Parenthood's Jason Katims Weighs In on Sarah, Mark and Hank... and Jason Ritter's Return?

Parenthood Season 4 Spoilers -- Sarah, MarkIf you were among those who worried that Parenthood‘s Sarah might suffer whiplash, given the way she went from being Mark’s fiancée to falling into bed with her boss, showrunner Jason Katims wants to shed light the single mom’s seemingly abrupt change of heart.

RELATED | TVLine Asks: Did Parenthood‘s Sarah Hop Beds Too Fast?

“The idea with that episode,” in which Sarah (played by Lauren Graham) slept with Hank (Ray Romano), “was to talk about how everything is so charged around the holidays,” Katims tells TVLine. “To me — and obviously at this point this is just my opinion — that’s my feeling, that around the holidays things are so charged. So her ending up with Hank was not the decision of, ‘Oh, this is where I’m heading in my life.’ It was something that happened because she’s coming into the holidays in such an emotional place.”Parenthood Preview: Sarah and Hank

Regardless, the odd man out in this sticky situation — for the moment, at least — is Jason Ritter’s Mark. Sarah’s fiancé tried hard to look past the ruse that took her away on a “business” trip with Hank, but in the end he was so shaken by the experience (including finding the coworkers stumbling drunk down a hotel hall, late at night) that he decided to call things off.

RECAP | Parenthood‘s Winter Finale: Who Got a Christmas Miracle? Who Suffered Major Heartbreak?

With just four episodes left in this shortened Season 4 (resuming Tuesday, Jan. 1 on NBC), one might presume that Sarah/Hank is endgame. But don’t count out Mr. Cyr just yet.

“We certainly have set up that there’s a chemistry between the [Sarah and Hank] that they both are aware of, but this does not mean that Sarah has put an end to the relationship with her and Mark, either,” says Katims. Meaning: Ritter will return before the Jan. 22 season finale.

“We have not seen the last of Mark,” Katims stresses. “That will get picked up again in this last group of episodes. So, there’s still more to be figured out. It’s not just over.” (With reporting by Meg Masters)

Want more scoop on Parenthood, or for any other show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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  1. Lori says:

    Wow, NBC, way to program it so that it’s returning on New Year’s Day. That’s certain to get the ratings!

    • Ari says:

      There’s actually a surprising amount of television that is new on New Years. I think Parenthood is going to get another season. They’ve been winning their timeslot all season. Cross your fingers all!

  2. gary says:

    Does this storyline seem a little familiar to Gilmore Girls fans? It pretty close to the whole dumping Luke because he has a daughter and sleeping with/marrying Christopher

    • Missmade says:

      My first thought too! “Not again, Lorelei!”

      • Allyson says:

        yep, this storyline is quite familiar.I wonder if Lauren was thinking the same thing when she saw the script. Ugh, I hated the whole Luke/Lorelai/Chris triangle. It was STUPID! I am grateful Lorelai/Luke ended up back together by series end.

        • Midori004 says:

          I completely agree! I don’t watch Parenthood but the title of the article went “Is this the Gilmore Girls mess again?” It’s the one reason I’m glad the show ruiners of GG left in the final season, it saved the characters.

    • Nikki H. says:

      Definitely the first thing I thought of…only at least Christopher was attractive and charismatic. Hank–not so much and I hated that he ended up with Sarah. Mark was the best thing to ever happen to her.

    • Jennifer Schiffhauer says:

      Except Mark is a wet blanket that is too young for Sarah and adds 0 to the show

  3. ABBY says:

    I actually used to like Mark and Sarah but then her ex came (Seth) came back on the scene and she seemed way more into him then Mark… and then she got this new job and she seemed way more into her boss than Mark.
    There’s only so many times the writers can have her want another man more than Mark before they aren’t a viable couple anymore. For me these two are should remain done no matter how much they may like JR behind the scene.

  4. Cathy says:

    I hope Jason Ritter is planning to get a shave before he returns. His pathetic attempt to grow facial hair is just ridiculous.

    • Craig Best says:

      He’ll look about 12yo without the facial hair.

      As for the Luke/Lorelai/Chris v Mark/Sarah/Hank I actually like Hank more than Mark, they have more in common. FYI I was always a Luke&Lorelai fan on GG.

    • takethat says:

      THANK YOU. That mustache looks out of place on his face. Reminds me of a tiger cub trying to roar, and failing miserably.

  5. GeoDiva says:

    Ugh…Mark is such a doormat. Never liked him and Sarah together. Still makes me mad that he wormed his way into the family photo when everyone else had to wait till they got married. No respect for Camile’s wishes.

  6. Carrie says:

    I hate the current storyline. Why she would prefer her annoying, selfish boss to her sweet fiance is beyond me. I was actually glad that he dumped her because he deserves better. I just don’t want to have to watch Ray Romano’s character anymore. I don’t feel like there’s any chemistry between them at all.

    • Kiki says:

      because, as Mark said, she’s not happy unless she’s got someone to “fix.” Am I the only one that heard that?

    • Maggie says:

      Agree, can’t stand the whining ray romano character and the relationship with Sarah is creepy. I was always hopeful for her and now i feel like she is just determined to be a loser magnet. Her story line is when i get a snack.

    • James Butler says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more.. Hank is a narcissist and a hypocrite. It started with the kiss in the darkroom, he knew she was Mark’s fiance and initiated the relationship and she was weak and stupid to sleep with him instead of trying to resolve the problems with Mark. Mark isn’t all that younger than she is and he is a better person than Hank for her in my opinion, She shouldn’t have a problem making a decision/choice between the two.

  7. jay payze says:

    Jason was so much better on Joan of Arcadia when he played a rich, deep, emotional character. Mark is such…milktoast. Didn’t like sara jumping right in bed with hank though-makes her look more like a skanky ho that I think she really is. She does appear to be REALLY stupid though. too bad…every time I have hope for some depth, she never fails to disappoint me.

  8. English says:

    Dear NBC, I hate you for giving Parenthood such short seasons. Maybe I would watch your network more if you supported the shows that are loved by loyal viewers. Heck it might lead me to watch more NBC. Sincerely, a Parenthood junkie.

    • TV Gord says:

      You hate the network that put the show on the air in the first place, and the network that has kept it on the air despite some pretty pathetic ratings in the first few seasons. Interesting. I’m more grateful than that.

      Thank you for Parenthood, NBC! After this strong season, hopefully we’ll see more of it next year!

  9. luke says:

    What a dumbass explanation.

  10. mia says:

    I like both Hank and Mark, so whichever way the show goes I’ll be happy with….but I absolutely adore having Ray Ramano on the show, he fits in flawlessly

  11. K.Aultman says:

    Sorry, but that can’t be how writers intended the Sarah/Hank plot to turn out. They had so much chemistry and passion (more than Graham ever had with Baldwin, Corbett or Ritter combined) – don’t tell me now its just because she was needy (the sex maybe, but not the feelings). that would downgrade all her former decisions regarding LA to just plain and overwhelming stupidity.
    Nearly as stupid as Mark would have to be to take her back for the 3rd time, and after she made it very clear that he is not her No.1 priority.

  12. Kathrin says:

    This is such a lame attempt at appeasing (rioting) fans… I’m so disappointed by this season.

  13. IT says:

    Go, Mark! But hell, way to devalue a relationship, writers – never should have let her jump into bed with Hank in the first place.

  14. Elyse says:

    i like Mark but he’s too good for Sarah.

  15. sarah says:

    I really like Mark and love Jason Ritter on the show but the way Sarah has treated him I do not want him to take her back!

  16. Linderella says:

    Sarah needs to be single for a while. Neither one of these men is right for her. Perhaps a sober Seth is the real deal. I’ve personally never liked her with Mark. The whole Demi/Ashton thing rarely works in real life (although there are exceptions).

  17. Caro says:

    Too bad, I was happy to see Mark go. I like the character, but I don’t like him in a relationship with Sarah. And since I don’t think Sarah will seriously consider a relationship with Hank, so I’m not worried about that (he’s even worse as a possible love interest).
    Why can’t she find a decent guy who has his life all figured out, a man who she can lean on and not some toy boy like Mark! I really hope the writers will consider another man for her.

  18. Kate says:

    I think they made a mess of Sarah’s whole s/l, which has been running in place and repetitive for seasons on end. I find her character pretty damaged, she’s had no real recognizable growth, none of her endless string of lovers has been viable (Seth isn’t realistic, Billy Baldwin’s character was a season wasted, Mark is a doormat, Ray Romano probably isn’t going to remain and it will look bad on Sarah if she chooses Hank after what she did to Mark). It’s hard to extract the character from all this now except by starting over and that’s not an option.

  19. Jinq2 says:

    The fact that Parenthood continues to portray its characters as flawed and true-to-life is part of what keeps me so riveted. We all know a Sarah… some of us *are* Sarahs, making the same dumb mistakes over and over again, sabotaging ourselves every time we have a shot at actually being happy… I root so hard for these characters, and every single time Sarah disappoints me or Crosby doesn’t think before he speaks, or Zeke is insensitive or Christina or Camille is annoying or Adam acts holier-than-thou, I think to myself, “This is *SUCH* a great show…” for that very reason.

    • Annette says:

      I totally agree with you. I have thought that from the very beginning. These are “real” family issues. I can’t tell you how many eposides of Haddie I saved for my own daughter and made her watch. Especially where Adam found out about Haddie having sex for the first time. Love this show – hope it doesn’t end anytime soon.

  20. M3rc Nate says:

    I enjoy Ritter a lot in everything that hes on, but i hope he only comes back to learn what she did and is disgusted and her family finds out and is saddened by her actions and he leaves and Mark doesnt come back. No matter what chemistry or anything, if you can do that so quickly after a breakup of engagement, somethings wrong.

    Im not saying Mark and her should be together, its kinda obvious they shouldnt, she just isnt a good GF on the most basic level. Shes 40 and shes learning about having a boyfriend like shes 20. Overall her character is pretty screwed, if you havent fixed your issues that utterly destroy relationships (not just make them fizzle but implode on themselves) by 40…good luck.

  21. Erin says:

    I really don’t like Mark…. he’s not right for Sarah. Let’s just have him move on with someone younger and be done with it.

  22. Ms. Chanandler Bong says:

    I was ok with Mark and Sarah but I like Sarah and Hank more. I know Katims loves Ritter but seriously this is just getting ridiculous. Just cut him loose

  23. Maggie says:

    Did Monica Potter shave her real hair?

  24. Lylabean says:

    When in the hell are they going to bring out what a totally spoiled rotten kid Sydney is???????????? And how she nastily eggs on Victor because she is a jealous little snit!!! That most if Victor’s outbursts come when she us facing him and spewing her nastiness to him!!
    The rest of the show this year is kinda staying to real life. My friends w/breast cancer / the wig dilemma . My own mom and her wig was cute!!!!
    Just don’t get over dramatic- STAY REAL!!!

  25. tvgurl says:

    Ray Ramano is flawless in this show..He exhibits so many emotions so subtly in this character that we never got to see in his other work, and he has great chemistry with Lauren. I was never a fan of Mark because he seems to be Sarah’s lapdog most of the time although I love Jason as an actor. I hope that Ray sticks around and they that relationship a real shot.

  26. Mirelle says:

    I did not know season 4 was shortened. However, I will be fine with this news if Parenthood will have season 5. So, does anyone know if this incredible series will see a 5th season?

  27. Let’s see. Mark is a nice, charming, sweet, attractive young guy who has amazing chemistry with Sarah. Mark is respectful and caring towards Sarah. He takes risks in that relationship (talking about having a baby, proposing to Sarah even when having children was no longer in the equation, and making a case for why he should be included in the Braverman family photo). Even though Mark is relatively young, he still gives great advice to Sarah’s son Drew when he catches them sleeping together in his house (use protection, make sure she’s on the pill, be careful, ect). In an earlier episode Sarah had grounded Drew by not allowing him to see his girlfriend which caused Drew to sneak out of the house, Mark advised Sarah that forcing Drew to focus on school and punishing him by not allowing him to see his girlfriend for a week might not be the best way. He observed that this girl brought out a great side to Drew, that when they were together he smiled, laughed, and came out of his shell. Mark is not only willing to take care of and be there for Sarah, but also her children. He accepted moving in together and takes steps toward being involved with her fiance’s family and children. Together, Sarah and Mark have a lovely, well-balanced relationship that is rooted in friendship, love, respect, and similar interests. On the other side of this drama, we have Hank. He’s rude, obnoxious, cynical older man who treats Sarah with little respect. He seems angry all the time and masks his emotional problems with sarcasm and personal attacks He has called Sarah “pathetic” (4.11) and made fun of her flaws. His advice for Sarah’s son when his girlfriend broke up with him was that he’d never understand women, that they were awful, and that the best way to get back at his girlfriend would be for him to sleep with one of her best friends. While being fully aware that Sarah was engaged, Mark didn’t hesitate to kiss or call her to pick him up when he was drunk out of his mind. He took advantage of their work relationship to get close to her. Mark provided a stable, healthy, equal relationship for Sarah. The only weakness to their relationship was an age gap, which if the gender roles were reversed no one would notice. On the other hand, the only thing that Hank has brought to Sarah’s life is a source of income through a job which Hank only gave her because “he needed someone to help me move things into a van” and later begrudgingly offered to her as a permanent job. But yes, by all means, let’s hope that Sarah and Mark break-up because “gosh darn it! what can anyone see in this relationship.” Tear Sarah away from a character that treats her wonderfully and put her with the old grumpy man because “that relationship is so much more interesting.” Geez, it seems some people’s definition of “interesting” is way off base.

    • K.Aultman says:

      Whether you think she has chemistry with one or the other really depends on who’s side you’re on (for me there wasn’t much with Sarah/Mark). Nobody will deny that Mark is a good guy and that the break up is by and large her fault. It was her decision to go to LA – Hank did not insist on her coming with him. It was also her decision not to quit her job, after he made a move on her. Hank is not a bad guy just because people don’t like him or his sarcasm. Yes he kissed her, but that really was his only mistake. (But then we could also question, whether a teacher should really date his pupil’s mother)

      Mark is a teacher, who has had experience with kids, and beside the baby-discussion, he has been good with Drew. Hank had one interaction with Drew, where he didn’t give him pink and cosy, but some grounded man to man advise (he would never had said the bit about sleeping with her best friend to him, never) and I found that more comforting than any of the ‘there will be other girls’, ‘the joke’s on her’ etc. platitudes. Hank was also lovely in his scenes with his daughter.

      My main issue with Mark is, that there was hardly any development in the character or their relationship, especially since the engagement. On the other hand the writers did a good job with developing Hanks character, and it is more interesting for viewes to see what’s beyond the rough shell, and he is a really sweet and caring guy underneath.

    • James Butler says:

      Gosh! You really expressed my sentiment exactly. Mark has shown Sarah nothing but the best in a man who love and respect you for who you are and Hank has just the opposite. You really hit the nail on the head with your comment.

    • LJ says:

      So agree with you. Hated how they took Sarah from a positive relationship, have her cheat and loose her self-respect by hooking up with a negative character who put her down and disrespected her fiance. The whole storyline went fown the tubes and Jason Ritter is wonderful on the show. Please don’t loose him NBC!

  28. Pe says:

    I was not a Romano fan until he came on the show as Hank. He’s the dreamy man you can rely on. Now I am on Team Hank all the way. Can’t stand Sarah’s nervous tittering anymore. She needs a romantic partner to ground her. Ritter is too much titter.

  29. Annette says:

    I want Sarah to be with Mark. I think he is great. Hank is too wishy washy and uncommitted to even himself at times. Mark is good for Sarah and really, really genuinely cares for her and the kids.

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