By Sandra Gonzalez
November 01, 2011 at 12:00 PM EDT
Trae Patton/NBC
  • TV Show

This season of Parenthood has decidedly taken the Bravermans into uncharted — and slightly darker — territory. Sarah (Lauren Graham) is struggling to help her ex-husband Seth (John Corbitt) sober up, Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter) have a new baby and no money, Julia (Erika Christensen) has hit more than a few snags on her quest for another child with Joel (Sam Jaeger), and Crosby (Dax Shepard) is looking for any way he can to stay afloat. And that’s just the adults.

Well, as the show moves into November sweeps (a critical month for television shows), things are only going to get tougher for the gang. In a chat with EW, executive producer Jason Katims previewed the trials and tribulations on the way. [Steer clear, SPOILER phobes!]

Adam and Kristina’s tough time. With a new baby at home and Kristina quickly fraying at the edges, Katims said even more stress will be placed on the super-parents when Adam and Crosby’s new receptionist (Alexandra Daddario) comes into the picture. “We’re exploring the complications that exist in a marriage,” Katims says. “In this case, it’s interesting territory for us to explore. It isn’t a story about Adam having an affair or anything like that, but it is a story that deals with Adam and Kristina have to go through a somewhat uncomfortable moment in their relationship.” But Katims assures Parenthood isn’t taking the overly dramatic road with the storyline. “There’s humor in that storyline, but it also does go to a place that’s really edgy. What’s great about the show is that it’s been able to explore those kinds of storylines and still keep the lighter side simultaneously.” In the end, he says, “I don’t think this will undermine the relationship between Adam and Kristina…they’ll come out stronger than they were beforehand.”

Sarah will ‘follow her heart’ with her ex-husband. But is this the end for her and Mark (Jason Ritter)? The storyline that Katims calls among his favorites this year will continue to come to a head, as Sarah struggles against all the forces in her life (among them, her father, her family and her boyfriend) to “follow her heart,” says Katims. “It’s a really interesting question about whether people can change. She wants to believe that [Seth] can change despite her history with him where he’s shown many times that he hasn’t really been able to do that.” But the storyline, which Katims explains will wrap up in the next two episodes, is not likely to spell disaster for Sarah and Mark’s relationship. “We’re hoping his storyline will play through to the end of the season. The two of them have such great chemistry together,” he says.

Crosby and Jasmine: There’s hope where there once was none! Jasmine (Joy Bryant) might be dating Dr. Joe, but tearing Jasmine and Crosby apart, it turns out, might be the best way to get them back together. “Even though they’ve been living separately for months now, Jabar doesn’t realize they’re not still getting married,” Katims says. “That issue comes up, and it’s really hard and difficult and painful for them to figure out how to talk to him bluntly about that. It ironically ends up kind of pulling together a little bit, which is very complicated since they’ve made this commitment to raise Jabar separately this year.”

Julia and Joel’s adoption “in jeopardy.” If you’re heart hasn’t been bleeding for Julia and Joel this season, you don’t have one. Ehem, sorry. I meant to say, the J’s have been working hard to get themselves a new addition, and even though it might seem like Zoe the coffee cart girl was the answer to their prayers, there is trouble on the way. “There’s a complication when her boyfriend comes into the picture and throws a wrench into the works and questions the way Joel and Julia are treating Zoe and the way they’re handling it,” Katims says. “That puts the adoption in jeopardy.”

Graduation on the way for Haddie, but this isn’t GleeIt might be senior year for Haddie (Sarah Ramos), but Katims points out, “it’s complicated by the fact that the family is not in a position financially to send her anywhere she wants to go.” (So let’s kill talk of anyone exiting the show before it starts. Deal?) But growing up will bring new challenges for the eldest Braverman grandkid. “There’s a really nice episode coming up where Max gets lost and Hattie is somewhat responsible,” he says. “It’s a really poignant story — not only are there the obvious stakes of finding him and the conflict that comes up with her parents, but there’s also feelings that come out about her having a brother like Max and having a lot of the attention and the energy in the house always going toward him. That’s something we’ll continue to explore through the end of the season.” (Lanford Beard contributed to this report.)

Follow Sandra on Twitter: @EWSandraG

Read more:

NBC extends run of ‘Parenthood’ this season

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