If, like us, you watched the promo clip for this week’s “Parenthood” through a teary blur after the most recent episode left you tangled in a confusing knot of joy and devastation, you may have missed the fact that Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Mark (Jason Ritter) are headed for some difficult times. You can watch it below if you want your heart ripped out one more time.
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, given the fact that Ritter will be starring in his own NBC pilot this year, developed for him by “Parenthood” executive producer Jason Katims. Still, we can’t help but wish we could clone him so that he can do that other medical drama and stay on “Parenthood” to have a baby with Sarah and have emotional talks with Drew (Miles Heizer) and, fine, maybe eventually move to New York in the very, very distant future.
Zap2it visited the “Parenthood” set and got the chance to sit down with Lauren Graham to chat about what’s to come in tonight’s finale. Rest assured that if you’re upset by the idea of a Mark/Sarah rift, you are not alone — Graham is right there with you. While she’s obviously psyched for Ritter’s continued success, she was adamant that “Parenthood” and the relationship they’ve constructed not suffer for it.
“I was like, ‘I don’t care if the guy is the next James Bond!’ You can’t create a false problem between these people, because you get really invested. I’m invested,” she told us. “I’m invested in this story. We’ve spoken up a lot about something that feels organic.”
Having seen our fair share of manufactured, unrealistic break-ups on television — not to be obvious, but we’re still scarred by April Nardini showing up to ruin things for Luke and Lorelai — we appreciate that Graham and Ritter are on the audience’s side.
“I think it’s unfair to the audience to let them fall in love with this couple and then yank it away,” she says frankly. “So you’re not going to see us create an easy out and write him off. There are issues that this couple would really have. It’s not like I just woke up one day and was like, ‘You know? He’s not that adorable.’ You’d have to discover that he’d, like, chopped up people in the basement to buy that anyone wouldn’t love this man.”
The “bump in the road” that Mark and Sarah will face is something that feels honest, if painful. “To me the questions that come up are truthful to two people who are in two different places in their lives,” Graham says. “That’s what I like about the story and, truly, why I really hope it continues. We fought so much for a bump in the road that’s believable.”
As for Ritter’s potential to be in Season 4 (which has yet to be announced by NBC, so we’ve got our fingers crossed so hard they’re starting to ache)… don’t write him off yet. “We don’t know what the future holds! ‘The Event’ only took him away for a little while,” Graham says with the wry smile that has made her a television icon. “We don’t know.”