I was in the middle of writing a paragraph for an upcoming story about how “Parenthood” requires versatile actors to bridge the gap between its dramatic moments and its comic ones, and was citing Lauren Graham as an example of a castmember who exemplifies that versatility. And as I was writing it, news broke that she’s about to get a chance to work opposite another actor who can work both silly and dark.
Ray Romano will do a guest arc in the NBC drama’s upcoming fourth season, playing a photographer who befriends Graham’s Sarah Braverman and complicates her relationship with Jason Ritter’s Mark Cyr. When the third season ended, Sarah had accepted Mark’s marriage proposal, but things in real life were more ambiguous because Ritter was starring in a medical drama pilot for “Parenthood” producer Jason Katims. That show wasn’t picked up, but Sarah can apparently never have smooth sailing in her love life. (And often winds up next to men who aren’t close to her in age: Romano’s 10 years older, and Ritter 13 years younger.)
Romano is, of course, best known for starring in “Everybody Loves Raymond,” but through two seasons of TNT’s brilliant-but-canceled “Men of a Certain Age,” he got to demonstrate some impressive (and, to many viewers, surprising) dramatic chops playing a self-destructive gambling addict, while still deftly handling any jokes thrown his way. I’m not sure I need more Sarah romantic drama, but I love the idea of Romano being part of a show like “Parenthood” for a while.