‘Parenthood’ – ‘Seven Names’: You’re fired

Senior Television Writer
10.27.10 23 Comments


A quick review of last night’s “Parenthood” coming up just as soon as I build the Eiffel Tower out of popsicle sticks…

For both scheduling reasons and my own frustration with the pat resolutions of season two, I haven’t written about “Parenthood” lately, but I found “Seven Names” to be one of the season’s stronger episodes. Very little was wrapped up in a neat bow and/or with an unlikely happy ending. Adam can’t find a way around firing seven people, Crosby never entirely lets go of his concern that he’s marrying Jasmine for Jabbar’s sake, Amber forgives Sarah but is still being blamed for Kelsey’s behavior, and there’s always going to be tension between Joel and Julia over who takes care of Sydney(*) and who’s the breadwinner, etc. Real life is messy, and “Parenthood” is too, when it’s at its best.

(*) My one quibble with that story: given how much money Julia makes, can they not just get a babysitter for a few days? (There are services specifically for this kind of last-minute problem, and it wouldn’t be a hardship for them.) Julia’s reaction to seeing Zeek with Sydney suggests she has some kind of weird hang-up about not letting non-parents watch their kid, and that seems silly. They have money, and they have two local grandparents and yet they have to put all the pressure on themselves?

But the one way in which the show sometimes feels too messy is in the need to give all the adult siblings and at least one of the kids or grandparents, a storyline every episode. Some weeks, that works out fine, and every story feels like it matters. Other weeks, like this one, I kept wishing they had just put some of the stories – maybe Crosby’s and definitiely Haddie’s(**) – on pause and focused a little more on the ones that could have used some more time. (The Sarah/Gordon material feels like it’s being raced through because of how many other stories have to be serviced.)

(**) I’m glad Jason Katims has found post-“Friday Night Lights” employment for Michael B. Jordan, and I’m hopeful he’ll get some better material to play in the coming weeks, but the whole “This guy is really infuriating to me so of course we must date!” set-up is really tired.

What did everybody else think?

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