'Parenthood' Cast Share What They Learned From Being a Braverman

THR caught up with the cast to find out what their experiences on the Jason Katims drama has taught them
NBC

NBC's Parenthood celebrates its 100th episode Thursday night that finds the head of the family, Craig T. Nelson's Zeek Braverman, in the hospital after suffering a heart attack. Offscreen, the cast was feeling both insightful and keenly aware that the end of their beloved series was near as they gathered on location at Center of Hope Hospital in Inglewood to film the hospital scenes at the abandoned facility.

After six seasons of love, marriage, children, failure, success and impromptu dance parties, The Hollywood Reporter quizzed the cast to find out what they learned from being the Bravermans. Here's what they said.

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Craig T. Nelson (Zeek)

Patience! Definitely patience!

Bonnie Bedelia (Camille)

That communication is everything in a marriage. I've have a wonderful marriage for a long time. I've got two grown boys who are wonderful and the lights of my life, and that is absolutely it. People refer to the Bravermans as being a dysfunctional family, and I don't know what they are talking about. I think they're very functional. They're all very different, and they all have problems. Everybody talks to each other. They share. They fight. They resolve. They get over it. They move on. And they communicate. I don't know how many families are like that. I don't know too many myself where everybody is talking to everybody still. It is a good family role model.

Peter Krause (Adam)

I notice things more now when I see people out, like families and things like that. I pay more attention. And the people who do watch the show are incredibly devoted fans and really love the show. I can't tell you how many people have approached me this year and told me that they're incredibly sad the show is ending and they wish it would continue.

Monica Potter (Kristina)

I've learned to always try to walk through life with family at your side. It makes things less painful and adds to the everyday joys — for the most part!

Max Burkholder (Max)

That family will always be there for you, no matter what.

Lauren Graham (Sarah)

I think for me, the thing I've gotten is when in doubt, gather a group. Just fill your house with people, and something good will happen.

Read more 'Parenthood' Cast on Zeek's Major Health Crisis: It Changes Everyone

Mae Whitman (Amber)

I'm an only child, so it is different, but no matter how many steps backward you take, your family is there to support you. I have been cultivating that within the small family that I do have and using the tools that I learned from the show. But also the sense of right or wrong can come into play with people's egos, like "You didn't do this the right way." The show really thrives in the moments where there are no right or wrong answers, and it is different people's takes. That's what all relationships are, and if you can look at them with empathy and see everyone's point of view, it can really help to work out these things without a right or wrong answer. Let it go out into the world, and let it all be part of a big fun gathering with string lights — always with string lights like the Bravermans have. (Laughs.)

Erika Christensen (Julia)

Maybe it's trite, but it's really true that communication is what saves relationships. The Bravermans are people who don't let things fester. As disagreements come up, they jump on them and they fight it out. It's so valuable to see that it's possible and that it's worthwhile, and that's the way to do it.

Sam Jaeger (Joel)

To be patient and listen. I learned that from my wife. My wife, to me, is the greatest listener on Earth. She listens even if she's invested without objective, and that's something I've tried to pull into my work here. That has helped me figure out what's important and to stay firm to that. The Bravermans are really about screwing up and going for it if you feel it's right. The most important thing to teach a kid is respect for everyone. Deep empathy. That's the thing about our show: It's about communication and empathy at its core. We don't have explosions. We don't have cataclysmic cliffhangers. What we have are people trying to communicate better. That, at the end of the day, is what it's all about. The communication, the demonstration of that love — that's what I think we're trying to get at.

Dax Shepard (Crosby)

My character usually makes the wrong decision in every scene, so I'm not taking any personal life lessons from Crosby — I don't think anyone really should. He went and crashed his motorcycle. If I do that in real life, I've got my own problems!

Joy Bryant (Jasmine)

How important family is. Whether it's your blood family or the people who you bring into it, family is what you create. We all need to have that support and that unconditional love. To have family in your life, no matter how they came about, it makes life a lot easier. Family will help you get through the toughest times and the most beautiful times, but we can't do it alone. And they're crazy. (Laughs.)

Ray Romano (Hank)

I'm not a Braverman; I'm playing a Braverman-in-law … almost. It's an old truth, but your family is the most important thing. I mean you can have fame and fortune or whatever, and when you break it all down and you take it all away, family is the one who's going to be there. I've got a lot of good things, but if you took it all away, I still would have it all because I have my wife and my kids.

Jason Katims (series creator)

I feel like I've always written stories that are personal or intimate. But on this show, I felt I really took chances to tell stories that were particularly personal and even autobiographical to me. For example, the choice to do the story of Max's Asperger's was something I was very hesitant to do at the beginning for many reasons, but one reason was I wondered if people wouldn't relate to it because it's too specific because it's not something that they were specifically dealing with. What I learned from it is that the opposite happened. That storyline felt real, whether or not people were dealing with that particular issue, it resonated. That was something that we continued to lean into more as storytellers, and we continued to be as open as possible to telling all of our stories and trusting that the more honest we were, the more it would resonate with people watching the show.

Parenthood's 100th episode airs Thursday at 10 p.m. on NBC. Stay tuned to THR's The Live Feed for more coverage of Parenthood's final season.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

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