Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha
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Question: With the introduction this year of new comedies like the promising The New Normal and the dreadful Partners featuring prominent characters who are gay, I was wondering what you think of the current state of gay characters represented on TV. In some ways while I am thrilled to see more representation of the gay community on television, I have to admit I was disheartened by the same stereotypical, flamboyant gay characters once again being represented. Haven't we moved past this? I do think we have some very positive portrayals today in shows like Glee and Grey's Anatomy, but this just seems like a step backwards. What are your thoughts? — Rob
Joe Biden, Paul Ryan
A quick look back at some of what got this critic talking about TV this week:
THE MAIN EVENT: Now that's how you do a TV debate, as the veep candidates squared off Thursday night in a lively encounter that made for great TV, unlike last week's unfocused and lost-in-the-weeds presidential face-off. Rousing, contentious, scrappy, with an actively engaged moderator...
[Spoiler alert: The following reveals major plot points from Tuesday's episode of Parenthood. Read at your own risk.]
A son with Asperger's, money troubles, an unexpected pregnancy. Like almost every member of the Braverman clan, Parenthood's Kristina (Monica Potter) has been put through the wringer. So when it came time to start work on Season 4 of the NBC family drama (Tuesdays at 10/9c), Potter had a gut instinct for what should come next...
Tim DeKay and Matt Bomer
Another sign that summer is over (as if the scattered fall premieres weren't enough): USA Network draws the curtain on two of its better hot-weather diversions — although one will be back before you know it.
Parenthood already has one of the biggest casts on network TV, but it's ensemble just keeps growing. Last season added Adam and Kristina's baby daughter, Nora, and saw the return of Sarah's ex, Mark Cyr (Jason Ritter). For Season 4, which premieres on Sept. 11 at 10/9c, the NBC drama has added a few more fresh faces. There's Victor, Julia and Joel's adopted son and, of course, Emmy winner Ray Romano, who will play yet another love interest for the eldest Braverman daughter. "I've been talking to Ray a bunch about his character and he's really excited about doing it," executive producer Jason Katims tells TVGuide.com. "He's a fan."
But Sarah's complicated love life — including whether or not she accepted Mark's surprise proposal — is far from the only obstacle the Bravermans will face. Katims filled us in on Romano's "acerbic" new guy, Amber's promising new romance, Julia's tough juggling act and whether there's another new Braverman baby on the way for Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant). As usual, it sounds like you should have your Kleenex ready....
Joy Bryant and Dax Shepherd, Parenthood
It was the best of times and it was the worst of times on last week's Parenthood. Jasmine (Joy Bryant) professed her love for Crosby (Dax Shepard), just as his sister, Julia, (Erika Christensen) learned the heart-breaking news that she was not going to be a mother again.
And don't push those tissue boxes away just yet. "I'm really proud of the finale. It was one of those episodes where so many things come together and it's got good humor, it's emotional," showrunner Jason Katims tells TVGuide.com. "It's a nice mix of seeing some things come to a really satisfying ending and on the other hand, opening up...
Max Burkholder and Peter Krause
Since first learning that their son has Asperger's, Parenthood's Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina Braverman (Monica Potter) have fought tirelessly to give Max every available opportunity and not let it dictate his life.
But how do you protect your child when the rest of the world doesn't see it that way? In Tuesday's episode (10/9c, NBC), Adam and Kristina push Max (Max Burkholder) not to abandon his love of basketball and pass out of gym class. However, there's more to Max's sudden decision to back out of the sport than meets the eye.
Watch full episodes of Parenthood
"I know I have a good lay-up, and I tell the other kids that, but they still don't...
They've opened up shop and welcomed their first customer with Grammy winner Cee Lo Green. Now Adam and Crosby's burgeoning business is getting a receptionist on Parenthood. Enter, Rachel (Alexandra Daddario).
"She's a young girl who is sort of figuring out her life and really wants to go into the music business," Daddario tells TVGuide.com of her multi-episode arc starting on Tuesday's episode (10/9c, NBC). "She comes in and she sort of causes a little bit of drama for Adam (Peter Krause)."
Craig T. Nelson, Bonnie Bedelia, Monica Potter, Peter Krause
If you're still drying your eyes after last week's emotional goodbye between Kristina (Monica Potter) and Alex (Michael B. Jordan) on Parenthood, you're not alone. Just don't even think about putting the tissues away yet.
"I had no idea that this scene would move people. Michael and I just did it and it was like, 'OK, that was good.' But I came in last week and our crew members were talking about that scene," Potter tells TVGuide.com. "I thought, 'Wow that's pretty incredible that people are having this strong of a reaction. Which is great — it was very moving and touching to me.'" However, just as Kristina and the Bravermans say goodbye to one (almost) member of the family, they will welcome a new arrival with the birth of their baby in Tuesday's episode, titled "Nora," airing at 10/9c on NBC. Potter talked with TVGuide.com about Kristina's surprising delivery room partner, the art of pretending to give birth (hint: it involves grape jelly and cream cheese!) and the high emotions ahead for Kristina that come with this new bundle of joy...
Brace yourself, Parenthood fans. The Braverman clan is about to expand. Twice.
In the second season finale, Julia (Erika Christensen) and Joel (Sam Jaeger) set their sights on adoption just as Kristina (Monica Potter) and Adam (Peter Krause) got the surprising news about baby No. 3.
The two new additions are certainly cause for celebration, but after Julia and Joel tried unsuccessfully for months to have a child of their own, Kristina's unplanned pregnancy will be a tough pill to swallow.
NBC Upfronts red carpet scoop: Will Parenthood do a time jump?
"Adoption can be quite a process, and then at the same time, Kristina having gotten pregnant, that's heartbreaking for me to think about Julia finding out...