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Parenthood: I hear you, I see you…and I still love you

Parenthood is back! I know the Fall TV season has officially begun, but last night’s season two premiere of Parenthood was the first return of a non-reality show for me, and that’s special.

I’ve been singing the praises of Parenthood since it first debuted, and it seems that over the course of the first twelve episodes the series gained a lot of fans. This pleases me, because a) I love being right and b) I do not want NBC to cancel this show. What I loved about this season two premiere was that it picked up on some problems that the characters dealt with last season but also set us up for brand new plots and developments. All the characters got screen time, and the teaser at the end of upcoming episodes looked incredibly promising.

Movin’ On Up

First of all, there is a fun new twist in Adam and Sarah’s relationship. Sarah came up with a clever idea about a shoe locating device and suggested it to Adam (who works for a sneaker company). Adam mentioned it to his boss (Billy Baldwin – not as barf-ariffic as I expected, but I still DO NOT want to see him touching Lauren Graham. Ever.) who liked the idea and decided to develop it. Well, that was awkward. After a little encouragement from Zeek to start taking owndership of her ideas, Sarah told Adam that she wanted to be involved with the development of the idea.

All of this could have come across as petty and stupid, but Lauren Graham does an impeccable job of portraying Sarah’s broken-down self worth. After years of working as a waitress and bartender, Sarah is hesitant to give herself any credit when it comes to her own intelligence and talent. This could easily come across as annoying, but instead Lauren Graham (and the writers) make you root for Sarah. At the end of the episode, Adam offered Sarah an internship in the design department at his company. This is perfect. It will allow for more interaction between Adam and Sarah, it will give Sarah a chance to shine, and it will lead to a couple of interesting romantic developments for Sarah.

The only downside of this episode was that we didn’t get to see much of Sarah’s kids, Drew and Amber. In particular, I’m really excited to see what happens with Amber this season. There was, however, a great little exchange between Sarah and Joel, her sister Julia’s husband. I felt like Joel’s character wasn’t fully developed last season, and I’m glad we got a few great scenes with him in this first episode. Sarah, who apparently didn’t realize that Joel knew how to build stuff despite the fact that he’s been married to her sister for several years, asked Joel to build her a desk. It was a simple, but sweet scene.

Birds, Bees and Building

Joel’s storyline this episode mostly focused around his decision to be a stay-at-home dad and whether he and Julia will have another baby. When Joel was helping Zeek fix the roof to the guest house (all scenes between Joel and Zeek were hilarious) I got the sense that he is feeling a little inadequate being the one staying at home – especially while Sydney’s in school. We also learned that the reason he doesn’t work as a contractor anymore is because of the recession – he couldn’t afford to pay his team. Watching Joel try to bite his tongue about Zeek’s shoddy work on the roof was hilarious, but also was a great way to introduce some of these feelings. And those feelings will become important, because later Julia began talking about trying to have a second child. Joel and Julia also had a couple hilarious scenes where they tried to answer Sydney’s question of “Did I come out of a vagina?” – Julia tried to explain it accurately, Joel suggested they go for ice cream.

Driving Miss Crazy

I’m glad we got to see so much of Joel, Julia and Sydney because I felt that last season they were overshadowed by Adam’s family. What we saw in this episode of Adam’s family was great because I didn’t feel like it dominated the show, as it occasionally can. Adam’s storyline was mostly centered around work. There was Sarah’s shoe idea, but we also learned that Adam is under a lot of pressure from his jerk of a boss. Meanwhile, Haddie was getting the most hilarious driving lessons EVER from her mom, Kristina. Seriously, every scene between them was great. Kristina was so high-strung and irrational that she made it impossible for Haddie to remain calm enough to drive. Kristina could be a really unlikable character, but the strong love for her family that fuels her irrational fears make her more sympathetic. It also revealed a new, previously unspoken fear – that if Haddie died (in a fiery car wreck) there would be no one to take care of Max.

(Not) Going the Distance

Speaking of Max, he had a pretty great storyline this week too. He went to great lengths to plan a sleepover for when Jabbar came to visit, only to completely lose it when Crosby found out that Jasmine wasn’t bringing Jabbar to visit after all. In the same way that I thought it was great to see Sarah and Joel interact, I thought it was very interesting to see Crosby interacting with his autistic nephew more. When Max freaked out, Crosby had no idea how to handle it. It also showed why we need Minka Kelly on the show – Max has a lot to learn. This was a scene that is carefully setting up what is to come in Crosby’s life. Jasmine isn’t putting much focus on her long distance relationship with Crosby, and she’s kind of dropping the ball in the co-parenting field as well. But it looks like Jabbar will be living with daddy while mommy travels Europe dancing, which is going to be an excellent storyline. We’ll get to see Crosby tackle some more new dad challenges, and see him tackle what is most certainly a budding attraction to Max’s behavioral coach.

Throughout the episode we also got to see the results of Zeek and Camille’s marriage counseling. Basically, every time Zeek starts to lose his temper, he says “I hear you and I see you.” And he got a new haircut. It was pretty hilarious – especially when he uses it on people other than Camille, like Joel and Sarah. I don’t know how long this new, “softer” Zeek will last, though.

Overall, I thought the season two premiere of Parenthood was perfect. Sure, I would have liked to see more of Amber, but I’m sure she’ll have a good storyline in other episodes this season. This episode laid the groundwork for what’s to come, and by the looks of things it will be another fantastic season. Did you watch?

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