Warning: If you rely on your DVR to catch up on NBC's Parenthood and you have yet to see last night's episode, you prooobably don't want to read on, because there's a major SPOILER ahead. Okay, now that it's just those of us who have already seen it (or those who don't watch at all but are still curious, of course) ...
Can you believe after sending eldest Haddie off to Cornell and having baby Nora, Kristina (played by Monica Potter) has breast cancer!?! I don't know why, but I felt like as soon as Crosby joked that he saw her gynecologist's appointment on Adam's calendar app, I had a feeling something was up. And then the mammogram scene ... and the dramatic, dialogue-free montage in which she waits for the doctor and then goes to see Adam and Max. Absolutely heartwrenching. Wow.
I adore Kristina, and this plotline is so tragic, but at the same time, I get the feeling it's going to be amazing on many levels.
Maybe I'm hopeful about it because Parenthood creator Jason Katims decided to introduce the cancer storyline after watching his own wife beat the disease. (She has been cancer-free for two years.) He explained he experienced some trepidation about it, but also felt the same way before bringing another personal story -- Max's Asperger's -- into the show. He told The Hollywood Reporter:
My wife went through it a couple years ago, and it's a story that I've been, in the back of my mind, wanting to tell. We ultimately decided this was a story we could tell in a unique way and that it would be something that would be a very emotional and poignant story with many positive moments, too.
Interestingly, Monica Potter was on the very same page. She recalls:
I had to go for a mammogram -- my first mammogram ever -- and It was really scary and I didn’t know what to expect. I reached out to Jason and said, 'I got a little scare. I think I'm fine but what if we talked about Kristina having breast cancer?' I e-mailed him and within the hour, he e-mailed me back and said, "I have the chills as we just broke that story for Kristina for this season."
Crazy, right? Well, I'm convinced that because Katims knows what he's doing here, there's a much higher chance that the show is going to approach the topic realistically. He elaborated on what we can expect from the upcoming storyline:
Suddenly you're confronted with your mortality or the immortality of a loved one and you have to face that. We were really adamant about telling the story in a very real way, including the joyful, silly moments and the times when you're not giving in to your emotions about it.
Awesome. I trust that in Katims' hands, the disease isn't going to get the after-school special or cheesy made-for-TV movie treatment, which is great news for both survivors and those who are currently fighting breast cancer. And there's definitely something to be said for watching something you're going through reflected back in a respectful, meaningful, emotional way on a TV show. If any show has the goods -- the creator, writers, actors like the amazing Monica Potter and Peter Krause -- to do that for people, it's Parenthood. Can't wait to see how it plays out.
Here's a replay of the emotional scene in which Kristina tells Adam the news ... (Be sure to have a tissue handy, ugh!!)
How do you think Kristina's breast cancer storyline will play out?