Alan Sepinwall and Drew McWeeny Pick Parenthood's Greatest Tearjerkers
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Hank realizes he's reading about himself ("Promises," season 5)
Ray Romano, fresh off a revelatory dramatic turn on TNT's under-watched gem "Men of a Certain Age," began a guest stint early in the fourth season of "Parenthood" that both sides kept extending because the results were so good. In an early appearance as Sarah's photographer love interest Hank, Romano and Max Burkholder shared an amusing scene together that suggested Hank understood this kid better than he understood any other Braverman (and, possibly, better than the other Bravermans understood Max). The writers eventually decided to push the idea further by having Hank — reading a book on Asperger's provided by Adam to help him better deal with Max's tantrums — realize that he may have been on the autism spectrum his whole life and not realized it. His speech to Sarah about this is an unsettling, riveting mix of relief (at finally having an explanation for the many awkward turns of his life) and anger (at not discovering this much much sooner). Some of the show's long-term guest stars could feel shoehorned into an ensemble with no room for them, but Romano was a fantastic second-half addition to the show.