Wednesday, November 16, 2011

'Parenthood' Warms My Heart...

I know I promised to write more about Parenthood, and I really meant it at the time, but that was a month ago, and even the best of intentions didn't deliver results. I don't have a good excuse, and I certainly don't feel good about not following through. I don't make promises I don't intend to keep, and I know that by not pointing out what makes Parenthood so smart and so strong a drama week after week, but instead ranting about the shows with severe shortcomings, I am actually part of the problem. The truth is, there is just so much going on in any given episode of Parenthood-- even what seems to be the simplest, smallest moments end up garnering major reactions from me-- that each individual storyline deserves a reaction post, and that is a tall order. The return of Seth (John Corbett) alone sent me into a tizzy from which I don't think I've fully recovered, even though he has picked up and gone away once again.

I don't want to harp on Seth since he is out of the picture, but every time he was on-screen-- every time he would turn to Sarah (Lauren Graham) with sad puppy dog eyes and say something that seemed so sweet, like, 'If I had just listened to you and gone to rehab that first time, my life would be better' or whatever, all I could see was a giant flashing red lit up sign that said "Manipulator!" Because that's what addicts are. And I have no disbelief that he really did love Sarah at one time; and I even believe he may think now, looking back with hindsight, he should have listened to her way back when. But I don't for one second believe he said that solely to make her feel better because she was "right." He knew it would tug at her heartstrings, and she'd be more inclined to stay with him, help him, maybe even take him back. And I could not have cheered any louder when Amber (Mae Whitman) stood up for her family and told him to leave her mother alone. It was a little reminiscent of Rory Gilmore keeping her own bad influence dad away from her mom (also Graham) but so much more effective and impactful. That's just how Jason Katims does!

But when all is said and done, I still dislike Jasmine (Joy Bryant) much more than Seth. Seth has a disease, and while it's not an excuse, it does explain some of his behavior. Jasmine, on the other hand, is a woman scorned, and even if she wants to appear all fine and breezy about moving on with her life, a part of her must still want to hurt Crosby (Dax Shepard); all of her actions point that way. The first time her new boyfriend just happened to still be in her place when Crosby dropped their son back off it was an accident; Crosby was early. But then she deliberately went around Crosby and did the opposite of what she told him she would by allowing Jabbar to hang out with him further. And one on one. And I'm sorry, Dr., but a football game?!? I hate sports, but even I know a first sports game is a big f-ing deal, and if a dad is in the picture and actually wants to take his kid to one, it is his right. You are encroaching too much already. I mean, I know he ended up giving Crosby the tickets and all, but that whole presumption to buy them in the first place worries me. Did he honestly overlook the Crosby in it all? Or has Jasmine been saying things to him that would leave him to believe Crosby wouldn't be around/interested?

Anyway, finally moving onto the most recent episode, "Sore Loser," I was actually really happy to see the kids front and center. Little Savannah Paige Rae has been one of my favorite non-baby child actors since the show premiered. She seems to hold her own against adlibbing with her adult co-stars, and she is just an adorable little pixie. Giving her a bratty, spoiled, coddled (and a teaching one at that for her parents) moment gave her a chance to show off her range. I think my new favorite thing ever was when Julia (Erika Christensen) came home and just sat outside her daughter's door with her laptop and some wine. "Mommy, are you still there?" The meek little voice came. "Yeah, baby," was the response. And at that started the screaming tantrum anew. Who says this show is "just" a family drama? I LOLed harder at that than most of NBC's actual half-hour comedies.

Similarly, I'm glad Drew (Miles Hizer) is finally coming out of his shell, and I feel like Mark (Jason Ritter) really hit the nail on the head with his assessment of how, why, and what it all means. I do think he Mosby-ed the situation by saying "I love you" oh, so soon (haven't they been dating for only a few weeks!?), but I'm glad the moment worked out so much better for him than for the actual Mosby. But I am a little bummed Amber (Mae Whitman) was the one who told him to sneak out. I feel like she may have almost set him up to fail, even if not intentionally, because Sarah learned her lesson from Amber and pays much more attention now. Also, Amber was on such a role of maturity with the whole Seth situation, and earlier before that with teaching Max (Max Burkholder) about apologies and learning to understand emotions.

Adam (Peter Krause), you did not have one drink. You do not cut loose like that on only one drink. And it's raining. I do not trust you to drive. Even if you don't physically crash your car, no good will come of this. I would know that even if I hadn't seen the spoilery (and heart-crushing) promo at the end of last week's episode. She very clearly has a daddy complex; she very clearly dresses like that because she feels like it will help her get ahead, because it has helped her get ahead in the past, and/or because if nothing else, it will garner her attention from the opposite sex. If this were Supernatural, she would be a succubus. That being said, I think it's pretty ironic how Adam was so worried Crosby would sleep with her and ruin the working relationship once again, and then it ends up being Adam's fault that she has to leave.

Did you guys notice the subtle "Green is Universal" nod the show slipped in when Crosby and Adam asked their musician to consider drinking from the tap because it was better for the environment? That wasn't just Luncheonette trying to cut costs because it's a new business!

And can we talk for a minute about Kristina Braverman (Monica Potter)? Who would've thought, when this show first premiered, or even last season, that she would be the unsung hero of the show-- the new Tami Taylor? But she is. She really, really is. She puts up with a bratty daughter at times and finds ways to look past her husband's dorkiness; she is juggling a new baby and a son who demands more attention than many new babies. More importantly, she stands up to bullies for her kids. I haven't seen a better mom moment on television than the one where she told off the kid with "the Justin Bieber hair and Invisalign braces" because he was making fun of her autistic son and he didn't have the right affect within him to recognize it. It was a moment that made you laugh in response but still left you with something to think about later, and when you stopped to think about it, you realized it was actually a moment that broke your heart. It was a moment that was layered emotionally. It was a moment that perfectly encapsulated this show at its best, at its purest, and at its core.

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