Monica Potter Q&A: ‘Parenthood’
It was a year of upheaval for Kristina Braverman, the wife and mother played by Monica Potter on NBC's family drama "Parenthood." She gave birth to a third child, returned to work as a political consultant, and struggled with jealousy after her husband (Peter Krause) found himself in a compromising position with a comely employee. But Potter admits she doesn't always see eye-to-eye with her typically upstanding member of the Braverman clan.
She explains, "I talk a lot to our producer-director [Lawrence Trilling] about it, and [he says,] 'You know what, let it not make sense to Monica,' and I'm like, 'That's right, that's a good answer' … We all battle that sometimes as actors." She cites in particular her "Nosy Nellie" character's intrusion when she learns that her niece (Mae Whitman) is planning to consummate her relationship with a charming political candidate (Jonathan Tucker). Nevertheless, Potter admires her character's dedication to her family: "What I love about Kristina is how intact her marriage is and how much they respect each other as husband and wife, and I've learned a lot from that."
"Parenthood" ended its third season in February, and though the series has yet to be nominated at the Emmys, she explains that the cast and crew don't dwell on awards recognition. "We're kind of like the underdog, we don't really get much attention, so we're kind of cool with that," she says, though she would nevertheless welcome Emmy's affection. "It would be nice, because then you get a statue, and you get accolades, and you get to go to the parties, and then you get invited to other things, and you get a raise – but I haven't thought at all about it," she says with a laugh.
Potter is a contender for Best Drama Supporting Actress, and if nominated she may submit the episode "Nora" to Emmy judges. In that episode, she goes into labor and delivers her child with her brother-in-law Crosby (Dax Shepard) at her side. "It was awesome," she says of her experience filming the episode. "We just sort of got into a zone and had a lot of fun with it, and we had to do it so many times, but I loved doing that."
Another possibility may be "Mr. Honesty," in which Kristina confronts her husband about his inappropriate encounter with his assistant. "We had all three cameras running, and it was like a reality show. It was a five- or six-minute take, and [director Trilling] used the whole thing," she says of the mostly improvised scene. Ad-libbing is common on set, Potter explains: "Especially during the dinner scenes, and a lot of us are all together for the big family functions, we'll stay on course with the script, we'll make sure the points are getting out there, but most of it is ad-libbing."
NBC has yet to announce whether "Parenthood" will return for a fourth season, though Potter hopes her emotionally taxed character will get a chance to cut loose if the show is renewed: "I want to see her maybe out at a bar, stripping – I'm kidding! Just for her to loosen up a little bit and have some fun … Hopefully I'll be able to finagle that and work that in."