Review: ‘Parenthood’ – ‘A Potpourri of Freaks’

A quick review of last night's “Parenthood” coming up just as soon as I'm the boss of my own hair…

The concluding scene of “A Potpourri of Freaks,” while predictable, was still very powerful because it was the show remembering its own history. As a cancer survivor who came very close to dying a couple of years ago, Kristina has the ability to get through to Zeek in a way his own kids just can't, and it felt right and strong that she would be the one to finally get his butt off the couch and out into the sunlight.

The Joel/Julia separation story, on the other hand, is one where the show has been pretty consistently displaying amnesia going back to last season. At times it forgets about Julia's past actions so that we won't lose sympathy for her, at times it forgets who Joel is to justify stretching this out, and of late it's forgotten that Sydney has a long and well-established pattern of selfish, destructive behavior – and that, contrary to what Zeek suggests here, Julia is not the best and most nurturing mom in the world – so that it can blame her recent mean girl streak on confusion over her parents' situation. Yes, kids act out when they go through this, but for Joel, Julia and the show to pretend like this is some brand-new thing that can be blamed solely on the separation – and specifically on the uncertainty, as opposed to not being around super-dad Joel nearly as much as she used to – is frustrating. I feel like there are some really meaty stories to tell here, but the show keeps approaching them at odd angles that contradict what the audience knows well from watching the show for five previous seasons.

As for the rest of it, I was amused that Max's potential girlfriend Dylan is so much like a young, ADHD version of Kristina (which Kristina can't see in her blind maternal paranoia), and Adam's reaction to Max's question about liking a girl was marvelous; the Hank/Sandy story did a good job of reframing what seemed unreasonable last week by making clear that Sandy had the wrong idea about Hank and Sarah's relationship; and the scenes at the spiritual retreat were a chore to get through, even with Dave “Gruber” Allen as the guru. I look forward to Crosby freaking out about the future of the Luncheonette for the next two or three episodes before his potential money troubles are completely ignored in the back half of the season – a guess I feel comfortable in making because I remember the show's history in this area quite well.

What did everybody else think?