But did they have one last Braverman dance party?! After six seasons and a pile of empty tissue boxes, NBC's Parenthood will finally come to an emotional end on Thursday, Jan. 29. Monica Potter, who's played Kristina Braverman on the beloved series since 2010, opened up to Us Weekly about reading the final script, her favorite story lines, and how the cast bittersweetly celebrated and said goodbye at a multi-legged wrap party back in December.
For the first gathering, Potter had dinner at creator Jason Katims' home. After the "lovely" visit, the cast — Potter's TV husband Peter Krause (Adam Braverman), Lauren Graham (Sarah Braverman), Dax Shepard (Crosby Braverman), Erika Christensen (Julia Braverman), among others — then let down their hair and boogied (the Braverman way!) at Hollywood's Avalon nightclub a week later.
"Everyone had glow sticks," Potter, 43, told Us. "They were playing [blooper] outtakes and roles from all the seasons over and over. It was really nice, but it was sad at the same time," she added. "It was party mode — this is going to sound really screwed up — it was sort of like a funeral and a party mixed into one. It was like crying and celebrating."
Sobbing, at least, is what they're used to. The family drama leaves fans weeping every week, which has become somewhat of a running joke with its stars. Potter's season four cancer story line is one of the many moments that have pulled at viewers' heartstrings. But oddly enough, it was Kristina's mayoral run that was the most challenging for the actress.
"I know it sounds weird, but I have stage fright and I don't like talking onstage," Potter explained. "So whenever I'd have go up and give speeches, it was hard for me."
As for what she will miss most? "The connection with the cast and the crew and the connection with the fans. I think that Kristina will always be there wherever I go because of the way that she's impacted so many people, including myself — as far as meeting women who have gone through the breast cancer struggle and their children and husbands," she told Us.
Her on-screen son's autism plotline has also left an impact. "It's taught me how to be a more patient mom," she said, referencing Max Burkholder's role. "I'll always covet my relationship with Kristina. I think we're very much alike but we're also different, we sort of became one at the end."
Saying goodbye to the Bravermans will be rough for audiences, but the actors have been feeling nostalgic since reading the final scripts. Potter admits that she teared up while reading the last three, but the finale was the worst to get through.
"I was crying when I read it and I had to close it," she recalled. "I was really crying because I related it to my relationships in real life with the people that it's affecting." She previously mentioned: "I feel like it'll hit us all when the last episode airs."
Parenthood's final season has particularly focused on Craig T. Nelson's character Zeek, the family patriarch, and his failing heart condition. Back in July, showrunner Katims hinted at the Television Critics Association's fall preview that one "larger story" would take center stage throughout the season, leading many to believe that Zeek's days were numbered. Potter stayed mum on the subject, but did say she was surprised by the ending. "It sucked. Not the writing, it sucked that it happened. But I always say this to [Katims] — what about doing A Very Braverman Christmas every year like The Brady Bunch did?" she told Us. "…and [he] said that's a great idea."
She continued: "We can just collect everybody and do a special every year. That way we keep the integrity of the show because we ended on a high note, but it's sort of like a check-in with the Bravermans every year."
A Braverman special has yet to be decided, but, until then, Potter clearly will have no trouble staying in touch with her second family. Her best friend is Burkholder's mother and she often gets together for big dinners with everyone. Shepard and wife Kristen Bell also brought their newborn daughter Delta to set on the last day of shooting.
On finale night, Potter hopes to have a United Nations potluck with real-life couple Krause and Graham, as well as the rest of the bunch. "I'm going to hold Lauren and Peter to this," she teased. "Everyone [can] bring something from a different country."
Krause and the Gilmore Girls alum began dating early on during filming. Potter never felt awkward kissing the Six Feet Under star in front of Graham, but did offer a sweet moment she once had with the actress.
"Sometimes you can catch them looking at each other googly-eyed. When she first told me that they were dating, it was so cute," she told Us. "I just saw her looking at him with her big beautiful blue eyes sparkling — it was really sweet to see them. It's really nice see to a solid couple like that."
In addition to shipping the actors' romance, fans have been cheering on the Braverman couples (Julia and Joel forever!) along the way. But for Potter, an extra added bonus has been to see her costars' relationships and friendships flourish off-set. "We all were so invested in each other's families because we got to know their counterparts," she said. "Everybody was in it for the long haul with whomever their partner was. Very rare. It was pretty great."
Parenthood's series finale airs on Thursday, Jan. 29, at 10 p.m. EST on NBC. Stock up on tissues now!
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