This week’s Parenthood was excellent (again!), and I liked that almost all storylines had a common theme: biting off more than one can chew, often with the best of intentions.
Parenthood has always been able to make its characters both flawed and inherently likable. They make mistakes, but we rarely dislike someone. I hated Jasmine, but even came around on her. In “One More Weekend With You”, the characters at the centers of the storylines all had more going on than they could handle, some of them made mistakes, but they were all very sweet.
Adam and Kristina
I’ll start, as per usual, with the big one – Kristina’s ongoing battle with cancer. The show has done such a great job of keeping her in character throughout this, and I think some shows often struggle with letting a crisis completely take over a personality. Kristina is still kind, and on-edge, and over-extended. She never should have offered to babysit Max’s friend all weekend, but she thought she was superwoman. She thought she’d be the only person to not get sick from chemo because, of course she would think that. She’s Kristina Braverman.
The whole overwhelming situation was depicted well – a crying baby, a puking Kristina, a peeing dog and a whining Max were all happening at once. Max was at his most difficult and least understanding, which was a nice contrast to the sweet moment he had with his mother last week. Just because his mom has cancer doesn’t mean he no longer has Asperger’s, and it rings true to me that sometimes Max would be very, very frustrating to deal with at a bad moment.
It felt like marijuana was the answer the whole time, but watching Adam barge in on Crosby and Jasmine’s party with the whole messy gang was a funny twist to put on it.
Crosby and Jasmine
The Crosby and Jasmine storyline was pretty basic this week, but I liked how it showed the ripple effect of Kristina’s illness. Crosby has been working very late and very hard, and I felt like he was well within his rights to be cranky about the party. I wouldn’t want to do all that work and deal with all those people if I’d been working until three or four a.m. either.
It was nice to see the married couple work through their spat this time though, and the storyline was sweet and fun.
Sarah, Mark and Drew
Remember when Drew walked in on his mother and his teacher having sex? It was at the beginning of that fantastic road trip episode. Well, it was payback time – Mark walked in on Drew and Amy this week, which introduced a whole host of awkward problems. Mark did his best to have a grownup conversation with Drew about safety, and he did a pretty good job, but Drew was too humiliated to really engage.
The storyline had more to do with Sarah and Mark navigating the new concept of co-parenting than it did with Sarah discovering that her son is sexually active. I liked that the issue wasn’t something that caused a big rift between Sarah and Mark, it was just a new challenge for them to figure out.
Amber and Ryan
Is there a relationship being depicted on television right now that is as charming as Amber Braverman and Luke Cafferty? (Oh come on. He is Luke to us FNL fans, forever and always.) I really love how beautifully the show is portraying this relationship. It’s both intensely difficult and sweetly easy. They have a natural chemistry, but there are also some major hurdles in their way, and we saw some of those issues arise this week when Luke went to the funeral for an army buddy who’d committed suicide. So far, Parenthood is doing a good job of addressing the various troubles that come with being ex-military without being an after-school special.
Julia and Joel
Again, another good storyline. I think the showrunners have done a great job of taking a storyline that many viewers were unsure about and proving us wrong. The addition of Victor to the Braverman-Graham household has yielded excellent results. Sydney’s feelings of jealousy and neglect were both totally warranted and, of course, a bit bratty. Major props to Savannah Paige Rae, who did a lovely job with the running away scene. It’s such a universal experience, threatening to run away and having a teary, red-faced tantrum about not being appreciated. She’s just a kid, and she totally pulled it off.
Sydney has always been a little bratty, because she’s an only child. She’s also very smart, and has had an easy life. So this new kid comes into the house, he gets all the attention, he gets away with things that Sydney doesn’t, it’s very natural that she would feel angry. Joel and Julia dealt with it really well, and I look forward to seeing how the show can portray Sydney’s growing relationship with her brother.
Parenthood is seriously killing it this year, right? We all think so. Now hit me with your comments.