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Realistic TV tension: When was the last time it proved too much for you?

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After 36 hours, I have finally finished watching the season premiere of NBC’s Parenthood. I had to pause the episode when Sarah (Lauren Graham) showed up at the office of her brother Adam (Peter Krause) to confront him about stealing her idea for a LoJacked kids’ shoe. Graham, Krause, the show’s writers — these are not people afraid of letting an awkward, tension-filled scene breathe, and I just wasn’t in the mood to be put in the middle of that situation. The idea meant enough to each of them that they shouldn’t let it go easily. She needs to start valuing her ideas before anyone else will; he needs to prove to his boss (Krause’s Dirty Sexy Money co-star William Baldwin) that he’s always thinking about the job, even when he’s dealing with yet another family crisis. Since they’re both smart adults capable of sarcasm, it could get ugly. Of course, that realism is also why I watch the show and love Krause and Graham, so I did eventually step up and continue the episode. (Adam got Sarah an internship in the company’s design department, which is good for the lapse on her resumé and possibly for her social life — Baldwin’s character takes a definite interest in her.)

When was the last time realistic TV tension gave you pause, for a second or for hours?

Read more: Ken Tucker’s review of Parenthood‘s season 2 premiere