The Bravermans return this September for another season of angst, tears and scenes where every character talks at once. The cast and creator of the show offered some tantalizing hints about the fifth season of “Parenthood,” including marital strife for Joel and Julia, romance for Amber and a time jump, while discussing the family drama at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Beverly Hills this week.
The show will jump ahead more than half a year after the events of the Season 4 finale. “What we usually do, and we do it again this year, is what would be the amount of time since the last episode aired and jump ahead about that amount of time. So it’s about seven or eight months from where we left off,” explained showrunner Jason Katims.
Joel (Sam Jeager) and Julia’s (Erika Christensen) relationship developed problems last season when they clashed over how to handle their adopted son Victor’s problems. It will be tested even more this season. Katims joked that Joel and Julia fans should be a little concerned. “Julia’s still unemployed and not happy about it,” shared Christensen. Jaeger exclusively told xfinityTV, “I think we see more of Joel and more strain on their relationship than we have seen in all [earlier] seasons combined.” He added, “Adoption, trying to have a baby, they can overwhelm a couple so much so that when it’s all said and done people aren’t sure who they are. I think we see a glimpse of that in Joel and Julia this season.” One of their challenges comes from Joel’s new co-worker Meredith (Sonya Walger), who may want to be more than his work wife. “She’s potentially my boss. I don’t know how deep it goes between the two of us, but it’s potentially an issue for Julia,” Jaeger revealed.
Sarah (Lauren Graham) will experience the joys of an empty nest. “I have an apartment. I have a bed. And in order to live there more cheaply, I’m the Schneider of the building, which is fun because I will interact with some tenants, I assume,” she shared. “Relationship-wise, this is usually a character who struggles to find some consistent employment or relationship, but I think she’s doing better. We’re going to have the opportunity to tell, ‘When your kids are gone, what’s that relationship look like?’ This is a family that’s been through a lot and what I’m hoping with now is with both [Amber] and [Drew] we begin the process of becoming peers.”
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Speaking of Amber (Mae Whitman), TCA attendees were treated to a brief clip of her talking to Sarah about the possibility of her marrying Ryan. “She is in love with Ryan (Matt Lauria) and they have this relationship. They’re obviously very passionate about each other,” said Whitman. She was coy about whether or not there would actually be a Braverman wedding. “You don’t know where they are going to go necessarily. It’s a big decision to take a step like that when you’re young and the things that come out after you make a choice like that, when you start to feel settled, I think, would make an interesting storyline.” Graham quipped, “Maybe we’ll have a double wedding,” referring to Sarah and Hank’s (Ray Romano) relationship.
Katims gave few hints about Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter), whose battle with breast cancer was last season’s standout storyline, saying only, “What they’ve just been through will inform what their season will be.”
The showrunner was more forthcoming about NBC’s belief in the critically acclaimed show, which has struggled in the ratings. “The fact that we’re sitting her today doing a panel on the show going into the fifth season of the show is indicative to me of the passion the network feels for the show… The fact that we’re being put into such a premium timeslot [Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST] is another indicator of their support.”
Season 5 of “Parenthood” will premiere Sept. 26 on its new night and time, airing Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.