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How many boxes of tissues should we buy to get through the final season of 'Parenthood'?
There's been plenty of on-screen crying — particularly from TV's majestic Weeper In Chief herself, Mae Whitman — but this final season has so far been less tearjerky than anticipated. Presumably, Jason Katims and company are setting us up for some major waterworks in the closing episodes in January, with the birth of Amber's baby and the strong possibility of Zeek's death. In the meantime, though, season six has been an odd one, struggling to move characters in and out to deal with a reduced budget — and as a result putting lots of focus on tertiary characters like Hank's annoying ex-wife and daughter — having the Bravermans act with greater myopic entitlement than usual (see Adam and Kristina's horrible bungling of Max's harassment of classmate Dylan), and trying to create big dramatic stakes on stories (The Luncheonette is failing! Julia won't take Joel back!) that the audience has a good idea will turn out well. But if Zeek dies — possibly right before Amber gives birth to his first great-grandchild — then all bets are off in terms of the waterworks.
- Alan Sepinwall