Parenthood – Episode 2-16 Review

Man. I have to say, with the recent and incredibly saddening end of Friday Night Lights, I am really glad I watch Parenthood. I know it’s not the same show, even though it shares creator Jason Katims and several actors, and I’m not saying that it’s as good of a show as FNL. I’m not really saying it’s not, either. But my feelings toward both shows are similar, and in the wake of a loss of one excellent family drama, I’m glad I still have another.

This week’s episode, I thought, was really good. John Corbett has gotten better and even more hateful as Amber and Drew’s dad Seth, things have gotten really complicated and ugly between Crosby and Jasmine, and Adam and Kristina came to an interesting realization about their son’s future.

A Bug’s Party

Much of the episode centered around Max’s upcoming birthday party, which would feature “Amazing Andy and his Wonderful World of Bugs”. At first, Adam and Kristina were put off by Andy’s bizarre attitude and strict rules. Then, they found out, it was because Andy has Asperger’s. Although it was a little obvious that Andy’s appearance was, in some ways, to show us what a future Max could be like, I also really appreciated what it did for Adam and Kristina.

First, there was their embarrassment over not having realized Andy had Asperger’s. It seems idiotic, that they wouldn’t realize, but they put it perfectly – they had only been thinking of Asperger’s in terms of children. They hadn’t had a chance to think about Aspie kids growing up. They’ve been so focused on helping their son function in his current world that they hadn’t considered how adults with Asperger’s function in society.

There was also the dilemma of whether they should hire Amazing Andy. Obviously, they wanted to both because Max was in awe of the guy and because they wanted to support his business. But it was a lot to take on. The house would be full of family and autistic kids, and Andy’s rules were a lot to deal with in an already difficult situation.

Putting the focus back on Adam and Kristina’s struggles to deal with Asperger’s was a good shift to make after several episodes dealing with Haddie and Alex. Not to say that I didn’t like the Haddie storyline – I did – but Max’s Asperger’s has always been one of the best parts of Parenthood and the birthday party was a great way to display their continued struggles. It all worked. Max’s meltdown with Gabby (really, I still think of her as Lyla) earlier in the episode showed us that there is still a lot of work to be done. Meeting Amazing Andy and see how he can run a small business despite his struggles was fascinating. The look on Zeek’s face when he realized that Andy had Asperger’s said more than any words could, and I loved watching him usher Joel away as Andy was setting up.

Kristina was frazzled, but not in the high-strung, rather annoying way she often can be. And it was great to see Gabby come to the rescue and ask Andy to start early after the rough day she’d had before, when she confided in Crosby that her job can be rather thankless.

The best part was when Adam asked Andy if he was happy, and Andy replied “Yeah, sometimes. Are you?” It took the focus off the idea that Andy is the future Max, which is unrealistic, and reminded us that what the storyline was really about was showing that Max can have a future, that he will be able to be happy.

Fight Club

I usually don’t find storylines about infidelity to be particularly interesting, but I have to say, I find what Crosby is going through with Jasmine and Gabby to be quite compelling. I think it’s because, though I hate to say it, I much prefer Crosby and Lyla Gabby (seriously, I just like to pretend that Lyla Garrity went to college, became a kick-ass behavioral therapist, and moved to California) as a couple compared to Crosby and Jasmine.

I don’t want to feel this way. Jasmine is the mother of Crosby’s child. They’re trying to become a family. Crosby made a commitment to Jasmine. I should want this to work out. But I just don’t. Jasmine has been pretty unlikable from the moment she came back into Crosby’s life, and Gabby seems to “get” Crosby a lot better. A big part of this, at least for me, is that I find Jasmine’s decision to keep Jabbar from Crosby a tad unforgivable. She is controlling. She was the sole parent for five years, and that decision was entirely her own. Had she told Crosby about Jabbar, and he bailed on the parenting for five years, this would be a horse of a different color. But the fact that Jasmine knowingly acted as a single parent and is now so unwilling to work as a team with Crosby makes it very difficult for me to like her.

For example, her decision to take Jabbar out of town on the weekend of his cousin’s birthday. That had nothing to do with Jabbar’s relationship with his aunt, and everything to do with her relationship with Crosby. Not only did she continually deny Crosby’s requests to talk about their fight and work past their issues, but she did exactly the thing he had originally criticized him for. I’m in no way justifying Crosby’s subsequent actions, but really? I’d rather see Crosby and Gabby together than Crosby and Jasmine.

So, Crosby cheated on Jasmine. He and Gabby fought it, but they gave in and there are going to be serious repercussions. From the previews of next week, it looks like Gabby will resign from working with Max, and who knows what will happen to Jasmine and Crosby?

Since Minka Kelly is signed on to do a Charlie’s Angels reboot, it’s extremely unlikely that there is any future for Gabby and Crosby. But even without Gabby in the picture, I don’t think I want to see Crosby and Jasmine together. I think both their actions this week – Jasmine refusing to discuss their issues, Crosby sleeping with someone else – proved they shouldn’t be together.

Fight Club, Part II

There’s the verbal kind of fight that Crosby and Jasmine are in, and then there’s Seth.

After last week’s episode, I felt pretty strongly that Seth was bad news. He’s been absent from his children’s lives for too long, he was a destructive person for too long, and he hasn’t been sober long enough for me to buy that he’s now ready to be a dad. Although I wouldn’t be surprised to see him redeemed eventually, this week’s episode sent me further down the path of hating his guts.

Only a guy like Seth could make me want to punch him in the face for acting like that. Yeah, I see the hypocrisy. His attitude about violence makes me want to react with violence. I want to smack some sense into him. But seriously? The guy is a Grade A jerk.

First, there was his interaction with Zeek. Whatever bad blood was between them in the past, Zeek was obviously willing to get past that and be polite and Seth should have been too. It would be nice if Seth could wait inside the house instead of out in the car when he comes to pick up his kid. Zeek can see that. Seth obviously can’t.

Then the way he acted at the batting cages. It was a little over-the–top, but it got the message across. Seth hasn’t completely changed. Is he even actually sober? I’d believe that he’s lying about that. Regardless, his attitude towards fighting is despicable. The way he acted when Drew was caught fighting (Buddy Jr. from FNL, no less!) in school was irresponsible, immature and downright dangerous.

All that said, I love what this character is doing for the show. Drew finally has something to work with. After all, he’s just a kid. He doesn’t know any better than to idolize his dad because he doesn’t remember what it was like before. Amber remembers, and the moment when she came and sat next to Sarah and simply said “I love you” was incredibly touching, and a great example of how their relationship has developed over the past year and a half.

Judging by the scenes from next week, tensions between Drew, Seth and the rest of the family will increase. It looks like Amber will finally express her anger to Seth, and with the recent casting announcement of a romantic interest for her later this season, I’m glad Amber will be getting more opportunities to shine.

On a lighter note, the scene where Kristina walked in on Julia and Joel trying to make a baby was hilarious. I wonder if we’ll ever return to the idea of Joel feeling unsure about wanting a second child? Maybe once Julia is pregnant?

What did you think of “Amazing Andy and his Wonderful World of Bugs”? Did you think the similarities between Andy or Max were too strong, or did it work? Do you share my complicated feelings about Gabby vs. Jasmine, or do you just think Crosby is a Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater? And did you think it was possible to hate John Corbett this much?


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