America’s latest television drama production entitled Parenthood serves as my inspiration for my blog entry this time around. ‘Why,’ you ask? My dad tore me a new one recently simply because I was late. The repercussion of my delay caused him to be behind his scheduled appointment and he is seldom late. Dad is known to be punctual among the family, his peers and business associates. A stickler to timeliness they say of him. So there I was having arrived at the makeshift shithole they call bus station 25 minutes later than I was told, and he was pissed. Boy was he pissed off. He barely uttered a word and the journey back home was filled with unspoken tension. Maybe I should have apologized, but then again I didn’t want to dig my own grave any deeper than it already was. I was raised in an almost strict environment and it has shaped who I am today. I still uphold most of their teachings, although I tend to sway from time to time but at the end of the day I know where I stand and the consequences of my actions.
I first heard of Parenthood via EW’s Ask Ausiello sometime end of last year. I was pretty psyched as it stars now defunct popular TV series Gilmore Girls’ Lauren Graham. I loved her character as a 30-something unwed single mother trying her best to raise a daughter to whom she gave birth to when she was still in high school. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I once did secretly wish I had Lorelai Gilmore as a mom. Perhaps what I truly coveted was the bond between a young mother and her teenage daughter. How the characters were portrayed had me glued to the tv screen whenever it was aired. I remember my own mother telling me that it was all unreal, how it was impossible to have such a mom. The ‘cool’ and ‘I’m more than a mother, I’m also your best friend’ sort. Mom is 32 years older than I am. The age gap at times hinders the dynamics of our relationship as we both have our way of thinking and seeing things. Till this day we still try to stay in-sync with one another as we possibly could. I am her daughter and nothing will ever change that fact. Everyday is a learning process that leads to the same goal – to strengthen the existing mother and daughter bond between us. When I watched the pilot episode of Parenthood, I was sorely disappointed. Midway through the 40 minutes ish drama, I began to question the storyline and by the end of it I thought out loud ‘WTF’. Not only does it closely resembles another family drama-Brothers&Sisters but the whole thing stinks of annoyance. I really wonder if such a family exist. I wonder if Ms Graham’s latest TV role as a divorced mother of two troubled teens is a clear representation of what the drama wanted to share with its audience. The character, Sarah Braverman is so weak you’d feel like knocking sense to whoever created her. She is shown as a complete pushover, immature, not a role model, talks too much, cries way too much, good in very little things and basically an all-round bad mother. There is a scene where we get to see her daughter Amber refusing (due to some internal drama) to participate in a family event (we are to believe that the Bravermans are close-knitted) that leads to her son Drew to not want to go as well and her mother Camille giving her final say to having no intention of leaving the house. Sarah then tries to no avail asking them to do this for Adam (her big bro) and Max (her nephew). What surprised me was how easy and quick of Sarah to concede almost wholeheartedly. As an adult, she can easily stand her ground and make them listen to her no matter what. She is the one with the authority and sensibility after all. She knew that it was her responsibility to ensure her children and mother are apart of the family event thus lending their support to Adam and his cause. Instead we bear witness to a noisy and irritating argument between Sarah and Amber with both wanting to have their say about the matter.
I pondered hard to picture the scenario in a more familiar setting – my very own family. No matter how I imagine it would be, I know the end result; both of my parents will have the final say and the rest would be history. There won’t be any melodrama and shouting fest between both parties as I was taught to be respectful regardless of what I may think. It doesn’t mean that I am not entitled to have my own opinion and school of thoughts, it is simply in the manner as to how I convey whatever that is in my mind to them. I am far from being the ultimate obedient daughter but it has never crossed my mind to undermine my parents authority let alone to dismiss them so callously. I can’t say for certain what are the underlying factors that separates my family and I from the Bravermans. Could it be environmental? Family history? Propagated media? Or culture? If these fictional characters signifies the typical American family dynamics then I for one am proud to be labeled The Asian Chick. At least my cultural background has instilled deep rooted values that allows me to stand taller then the rest of them.