Religion and NBC’s Parenthood

27 Oct

 The program I chose is called Parenthood, an NBC drama series that follows the story of the Braverman family. The family consists of the two elderly parents, their four grown children and their families.

The particular episode I chose focuses on the couple Crosby Braverman, his wife Jasmine and their young son Jabbar. Crosby’s mother-in-law, Jasmine’s mother, stuck out to me in the episode because she brought up the topic of religion. In the episode she explained God to Jabbar and taught him how to pray, in alignment with her Christian belief system. She also did all of this without consulting Jabbar’s parents. When they find this out, suddenly they have to examine what their belief system actually is and what they want their son to believe. The parents could be seen as the Christian “hypocrite”, as talked about in the Images of Evangelicals article. They would fit this stereotype because although they are Christian and used to go to church when they were younger, they haven’t even thought about their faith recently and don’t know where they stand anymore with their belief system. Their son Jabbar could then be labeled as the “naive” Christian. This is because he is just a kid (around 10 years old?) and only knows what to believe based off of the few things his grandma told him. Not only has he not been given the option to explore other faiths, but he also does not know everything about his grandma’s faith. Instead he simply goes through the actions of praying and talking to God and thinks that’s all there is to it. When it shows him praying, he almost sounds like he’s writing a wish list to Santa. In this way he fits the role of the “naive” Christian.

Jasmine’s mother does not seem to fit one of the labels of the Evangelical Christian article, but she is ported in a way that makes her seem almost idealized or perfect. Unlike Jasmine and Crosby, she has thought about her faith and wants to guide Jabbar and she goes to church every Sunday. She makes her daughter and son-in-law seem inadequate for not having thought about what faith to raise Jabbar in and makes Jasmine feel guilty for no longer attending church.

The episode ends with Crosby explaining his approach to faith to Jabbar. He explains his more spiritual views and how he believes in his son, his family, love, etc. and avoids the topic of Christianity all together. I thought it was interesting how the absence of religion in the show is the norm, and then Jasmine’s mother becomes an outlier for being so religious.



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