Parenthood @ PaleyFest: Scoop on Season 5 Hopes (and Plans!), Sarah's Choice and More

Parenthood Season 5 SpoilersParenthood showrunner Jason Katims, along with 12 of the beloved NBC family drama’s cast members, graced the stage at PaleyFest 2013 Thursday night to discuss high hopes for a fifth season, who’ll be back if the series is fortunate enough to return, Sarah’s controversial romantic twist and much more.

Wasting no time getting to the juiciest question of all, TVLine’s own Michael Ausiello — who moderated the event — grilled Katims on the likelihood of a renewal. The EP, of course, didn’t have a definitive answer, but instead turned it over to Max Burkholder, who enthused: “You can never be sure, but I am definitely crossing my fingers!”

RELATED | Parenthood Boss on Sarah’s ‘Wrenching’ Finale Decision! Plus — Season 5 Scoop!

Though Season 5 is not a certainty (yet), Katims did reveal a few things he has up his sleeve should the situation present itself: the first being the return of Matt Lauria‘s fan fave Ryan.

“Let’s say there’s a Season 5: I absolutely loved the dynamic between [Amber and Ryan] and I would love to continue that storyline,” he shared. However, “Matt may or may not be available next year, so we’ll have to see what happens.” (Mae Whitman, for her part, boasted playfully, “Oh, he’s available! He’s one of my closest friends and I really hope he comes back because I love working with him.”)

As for where any Season 5 would pick up, Katims said, “Hypothetically, there will be a time jump, like in real-time or somewhat close to that.”

Other topics touched on during the PaleyFest Q&A:

SARAH’S CHOICE | When questioned about Sarah picking Ray Romano‘s Hank over Jason Ritter‘s Mark in the finale, Lauren Graham had a surprising response. “I saw it differently,” she explained. “I felt that the finale left it open. Sarah made a choice and then Hank’s like, ‘I’m moving to Minnesota,’ so to me there was a lot of energy in both areas. I did not view it as [she] chose one or the other necessarily.” That said, “It was hard” to see Mark get his heart broken because “Jason’s been with us from the beginning” — sentiments the character’s alter ego echoed. “I remember standing in the [class]room and listening to Lauren say those things, and it was like, after all this time it all ends right here?!” Ritter laughed. “It is heartbreaking because you do become invested. This is a real family that’s been created.” Speaking of TV family…

THE GILMORE CONNECTION | “They always trade you in for someone younger, don’t they?” Graham teased when asked about her Gilmore daughter Alexis Bledel playing Ritter’s love interest in a Fox comedy pilot. More seriously, the actress admitted that it truly freaked her out when she learned of the casting “because I have such specific relationship with these people and these characters — it didn’t occur to me that they’d ever meet each other!” However, “three seconds” after processing the news, she realized: “It’s going to be amazing. The two of them will be perfect together… And [as such] I can guarantee you Mark and Sarah will not be back together.” (To even the score, she’s hoping that “Alexis’ old love interests from Gilmore Girls will be Sarah’s new love interest.” Paging Matt Czuchry….)

RELATED | Renewal Scorecard: What’s Coming Back? What’s Getting Cancelled? What’s on the Bubble?

THE GRADUATE | Don’t expect the college-going Drew to disappear next year in the same way that Haddie mostly did. “Drew is going to Berkeley,” Katims noted, “So, he’s in town.”

BABY LOVE? | Not exactly. Dax Shepard and Joy Bryant revealed that when they both read that Crosby and Jasmine were having a baby, they thought: “Nope. Not gonna happen.” Their big hope: “Our baby’s going to sleep a lot.”

ABORTION ISSUE | “This one was a particularly difficult one,” Katims said of the choice to have Drew’s girlfriend Amy terminate her pregnancy. “It’s a tricky subject matter, but I felt in my gut that it was a story I wanted to tell. We set out in a way to make sure we were accurate, but to also be very sensitive. I didn’t want to politicize it… We wanted to get underneath the story and tell them in a way that we feel is as real as possible.” The showrunner went on to reveal that he “was blown away by Miles [Heizer’s] performance in particular.”

TEXAS FOREVER | Will we ever see more Friday Night Lights vets come through Parenthood? Katims hopes so. “I have loved bringing these actors on,” he shared. “The process would start with a character that we come up with, and then [one of the writers] suggesting” an FNL alum.

A TIME FOR PRIDE | Fielding a fan Q about when/if a gay character would be introduced, Katims said candidly, “It is something I would love to find a way to do. The “tricky part,” he explained, is that a majority of the characters are established already, so an organic genesis for that storyline needs to exist. Fun fact: Whitman admitted to trying to get the show to make Amber gay a few seasons back, but it never stuck.

CHATTY CAST-Y | Love it or hate it, the cast of Parenthood is notorious for talking over each other in scenes — but why? Detailed Katims: “I’d just done Friday Night Lights and I wanted to bring some of that style to Parenthood…. We shoot with three cameras, both sides of the scene at once, which allows the actors to react to each other and exist in the moment — and what happens in those real moments would never have otherwise been discovered. So many of the greatest moments of the show have come from that process… The actors are now so in-tune and know how to do it that I think it elevates the scene and makes it seems much more lifelike.”

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  1. forwarddad says:

    Great insight. Fingers crossed for a full season .

  2. Amanda says:

    If we’re pulling from the Alexis files, I prefer Padalecki to Czuchry for Lauren.

  3. Luke says:

    Well Sarah has done pretty much everything so why not have her fall in love with a redheaded lesbian. Cast sarah paulson and all problems solved…

  4. I thought Michael was great!

    Would have liked better audience questions though. Posted further thoughts on my blog

  5. Courtney says:

    Oh. My. God. Since the first season I’ve been saying “I really think Amber should be gay, or atleast into women aswell as men” and now to know that Mae wanted it and it just ‘never stuck’… !!! I love you, Mae &I really think Amber should have been paired with a girl at some point, or in the future (if Ryan can’t come back, but I hope he can). Although I wouldn’t want her to be with a girl just for the sake of having two women together/having a gay or bi character. I really hope they can find some natural way to make it happen. Although some people seem to think it would be Haddie (maybe she finds herself that way at College?), she always bothered me but now I want her back :p.

    • Heh. I’m surprised no one mentioned anything about Drew, seeing how that was all people talked about for at least the first two seasons. I remember something even on here about how Michael Ausiello’s gut told him Drew was (or something like that).

      • Elyse says:

        he was my first thought when they mentioned a gay character!

      • B says:

        Yeah, that’s an interesting character for sure. It’s funny how both of the likely suspects are siblings, but Katims seems pretty committed to them being straight. And I’m happy that he’s not one of these writers that’s going to completely and illogically flip a character just to tell a story. Anyway, I would be upset if they didn’t delve into homosexuality in some way in season five.

      • tabby says:

        I thought drew was gay until amy might still be maybe amy was just an experiment

    • Spencer says:

      To be honest, when Amber started spending all of her time with her friend Kelsey (I think that was her name) in season 2, I thought something might’ve been happening there…

      Also, the seeds may have possibly been planted towards the end of this last season for Max to be gay. When Adam tried to have the sex talk, Max was very receptive until Adam started talking about liking girls, and then he just shut down. It could be nothing, but I do think it would be really interesting to explore how Max and the family handle the challenges of autism and homosexuality together.

      • Courtney says:

        Definitely. It would be one of the most interesting stories they’ve done and I think Max, who is already such a great actor, could play it really well.

    • Adrian says:

      They could explore bisexuality. I am female and in a relationship with a guy but experimented with a girl to find out my sexuality. It was difficult for both my boyfriend and I but ultimately it helped me discover who I am and we learned to rebuild trust. Amber could have a similar situation while dating Ryan. Or Drew (not sure if he is still dating Amy), he could realize an interest for guys without being gay – I think his relationship with Amy was real. :)

  6. YowzaPowza says:

    I think the natural and organic progression they speak of for a character to be gay would be Drew experimenting while he’s at college and realizing he likes guys. To me this is very realistic and would work wonderfully. I think Miles would be able to pull it off very well. There you go.

  7. JJ says:

    The most obvious character to organically come out as gay would be Max. They started to address him going through puberty last season. so a natural progression of that would be to have him start having sexual feelings….and have it directed to other guys. It would be make for an interesting storyline to explore what life is like for a gay teenager with Aspergers.

    • Mike says:

      Maybe it was just me, I thought during that episode when Adam asked about those feeling, I think he directly mentioned girls, and max shied away from the subject, so who knows.

      • Win says:

        Me too! when that scene happened between them,I thought “Max is gonna be gay” Which I imagine with this cast and crew would be handled just amazingly.

    • May says:

      That would be an amazing plot. So unexpected, but oh-so believable. I wish they’d do that. Explore something other than his Asperger’s, and going far out his comfort zone. Max Burkholder is a fantastic actor (especially if you consider his age), and I think he could pull that perfectly.

    • Spencer says:

      Agreed! I just posted the same thing on someone else’s comment above.

  8. rty123 says:

    Stay away from Matt Czuchry. I’m still hoping for a Florrick, Agos and Associates next season.

  9. ;) says:

    no no no no no, not Logan…get Dean!! *-*

  10. Meg says:

    Why does every show have to have a gay character? To introduce a character that checks a label off but who otherwise has no real valuable contribution to the show (merely serving as a plot of the week) or as a plot because they’ve run out of stories, that does a real disservice to the strides for equality and presence.

    • Mike says:

      I agree, Parenthood does not need an LGBT character, if they do include one, I hope it is not to have one just for te sake of having one.

      • Annika says:

        They don’t need one but I think it would be wonderful if they did – if Amber isn’t bi or Haddie gay then bring someone in as a friend who is, and I’d prefer it to be a female character – there are more gay men than lesbian women on shows, it seems.

    • Steve says:

      Well, that’s what Katims was saying. He’s not going to put one in the show if it’s not needed. But I also think the best part about Parenthood is how this family comes in contacts with all types of people and how it ripples through everyone’s lives. Haddie’s ex was a young black man who had an alcohol addiction and was without family. Ryan was a young war veteran trying to re assimilate into everyday life. The multiple cancer patients that Kristina met this season. Julia meeting Zoe, a young, pregnant girl who was barely able to support a child. If anything, it’s more common to come in contact with a gay person than a lot of these other characters. It would add to the realistic component this show promotes so well. While I think it could really add to the diversity of the amazing storytelling they already have, I also agree they should only do so if the character brings a new dynamic storyline to the show. I trust Katims though. If he does, then it will be superb.

      • schu says:

        Very well said. Every character needs a purpose for being how/why they are who they are and every character Phood has had holds true to that.

    • Geri says:

      I know – yuck.

  11. drhenning says:

    What else does NBC have to return??? Parenthood gets solid numbers in the “demo” which it seems is all that matters to networks.. I guess us baby boomers are really already dead so our preferences don’t matter…. Ad companies are so stupid… All of the so-called demo is heading online and not watching commercials.. I guess they raise the chance of non-renewal to keep the pressure on network suits by viewers..

  12. Tran says:

    Season Five if you dare, NBC.

  13. Spikenalabama says:

    Please let this wonderful show return for at least one more season! And please let us know something soon. (fingers crossed)

  14. I would imagine that contracts are being discussed right now…wouldn’t be surprised if Katmis is trying to even ink a two season deal. And, as a gay man, I’m happy they’re not going to have a character just suddenly be gay…I think the best way to go about that may be to have one of the kids befriend a gay character.

    • Win says:

      Max. max should have a gay friend. Imagine the questions and the processing and the conversations between him and his parents.

  15. Julie says:

    My absolute favorite show since the very first episode! I sure hopeit is renewed.

  16. Blinged Up says:

    I hope Ray Romano is back. Loved the storyline between Hank and Sarah.

  17. schu says:

    Ahhh loved every word of this post! My favorite show on TV and it really should come back! Every character they’ve ever had has been exceptional. Bravermans for the win!

  18. Whatever says:

    Why would NBC send the cast to Paleyfest if they weren’t going to renew ?
    There are costs related to attending the forum and I sincerely doubt the actors picked up the tab. NBC had to pick up the tab.
    NBC should be thankful that they have at least one drama with decent ratings and renew it immediately.

  19. sarah says:

    I really hope Parenthood comes back! It is one of the best shows on tv!

    • Jill says:

      This is a wonderful show and it would be nice to follow up with Crosby And Jasmine and the babies. It would be nice to see how things go with Sydney & Victor, Have Alex come back to meet up w/ Haddie at college. bring in someone for Max a close friend someone he can relate to.
      Don’t bring Hank back he was boring. Feature issues on adhd, autism cystic fibrosis.
      They are so many other issues out there to focus on. Gay shouldn’t be one of them.

      • tripoli says:

        So they can throw in some random issues that appeal to you, but not the issue of being gay? You seem like a bit of an ass.

  20. Sg. Grant says:

    I’m surprised NBC hasn’t renewed Parenthood already. It is one of their best shows, and gets solid numbers, ratings-wise.

  21. Jeri says:

    It seems so long since this has been on, I’m almost in mourning already. But I am holding my breath, they will be back. Such a wonderful show.

  22. susan says:

    Actually the talking over get SOOOOOOOOOO tiresome! I don’t know ANY guys over the age of 25 that do is just a young and a girl thing….get over it and have some adult conversations!

  23. Melissa Mens says:

    Tim Riggins should definitely come in as a love interest for Sarah. Nope not Taylor under a different name, but The Riggs himself. Crossover episode? Haha.

  24. Tran says:

    Is it really true that Minka Kelly aka Gaby is still done with Parenthood for good?

  25. JMG says:

    Parenthood is the best show on television in my opinion and I don’t understand how there is always this huge question each season as to whether or not it will return. It crosses generations, covers “real” issues and is relatable to many people in many ways. The actors are fantastic and each and every episode is heartwarming. It seems to me that NBC doesn’t support the show or want it to be a success. It is one of the only shows on the network that they don’t promote on the TODAY show and that they don’t cross promote on their new sister network E! They constantly promote shows on TODAY that are on other unaffiliated networks merely because they are popular. That ridiculous “Smash” show appears to take up all of their promotional budget and attention and it is one of the most terribly written and terribly acted shows I have ever seen. Parenthood has an enormously talented cast, none of which I have ever seen in an interview on TODAY or even so much as mentioned on E!. NBC needs to wake up and recognize what a jewel of a show Parenthood is and start treating it and promoting it as such.

  26. I’m crying watching this…so so so so good….This is helping with my withdrawls. You have to have a season 5 and 6 and 7 and 8 and so on…Love you guys

  27. Lisa Wagner says:

    I wish they would have more parenthood episodes I watch smash but I think Parenthood is better. And they should seperate Julia and Joel and make her the gay person that would come out of no where.

  28. Lyn says:

    NBC would be stupid not to renew. Love, Love this show and the cast has great chemistry!!

  29. Angela says:

    I thought they hinted at the possibility of Max being gay in the episode about hygiene. He and Adam were talking and Max was adamant that he would NOT have any feelings toward girls. I realize that his character does not typically have “feelings” toward others in general, but, not that I think it is necessary to add this “conflict” to an already complex character and family, it would not be a complete shock to the system

    • Courtney says:

      I thought that too. Not that they were necessarily hinting at it, but that whether or not they meant too, I felt that they almost implied it, and it should be explored. It would be very interesting. They say everyone’s established, but Max isn’t, so he’s a good choice.

  30. melissa says:

    I’m sorry, but I won’t watch this show if it adds a gay character. My kids and I watch this show since season 1, and it’s one of the reasons I love it so much. I like that its a family show, and why do people insist on a gay character in every show? I don’t think I should have to watch shows with gay people in it. I don’t watch movies with gays in it, and I refuse to watch a tv show with gay people. It’s not my cup of tea. I’m simply not interested in it. I like shows that instill good family values without the need to throw in a gay couple. It would take away from the show, and quite frankly the show would lose some viewers, including me. If Haddie or Amber were gay, it would honestly make me mad. I’d be disappointed in the show and producers. I like it how it is. We already love the characters, so we will enjoy watching them grow. I’d love to see Sarah get married. Being in a similar situation, I feel for her the most. Normality and happy endings is why I watch the show!

    • Courtney says:

      ‘If Haddie or Amber were gay, it would honestly make me mad. I’d be disappointed in the show and producers. I like it how it is.’ What about Max then? He hasn’t had the chance to be romantically involved, so if he were gay it wouldn’t be changing anything. ‘It’s not my cup of tea. I’m simply not interested in it. I like shows that instill good family values without the need to throw in a gay couple.’ This is a show with many different types of families, and how they deal with everyday challenges. A gay person or couple wouldn’t change that. It would just bring now challenges., that can/would also include good family values. ‘Normality and happy endings is why I watch the show!’ Good thing that gay people are normal and they can be/end happy! = )

  31. Bill says:

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE,a full season of Parenthood (not ending in January but in May). Let there be hope in this world that good, quality television is welcome and deserves to thrive.

  32. susan says:

    WAITING, WAITING, WAITING for Parenthood Season 5….and 6,and so on and so on….

  33. Michele says:

    Love this show, but have to say if I have to watch one more disgusting display of girl on girl or guy on guy affection I am turning my tv off for good! Why must they “smutt up” every decent show on TV with a homosexual storyline. I don’t care if it does happen in real life. I don’t want to witness it or make my children think it is a “normal” way of life.

  34. Angela says:

    Here in Australia…if you ruin this awesome show with gay storylines to maintain broad appeal you will lose sight of what this show is all about.Dont destroy something that is going great.Krause is just brilliant.6 feet under…to this…cant get better.

  35. Yt156 says:

    I love the idea of Seth and Sarah! Has that train really sailed? She loves him so much, and if his character stays sober I think they really have a chance!

  36. Adrian says:

    Honestly the amount of homophobia from the viewers is sad. An lgbt storyline would either open their minds or get rid of them, both fine by me.

  37. It’s completely unacceptable that there has never been a gay character on Parenthood.

    The show is set in Berkeley. The East Bay cities have some of the highest per capita same sex partnership numbers in the US. The show also repeatedly delves into local politics. The East Bay political scene is full of out LGBT people. Berkeley has a gay black city councilman.

    It would be literally impossible for a relatively liberal family in Berkeley, with kids in public schools, to go through five years of their lives without ever encountering a single homosexual person. For that matter it would be impossible for them to never encounter a single transgendered person.

    And I checked. Aside from the people who they almost buy a puppy from in season 4, who might be lesbians or might be sisters (it isn’t addressed, they’re just two large women with short haircuts who sit next to each other on a couch), there is literally no moment in the entire show where any LGBT person appears, ever.

    This can’t be an accident.

    Bending reality like this, for a show set in Berkeley, is clearly about pandering to some elements of the American audience who are still homophobic. That basically makes the show itself homophobic.

  38. Becky says:

    omg chill!! geesh!