NBC's 'Parenthood': Where Four out of Five Moms are PANKs
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Melanie Linn Gutowski
There's a funny thing about the cast of NBC's new dramedy 'Parenthood': nearly all of the actresses cast as mothers are actually PANKs (Professional Aunt No Kids). The show follows members the fictional Braverman family and their diverse parenting experiences.
Bonnie Bedelia plays family matriarch Camille Braverman, mother of four adult children on the show. In real life, Bedelia is married to actor Michael McRae and is a savvy auntie to talented actor nephews Macaulay, Kieran and Rory (their dad, Kit Culkin, is Bedelia's brother).
Lauren Graham plays daughter Sarah Braverman, a single mother of two who is picking up the pieces of her life after a divorce from a drug-addicted musician.
Graham admitted to Starpulse.com recently that she doesn't "have an idea of what a mom is supposed to be; I just kind of look at who the person is." However, she does praise the actors who play her kids as being "really easy to love" and helping her portrayal to be as realistic as possible.
Monica Potter plays daughter-in-law Kristina Braverman, mother of two on the show, one of whom is diagnosed in the pilot with Asperger's syndrome. Potter is the only real-life mom in the series; The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that their native daughter is mom to Danny, 19; Liam, 15, and Molly, 4.
Erika Christensen plays youngest daughter Julia Braverman-Graham, a new mommy who is also trying to balance a legal career.
Christensen doesn't find the fact that she's playing a mother odd; in fact, it seems to have deepened her regard for those around her who are parents.
"It’s definitely something very specific that, as with an actor playing any specific thing that they are not a part of in real life, it warrants a lot of respect and attention paid to it," Christensen told USA Weekend last month.
"Just looking into the amount of love and the kind of fierceness of the love that a parent feels for their child – and especially a mother feels for their child – is what I’ve gotten from my friends," Christensen went on to say. "And just the amount of humor that comes out of it, too, the way kids are so open and unrestrained and uncensored in the way that they talk and express themselves. They’re also completely learning things newly for the first time and, oh my gosh, my friends’ kids are hysterical. That’s the kind of thing that we’re mining on the show."
Joy Bryant plays Jasmine Trussell, the single mother of Crosby Braveman's (played by Dax Shepard) child, Jabbar. She reconnects with Crosby toward the end of the pilot and surprises him with the news that he is a father.
Bryant has played multiple motherly roles, though she is not a parent herself.
"It's weird because this is the third thing I've done where I'm either a mom or the whole parent thing is in my story line, and I'm like, 'Is this the universe trying to tell me that I need to get myself together and hunker down and have a kid?'," Bryant told Essence.com.
But Bryant isn't bowing to the pressure just yet.
"I don't know, it might be a sign, but I got married two years ago and I'm still enjoying being with my husband and us having the life that we have. I'm not really in a rush to have a baby yet, but there's so much outside pressure. People hear how old you are and they're like, 'Oh, you don't have that much time.' If it gets to the point where I actually physically cannot have a child there's plenty of children in the world that need a stable home and loving parent. I'm so down for adoption."
Though many of its leading actresses are aunties in real life, the 'Parenthood' has yet to show much interaction between the children and their aunts and uncles. Though the siblings and their parents are supportive of one another, each sibling is focused on their own children. We hope this will change as the show progresses - of course, here at Savvy Auntie, we hope the aunt and uncle relationship can have just as much attention as the parent/child one.
Melanie Linn Gutowski is a freelance writer and a proud Godmother.