Performer of the Week: Monica Potter

Parenthood - Season 5THE PERFORMER | Monica Potter

THE SHOW | Parenthood

THE EPISODE | “I’m Still Here”

THE AIRDATE | April 10, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | If we had to guess Kristina Braverman’s astrological sign, we’d go with Gemini. Why? As she has navigated a challenging year — in which she beat breast cancer, led a hard-fought campaign for mayor of Berkeley and, most recently, laid the groundwork to create a charter school for son Max — Kristina has alternately been tenacious and sensitive, not unlike those born under that dual-minded sign of the zodiac.

Never has Potter put that dichotomy so beautifully on display than in Thursday’s installment of Parenthood, in which Kristina was faced with two devastations: the loss of her friend Gwen to cancer and the challenge of getting her hands on property for the aforementioned school.

As Kristina visited Gwen for what would be their last moments together, Potter’s performance was both delicate and exquisitely raw. “I don’t want to let you go,” Kristina sobbed. “I love you.” In this final conversation with a dear friend, Kristina’s memories of her own bout with cancer seemed all too real.

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But it wasn’t just a supreme sadness that Kristina carried with her after Gwen’s death. Later, in Potter’s most harrowing scene of the episode, she unleashed genuine anger on husband Adam, questioning why she got to survive cancer while Gwen did not. “I can be a friend and a sister and a daughter, but she can’t,” Kristina cried. “Why do I get to be lucky and she doesn’t? It’s not right, and I’m mad. I’m mad!”

Perhaps more impressive than Potter’s breathtaking breakdown, though, was her ability to wipe those tears just a few scenes later, as she exchanged terse words with Berkeley mayor Bob Little about obtaining property for the charter school. As Bob skirted the issue, telling Kristina he would “look into it,” Potter’s gaze was once again steely, her demeanor unyielding. “Don’t do this for me, don’t do this for you,” Kristina warned her former competitor. “Just do it because maybe it’s the right thing to do. It’s that simple.”

With an ensemble cast as large as Parenthood’s, stealing the spotlight is no easy task. But this week, Potter took center stage with ease, reminding us why the NBC dramedy has such a tight hold on our heartstrings.

ShamelessHONORABLE MENTION | This season on Shameless, Ian’s closeted love Mickey went from denying his feelings to eventual acceptance, bringing out the best in his portrayer Noel Fisher. In Sunday’s finale, Mickey’s fear of what his bar-drinking cohorts thought of his sexuality turned from defensive anger to bewilderment at their nonchalant response. “No one gives a s–t who you bang,” bar owner Kevin assured him, eliciting a disarmed expression rarely seen on the young man’s face. But just as things were starting to come together in Mickey’s personal life, Ian fell into a manic depression. When his sister Fiona suggested that Ian might need to be hospitalized, Fisher got to show off an unusually vulnerable and fearful side of his character. “I can take care of him!” he exclaimed desperately. “He’s f—ing family.” Mickey and Ian may have a rocky road ahead of them, but thanks to the depth of emotion Fisher brought to the episode, we have faith in their love.

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POTW GoT PascalHONORABLE MENTION | Pedro Pascal brought Game of Thrones‘ brash Oberyn Martell into King’s Landing with a flourish, showing us in just a few memorable scenes exactly what the sexy Dornish prince is all about. Pascal alternately slinked and stalked through his introduction at the brothel, petting prostitutes and wounding Lannisters with equal amounts of zeal, then suavely delivered some important exposition as he explained his deep-seated hatred for Tyrion’s family. The ease with which Pascal went from gazing lovingly at his paramour to subtly threatening the Lannister clan only worked because Pascal chose to imbue Oberyn’s every motion and thought with a highly believable passion – both for earthly delights and long-sought vengeance. We’ll gladly raise a glass of Dornish sour red to Pascal’s arrival; we can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.

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  1. Elyse says:

    <3 <3 <3

    • JVee says:

      Monica Potter (I cried right along with her thanks to her incredible performance) is a star among many stars on Parenthood. If they don’t renew this show, I will be heartbroken!

    • I just don´t get all the love for monica potter, erika christensen is killing it this season, i came here to whine about her being mentioned twice already,i´m having academy awards/meryl streep flashbacks.

      • Tina Majorino-Shepherd says:

        Oh come on….Christensen is the weak link on the show….she hasn’t matured at all as an actress and is just as bad as she was in Swimfan. Potter is incredible in every scene she’s in…from the mundane to the real heavy lifting like in this week’s episode.

        • HAP says:

          Totally agree. The fact that Christensen gets work has always baffled me. Is it something to do with Scientology?

    • CGale says:

      If Parenthood “has such a tight hold on our heartstrings” then it will surely be renewed!!! Gotta see what happens with Julia & Joel, Sarah & Hank as well as Amber & Ryan!!! Would like to see all of them get back together…

  2. jimbo says:

    About damn time, TVLine! ;)

    • liz says:

      They’ve put Potter as the Performer of the Week before and have frequently mentioned her performances as stellar

  3. Lisa says:

    Noel fisher has completely blown my mind this year on shameless. I HATED mickey in the first season but hes brought me to tears twice this year. Im a straight woman and ive never had a teenage romance on tv fill me with such emotion. Mr fisher, i salute you

  4. Adam says:

    Two amazing picks this week. Monica Potter moved me to tears and Noel Fisher was astounding in his portrayal. Thanks for starting to mix up the pickings of the Performer of the Week. Nice to see different faces and shows showcased!!

  5. No says:

    You know Noel Fischer deserved performer of the week last week and this week… Shameless is awesome

  6. Philip says:

    Interesting! Monica Potter is the first star to receive top honours twice in this category! Congratulations!

    • Bryce says:

      So true! She totally deserves it though. Talking to a dying person who can’t hear you is truly one of life’s hardest realities and she freaking nailed every word and nuance of being in that situation. Ugh rip my heart out now please.

  7. Amy says:

    Noel Fischer has been incredible this season, and Monica Potter tends to be too overwrought for my tastes but she really nailed the “I’m mad” scene.
    I’d also give an honorable mention to Sam Witwer, who was really put through his paces on the Being Human finale this week. He had to switch between psychotic to grieving to comedic to resigned, and he made me laugh in one scene and then cry the next. I really hope some other show snatches him up soon!

    • Alia says:

      After his memorable guest starring turn a few weeks ago, I’d like to see Sam Witwer end up with a recurring or regular role on Grimm.

  8. robinepowell says:

    Parenthood has been great this season, some of it due to the fact it had a longer season, finally.

    I hope NBC gives it a long season again and possibly an earlier timeslot (9:00).

  9. Geo says:

    I think Ming-Na Wen from SHIELD deserved a mention for her vulnerable, yet strong performance on this week’s crazy episode. It gave her character so much depth.

  10. Angi says:

    what about mike o’malley or chris colfer for glee that scene in the hospital almost brought me to tears!

  11. erin says:

    Noel Fisher has been amazing all season, he deserves more recognition, glad to see him here.

  12. Patrick Maloney says:

    Raúl Esparza, who made such a smarmy character like Chilton into quite a sympathetic character in last night’s Hannibal, deserves Pascal Pedro’s spot, who wasn’t as memorable performance as he should’ve.

  13. Kay says:

    Pedro Pascal was amazing! Such astronomical expectations from his character, and he managed to deliver every bit and more, with ease.

  14. dude says:

    Pedro Pascal was not the best thing about the premier of Game of Thrones. I don’t think he deserved a mention.

  15. Noel Fisher has been amazing this season. Good to see him here. Ian and Mickey are my favorite couple on Shameless.

  16. Simon says:

    I really liked Pascal on GoT, and even though I don’t watch Parenthood, I have noticed how amazing Potter is on it. I would have liked to see Jonny Lee Miller get a mention from this weeks Elementary. Although Im biased as he’s been my favourite actor for years now.

  17. Joey Padron says:

    Great pick. Hope Monica will get nominated for an Emmy this year. Bummer she didn’t get nominated last year for her great performance last season.

  18. Lori says:

    Monica Potter is phenomenal. You can see her in a commercial for Parenthood and start crying. She is the best of the best and should have awards already.

  19. I think Monica Potter is great and all, but I feel like they always throw these manipulative tearjerker stories at her and I’m tired of it. I’m gonna throw out Anna Chlumsky’s name for the “It’s him!” scene. That’s something I never see.

  20. Thank you for spotlighting Monica Potter this week. She NAILED it. All of the Parenthood cast as an ensemble (I’m intentionally forgetting everything related to Drew where typing this) has really brought it this year but this last episode was in a league all of its own! Monica’s portrayal of Kristina’s raw emotion was so real & true. Congrats to her on another great week… And cue up the Emmy reel! She had better get nominated for this year.

  21. Kaylin21 says:

    Monica Potter was AMAZING!! SShe made me cry with her!!! I was so bummed she didnt win the golden globe!! hopefully an emmy. she was so good, i love love parenthood!! im trying to wrap my head around sarah and ray getting together… he is making progress so hopefully that will will work! gosh i look forward to this show every week!!julia and joel back together please soon! he can sleep with his boss once and call it even.

  22. Francine says:

    Thank you for finally showcasing Noel Fisher! He has been astoundingly good this season. I hated the character of Mickey early on but I’ve grown to love him as his relationship with Ian. He actually brought tears to my eyes. I can’t wait until next season.

  23. Maggie says:

    Monica Potter is amazing on Parenthood. She consistently blows you away in any scene she is in. Congratulations on this and winning the Emmy this year.

  24. christine says:

    Id prefer you recognize Megan Followes performance of Catherine in the most recent “Reign”. She was sexy, proud, devious and ruthless. Best episode of “Reign” yet.

  25. TV Gord says:

    I lost my beloved sister to cancer in October. We were brave in each other’s presence, but there was one late night phone (that I recorded and have listened to since), and raw is the word. Monica Potter and the amazing team at Parenthood captured the same essence of that rawness beautifully. Leanne loved Parenthood as much as I did, and I personally dedicate, “I’m Still Here”, to her. In a way, she is (every time I listen closely to my heart). <3

  26. phil says:

    Monica Potter ALWAYS steals the spotlight on this amazing show IMO! I started watching this show mainly because of Lauren Graham. Quickly I fell in love with the show and it became my favorite show on TV. Somewhere along the line Monica Potter stole my heart and became my favorite performer, followed closely by Peter Krause. Potter should have taken home the gold so many times in the past…I hope some day she finally does for this role!

  27. KV says:

    She deserves an Emmy. I can’t believe she hasn’t even received a nomination! And that goes for the show as well.

  28. Pat says:

    Monica’s performance was absolutely beautiful and touching, in this episode. I am so glad that she will name the school in memory her dear friend.

  29. schu says:

    Nailed it! She portrays Kristina so well every week, but that scene at Gwen’s bedside was remarkable and so real. Phood gets me every time, even when I expect it, still tugs so hard at the heartstrings. Well deserved!

  30. Kaitlynn Smith says:

    I think I wrote this. Love for Monica and Noel?! Thank you, TV Line!

  31. Kristi says:

    Monica Potter did an awesome job again this week. I was in tears – again!! I’m glad they had her go through this awful moment because not everyone if blessed to beat cancer. She was wonderful. And I have to agree with an earlier post regarding Mike O’Malley’s performance on Glee. He brings a bit of realism to an otherwise entertaining show. He did a great job in just the few moments of screen time! Thanks for spotlighting Monica and I hope the Emmy’s were watching!

  32. I missed Chris Messina and Mindy Kaling as a honorable mention, tbh. That breakup scene was so well done and so heart breaking. But YAY for Monica and Noel, so well deserved!