Although there are plenty of reasons to be sad about Parenthood coming to an end this week (seriously, don't get me started), there is one big reason to celebrate the finale: it's going to show just how far the show, and its many characters, have come since the series' beginning six long years ago. From Max's Asperger's development to Amber's road to motherhood, practically nothing about the show today is the same as what it was when it first began — not that that's a bad thing. Like all great shows, Parenthood has let its characters grow like real people during the course of six years, allowing them to change jobs, opinions, relationship statuses and more while sticking close to their values.
Which is why re-watching the Parenthood pilot, as I recently chose to do, is so strange. So much of the show was incredibly different — Crosby, living on a boat?! — back on March 2, 2010, and I'm finding it hard to reconcile the series that aired five years ago with the one fans know and love today. From Crosby's crazy living situation to the sight of baby Max (!), here are the 14 wildest things from the Parenthood series premiere:
Adam Had Time to Jog
The pilot opened with a bright-eyed Adam leaving his house to go for a jog. A jog. Season 1 Adam had the time and energy to exercise recreationally! There were no meetings at the Luncheonette, no therapy sessions for Max, no taking care of Nora, no hospital visits for his wife, no cooking lunch for 100 high schoolers — 2010 Adam was a much different guy, not to mention probably much more relaxed.
Amber Was a Major Cliche
A half-naked, tattooed boyfriend. An overuse of black eyeliner. A fondness for the words "you're ruining my life!" Teenage Amber filled literally every "angsty teen" cliche there was, and sorry, Parenthood writers, but it just didn't feel real.
Max Played Sports
Sure, it didn't last long, and the kid's aversion to all things non-Lego was evident from the start, but still, it was hard not to be shocked when Max appeared on the field in his uniform. And look how cute he was!
This Was an Average Day in Crosby's Life
Oh, season 1 Crosby. So young, so naive.
There Were No Opening Credits
Parenthood looks a lot different without baby photos of its cast members in its opening credits. Instead, all the pilot gave was a shortened version of "Forever Young" and that sad, empty screen above.
And was a central character with relationships and storylines. I know it's hard to believe, but I swear, it's true!
Everyone Was Setting Up Sarah
Because as ridiculous as it sounds now, there was a time when Sarah, queen of love triangles and "ugh, I don't know what I want" rants, was single.
Sydney Was the Root of All of Julia and Joel's Problems
The kid had like, two scenes in the pilot, and she used them to cause major tension in her parents' marriage. Some people just never change.
Haddie and Amber Were in Jail
Adam Couldn't Deal With Max's Diagnosis
Adam's initial response to hearing that Max might've had Asperger's was understandable — he freaked, wanted more information, and gave a thousand explanations for why everyone was wrong — but it was still a shock to see, considering how fantastic Adam became later on in dealing with his son.
Seth Wasn't Seth
Who was this strange man and where was John Corbett?!
Zeek Was Kind of the Worst
I probably shouldn't be criticizing Zeek considering he's about to die and all, but back in season 1, the Braverman patriarch was pretty much the worst. He yelled at Adam, criticized Max, was suspected of (and later proven to be) having an affair, and was generally nothing like the guy we know and love today.
It Was Dedicated to a Woman Named Nora
The pilot was dedicated to Nora O'Brien, an NBC executive who suffered a brain aneurysm while on set of the show in May 2009. I don't know for sure, but I'd like to think that Parenthood decided to give Kristina and Adam's third child the same first name in tribute to the late exec. If true, it'd be just one more example of how beautifully the show encapsulates the idea of the "circle of life."