TVLine's Performer of the Week: Monica Potter

Parenthood Season 4 SpoilersA new feature in which we spotlight the past week’s shining star

THE PERFORMER | Monica Potter

THE SHOW | Parenthood (NBC)

THE EPISODE | “Together”

THE AIRDATE | November 13, 2012

RELATED | Parenthood‘s Mae Whitman, Matt Lauria Talk Amber and Ryan’s ‘Wonderful’ New Romance

THE PERFORMANCE | Never one to sit back and let others take the wheel, a cancer-stricken Kristina struggled with needing to be taken care of but not wanting to be seen as a victim. Her internal battle, however, was quickly projected outward when she found herself overwhelmed by the presence of her overbearing-but-well-meaning mother-in-law, Camille.

Venting to Adam over the phone, Kristina eventually blurted out the real issue at hand: “I want my mom. I want my own mom to consider me important enough to get on a plane and come here to see me.”

With just two lines of dialogue, Potter seamlessly transformed her mom-of-the-year character into a scared little girl yearning for the love of a parent. It was a nuanced moment from the actress, who was able to portray heartbreak, anger and a never-before-scene vulnerability with merely a few words and facial expressions.

Potter ended the near-perfect episode with her alter ego coming to realize that she’d had a maternal support system all along. “I know I’m not your mom,” an empathetic Camille told Kristina after gifting her with a hand-me-down “cancer sweater.” “I would never try to replace her. But I love you, Krissy. I’m here for you. I’d do anything for you. Anything.”

Camille’s reassurance gave Kristina everything she needed, and it all played across Potter’s face: relief, appreciation and a lightness her character hasn’t felt in a while. The moment was a comfort for viewers, as well; it made us feel that in the end, everything is going to be OK for Kristina.

Which performance knocked your socks off this past week?

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48 Comments
  1. Maggie says:

    YES YES YES. As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I so appreciate the care that the writers & actors have taken with this story. Monica’s work in this past episode was fantastic. and the “cancer sweater” scenes were heartbreakingly beautiful.

  2. Sam says:

    There’s so many things about this storyline i’m appreciating. It’s a little hard, because my aunt (who was pretty much my 2nd mother) lost her battle with cancer last summer but it’s also let me see how accurate some aspects of this storyline are. Especially how Adam and Kristina are hiding the extent of the cancer from Haddie. I was in school for the majority of the time my aunt was in treatment and my parents and her completely minimized the situation to me right until the very end, which I would say hurt me in the long run so I imagine the same will be said for Haddie if Kristina’s condition does get worse.

    • Rowan77 says:

      Sam, I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of your aunt. I, too have lost an aunt I was close to and absolutely adored to cancer so I get what you’re going through. Your assessment of how she show has accurately shows how parents will downplay the seriousness of an illness to spare their child the fear that goes with a catastrophic illness. My mother had cancer 12 years ago and luckily caught it so early treatment was only surgery, but by then I was an adult and I demanded my parents not try spare me the pain as it only causes confusion and almost a sense of betrayal that they failed to tell you something so important.

      I love Parenthood. It’s just so well written and acted. It’s must see TV for me.

  3. DL says:

    Don’t forget that incredible scene of her playing skeeball with Max! That was one of the multiple moments this episode that had me in tears.

    • Wendy bushman says:

      I cry every week watching parenthood. It is so real and you can relate with the stories and how these amazing actors portray this family. Love love this show.

  4. Leah says:

    I just started watching Parenthood this season. (I know. I’m an idiot.) I love it. After just a few episodes, I can’t believe how invested I am in the Bravermans. This is one talented group of people.

    • Amanda says:

      I just started this year as well. However, I did watch the previous seasons on Netflix before starting this season. i could kick myself for not watching it all along. I want to be a Braverman!!!

    • Blinged Up says:

      I just started this season, too.
      I started watching because I like Ray Romano and was interested in seeing his character. Now I’m hooked! I’m normally not a fan of TV dramas — (there’s enough drama in real life, thank you very much,) but I LOVE this show!!

  5. rachel says:

    You got it right on. The performances week after week on Parenthood blow me away. Monica Potter and the rest of the cast deserve to finally be recognized for the fantastic work they are doing.

  6. Loni says:

    Yes, she was fabulous in this episode. Even though I don’t have cancer, and I have a very sweet mother in law, I could totally relate so much to Kristina’s struggle with wanting her mom. And I just love how much she loved and missed just the normal, day to day things of being a mother that honestly get so boring, but how she wanted the simple things back. Anyway, so well done!!

  7. Alex says:

    YES – the second you started performer of the week, I was like “When is Monica Potter going to get it?” Because as far I’m concerned, literally EVERY week she could earn it. And I’m sure with the storyline far from over there will be many more weeks when she tears our heart out!

  8. Janula says:

    Amber was the performer of the week for me:)

  9. melliemd says:

    Finally. This episode had me and my mother sobbing our eyes out, Monica Potter just nails it.

  10. Lauren says:

    I’ve cried every episode this season so far! So good!

  11. Robin says:

    That scene between Kristina and Camille was the best! Just reading this article about it brought tears to my eyes again! YAY! Monica Potter!

  12. Joe says:

    Side note, I also like what they are doing with Adam. I wasn’t much a fan of this show, but my wife (who is early 30s) is a Stage 4 Colon Cancer patient. As her husband and caregiver, I find myself pushing to the brink of insanity trying to make everything “right” in the house, trying to keep everything “right” at my job, and barely holding it together. The moment where he finally lowered his guard to his brother at the bar…that has happened with me SEVERAL times. The only thing I’m not doing is that whole health juice thing. I basically tell my wife to eat whatever she wants to. :-)

  13. Cathy says:

    “I want my mom. I want my own mom to consider me important enough to get on a plane and come here to see me.”

    When she said that, it really got me. Years ago, I almost died, and my mom wasn’t there for me, and although we have a better relationship, that still hurts. You always want your mom there when you’re sick to make things better, and I really understood that.

  14. Abby says:

    Monica Potter was spectacular in this episode. I’m glad that they finally addressed Kristina’s relationship with her mom, because she never really talked about her too much before. At times I didn’t like Kristina because I thought she was a little too overbearing/overprotective of her children, but hearing about her relationship with her own mother explained a lot of that behavior to me. She just seems to be trying to be there for her kids in a way that her mom has never been there for her. I know she is a fictional character, but I really respect that.

  15. Guest says:

    Even though I thought Julia was Braverman of the Week, Kristina easily deserves this.

  16. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Sometimes I think the Bravermans are a little too perfect in their perfectly functioning family relationships, so I was relieved to see a scene I could finally relate to. I loved the phone call with her mom. It made me understand and like her character for the first time. She did a good job. It was nice to see the character had some cracks.

  17. Miffy says:

    I’m going to be the lone dissenter I suppose. I can’t warm up to Monica Potter and never have, in any of her roles. She always comes across as standoffish and remote.

  18. pam says:

    When Camille and Christina had that scene at the end, I was bawling! That was a beautiful and well acted scene. I have had a hard time with this story line. I lost my mother to ovarian cancer less than two years ago. It’s still a bit sensitive for me. I always take mother/daughter scenes to heart. The whole episode knocked it out of the park in my book.

  19. Renee Henderson says:

    I am a huge fan of parenthood since the show began. I loved every single character/actor,actresses and never missed an episode. amazing acting Monica potter .

  20. Kat says:

    YES!!!!!!! Monica Potter has been knocking it out of the park all season on Parenthood (and in the previous seasons for that matter, last year she was particularly strong too) and deserves this and many, many awards along with the rest of her fantastically talented cast. Here’s hoping the Emmy’s finally wake up and give them the proper award love they so, so deserve! This show seriously makes me laugh, cry and miss my family every week.

  21. SA says:

    I am a Breast Cancer survivor of four years and Parenthood is doing a beautiful job with this storyline. Monica Potter’s portrayal is eloquent and perfect as is the depiction of what such a diagnosis can do to a family. They have left me in tears every episode.

  22. Nero theTVFiddler says:

    Yep, I agree with the sentiments on the postings – an important and sensitive subject that the folks at Parenthood and Monica Potter handled with grace and professionalism. A job well done.

    Not to change the subject too much, but when Emmy nominations come around next summer, it would sure be nice to see some of the fine folks at Parenthood getting some nods and some Emmy-love…starting with Monica.

  23. Katie says:

    Wholeheartedly support this. I think it’s a testament to Potter’s talent and skill (and the talent and skill of the showrunners & writers) that this storyline is so profoundly affecting and authentic-feeling. I know that for me, it’s especially great because Kristina was a character I had liked, but not really loved in seasons past, and now I am rooting for her and eagerly tuning in every week to watch her storyline.

    It’s criminal that this series doesn’t seem to get more popular or critical recognition, but I hope (like many others have expressed) that this season accomplishes that. Either way, everyone on the show should be proud every week :)

  24. Jhbyler60@gmail.com says:

    I couldnt begin to pick one as the best. I love this show and how much they relate and support each other. They are all wonderful! I’m from a family with 7 kids, would have loved it if we had stuck together and invested in each others lives. I never watch this show without crying at least once. Congrats Monica!

  25. Jill says:

    I teared up again just reading the recap of her performance…well deserved

  26. Lori says:

    I can relate to autism, breast cancer, family squabbles. I cry every episode and want to watch it alone. no hubby.I can’t wait for the next episode. This show is awesome!!

  27. B says:

    This show is crazy good, and there’s not a single weak link in this entire cast. Monica has been nailing it with this storyline. Kudos.

  28. schu says:

    YES! Monica Potter’s work on this show is nothing short of incredible. And every member of the extraordinary cast is remarkable in their own way. It is truly the best drama on television and I don’t understand how it isn’t more highly viewed. I could not be more excited for her to receive some recognition. Job well done tvline.

  29. Michael says:

    This is a great new feature and you guys picked a great first candidate. Potter should really get an Emmy nod for this storyline. Powerful, understated work.

    As others have often said/written: “A lesser actress would have gone for histrionics…” But it’s true. Potter’s amazing. There’s so much in her eyes alone.

  30. Lyn says:

    Parenthood gets better with every episode. Seriously one of my favorite shows. I love how you get to know each character.

  31. Rose says:

    Parenthood is a great show ! Story lines we can all relate to. I first saw Monica Potter in a movie called Without Limits….she played the girlfriend of Olympic runner Steve Prefontaine. Was great in that as well!
    This show reminds of the show Thirtysomething which was out in the 90’s. Regular everyday people….stories of their lives.

  32. Kristi says:

    Yes indeed this was by far the best performance and I believe this should get her nominated for an emmy next year!! She is doing an awesome job and I think it’s going to just get better as we watch as she deals with everything. Kudos to Monica!!! Parenthood is a great show.

  33. CW says:

    Truly no one more deserving of this recognition. Monica Potter has been outstanding in this role since day one, and she is turning in a phenomenal performance week after week this season. I sure hope she is given consideration come Emmy time. In fact, this entire cast is first rate, all deserving of recognition. I’m pleased to see TVline giving credit where credit is due,

  34. Lucy says:

    I can’t understand why Parenthood isn’t more well recieved? It is by far one of the best shows on TV. Maybe with the intruduction of Ray Romano’s character, it will finally get the attention it is so deserving of. I have watched many family drama’s through the years and this tv series just sparkles with interesting, current, emotional, and fun storylines. Monica Potter’s performance of Christina and her battle with breast cancer is brilliant. Congrats to her and to all the actors of Parenthood who do such an amazing job every week of entertaining our families with yours!

  35. Mike says:

    I’ve never seen Parenthood, but it must be one hell of a show if Monica Potter beat out Jessica Lange this week

  36. kate says:

    can she win every week? lol she has been extrodaniry this season. It is one of the few T.V shows that got it completely right this season. the stories lines are fantastic, the characters are fantastic. I just wish it wasnt ending the season soon….

  37. Doris Roy says:

    I missed the Nov 13th episode. Where and when can I see it? I never miss an episode, but there was a mix up with my DVR last week.

  38. Lisa Covington says:

    I am a 43 yr old wife & mother of 2 teenage boys. I am currently battling breast cancer and on chemo right now. Monica is doing an incredible job with her character!! That is exactly how it is!! So true to life. Thank u for giving viewers a true perspective!!! I LOVE this show!

  39. Jeri says:

    Love this show. Love the Bravermans. Love Kristina and the rest of the family. I hope they get some recognition.

    I cringe each week because they aren’t in the top 10. Whats wrong with people? This is a great show! Watch it!

  40. Kathye says:

    I just finished watching Parenthood tonite and cried, brought back so many memories.
    I have gone thru chem twice and the loss of Kristina’s hair was very real that how it happened for me “all of a sudden” I shaved my head also. And when she was shopping the looks from others were so real, I always got these pitiful looks. Hope she gets an award for this performance by her this season.

  41. Marla says:

    I am not a breast cancer patient BUT I do have 2 forms of cancer. RENAL chromophobe which I have been battling for 13 years and colon cancer. Noone understands how difficult it is going through treatments and the emotions we go through. I was afraid to watch your story line but my sister watched it and told me that she got a new perspective on how to talk to me and treat me. I have found a new way to communicate with friends and family and that it is ok to feel the way I do and act the way I do. Thank you so much for being so realistic. You have made my journey easier.

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