Parenthood: So, Is Everybody Lovin' Ray Romano...? (Because We Kinda Liked Him)

Ray Romano ParenthoodWhen it was first reported that Ray Romano would be recurring in Parenthood Season 4 as a possible romantic interest for Lauren Graham’s Sarah, TVLine commenters used one word, often, to sum up the casting: Weird.

We, too, had to question it. And yet, having now met his character, photographer Hank Rizzoli…. We’ll allow it.

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As some surmised during that initial knee-jerk reaction to Romano’s casting, the problem may have been that we thought we’d get his loud, squawking (and Emmy-winning) Everybody Loves Raymond persona. But this is also the guy who exhibited more nuanced, dramedic chops on the undersampled Men of a Certain Age. And that’s the more modulated tone — if not an even quieter volume — that he brought to “weird, grumpy” Hank.

And in next week’s episode, you’ll see an even more relatable, almost (almost) compassionate side to the anti-social shutterbug. Plus, his throwaway snark is just funny. (“Is he a Make-A-Wish kid?”)

As for the other guy in Sarah’s life, color me worried about Mark and the engagement. Let’s count but a few of the anvils hoisted overhead as the family portrait inclusion issue was debated:
* “Where’s the ring?”
* “Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we expect it to.”
* “I’m not going anywhere!”
* “I can always Photoshop him out.”

Plus, there’s something that happens next week, illustrating what an adult like Hank can offer that younger Mark cannot. So yeah, I’m concerned.

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Elsewhere in the season premiere….

* The Victor storyline kinda had me groaning. Kristina couldn’t just call to ask if Julia’s son knew anything about where Guacamole might be? And really, who let’s any kid watch that kind of TV while sucking Cheez-Whiz out of a can? But in the end, it was worth the lonely lad’s small moment with Haddie and the banner, then Julia’s admission: “I feel like I’m waiting to fall in love with our son.”

* The Jabbar/religion debate seemed like filler — it’s not picked up on at all next week — but again, like the above plot, it eventually fed into a poignant moment, as father/son looked to the sky and spoke of what/who they believe in.

* Though slight in its screen time, I enjoyed the Amber storyline, mainly because she stood up for herself to Adam, who let’s face it went wayyyyy overboard in defending her honor. Plus, Mae Whitman sells the tiniest nuances, like the “What a nice surprise”/faint clap when Idol alum Paul McDonald’s serious girlfriend showed up at the studio.

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* Thought you’d escape the hour without losing it? Me too. And then Haddie turned around at the airport and went back for a family hug. Oof. But next week? Have handy the whole box o’ Kleenex.

What did you think of the Parenthood Season 4 premiere?

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50 Comments
  1. allison says:

    i cry every damn episode. so good.

  2. Carol says:

    I LOVED Ray!! I hope he stays…

  3. English says:

    I was so nervous about Ray Ramano joining the cast because I wasn’t a fan of his own show but I have to say I really love him on here!!! I hope they find a way to keep him!

  4. ToK K says:

    Great episode!!!! Ray Romano was great!!!!

  5. Elle says:

    Really enjoyed Ray. Great banter with Sarah

    Loved the last scene. So realistic

  6. tiffanie says:

    Love Ray always, great addition but worried about Mark. Didn’t show enough Crosby I’m worried hes gonna become boring now that he’s married. Parenthood is the best show that is not praised and talked about enough

    • Kolt says:

      He was actually more interesting than he has ever been the whole of season.3 when he had no life but live in the studio 24/7 with an unkempt appearance. The music arc was frankly boring. Going by the premiere married life has been good to him.

      Its called parenthood after all, it will be nice to see him raising his kid close by.. He has to mature at some point, instead of just fooling around with no purpose.

      • tiffanie says:

        I didn’t mean I don’t like him married I mean I’m worried the writers will not find good stories for him and he will be boring and not comical enough. Dax is a comedian afterall just hoping he’s not going to become boring.

  7. Anna says:

    I liked ray I thought he was good and overall a lot better than I thought he would be but I really hope they leave mark and Sarah happy. They’re really cute together

  8. Juan says:

    I thOught ray was very good, I was very skeptical to say the least but he was great, also loved the ending, that almost got me, my eyes did get a little watery, and I love mark when he went to talk to the mom, that was just too sweet, the MVP though of this episode I think was Haddie she was great in all her scenes

  9. Mursal says:

    So glad this show is back! Loving the Ray Romano character and after seeing next week’s promo, I can’t wait to see him interact with the rest of the Bravermans.

  10. Matt says:

    I’m gonna be the voice of dissent. I hated ray Romano on this show. Given I don’t like him as an actor, I felt like he sucked time away from other characters stories. With so many characters already that’s not ok with me. Especially when someone really talent lie Mae gets table scraps.

    Also liked most of the new haircuts.

  11. Eric says:

    Not a Ray Romano fan (Everybody Does NOT Love Raymond!), was not glad when I heard he was joining one of my favorite tv shows, after seeing him last night, I stand firm in my decision. Lauren Graham is much to pretty to be fixed up with Ray Romano!!! Don’t break-up Sarah and Mark, if you do, at least find someone more attractive and a better actor than Ray Romano!!! Parenthood is one of the most underrated shows on tv. I cry every episode!!!

    • shieldA says:

      Mark really is just a pretty face, but lifeless and his acting is just so dull. I really dont care what awards the actor won, watching paint dry is more fun. I wasnt on the Ray Romano boat, but after watching the premiere I can firmly say he is a great addition. Finally a real man that can be Sarah’s equal. He brought some life to the show in my opinion

  12. S. from E. now says:

    considering i had to say good bye to my family for 4 months just last thursday too, the very last scene really mad me cry (again). it was such a true and wonderful depiction of such an important moment in haddie’s life.

    i just love this show so much. it just depicts life how it is and doesn’t try to be something more.

  13. Magically Suspicious says:

    I didn’t have an opinion, pro or con, about Romano prior to watching last night. But my exact words after watching were, ‘Their casting team is brilliant. He’s perfect on this show.”

  14. KSM says:

    I totally lost it at the end. They portrayed exactly what it is like to go away from home for college in a new place where you don’t know anyone and you are far away from your family.

    I don’t really like Ray Romano in general, but he didn’t detract from the episode for me, so I’ll call it a success, at least at first. The show is so good that when someone comes in, they usually don’t distract too much from the overall feeling of the show, which is excellent. They totally should have used Coach, though, just cause I love me some FNL :)

  15. Dawn says:

    I thought that Hank (Ray Romano) was possibly an adult with Aspergers. His connection with Max, his social awkwardness. It just felt a little like that. I could be way off. It was a good episode. Not great, but did have great moments – Haddie at the airport and Amber singing in bed :) Can’t wait for next week!

    • lc says:

      Thought the same thing after Sarah told him about it and he said how he could tell something was off. I hope his character sticks around, he could be Max’s friend. Be nice if they don’t hook Hank and Sarah up but have Sarah see what being with someone close to her age could bring.

  16. Daisy says:

    As a character, I’m willing to give Hank (Ray) some room but I don’t like the idea of Hank with Sarah. Even if she and Mark break up, which does seem inevitable even if temporary, Sarah can do way better than the grumpy old photographer.

  17. glider says:

    Don’t like Jason Ritter at all and love Ray Romano, so yeah, I’m happy if it works out between Hank and Sarah.

    • shieldA says:

      Agree, cant wait for next episode when Hank is giving Drew some advice man to man. Something that mark woudnt be able to do as a man child. Finally a father figure for Drew and amber that commands respect and is not just mom’s boyfriend.

  18. Doug-H says:

    I wonder if Hank’s younger cousin Jane will make a visit to California…

  19. Cathy says:

    NBC doesn’t have the video on their website; I looked up the New Normal, and that one wasn’t showing, either, but found it on Hulu. Parenthood’s premiere isn’t on Hulu. :(

  20. Brooke says:

    Loved the last line of the article…because I was almost giving myself props for the first time I’d made it through an episode of Parenthood without losing it…cue airport scene. LOVE this show!

  21. Yo' says:

    I thought Ray Romano was one of the best parts about last night’s show, although I think he is too old for a romantic interest for Sarah. I start this show every season and usually the family’s idiosyncratic over-talking does me in and I leave. I don’t think there was an overprotection of the niece; it was nice, and everyone should have such defenders.

  22. Loni says:

    Ray was great, definitely a great addition to the cast! And the part with Haddie going back to hug her parents–exactly why Parenthood is a fantastic show, it’s so real.

  23. Monica says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever watched an episode of Parenthood without tearing up, I almost sobbed at the scene at the airport though. I’m such a mom. Anyway I LOVED Ray Romano. He was exceptional in Men of a Certain Age, I think he is excellent in serious roles, though I really like Jason Ritter, so I’m torn with that-good thing it’s not my call! And yes Mae Whitman doesn’t get enough screen time, when she clapped her hands in glee over the “nice surprise” I just fell in love with her all over again. She is so talented. Okay I’ll stop gushing now-I love this show.

  24. Beth says:

    Now everyone gets to see just how good Ray Romano is in a serious role 1 year too late. The best show of all time, Men of a Certain Age, was canceled by TNT after 2 seasons. Parenthood fans would have loved this show had they known about it! Still such a travesty. Still pissed at TNT. He was great as Hank.

  25. Elyse says:

    still finishing up season 3 on NetFlix! i have this episode waiting on my DVR. can’t wait to watch!

  26. Mike says:

    Dump ray romano. His schtick is so old and does nothing to enhance the great cast that they have managed to assemble. Worst casting decision the show has made since the richard dryfuss episodes. Send ray back to the hasbeen actor’s home and get on with the show we all love.

  27. Can’t stand ray Romano. Character is totally unnecessary. There is no way he could have romantic chemistry with lauren Graham. There is a lot that could be explored in the age difference between Sarah and mark, as well as the awkwardness of his being a stepdad. If he stays on, I may have to stop watching.

  28. David Maripossa says:

    My girlfriend and I rented Parenthood from the library. It is the funniest show. We predict every plot twist (twist?). It is so formulaic it is comical. My favorite. Grampa having a beer with grandson telling grandson “gramma slept with her art instructor and she wants to take a class from him.” Silly things like “oh, I have time to change oil before school” or “oh, I have time to clean my room before school.” The writers don’t have kids. Kids have zero time before school and are frantic and screaming. How about the druggie/musician living in the large Victoria mansion in Fresno… You ever been to Fresno? Gee, yah think Steven Baldwin was coming to Thanksgiving dinner? There was a shocker. I hope the show stays on forever. I liked Ray Ramano in “Men of a Certain Age.” I feel bad if this is the only gig he landed.

  29. Sarah says:

    I have to say I started out liking the show but now I find it to be absolutely so obnoxious – these people are so loud you can’t even hear yourself think, and Lauren Graham’s character is the worst mother on the planet!
    They are also full of themselves it’s as if the writers want to create a family that everybody would love to hate!
    I actually find myself completely stressed out after watching this crap!
    Overindulgent spoiled adults and Zeek Braverman is embarrassing.
    He acts as if he created this bunch of kids that are absolutely perfect -the problem with the show is that it is so insulated into their own lived that there’s nothing beyond them!!!
    All the damn talking over one another is insane!
    Peace out from Minnesota

  30. Marilyn says:

    Love Ray Romano on this show. So subtle in his acting.

  31. Anna says:

    Great move casting Romano, he’s total opposite of Sarah and the first MAN in her life…love it can’t wait for next week! parenthood is the only show on tv that is definitely not long enough,an hour is too short!

  32. kk says:

    Don’t like Ray Romano on this show. The great thing about it was no one was super well known, besides Coach, but that was a looooooong time ago. Mark and Sarah work, Sarah and Hank not so much. Hopefully, he goes soon.

  33. Sheri says:

    We love parenthood.it is the best show on t.v.i cry every episode and can relate slo much to the show.pleAse keep rAy.ggreat addition

  34. davidintel says:

    Dump Romano, this guy is a total drip. I like Mark and Sarah together, but Zeek is my favorite character. Great show all around.

  35. Cat May says:

    Ray is GREAT! Please keep him!!!! The younger fellow is sweet but should be with younger girl & have a family.

  36. travis says:

    I was a big fan of Parenthood, but Romano’s entrance changed that. Sorry but I can’t get beyond his voice. Or his acting. So I won’t be watching the show anymore.

  37. embeesee says:

    The final episode confirmed my suspision that the Ray Romano’s character (Hank) is supposed to have Asperger’s. Did you see where he handed the camera to Sarah, and said to give it to her nephew that doesn’t look you in the eyes? He said that camera let him (Hank) see people without having to look into their eyes? That’s because his character totally understood what it’s like for kids with aspergers.

    Anyhow, as a parent of a young adult with asperger’s, I think this final episode showed there is hope for asperger children. Your child will continue to grow. Yes he will always have issues, and sometimes you have to look backwards to see the growth, but it is there.

    This is the only show on TV that I say aloud while watching “I love this show!”

    Can’t wait till next season.

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