Sarah Braverman's love life has been quite the rollercoaster ride ever since Parenthoodstarted. She's made a few bad choices over the years (see also: dating her and her brother's boss and kissing her fresh-out-of-rehab ex-husband), but ever since Sarah (Lauren Graham) rekindled her romance with Hank (Ray Romano) at the end of Season 5, it appeared that the eldest Braverman daughter had finally settled down for good. But will that remain true when Sarah's former fiancé, the beloved Mark (Jason Ritter), comes back into her life on Thursday's episode (10/9c, NBC)?
To better prepare for this visit from a ghost of boyfriends past, TVGuide.com decided to look back at Sarah's many romances one last time.
7. Gordon Flint (William Baldwin): Sure, Gordon — or "Gordo" as Zeek so lovingly dubbed him at the family's Thanksgiving dinner in Season 2 — was good for Sarah in some ways. When she was an intern at T&S Footwear, Gordon specifically choose her to accompany him to a shoe convention, where she kicked butt, which gave her a much-needed, confidence boost. (But did he do it because he had a growing crush on her?) Although he wore too much hair gel and drove a Porsche (so pretentious), he was "a lot better than some of those doozies you used to bring around," as Zeek told Sarah. However, his dealings with Adam really sealed the deal. He sold the company and told Adam that he was losing his job on Thanksgiving, but still showed up at Casa de Braverman hours later for turkey, despite Adam's request that he didn't. Everyone who watches Parenthood knows that winning over the family is a must. So, Gordon sped into the sunset soon after.
6. Seth Holt (John Corbett): This is a toughie because there is so much of Sarah's history with her ex-husband viewers will never see and never fully understand. We know that he battled severe drug and alcohol addiction for years before getting clean in Season 3, and we know he was pretty much the world's worst father when Amber and Drew were growing up because he was always on the road with his band. But for all his faults, Seth made great improvements on-screen to make up for the past. In Season 2, he called Drew on Thanksgiving (albeit after Zeek told him to). In Season 3, he successfully completed rehab. And in Season 5, he took care of a very drunk, very heartbroken Amber after her second devastating split from Ryan. However, the most telling moment of redemption came when Amber told her estranged pop to stop getting in the way of Sarah's on-again romance with Mark, and Seth did just that, despite his persistent feelings for her.
5. Carl Fletcher (Josh Stamberg): Sure, Carl was super attractive. And he was a doctor. And he did charity work in third-world countries. But the first time viewers met Sarah's neighbor, he was bringing a sloshed twentysomething back to his place. Basically, he never stood a chance. Carl seemed to reform his playboy ways, telling Sarah "I may be falling for you," and he even invited her to go to Africa with him. But when she told him she had an important deadline for a big photography assignment due at the same time, Carl was not very supportive. "Does anybody really make deadlines anymore?" was his golden nugget of advice. Someone please tell me how this guy got the grades to go to medical school. Thankfully, Hank talked some sense into Sarah, and she broke things off with Carl to get back on her "Year of Sarah" track.
4. Jim Kazinsky (Mike O'Malley): Sarah's high school classmate may have been a fox back in the day, but he wasn't her most attractive conquest. (Yes, that's superficial, sorry.) However, he always seemed to have his heart in the right place. He told her on their first date that she was even more beautiful than she was in high school. After their one night rendezvous, Jim didn't take Sarah's it's-not-you-it's-me speech so well, but he still wrote a book of poetry about her: The One That Got Away — Twice, in which he discussed her "moist, wet petals" at length. "He may not be my soul mate," Sarah later told Amber, "but he's talented."
3. Mike (Kevin Alejandro): Sadly, Mike didn't last long enough to reveal his last name, so "Mike the Forklift Guy" will have to suffice. Right before Sarah dated her boss at T&S Footwear, she enjoyed a flirtation with her younger co-worker, Mike. His age came in handy when Sarah needed to find a way to impress Amber and her friend Kelsey. Even though the secret Ben Harper concert he suggested turned out to be not-so-secret, he still got them all in thanks to his connections, and grabbed Sarah's hand on the way inside. She kissed Gordon in the next episode and sent Mike packing, but in retrospect, this one may have been worth a longer look.
2. Hank Rizzoli (Ray Romano): Since Hank seems to be Sarah's chosen person, technically he should be No. 1 on this list. But the guy is far from perfect. He's been preoccupied most of this season dealing with major family drama, most of which centers around his angsty daughter Ruby, who is giving Sydney serious competition for worst child on Parenthood. And although he's embraced his Asperger's diagnosis, it can still put a strain on his relationship with Sarah, like when he told her that he saw Amber crying and didn't think to ask Amber why. On the other side of the spectrum, Hank has always gone above and beyond for Sarah, even during the long period when they weren't in a relationship. (Remember when he convinced her to focus on her work and forgo the trip to Africa or when he drove Amber all the way down to San Diego to see an injured Ryan?) And his bond with Max is pretty much unmatched. As long as Hank focuses a little more attention on Sarah once his family issues settle down, he's a pretty good catch.
1. Mark Cyr (Jason Ritter): As much as this reporter is and has always been #TeamHank (blame the wonderful Men of a Certain Age), it's pretty hard to find fault with Mark Cyr. Sure, when Sarah was engaged to Mark, she still felt the need to go with Hank to Los Angeles and help him mend things with his daughter, so it's obvious there was something she felt for Hank that she didn't feel for Mark. (Or is it, as Mark told her, "You do this thing where every time there's something good in your life, something that's making you feel good about yourself or anything like that, you just run away from it.") But he put up with a lot of grief to be with Sarah. In Season 1, he risked his job as a teacher by dating the parent of a student. In Season 3, he gave Sarah her space so she could help Seth as he pieced his life back together. And in Season 4, he exercised a lot of patience with the whole Hank situation before calling it quits. There were also some fundamental differences between them, such as his desire to have a baby, but Mark was always one of the good ones. That's why it will be such a big deal when Sarah comes face-to-face with her ex on Thursday and why questions about Ritter's return to the series have persisted no matter where his relationship with Sarah stands. Even if he's not the perfect guy for Sarah, Mark is still a pretty damn near perfect guy.
Parenthood airs Thursday at 10/9c on NBC.
Unleashing the fever! Watch Parenthood's best Braverman dance parties: