'Parenthood': Bonding With the Bravermans on the Set of NBC's Beloved Family Drama

THR spends a day at an abandoned hospital with the cast of the Jason Katims drama where its impending series finale is temporarily overshadowed by death — and marriage proposals.
Emily Berl

This story first appeared in a special Emmy issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

A strange sadness pervades Parenthood's set this busy November morning.

For one thing, the cast and crew of NBC's critically admired family drama — produced by Friday Night Lights mastermind Jason Katims — aren't at their regular cozy home on the Universal lot in Burbank; instead, they're assembled on the dingy site of an abandoned hospital in Inglewood. Workmen feverishly have labored to install lighting fixtures and find working circuit breakers, but there still are cobwebs on the floors and ceilings amid a thick layer of dust on the walls, giving the setting a creepy atmosphere.

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The fact that the scene they're filming involves the deteriorating health of the Braverman family patriarch — Zeek (Craig T. Nelson), who's in the hospital after a heart attack — isn't making the mood any cheerier. Especially considering that everyone on set by this point likely knows the character isn't going to make it.

But what's really bumming people out is that this is the third-to-last episode before Parenthood, which aired with modest ratings for six years, finishes its run (its series finale was Jan. 29).

"We are like family," notes Peter Krause, who plays Adam. "I don't want to think about not playing with these people again."

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Krause will continue playing with at least one of his castmates; he and Lauren Graham (who plays Adam's sister, Sarah) are a real-life couple. And Dax Shepard (Crosby) won't have much time to mourn either; he's writing, starring and directing a remake
of CHiPs. Likewise for Ray Romano (Hank; he gets this episode's last scene, proposing to Sarah), who next stars in HBO's upcoming '70s rock drama; Erika Christensen (Julia), who stars on the ABC anthology Wicked Crime; and Mae Whitman (Amber), whose film career took off with a starring role in The DUFF. Certainly, Nelson won't be staying dead for long — he's headlining NBC's Coach reboot next season.

Click here to see photos from the set.

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