Jason Katims, you’ve done it again. Even after the premiere last week, I didn’t think that this season of Parenthood would be that meaningful, especially since we spent the first two seasons just falling in love with the Bravermans without anything too emotional taking place. Then Julia’s adoption crisis came in season three, and season four is just one thing after another. I swear, every episode this season has been like the series finale of Friday Night Lights: You don’t need words to make me cry. I suppose viewers who have no idea what a mammogram entails may have been slow to catch on, but I understood exactly what was going on as soon as I saw Christina in the reading room. That’s sheer brilliance.
I love how they don’t try to tie in everyone to the same situation in each episode, but they link Adam & Christina to Crosby & Jasmine this week. At first I thought putting every little appointment (like Christina’s haircut) into a shared calendar was overkill, but it makes sense that they need to know what’s going on in each other’s schedules so that one parent can always be available for their kids. It also set us up perfectly for Christina’s sad news when they had Crosby snoop through Adam’s phone and again when Christina’s appointment conflicted with looking at puppies. I didn’t expect Crosby and Jasmine to start using iCal just like Adam and Christina either, but they made it work with Crosby’s digital apology. I’m interested to see in weeks to come, if Max’s excitement over his new puppy will spread to the other cousins and start a crisis with Sydney, Victor and Jabbar.
The Victor plot line is also just as gut-wrenching this week as it was in the premiere. At first I thought, what happened to treating Victor like part of the family? They completely create a double standard when Sydney wants to stay home and Joel talks her into going to school. Then I realized that even though Victor has been living with Joel and Julia for five months (did he not finish the last year of school?) each new situation will have to be met with a good mix of tough love and coddling. Joel and Julia talked about building Victor’s trust, and Julia aced it when she pinky swore to Victor that she would wait for him in the parking lot all day, then made good on it.
Hank and Sarah’s relationship is a bit more confusing. I liked that he led her to believe that he was going to poison Drew’s mind with chauvinistic ideas, then he goes and plays the softie card. The notion that “it’s OK to be sad,” is what I expected Sarah to adopt all along, but she pushed Drew for days to cheer up when all he wanted to do was wallow, as is normal for someone who just got dumped, especially a teenager. It confuses me that even after she asked Hank to talk to Drew, then learned that he gave her son some good advice, she asks him not to talk to him about such personal matters. Yet she brings him a plate of brownies. Though it’s perplexing, it’s also kind of perfect, because their mixed signals will make for an interesting romantic story line ahead.
I’m sorry I’m such a cheerleader for this show. It usually takes a comedy to get me this way, but I’ve never seen another creator run a show so honestly as Jason Katims. He doesn’t cook up crazy subterfuges to force characters into heartfelt situations, which is OK for a comedy, but is completely transparent in a drama. I think it takes a certain type of viewer to love this show wholeheartedly, but I also think that any given person could relate to at least one story in each season.
What did you think of this week’s episode?