Parenthood has proven to be a critical and commercial hit for NBC as the show continues with Season 4, airing Tuesday nights at 10 PM ET. Series star Monica Potter and executive producer Jason Katims held a conference call before this week's episode, "The Talk". One of the issues dealt with this season is breast cancer, something that Jason Katims has faced in his own life. Here's what the executive producer had to say about bringing this subject into the show.
"First there was the question of, 'Whether or not it was something that, you know, we wanted to take on on the show?' I struggled with that decision because I thought it was difficult subject matter and subject matter that could be challenging to both as - from the point of view of storytelling, and sometimes too to watch it. I felt that I had a similar thing when I was working on the pilot of the show including the Asperger storyline, which is also very personal to me. It was something ultimately I decided to do and felt it was incredibly, you know, gratifying and in a lot of ways cathartic to do that. And so that sort of gave me courage to approach this storyline and I just felt it was something that was something that I, you know, kind of went through with my life and my family. I just felt it was the kind of storyline that Parenthood, the show, would be able to tell well. I'm lucky to have this incredible cast and actors like Monica and Peter (Krause) and all the people, you know, and the rest of that cast, to tell these stories. I felt we can do it in way that was kind of honest. One of the things that I loved about, you know, my first conversation with Monica about it, was you know, she said, 'Look, I want to find the humor in the situation too, we don't want to get to a place where I'm crying all the time, and that's all I'm doing.' I was so happy to hear that was her take on, because you know, to me this, you know, the whole thing with going through something like this, that I've found, was that you know, you go through it, but as you're going through it life goes on. You have your children, getting your children to school and doing all the stuff of life, you know, still continues."
Monica Potter added that she didn't do too much research about breast cancer, because she wanted her character Kristina Braverman to experience it like someone going through this ordeal for the first time.
"As far as doing research and going online, I did nothing. Only because I wanted to experience it as a person doing it for the first time. There's so many different aspects of it and there's so many stories that I can pull from. But having a fresh perspective on it and feeling those real feelings of being scared and hearing the news, and you know, while we were on set looking at the different Web sites, while Peter was walking in the room for the first time. Doing that and not interviewing 10,000 women, it actually came at a time, I had gone to get my mammogram, and this was in April and they said that, you know, that there was a blip or something on the screen, so I had to go back. Those real feelings came out in performance as well because I have to go again this Thursday to check and see if it's gone. So it stuff that I'm sort of going through, but not really, you know, investigating too much because I don't want it to feel stale. I just want it to feel real for me and hopefully that will come through in the performance."
Jason Katims also revealed that Kristina will be breaking the news to her family in the very near future.
"Telling the family comes up fairly soon. One of the things I definitely remember is the idea of having to tell our kids about it, which was a really tough thing to do. And figure out how to talk to them about it in a way that was going to be not too scary, but also to feel like we were being honest with them, which we thought was really important. It starts in next week's episode and is something that will continue. You know next week's episode is when they sort of talk to their kids and their family about it. How the family is responding to it is something that is a part of the entire season that continues."
Parenthood continues with new Season 4 episodes Tuesday nights at 10 PM ET on NBC.