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Finale Post Mortem: Parenthood Boss on Sarah's 'Wrenching' Decision! Plus -- Season 5 Scoop!

Parenthood Season 5 SpoilersIt takes a lot to walk off with “biggest emotional twist” honors in a Parenthood episode that features a pregnancy, a cancer resolution, an adoption and two admissions to college.

Congratulations, Sarah and Amber. You killed us during the Season 4 finale Tuesday night. Now can you please pass the Kleenex?

Here, showrunner Jason Katims discusses the heartbreaking dissolution of Sarah’s Hank/Mark love imbroglio and Amber’s major move toward finally finding happiness. The Parenthood boss also weighs in on the possibility of a fifth season for the NBC drama — and previews which up-in-the-air cast members might return to take part.

RELATED | Parenthood Finale: Sarah Makes Her Choice, Kristina Receives a New Diagnosis and More

TVLINE | Was there ever a scenario that had Sarah choosing Mark over Hank?
It was up in the air. We definitely had a theory of where we would go in the end, but this one was something we explored all different options for. We did like the idea that she would wind up without either of the two of them in the end. Even though she made the choice of Hank, he was leaving so it wasn’t all tied up in a bow. That just felt right for where it was going. So, where we ended up was the direction we had kind of mapped out from the beginning — but we did think about changing that. A lot of the moves that we made story-wise along the way were different than what we started out thinking would happen. It wasn’t a straight line at all.

TVLINE | It almost seemed as though Sarah was trying to convince herself that Hank was the right choice — even as she was saying goodbye to Mark. Was that purposeful on your part? Or just the way the actors played it?
That’s one of the things you get when you have actors like Lauren Graham and Jason Ritter playing those scenes; you get nuance and layers that are beyond what you could have imagined when writing the scene. I felt like Sarah was struggling with the decision even as she was making it, absolutely. And I think that made the story feel even more real. I felt very much with her as she was making those decisions, as opposed to thinking, ‘Oh my god, how could you talk to Mark that way?’ I do think that it was what we intended, but as you see the scenes, it’s even more wrenching than what the writers had intended.

TVLINE | Should the show receive a fifth season, is the door officially closed on Mark? And what’s the plan for Hank?
When it comes to both Jason Ritter and Ray Romano, I feel like we have to think about those stories in a way where it’s a possibility that it will end their arc. The availability of those actors we just don’t know. They’re both wonderful actors, very much in demand. We’ve been so lucky to have both of those guys on the show — Ray for the whole season, and Jason for a good chunk of the series. And as you can see with Jason’s arc over the course of the series, he’s come back and forth based on his availability. [Laughs] We didn’t really intend for it to close the door on either of the actors…. We don’t know what’s going to happen next year because we don’t yet know if we have a next season, but the process will hopefully be that we do get an other season and at that point we’ll let story drive these decisions.

TVLINE | On the other end of the spectrum, Ryan left off in such a great place, particularly with Amber. Is the hope to bring Matt Lauria back so that you can explore a new chapter of their story?
Again, it goes to all of those questions about whether Matt’s around and available and interested, and also there’s a storytelling point of view. But I do think the relationship between Amber and Ryan was much more than what we had ever imagined. Those two actors together, there was such great chemistry and it was so wonderful watching them do scenes together. As a result, the storyline with Ryan started expanding over the season, and we wanted to [end with] the promise of it expanding further. I hope that it does work out to explore that relationship more because I think it’s been a really great one. I talk about this with Mae [Whitman] all the time: if you look at Amber, where she started in the pilot episode to where she’s come, it’s been such a coming-of-age story. To see her becoming a young adult and watching Mae find every layer there is to find in that is really great and something that isn’t often depicted at that particular age — at least not the way we’re attempting to do. And this relationship with Ryan has been a huge step for Amber, in watching her grow and mature.

TVLINE | It was no doubt a packed finale, but was there anything you would’ve liked to include but just didn’t have enough time for?
Well, we always knew it was going to be 15 episodes, so we knew how to design the season. So, if something felt too fast, you can’t really blame me. [Laughs] No, we knew all along, and more of less, we knew what it was going to be. It’s the nature of the show [for a lot to happen] because there are multiple storylines. You do feel that you owe the audience to get to somewhere in the end. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a complete resolution and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge cliffhanger, but I do feel like you want to get everybody to a place where you feel like there’s an end to their journey that season.

TVLINE | One rumor floating around is that NBC will renew Parenthood, but for a fifth and final season. Have you heard anything about that? And what would your thoughts be on ending the show next year?
Selfishly, I really love this show. I love the process of doing the show, I love the process of telling stories that mirror the things that are important in life. I actually feel like this season we’re just growing creatively, especially as the season went on. So, if we did get another season, I don’t personally feel that it has to be the final season of the show, from a creative standpoint or from my investment in doing the show. And I think the cast and the crew would agree with that. It’s a show everybody loves to do. There are many factors involved, however, that I don’t influence. I have not heard that rumor — that if they order another season it’d be the last. I will say the one thing that I would like is that when it does come to it being our final season, I would love to be in a position of knowing that early on. I would love to be able to write toward however we want to leave these characters that we’ve grown to love so much… That’s not always a possibility, and I think it’s probably rare in television to have that. [Laughs] But I would love to be able to know ahead of time. The network [is in] the thick of pilot season, so I don’t think the future of Parenthood is what they’re thinking about at the moment; they’ll get to that in a little bit, and we’ll see.

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108 Comments
  1. Rebecca says:

    Only five seasons?! Best show on television. Please make it at LEAST five seasons, but I’m hoping for many more. I love the realism, the depth, the emotional highs and lows. Great storylines and fabulous actors.

  2. Bev says:

    NBC you truly have a gem in Parenthood.It’s a wonderful family show with an absolutely
    stellar cast.They should be given full seasons with many,many more to come.The show’s
    creator is imaginative and excited about where he can take these characters.Use that
    and let him.As a point of interest,I am not in your magic age18-49 demografic.I am in the
    baby boomer one: You know, the ones with the most disposable income who can actually
    afford to buy the products you advertise during your shows.Start counting us in your
    ratings and you may be surprised at how much they may improve.Just sayin’.

  3. amelia bedelia says:

    Am I alone with the dislike of Sarah’s character?? Her fiance broke up with her a month later she is sleeping with her boss and is in love with him? Give me a break???? Sarah’s Character of dragging her son to live with her boyfriend in his apartment and then back to her parents place is just plain stupid. And Hank and Mark telling her how “fantastic” she is makes me want to barf….How about instead of Sarah sleeping around like she has been doing,how about getting a real job or go to school. IF this show returns I will fast forward thru all of her scenes…

  4. Diane says:

    I love this show and just started watching it this season (Mid Season 4) since that time I have watched every season and every episode on either Netflix or Amazon Prime. In my opinion this is the best show on Television, primetime or cable. I was addicted to Mad Men and Breaking Bad but both seemed to get too… depressing…

    Parenthood is just perfect and all actors are incredible. I’m really hoping it is signed up for at least 3 more seasons. I read that Pawn Stars recently signed for 80 more episodes? Wow really and we still don’t know about ParentHood? How can that be?

  5. Della Kenney says:

    This is a great show, actors, writers, their interplay with either as a family is so believable. I started watching Season 4 and went back and purchased all the episodes from Season 1. It is realistic, sometimes I think the parenting of those “spoiled” kids is a little too Dr. Spock but other than Jasmine’s temper tantrums being totally out of line, watching those two parents try to cope with her was a little maddening to say the least. I love the show and was so disappointed when it was the last show for the season. You get really attached.

    • Jodi says:

      My favorite show by far.. NBC I beg of you , renew this show. I feel I am watching my family on TV. Its hits on so many storylines that I can relate to.. It would be a shame not to see this show again. I would love to see more,more ,more

  6. Beth Burns says:

    I absolutely love this show! I have told other people about Parenthood and they started watching it. A lot of people didn’t know about it and now they love Parenthood also. So PLEASE do not let this be the last season! We need a show like this one. This is real life reality TV!

  7. Stinamarie says:

    I didn’t even know that not having a 5th season was a possibility?! I will be ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATED if I can’t follow the Braverman clan through another year of their life! This show proposes real-life events and relates to ALL viewers. The storyline is incredibly real. PLEASE, NBC, PLEASE bring Parenthood back for a 5th season?!

  8. tricia mortensen says:

    Please NBC keep this show. My son has auspbrgers just like Max and every week I watch to see how he reacts to things and laugh about how life really is with an autistic child. More people need to be educated about how hard it really is for these kids and this show really shows that. Maybe just maybe this will help just one kid out there feel not so alone or one parent going through this that there is help and then every season is worth it. Thank you for showing my family week after week that we are not alone and bring much entertainment with that.

    • Sally says:

      Totally agree – and more! I love the show and most of the characters, but having an Asperger’s character on a decent show has to be impactful. The percentage of the population having it is still increasing. That means, the more people know about it, the better they can deal with Aspies with patience and understanding. Aspies are very difficult to understand and most people don’t want to bother. This show shows the loving, connected, protective, respectful family that Max comes from. I love that they have Amber come to his rescue at times to try to teach him something. I love that Max is just a few years older than my Aspie. I don’t think the writers show a realistic impact on the family, but I understand the show can’t be all about him.

  9. Cleaman says:

    I hope that there are many future seasons. I live this show! When does it begin again?q

  10. EVE ANDERSON says:

    IT IS NO ACCIDENT THAT THIS SHOW LANDED ON TIME MAGAZINE’S TOP TEN TV SHOW LIST. IT WILL ALWAYS BE NUMERO UNO ON MINE. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE KEEP THIS AWESOME SHOW GOING – FOREVER, IF POSSIBLE!!!

  11. Keith says:

    This show amazing. I haven’t watched tv in two years, but I still go online and watch every single episode of parenthood. The way the characters life experiences are interwoven with my own, I had to stop watching with my wife because I would end up crying every episode and shed make fun of me. It never feels like I’m watching a tv show but rather replays of different moments in my life,and only now I feel comforted to know that people can see and understand these struggles, and frustration, and happiness. My life is not perfect, and its nice to be reminded that that’s normal.
    I’ll never be ready for this show to be over.

  12. Judie says:

    I LOVE this show! I will be SO disappointed if it is cancelled! Why do people assume it will be?

  13. Sherry says:

    It’s the only show that I plan to stay home and watch, I will not go out that night. Love the show and their family seems like a family you really know. Love this show and hope it stay on for years!!!!

  14. Betty says:

    Best show in long time, please keep it on for a few more seasons.

  15. Monica Huchton says:

    This is my favorite show and I laughed and cried all the way through:) I just needed some help with something that I got a little confused about? When Adam and Christina go out for the evening and Christina is being flirted with at the bar – while Adam steps out. She teases that she is 27 … But then admits she is really 34? With a daughter in college… How is that possible? When did her and Adam get married . Maybe I heard the age wrong

  16. Kary says:

    I think a perfect end for Sarah’s romantic life would be returning with her ex husband Seth, but of corse we want to see him in good shape and totally recovered from drugs and alcohol. I will sound crazy but I would love that Parenthood authors hire Scott Patterson (former Luke Danes), to be the right man for Sarah. It would be awesome!, don’t you think?

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