A quick review of last night’s “Parenthood” coming up just as soon as I pretend not to be bored in exchange for ice cream…
“It Is What It Is” featured a number of characters having trouble letting go of something. Jasmine is surprised to realize she’s jealous of Crosby’s new girlfriend (and Dr. Joe Prestige notices something is up), Zoe wrestles with her emotions about letting Julia and Joel adopt the baby (and Julia is terrified of this very thing), Haddie doesn’t want to give up her dream of Cornell despite her family’s obvious financial difficulties right now, Zeek doesn’t want to let his life slip away in light of his diagnosis, and Sarah isn’t crazy that Drew is starting to become independent and turn to other grown-ups for guidance.
And for the most part, the individual moments within those stories were quite strong. Haddie’s simultaneous understanding and resentment of Max outranking her in the family’s priorities has always been deftly-handled, for instance, as it would be so easy for her to come across as petulant and selfish, when instead she’s being entirely reasonable. (My guess is that the Bravermans ultimately can’t make the numbers work and Haddie goes to Berkeley to keep her in the series, but we’ll see.)
The Sarah/Zeek scene was lovely in the way they found common ground, and if the Zoe story overall still feels more mechanical and soap-y than the show should usually be, Erika Christensen and Rosa Salazar both did very good work last night. I don’t necessarily love that Jasmine’s feelings for Crosby have resurfaced, but their history is complicated enough that I believe it could happen, even if I feel the more interesting route to go is for them to stay apart. (Which they very well could, even if she blows it with Dr. Joe Prestige.)
The only storyline that really troubles me at the moment is Amber and Bob Little. Maybe this will be the one time on a Jason Katims show where sparks fly between a teenage character and an adult and it doesn’t lead to some kind of romantic complication, and I’ll be relieved if that’s the case. But at the moment, their scenes together scream for some kind of hook-up (and not just because it’s a thing Katims shows do a lot), and then some kind of messiness that winds up ruining Amber’s latest attempt to find a direction in her life. I know it’s hard coming up with stories for everyone in this huge, strong ensemble that fit within the world and tone of this series, and I worry that this one is heading out of bounds.
What did everybody else think?