesome- I look forward to it!

  15. Josie says:

    I love Jason, I totally hope he stays on the show. It would be a total mistake to ruin Mark and Sarah’s relationship.

  16. susan phelps says:

    Jason Ritter must stay! No to Ray Ramano! No way!

  17. Sheila mccarthy says:

    Lauren makes anyone who works with her look good. Great talent. Great gal.