Erika Christensen Talks Joel, Julia And The End Of ‘Parenthood’ (Exclusive)

"It has been really nice for me to play a grown up with real grown-up problems"

It may all come down to the play at the plate.

“It’s a close game for Joel and Julia,” says PARENTHOOD’s Erika Christensen.

“You know how much can change — even within any given episode.  So with another five episodes to go, who knows what will happen?”

Certainly not Christensen, 32, who insists she hasn’t yet peaked at scripts for the final episodes, which will be shot over the next few weeks.

For much of the past year, Joel (Sam Jaeger) and Julia (Christensen) have been plagued with marriage drama and appeared to be on the fast road to divorce.

“It has finally come to a point where [their relationship] makes sense to me,” the actress says.

“Last season was rough because Joel was obviously not being logical most of the time.  Now we have talked about it so much that it has gotten to a point where they are both so justified.  Joel and Julia are both so justified in their grievances about the other and their misgivings about their attempting the relationship with each other.”

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The storyline — which began abruptly in season five — is much more intense than Christensen expected.

“I thought it would be a lot more about the distraction of Joel’s hot new lady boss and Julia’s new friends,” she tells me.

“I thought  it would be a lot more about the flirtations and that kind of thing.  But the reality of it is that it was ultimately about the overall breakdown of Joel and Julia’s relationship.  It was completely about the internal forces at work in the relationship.”

And that — not surprisingly — upset many of the show’s loyal fans.

Christensen told me about the most exteme reactions — and what she hopes to do after the show ends — when we spoke last Friday.

Have fans been approaching you with their commentary about Joel an Julia’s breakup?
Yes!  Lots of twitter suicide threats — which is obviously funny because people are just being dramatic.  It was really rough.  Joel got a lot of hate last year and now Julia’s got a lot of hate as well.

Joel seems like a more sympathetic character now…
And I think that makes sense. Julia is the one being kind of intractable and Joel is more willing to reach out.

Have you learned anything about life and love and relationships from the Bravermans?
The Braverman family doesn’t sit on things.  It may be trite to say that communication is the most important thing in a relationship, but it truly is.  They do so well with it.  Any time there is an issue with any of the family members, they basically get in the car and drive over there and talk about it immediately.  They don’t even call.  Instead of letting it fester and turning mole hills into mountains over some miscommunication — with the exception of whatever is happening with Joel and Julia, I would say that is the general Braverman way.

There are a lot of theories of what might happen in the last few episodes?
It is always fun to hear what ideas people have.  People are very, very invested.  As am I.  I have made the decision to stop reading anybody else’s scenes other than my own.  So watching the show is completely a surprise to em.  Which is great.  As far a Joel and Julia, all I can say is you know how much can change — even within any given episode.  So with that much time to go, with another 5 episodes, who knows?

Are you cool with the direction it seems to be going in?
We are making good television.


Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly