Photo credit: NBC.
After a very long, TV-less summer … oh wait, that’s not quite true, is it? In fact, I took advantage of the season to start new series, among them Homeland, Scandal, Orphan Black, Orange is the New Black … happy sigh. [Editor's Note: ORANGE IS THE NEW EVERYTHING! CLONE ALISON FTW!]
Oops, got a bit off-track there.
Even if my summer was TV-filled, I missed Parenthood on a weekly basis, so I am ecstatic that it’s back. Let’s talk season premiere, shall we? As last year, I will divide my reviews in “families” or, as I gather they are more likely to happen this season, “subplots.”
As usual, I begin with the most unpleasant first.
Crosby & Jasmine
Urgh. URGH. Here’s the thing about Crosby. I want to like him. Dax Sheppard is a very compelling actor and I know all the trials and tribulations Crosby went through to become the “better man” he is today. I think he’s an integral part of the Braverman family, and it would suck if he weren’t there.
But seriously, dude? CHILL OUT ON THE CONSERVATIVE VALUES.
I cannot believe their subplot for this week (which featured the genesis of a new Braverman family member, mind you) focused almost entirely on Crosby harping on Jasmine to give the baby his surname. He wouldn’t even agree to both names! (As a double-surname child myself, I took offence to this. Not really.) It just seemed odd that the show would focus on that, because it took great pains to illustrate how much Crosby has grown over the years. And the fact that Jasmine relented and named the baby “Aida Braverman” rubbed me the wrong way even more!
I predict a bumpy ride for this family. They still don’t seem to be getting along, and Crosby, despite having supposedly grown, is being very immature about this whole “having a baby” thing. He wants his 8 hours of sleep? Are you kidding me? Jasmine is right to be angry with him. Though she needs to chill a little, too.
However, it wasn’t all bad. In regards to one of the last scenes between Adam and Crosby, I very much appreciate the direction in which the show is going. It is not often that parents of young babies are portrayed on TV not immediately gushing about their child. Crosby is wondering why he’s not feeling the gooey feelings yet, and he even told the kid he hated her because she wouldn’t stop screaming. This plot point is important, because it adds yet another layer to parenthood.
Joel, Julia, Sydney, & Victor
How amazing was Sydney, schooling Victor on “profit margins”? This girl is going to be a genius.
I find it very interesting that Julia’s decision to quit her job to become a mom is haunting her. More so, I think the fact that she let herself get negligent towards her work, the events that prompted her resignation, haunt her even more. I love seeing the inside-struggle she’s in right now, because she’s in an uncomfortable position: loves being an at-home mom, but misses work, yet if she was working full-time, would she miss home?
Also, Joel got a two-year contract, yay! Unfortunately, I have a feeling this isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing “Pete”, Joel’s very competent, very Julia-like, very hot contractor. I’ll be watching you, Pete. You better not stir up trouble.
Max & Ray Romano
Alright. I like Ray when he’s with Max. I know we have probably not heard the actual end of the Romano/Sarah romance, but in the meantime, I’m ok with him being Max’s photography-and-everything-else mentor. I can tell he genuinely likes the kid, because he prises honesty and intelligence above all else.
Photo Credit: NBC.
Adam is another Braverman who needs to chill out, though. I didn’t like how he jumped to conclusions about Ray; not everybody is a manipulative goof trying to rip apart the Braverman family! He came on a bit forceful, but Ray can take care of himself, and I loved how their scene ended with him saying, with a wry smile, that “the jury was still out” on whether or not he liked Adam.
Speaking of Adam…
Adam & Kristina
How great was seeing Adam and Kristina swaying in a dingy bar, talking about carpe diem and happiness? I’m so glad Kristina is doing better, and I’m so happy the show isn’t brushing her cancer under the rug. It is now an important chunk of her life, and I appreciated seeing her going to her friend for advice. Even the exchange between her and the nurse was heartfelt, and gave a respectful nod towards the hardships Kristina has been through.
And why did Kristina need advice? Because Adam was being a dummy, that’s why.
Not gonna lie; when the “previously on” started and I saw they were bringing back Bob Little, the only thing I thought was “AMBER, NOOOO!” Apparently, though, the reason for his unearthing is because he wanted Kristina to run his campaign for mayoral office!
Of course, Adam wasn’t hearing any of that, and I guess he was 50% right. On the one hand, he doesn’t trust Bob because he’s a weasel and a politician (which, he shouldn’t trust him). On the other hand, let your wife do whatever the hell she wants! She’s beaten frakking cancer! She’s invincible.
At that moment, though, I knew. I should’ve tweeted my premonition so that I could link back to it and have proof, but I swear on Joss Whedon’s head that I knew Kristina would decide to run for mayor. [Editor's Note: I only swore on Joss Whedon's pinky finger.] As well she should; she has the personality for it, yet loves humans, which is a perfect mix. I can’t wait to watch her on the campaign trail.
Sarah & Drew
There’s not much to say here, really. Sarah’s now a superintendent for apartments close to Amber, and one of her sublets is being set up as the next “Sarah chooses the worst” man. Honestly, I’m just hoping she finds a friend in him that will impart some heretofore-unknown philosophies to Sarah, and she will find herself cured of “choosing-the-worst-itis.” But Sarah, being friends with a man? Doubtful.
I did like, however, Amber asking Drew to help her out in the “mom” department. Drew kinda sucks in the relationship department, so I love that Amber is a little like his moral compass, bringing him down to earth once in awhile. Though Sarah was taking the abbreviations and emojis a little too seriously and her empty-nest syndrome showed quite a bit, Drew is a distant person, and I loved seeing him knocking on her door with a pizza. The perfect gesture for an ex-Lorelai Gilmore.
Amber & Ryan
Photo Credit: NBC.
GAAAAAH. I say again: GAAAH! <3 I was so frazzled at the start of the episode. I had no idea why Ryan was deployed again; it dropped like a bomb (no pun intended), and I was so upset for Amber. I loved how realistic the Skype scene was; how many times have I had to end a Skype convo because the other person freezes? No wonder she felt like he was distant; he had no other choice, not being able to tell her anything about his mission, and freezing every few minutes.
Amber being worried and vulnerable is one of the most gut-wrenching things on this show. Mae Whitman exteriorizes Amber’s emotions so well that you can’t help but feel her love and longing for Ryan. [Editor's Note: Remember that time in Austin when Mae Whitman sat next to me in a parking lot, while we watched Friday Night Lights together? No, I'll never start talking about it.] It turns out her worrying was for nothing, though. As she’s waiting in a gym for him to come back, scanning the crowd for his face, my heart started racing. Would Ryan be worst-off than before? Would he still have feelings for her? It turns out I shouldn’t have been worried, either, because the second thing he does after hugging her is getting down on one knee and proposing.
Such a sweet, unexpected moment, that Amber absolutely deserves. These two are meant to last, and their relationship is still one of my favourite plot points.
I do believe that this season of Parenthood will be a little more light-hearted and a little less fishing for tears than last year’s. The Bravermans deserve some happiness, and I, for one, will be glad to watch it unfold. Another highlight of the premiere was the authenticity the actors convey when they are together. You can tell that the improvisation was kicked up a notch, and it only serves to reaffirm that Parenthood is one of the more genuine, exciting shows on TV.
Side note: every week, I’ll be keeping an eye and ear out for Haddie. Because it’s just plain ridiculous that she isn’t more present, especially after everything that unfolded last year. I introduce: The Haddie Watch – in which I tally the number of episodes in which Haddie has been mentioned.
Haddie Watch 2k13: 0
Here’s a playlist I compiled out of the songs released by NBC!