‘Parenthood’ – ‘Hey, If You’re Not Using That Baby…’: Brothers in business

Senior Television Writer
09.21.11 21 Comments


A review of last night’s “Parenthood” coming up just as soon as I can name all 21 California missions…

“Parenthood” often takes its characters to places that are some combination of silly, implausible or annoying, and yet the show’s writers, directors and actors so often find a way to compensate for that.

Take Julia’s baby-buying obsession, which gave this episode its title. Horrible on the face of it, but the show treated it as such. Joel (arguably the show’s most trustworthy, sympathetic character) tries his damndest to convince her of how insane this plan is, and she listens for a bit, and when she finally can’t control her baby cravings any longer, the coffee girl is appropriately hurt and disgusted with her.

Or take the Alex situation. The way the show set it up last week was inane – what high school kid would call the cops on his own underage drinking party, and/or what cops wouldn’t also arrest the host for allowing such a thing to go on? – and it mainly seems like an excuse to make Sarah Ramos cry for whole episodes each week, and yet Michael B. Jordan was so, so good in the last scene(*) that I will forgive this storyline a lot.

(*) It reminded me very much of his similar performance in the “He never taught me how to be better!” scene from early in the final “Friday Night Lights” season, in that Jordan took a fairly trite sentiment and made it seem very raw and real.

If you’ve been reading my “Parenthood” reviews long enough, you know that Max is the one area where the show can do no wrong in my eyes, and his transition to a public school was very well-done – difficult to sit through in some parts (Max sparring with the teacher, Max failing to make friends at lunch), sweet in others (Max becoming pals with Jabbar and his younger friends, who aren’t old enough to notice or care the ways that Max is different) and another good showcase for Monica Potter, who’s never better than when Kristina’s worried about Max.

As for the other sibling storylines, I still don’t 100% buy that Adam would turn down the reliable but soul-crushing beverage job for Crosby’s crazy idea, but I recognize that there are certain avenues a show like this has to travel, and hopefully the interaction between the two brothers will be worth the implausibility. And it’s a pleasure to have Jason Ritter back for a while, as he and Lauren Graham work very well together.(**)

(**) Maybe the wedding he wants to take her to will turn out to be The Event!

What did everybody else think?

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