Jason Katims’ wonderful NBC series Parenthood features an eclectic extended family of delightful characters, young and old, those born into and married into the Braverman clan. Let’s rank those characters and reveal our favourites!
20 + 19 + 18. NORA, AIDA, ZEEK JR.
Three infants, none of whom is old enough to carry storylines.
Best Moment: Being born. Worst Moment: Crying a lot and irritating their parents.
17 + 16. SYDNEY & VICTOR
Julia and Joel’s two children lack personality (they must’ve inherited this from their dad), and Sydney in particular can be a frustratingly precocious and behaviourally inconsistent character. Victor, adopted after the incarceration of his birth mother, has a more interesting backstory that the show never really explored.
Best Moment: Victor reading his prize-winning essay in front of the whole class. Worst Moment: Sydney refusing to apologise to the girl she bullied. Sweetest Relationship: Victor w/Zeek, Sydney w/Joel
Jasmine is the most underserved of all the adults in Parenthood, never seeming to exist outside of Crosby’s adventures. She’s a great mother to Jabbar and an excellent peacekeeper between Crosby and her temperamental mother Renee, but Jasmine’s also kinda boring.
Best Moment: Sharing some words of wisdom with struggling songwriter Oliver Rome, while he was crashing at their house. Worst Moment: Insisting that the baby be baptised, to please her devout mother. Sweetest Relationship: Jabbar
He’s a great dad and a relatively loyal husband, but Joel is the dullest man alive.
Best Moment: Sneaking off during Max’s birthday to have sex with Julia. Worst Moment: Getting drunk with Pete and buying a cake. Sweetest Relationship: Zeek
It’s not Camille’s fault that she isn’t particularly likeable on the show: after all, her good mothering was done 30 years ago, and now we only witness her judging her children’s decisions and waxing lyrical about her never-ending ‘art class’. Sorry Camille, your paintings aren’t even that great.
Best Moment: Helping her granddaughters, whether offering advice to mother-to-be Amber or giving refuge to Haddie when Adam and Kristina turn against Alex. Worst Moment: A questionable relationship with her art teacher. Sweetest Relationship: Zeek
By his very nature, Max isn’t particularly likeable- he lacks empathy for others, throws ferocious tantrums and speaks embarrassingly honestly much of the time. But his ability to function socially despite his Aspergers diagnosis is hugely admirable, and when another character is able to crack Max’s code and bring out his softer side, it’s a wonderful sight to behold.
Best Moment: Winning the student council election with a simple but effective speech. Worst Moment: Harassing schoolfriend/crush Dylan to the point of physical aggression. Sweetest Relationship: Amber
A reflection of her mother, Julia is uptight, judgmental and controlling, but has a softer side (usually brought out by alcohol) and seems to be a pretty good lawyer.
Best Moment: Reunion with Joel at the ice rink! Worst Moment: All the stuff with Ed, god help us. Sweetest Relationship: Joel… maybe?
Jabbar is a ridiculously adorable child, asking exactly the right questions at the right times. Best Moment: Offering to buy his own ticket to Orlando when his parents tell him they can’t afford a trip to Harry Potter World. Worst Moment: Jabbar never does anything wrong. Sweetest Relationship: Crosby
Hank is basically Adult Max, but with a far more charismatic personality. We watch him struggle in his relationships with ex-wife Sandy and daughter Ruby, and form new bonds with Sarah and her children. Hank really grew on us during his time on the show, and moved a few places up this list during Season 6.
Best Moment: Assembling Amber’s new cot. Worst Moment: Panicking when he sees “marijuana paraphernalia” at Ruby’s party. Sweetest Relationship: Max
Apart from maybe Camille and Victor, Drew is the quietest member of the family, but evolves from shy nerd to serious ladies’ man as the seasons progress. He’s also a half-decent singer/songwriter.
Best Moment: Supporting Amy through a crisis pregnancy. Worst Moment: Getting caught having sex by Mark Cyr. Sweetest Relationship: Amber
Sarah is kooky, unpredictable, a bad decision-maker and one of the most loveable members of the family. Possibly the most complicated, and believable, character on the show.
Best Moment: Singing “The Circle Game” on Amber’s bed Worst Moment: Dumping Mark. Sweetest Relationship: Amber
Sincere, generous and underserved by the show’s writers, Haddie is a pretty flawless kid.
Best Moment: Coming home and telling Kristina and Adam about her new girlfriend. Worst Moment: Fighting Amber on the soccer pitch. Sweetest Relationship: Adam
From coming to terms with Max’s aspergers to battling cancer and running for mayor, Kristina constantly takes risks and surprises us (and her family) with her BRAVERy and vigour. A great mother and a heroic woman.
Best Moment: Opening a new charter school and naming it after his friend Gwen Chambers. Worst Moment: Keeping Haddie and Alex apart. Sweetest Relationship: Max
Zeek is the perfect grandfather: working on repairing the old car with Sydney and Victor, setting up Drew and Amy, recounting tales of Vietnam at the perfect moments. Stern but compassionate, aspects of Zeek’s wonderful personality are visible in each of his children.
Best Moment: Giving Drew the old Pontiac Worst Moment: General stubbornness Sweetest Relationship: Sarah
In the wild world of Parenthood, Crosby is all of us: cynical, mildly selfish and just tagging along for a good time. On the way, Crosby learns to be a father via Jabbar and Aida, faces relationship troubles and engages in immoral affairs, launches his dream business and helps Drew with dating advice. No adult Braverman matures more during the show than Crosby, and it’s a delightful journey to watch.
Best Moment: Helping Kristina during Nora’s birth. Worst Moment: Sleeping with Max’s behavioural therapist. Sweetest Relationship: Jabbar
Speaking of characters who mature during the show, this is no more apparent than in Amber, who grows from rebellious teen to strong woman through storylines that are heartbreaking, nuanced and truthful. Mae Whitman is arguably the finest actor in the cast, and is well served by the writers.
Best Moment: Recording vocals for Ashes of Rome’s new song. Worst Moment: Her hospitalisation after a car accident. Sweetest Relationship: Drew
Of every character on Parenthood, Adam is quite objectively the most decent human being in the family. He’s smart, sensitive, practically-minded, a great father and husband, a loyal brother and son, an innovative businessman and a stellar member of the Pasadena community. Advances from a younger woman?: shake ’em off! Adam doesn’t have time to cheat; he’s too busy being handsome and kind and perfect in every way.
Best Moment: Teaching the children of Chambers Academy to cook, and discovering a passion as an educator. Worst Moment: Aiding Kristina in the ridiculous prohibition of Haddie/Alex’s relationship. Sweetest Relationship: Haddie
Agree with our choices? Who are YOUR favourite Bravermans? Let us know in the comments below, and click here to read our extended tribute to the magic of Parenthood.