Parenthood – Episode 2-3 Review

Man, teenagers are moody. Seriously, could Amber and Haddie have been any snottier on Tuesday night’s episode of Parenthood? Sarah and Kristina face similar problems this week – trying to connect with their teenaged daughters. In fact, this episode was all about connections – Adam was trying to connect with Max the way he saw Joel connect with Sydney and Crosby was trying to connect with Jabbar as much as he could while Jabbar was staying with his grandfather.

In a rich girl’s world

Amber has a new friend and her family is loaded. Might sound simple, but that’s what’s great about Parenthood. It deals with simple, everyday problems in a funny and touching way. Sarah was feeling inferior when Amber started spending all her time and rich new bestie’s house, so she decided to try and take them somewhere cool. This is an episode I would point to when people say that Lauren Graham is playing the same character as Lorelai Gilmore. Lorelai was the cool mom. She would have known what to do to impress her daughter’s new friend. In fact, on Gilmore Girls Lorelai was the one helping Rory form social bonds, not feeling jealous of them. Sarah is much more insecure and awkward. She felt like she was losing Amber to this cool new family and wanted to show that she could be cool too.

Sarah found out about an awesome underground Ben Harper show from a cute warehouse guy at work – looks like we’ve met Billy Baldwin’s competition. Amber’s friend was excited, but Amber didn’t believe Sarah actually knew what she was doing. On the one hand, Amber was kind of a bitch. But perhaps Sarah has let her down too many times in the past, so she came across more jaded than annoying. Still, I was really hoping that Sarah would manage to get the girls into the concert – she needed a win. Just when they were about to leave, Cute Warehouse Guy showed up and got them in. Score one for the cool mom!

And baby makes four

I am loving Joel this season. In fact, I’m not sure why so many people point to Julia and Joel as having the weakest storylines – I love them. I felt SO bad for Joel when Adam congratulated him on trying for a second baby when poor Joel hadn’t even agreed to it yet. And I felt bad for Julia, because she didn’t mean any harm. She was just excited. Of all the marriages on the show, I think Julia and Joel’s is the best. I’d like to see Julia make some sacrifices with her career when the second baby comes – I can’t picture her staying home to watch Dora The Explorer rather than working as a lawyer.

Social Politics

This week Adam struggled with Max while Kristina struggled with Haddie. Haddie announced that she was running for student council – apparently a Braverman tradition – but then wanted no help from her mom. Poor Kristina. She’s intensely enthusiastic and kind of overbearing, but Haddie should have tried harder to at least humor her. Would it have been so hard to skim the highlighted sections of that book on speeches? It’s not like she had to apply it to her own speech, and it would have made her mom really happy. Haddie needs to make a friend who comes from a home where the parents aren’t so involved, perhaps it would help her apreciate her life a little more.

For me, Adam is one of the less sympathetic characters on the show. I find it hard to get along with people like him in real life. I can’t stand it when people speak to me the way he spoke to Gabby, Max’s behavioral coach. (Sidenote: I’ve been watching the first season of Friday Night Lights on DVD, and it was weird seeing Lyla Garrity  sitting on the couch with Max.) I don’t have any kids, let alone an autistic one, and I’m sure it’s incredibly stressful, especially at first, and that a lot of parents probably react like Adam. With impatience and frustration. And the guy sure cares about his family. But he’s totally the least likable Braverman kid. Julia is intense, but in a cute go-getter sort of way. Not in a righteous, condescending kin d of way. Adam was struggling with the fact that he doesn’t have a connection with Max, but he kept saying things along the line of “I want him to take an interest in me”. What, was he hoping they could go golfing together? Grab a beer? Complain about work? I get wanting to be able to have a conversation with your son, but whether your son is autistic or not, that conversation will revolve around the kid and not you.

To Grandmother’s house we go

Crosby had a great storyline with Jabbar and his grandmother, Rene, this week. Basically, Rene was acting like an ice queen around him. Considering that Jasmine failed to tell Crosby about Jabbar in the first place, and that Crosby has been doing a pretty decent job as a dad for a guy who was suddenly thrown into the role, I’d say her ‘tude was uncalled for. I was happy when Crosby finally manned up and told her that whatever her personal issues were (Jasmine’s father bailed when Jasmine was only four), she needed to get over them.

What did you think of this episode of Parenthood? Do you think you’d be tempted to poke your own eyes out after spending one evening at the Adam/Kristina/Haddie/Max household?

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