‘Parenthood’ series finale reaction: Show boss on Zeek decision, flash-forward

Tonight, “Parenthood” concluded on NBC with what was a very strong series finale. When your biggest problem is strictly a matter of your network probably not giving you enough time in which to work your magic, you have to feel at least fairly strong with what you brought to the table for so many years.

So what about that decision to (SPOILER ALERT) kill of Zeek in the final minutes of the show? This seems somewhat polarizing, given that we had such a happy finale for the most part until Craig T. Nelson’s character stopped breathing. We did not spend a lot of time on it, and that was intentional. As showrunner Jason Katims told TVLine, the goal was to create a powerful moment that shows you the reality of life, but at the same time, also the capacity to move forward and honor by doing so:

“When we knew the show was going to be in its final season, we decided that the story with Zeek would be the central story of the season. We decided that from the first day in the writers’ room, and we didn’t waver from that. When we started breaking specifically what those last few episodes would look like, I kept being bothered by the fact that the series would end with somebody dying. It didn’t feel like that represented what the end of the show should look like. This is ultimately an uplifting show, and it’s about this family coming together. We didn’t want to give the audience a fairytale ending, and we wanted the story of Zeek dying. But that’s when the idea of the flash-forwards came up. By juxtaposing the death against the family continuing to expand and thrive, that would give it the music of life. It was kind of inspired by the end of Friday Night Lights. In the final episode, we did flash-forwards to all of our characters and where they ended up.”

Of course, “Friday Night Lights” fans also probably loved the appearance by Scott Porter in here, as well, even if it was brief. Ultimately, it was just yet another way that we could have a little fun, and a reason to smile, in the midst of what were sometimes difficult moments to watch.

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