A review of the “Parenthood” season finale coming up just as soon as I watch the hippie…
As with “Lost,” there often seems to be a battle between dark and light going on in “Parenthood,” as the show goes back and forth between nakedly angry family squabbles and feel-good uplift where everything’s all better with a hug and a sweet folk song on the soundtrack. Now, in family there’s room for both those emotions, sometimes right on top of each other – you can have insane screaming matches with the ones you love and then bes smiling and joking minutes later – but it can be a very tricky balance to pull off on a TV show.
For the most part this season, “Parenthood” was able to walk that high-wire, and continued to do so through “Lost and Found.” Amber, Haddie, Sarah and Kristina all reconcile with each other, but only after a lot of ugliness. Zeek charms Camille by playing Herman’s Hermits on his ukelele, but the final montage doesn’t feature any kind of PDAs from them (and they’re sitting on opposite ends of the bleachers during Drew’s tryout), and there’s still the matter of the crippling financial hole Zeek put them in(*). Crosby seems ready to move to New York with Jasmine and Jabarr, but there’s still a sense that their new family unit is built on a very unsteady foundation that could collapse at any moment(**). Etc.
(*) So, are we to assume that Zeek was being a cranky and prideful man in dismissing Timmmmm’s attempt to play white knight, or that he saw something Julia didn’t because of her past history with the guy?
(**) Given the nature of the show and how important it is to have the siblings interacting, I imagine Crosby’s time in New York will last about as long as Eric Taylor’s assistant coaching job at TMU. We’ll just have to see what shape his relationship with Jasmine is in by the time he comes home.
I also like that Jason Katims and company were willing to let some storylines (particularly Adam and Max and anything to do with Julia’s family) get back-burnered for the finale so they could really turn up the heat on others like the Amber/Haddie mess. Some of the earlier episodes of the season felt disposable because the show was attempting to service every character and story at once, and so none of them had enough weight. With an ensemble this good, and characters this complicated, the writers should feel secure enough to move the spotlight around, knowing that, for instance, Max will still be great the next time they need him to be.
Also, given all the debate we’ve had throughout the season about how realistic it is that the extended Braverman family spends that much time together, I had to laugh that our concluding family activity of the season was the clan getting together to watch Drew try out for the baseball team. They didn’t go to a game, but a tryout – and, from the way the scene was shot, it looked like they were the only family that did so. At this point, Katims may as well embrace the family’s extreme closeness, right?
What did everybody else think?