Mae Whitman, Matt Lauria
To be or not to be ... pregnant: That is the question facing the writers of Parenthood as the show prepares to kick off its final season this fall. While the Season 5 finale wrapped up many of the year's ongoing story lines, so much so that it made star Peter Krause worry about a renewal, there was one huge cliff-hanger left unanswered: Is Amber (Mae Whitman) expecting? Aside from the hotly debated question of how she and on-and-off love Ryan (Matt Lauria) could have even had sex in his hospital bed in the first place — we're with you, Ray Romano — Amber was spotted buying a pregnancy test in the final act. While the writers begin to decide where the final 13 episodes will take the Braverman clan, we thought we'd help them out by devising a pro-con list of whether Amber should be pregnant:
Pro: They'd have ridiculously good-looking kids. Enough said.
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Con: They're both too young. We don't mean age-wise, we simply mean maturity level. Amber is an old soul but she is still fiercely independent almost to a fault sometimes, which may not be the best trait for compromising as a parent. Ryan also proved he still has a lot of growing up to do when he didn't tell Amber about his pill usage and ran away to the Army when their relationship got tough. In addition, Amber has a lot professional potential in music, especially after she sang backup on Ashes of Rome's record, that she has yet to explore. Going on tour in a gross, smelly van with a baby isn't exactly ideal. Ryan also has a lot of career stuff to figure out too, since he was discharged from the Army only after he drove drunk on base, which means he probably isn't on the short list for any type of medal.
Pro: It would fit perfectly with showrunner Jason Katims' plan! In an interview with Buzzfeed this spring, Katims said that the final season would reflect what the show is about, which is "the cycle of life. ... You see these little kids become bigger kids, and this season, you saw a shift in the patriarch going from Zeek to Adam. I think I would want the end to be about sort of that kind of change, that idea that something is passing and something is starting, something is beginning." What better way to show that than Amber starting the next generation of Bravermans? If Adam is going to be the new patriarch of the family, could Sarah be the new matriarch?
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Con: Amber would be stuck with one hellish mother-in-law and grandmother to her baby (see: Annabeth Gish's less-than-charming portrayal of Mrs. York in the season finale). No wonder Ryan has pretty much a nonexistent relationship with his family!
Pro: Amber has great maternal figures in droves! Not only Camilla, who will be the coolest great grandma ever on TV, but Sarah, Julia, Kristina, Jasmine. The Braverman army is not to be underestimated.
Con: She and Ryan are not in a stable place to have a baby. As much as they love each other and everyone loves them together, it will take a lot of time and work before they are in a strong enough state as a couple. Even when they were engaged, they didn't seem to be on the same page on a lot of important subjects and getting ready for baby is a lot more stressful than getting ready for a wedding.
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Pro: This could be the incentive for Amber and Ryan to take stock of their lives and their rollercoaster of a relationship and motivate them to really give it a serious try once and for all. If not for their own happiness, but for the best interest of the baby. It's not exactly the most romantic reason, but it's sure as heck practical.
Con: Is there enough time to really follow this story line through? The final season of Parenthood will only be 13 episodes. While the show traditionally jumps forward in time to match the length of its summer hiatus, which means the new season would pick up approximately five months later, that might not be enough time to take Amber from the middle of her second trimester to her due date. If the baby was conceived around the April 17 date of the season finale, she would tentatively be due in the middle of January — just weeks before Parenthood will have to give up its timeslot to midseason drama Allegiance in February. After two seasons of investing in Amber and Ryan's many break-ups and make-ups, would viewers really be satisfied with not being able to really see the two navigate the bumpy beginnings of parenthood?
Pro: Whitman has long been known as one of the best criers on TV and generally one of the strongest parts of the drama's already impressive ensemble. Can you imagine what someone with both her dramatic and comedic talents could bring to the show when Amber goes into labor? Talk about a special delivery!
Parenthood returns on Thursday, Sept. 25 at 10/9c on NBC. Do you want Amber and Ryan to have a baby?
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