How Will ‘Parenthood’ Destroy Us This Season?

Chris Haston/NBC

The fifth season of NBC family drama Parenthood kicks off on Thursday, September 26th at 10 PM ET, and there aren’t enough tissues in the world to get us ready.

We can always count on the Braverman clan to make us feel things. Sure, modern life has made us cynical, immovable robot-people. But then cancer patient Kristina (Monica Potter) teaches her autistic son Max (Max Burkholder) to slow dance or Jabbar (Tyree Brown) calls Crosby (Dax Shepard) “Daddy” for the first time, and we robot-people melt into puddles of emotion, kind of like when all the black-and-white people turn into color in Pleasantville.

While it’s difficult to imagine anything that could make us more weepy than little Victor’s adoption ceremony, we’re sure that the Parenthood creative team has some heartwarming and heartbreaking moments in store for this year. In an effort to store up the emotional reserves and spare our loved ones our worst ugly-cry faces, let’s attempt to guess how our fictional extended family will hit us where it hurts.

This 30-second promo spot for the new season confirms what producer Jason Katims predicted at this year’s Paleyfest: the premiere leaves off eight to nine months after the events of the season four finale. Jasmine (Joy Bryant) has given birth to a happy and healthy baby, which means that there will be plenty of opportunities to swoon as senstive Crosby falls in love with another kid. (Shepard must have drawn some inspiration from his real-life new dad status.) Ray Romano‘s grumpy photographer Hank is clearly back in the picture; hopefully perpetual man-fixer Sarah (Lauren Graham) will finally be lucky in love. Amber (Mae Whitman) seems as in love with ex-soldier Ryan (Matt Lauria) as she was when we last saw them, window-shopping for wedding rings. But the casting of All American Rejects’ frontman Tyson Ritter may hint that their relationship will be tested. (Haven’t you learned not to trust rock stars yet, Amber?) Rough waters might also be ahead for Sydney (Savannah Paige Rae) and Victor’s (Xolo Mariduena) mom and dad; Sonya Walger will play an architect who will get close to contractor Joel (Sam Jaeger), and David Denman will be an unemployed dad who helps workaholic Julia (Erika Christensen) transition into being a stay-at-home mom.

Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina have weathered her breast cancer ordeal (and how adorable is Potter’s new shoulder-length cut?), but is she out of the woods for good? Max made huge strides at his mainstream school last year, but his Asperger’s still presents constant challenges. Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) brushed off his family’s worries about his heart problems in season four; was that foreshadowing for a serious health scare? Drew (Miles Heizer) had a tumultuous year with Amy’s pregnancy and the move into and out of Mark’s apartment. How will college pressures weigh on the unexpressed emotions he’s still holding in? We assume that Haddie (Sarah Ramos) now knows that her parents kept the truth from her about the severity of Kristina’s diagnosis. Does she resent them for their good-intentioned lie?

Whatever happens, we can be sure that Parenthood will wage war on our tear ducts with no shortage of grace and nuance. In fact, we can’t wait to be destroyed by this TV family all over again.

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