Parenthood: I watched it like a starving person who saw a sandwich

Parenthood is back! Parenthood is back! Parenthood is back!

And it has a new haircut.

Yes, let’s start with the aesthetic changes Parenthood made over the summer. Hi, Amber. Cool new haircut. Not really my style, but you’re totally rocking it. Hi, Haddie. Um, funny, I didn’t know it got so humid in Northern California? Or did I miss the Twitter trending topic that could have told me perms are in with all the teenage hipsters these days? What’s going on? Just an unlikable haircut to match your general unlikability?

OK. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, ohmigod Parenthood eeeeeeeeeeeee! You guys, you have no idea how excited I was about the return of this show. It’s both one of my favorite shows on TV right now (my favorite network drama, by far) and had the honor of officially marking the return of the fall season for me. No more snarking about disgusting people on Bachelor Pad anymore! I can finally write about the lovely, wonderful fictional people I know and love!

So what’s going on with the Bravermans? Well, we’ve jumped ahead a few months because Kristina is all kinds of pregnant, and the season three premiere did a great job of catching us up and setting up the season.

Kristina is about seven months pregnant and working, while Adam stays home and looks for work. That’s rough. I can’t imagine how it would feel to be at home, unshaven, bored and wearing sweatpants, while your pregnant wife is out working. But as someone who was once unemployed for five months, a word of advice to Adam: Get up. Get dressed. Go out. Make that happen almost every day. It’s the only way to avoid going insane. (At first when I was unemployed, I decided that I would continue to dress like I had for the office every day, just to keep me inspired. That lasted all of two days, but I continued to get up, shower, throw on jeans and a shirt and tote my laptop to a nearby coffeeshop every day. It helped.)

Meanwhile, Crosby and Jasmine are doing the co-parenting thing, which I’m excited about. I know I said I wanted to see this last season, and while I’d be open to Crosby and Jasmine getting back together at some point down the road I think this is a much more interesting storyline. Crosby and Jasmine have to put the needs of their son first while trying to keep jealousies at bay.

In the episode, Adam interviewed for and was offered a middle management job with a beverage distribution company. It required no creativity and would be a big step down for him financially, professionally, everything. It was heartbreaking to watch him practically beg the guy to give him a shot, both of them knowing Adam was overqualified. And then, setting up what’s going to be a major story arc this season, Crosby approached him with a business opportunity – taking over a legendary recording studio. While I’m not 100% sold on this idea, I do like the idea of seeing the brothers interact more. The relationship between these two has always been an important one, and the banter they had in last night’s episode about the pancake place was a great example of how good their chemistry together is. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

We didn’t hear anything about Sarah’s play, but she was somewhat at the center of the episode since it was her 40th birthday. What she was really concerned about, though, was Amber moving out. As much as I felt like Amber was being a selfish little brat, I’m glad that everything isn’t just hunkey-dorey again after what happened last season. Amber has a lot of growing up to do and needs to figure herself out, and it looks like she’s doing that. But for reals – don’t make plans on your mom’s 40th birthday. If she wants to have a dance party, have a dance party. Come on.

You know what makes me so happy? The fact that The Event was a big fat failure, which means Jason Ritter was able to return to Parenthood as Mark Cyr. I love him and Sarah together. John Corbett will be returning this season as Sarah’s ex Seth, and while I’m excited about that I also really, really don’t want Seth to mess things up between Sarah and Mark. Even though I think he probably will.

Julia and Joel are one of my favorite couples even though they’ve often been under-serviced on this show, and the premiere episode was no different. They’ve started the adoption process, but Julia and her Type-A tendencies are feeling anxious. She wants to offer to buy the pregnant coffee cart girl’s baby. I don’t really see that going well, but I hope the showrunners can find a way to give Julia and Joel some good material this year.

The major drama in this episode came from Haddie, who seems to be struggling with balancing her relationship with Alex and her friendships with her other high school senior friends. She wanted to go to a big party, but that obviously wasn’t a good idea for her recovering alcoholic boyfriend. Haddie really bugged me in this episode, but I guess that’s always been par for the course with her. She went to the ends of the earth to be with Alex, and she should be more understanding of his situation. Instead she acted like a total brat and got completely wasted at the party, even though she knew Alex would be picking her up to hang out. When the host of the party tried to prevent Alex from taking his drunk girlfriend home, things got heated and Alex knocked the guy out with one punch. Uh-oh. Turns out this wasn’t Alex’s first offense, so things could get complicated.

Overall, I was really pleased with the season premiere and I have high hopes for where this season will go. Unlike the multitude of cop, lawyer and scientist (or whatever you call those people on CSI) shows that dominate television today, Parenthood is a quiet, classic family drama that makes you laugh and cry because it makes you care about the characters. That’s rare, and Jason Katims does a great job of making it wok.

Other things I loved in this episode:

  • Sarah screaming at the librarian to try and get Amber’s diploma, and the librarian taking her lunch break mid-confrontation. Beautiful.
  • The waitress from the pancake place introducing herself to Jabbar as Crosby’s “special friend”. I groaned, but it felt like something that kind of girl (ditzy) would do. I also loved the look in Crosby’s eyes when he realized he could use being a dad as an easy way to escape the relationship.
  • Drunk Adam.
  • Drunk Haddie.
  • And, of course, the Friday Night Lights shout-out. Awesomesauce.




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