‘Parenthood’ – ‘Solace’: The piano man

Senior Television Writer
05.12.10 21 Comments

A quick review of last night’s “Parenthood” coming up just as soon as I meet you for second lunch…

“Solace” was another very solid episode, tipping ever so slightly more towards the show’s darker side and away from its light-hearted, warm-and-fuzzy side.

Sarah watches Camille prepare to have revenge sex with her art teacher, Amber sleeps with Haddie’s ex and then tells her about it, Joel rages against Julia for inviting her scumbag ex-boyfriend back into their lives to bail out Zeek’s real estate disaster, and Zeek comes to recognize just how difficult life with Max is for Adam and Kristina. All very well-played by the cast(*), and all nicely building on what’s come before.

(*) Boy, Max Burkholder is some find, isn’t he? I know Jason Katims obviously contributes a lot of personal knowledge to the writing of the Asperger’s plots, but the kid still has to give that stuff life, and Burkholder absolutely nails moments like Max’s unrelenting panic about the missing tortoise.

Yet the show continues to find ways to leaven the bleaker moments without undercutting them. The Joel/Julia storyline has the “Timm” running gag, and the siblings still bicker over moving the piano, and the Crosby story is pretty much all sweetness and light right now. (Though things are going so well there that I worry some bad stuff must be coming in the season’s final two episodes.) The tonal shifts don’t feel jarring, and the show manages to provide a little bit of everything.

The time crunch of Upfront Week may prevent me from writing about next week’s episode, but I’ll definitely be back with some thoughts on the finale. In the meantime, what did everybody else think?

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