As far as surprises go, “Friday Night Lights” alum Scott Porter sitting next to Mae Whitman’s character — and presumably playing Amber’s husband — at the end of the “Parenthood” finale was a seriously major one.
Yes, Zeek’s death might have been the biggest thing that happened in the episode, but the most jaw-dropping moment was definitely when showrunner Jason Katims decided to throw some “Friday Night Lights” love to his most recent heart-wrenching and emotional series — a decision he did not take lightly.
“I kept avoiding casting somebody because I knew I didn’t want to just cast [any] actor,” Katims tells Zap2it. “It just felt weird to cast an actor that I didn’t know in this very pivotal role when you weren’t going to get a chance to get to know them because they just had a couple of moments of screentime.
“I didn’t want it to just be an anonymous face,” he continues. “So then the idea of trying to get somebody who was a bigger star to come on and do it came up, and that’s when I thought Scott because I thought, frankly, he would be perfect for it and I felt comfortable enough with him to ask him the favor of doing that.”
Katims also says it didn’t hurt that the “Hart of Dixie” star is an actual fan of “Parenthood.”
“I know that Scott is a huge ‘Parenthood’ fan, which was meaningful to me because he was going to be able to come on to the set and kind of get the feel of it,” says Katims. “He had to come on and be a part of the family right away, and he was really able to do that.”
But of course, Katims also just wanted to blow fans’ minds by putting Porter and his “Friday Night Lights” co-star Matt Lauria — who’s the father of Amber’s baby on “Parenthood” — in the same room (and family).
“Not only was it great to have Scott, but I thought [there was] something nice about having that kind of little nod to ‘Friday Night Lights,'” says Katims.
He was pleased to have both Porter and Lauria in a scene together, providing a great one-two punch for “FNL” fans at the end.