Hmm. This was not my favorite episode of Parenthood, and as regular Couchtime reader Dana pointed out, the season is off to a shaky start. Two major storylines are really bothering me this season – Kristina and Julia’s.
The mayoral campaign was, I think, a big mistake. This show does small, intimate storylines well. Things get dicey when it expands too far outside the Braverman world, like it has here. Berkeley is a city about a quarter of the population of where I live, but I still don’t think that someone like Kristina would have a chance at being mayor. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it’s too far-fetched. Her success at the debate was exactly what I hate about the storyline. She didn’t blow the other candidates out of the water with her poise, knowledge, or even really her passion – it was her compassion, and I don’t think that’s enough to win a debate. It’s the Max vending machine story but for adults. And just like Max turned out to be a pretty poor student body president, Kristina likely would not be an effective mayor.
I hold out hope that Kristina will not win. It would be so unlike Parenthood. My prediction is that Bob Little will win, and offer Kristina some kind of job in the education field. It’s a warm outcome that would suit Parenthood without straying too far into the unrealistic.
I have less faith in how my other least favorite story arc will turn out. The writers are really doing a number on Julia and Joel this season. Why was Julia so weird about eating dinner on the play date? Why did she jump up mid-meal, when the mom came home, and insist they all leave? Why was she so strange when Joel did something sweet and nice? Because it’s stupid, that’s why. I hate how Julia’s parent friend and Joel’s new colleague are being painted as threats to the marriage, rather than just reflections of how their roles have changes recently. I loved seeing Julia chat with her pal about what it’s like to no longer be working professionals. I think that’s interesting, and I don’t need there to be any romantic undertones.
Unfortunately, I also had a hard time with Crosby’s storyline this week. Why does Jasmine always have to be the worst? She wanted a new car, because it’s too hard to get the baby out of her little VW bug. Fair enough. But does the new car have to be a disgusting, gas-guzzling, TV-equipped minivan? And why is Crosby the one who has to trade in his car? His car being older was not a good enough excuse. Jasmine wanted the minivan. Jasmine should trade in her car. I hated how, in the end, the lesson was that Crosby would come to love the minivan. Are you not a good parent unless you own one? Can you not fit your two children into a Volkswagen Golf? Come on.
Thank goodness for Sarah, Amber and Drew and for Zeke and Camille. I still love what’s going on there.
All along, I have felt that Sarah was doing the right thing to voice her concerns over Amber’s engagement. Even after she talked to Camille about it, I still thought Sarah was doing the right thing by being honest with Amber. I didn’t think she was being unsupportive. But my gosh, did that apology scene bring me back around. It was so heartfelt and wonderful, and the perfect example of everything that’s good about those actors and those characters. It was the right thing to do, for Sarah to apologize.
I also loved the scene with Amber and Drew though. Amber was obviously so hurt by what Sarah said, and Mae Whitman killed it as usual. But Drew was right, she needed to think about what eloping would do to Sarah. I was glad Drew was honest with Amber, even if she will not have to end up going through with the courthouse wedding.
I’m also really happy with how Zeke and Camille’s storyline is progressing. Earlier on, Zeke came across more like the bad guy – Camille just wanted to learn more about investing in pre construction condos, to look at condos and to begin discussing changing their lifestyle. Zeke was being selfish and stubborn. But when they looked at that sparse, stifling condo, it was obvious Zeke would be miserable there. It was kind of sweet, how he built the firepit thinking it was what Camille wanted.
Camille didn’t trust Zeke to tell him about the trip to Italy, or to ask him to join her. That’s on her. Unlike Joel and Julia, who are suddenly and rather inexplicably falling apart, the issues in Zeke and Camille’s marriage feel organic. They have been gradually drifting apart, and now want different things for the last stage of their lives. They have such different ideas about what an enjoyable retired life would be. How do you resolve that? It doesn’t necessarily mean their marriage is over, but it doesn’t mean things are solid either. I find it very interesting.
How do you guys feel about this season?