Review: ‘Parenthood’ – ‘Left Field’

A quick review of tonight’s “Parenthood” coming up just as soon as the doggie Gestapo starts asking me questions…

Due to the fall deluge, these reviews may be pretty short for the next few weeks, serving mainly as a jumping-off point for your discussion, but I want to hit a few bullet points: 

* Ray Romano continues to be a perfect addition to this world, and I enjoyed seeing Hank’s advice to Drew be both useful and annoying to Sarah.

* As mentioned last week, I really wish the show would clarify the money situation for Adam and Kristina. Last year, things were super-tight for them, and then Adam turned down Dwayne Wayne’s millions, and now Haddie is going to Cornell, they’re considering buying a $1200 dog from Selma Green, etc. If the show doesn’t want to show that family dealing with economic hardship anymore, that’s fine, but given how much it was emphasized last year, we need some kind of dialogue about how The Luncheonette is doing shockingly well, they were wise not to sell it, etc.

* There’s a clear pecking order on the show for the level of gravity/tragedy each sibling and his/her nuclear family will deal with. At the top, you have Adam and Kristina, who get misery piled on top of misery because Peter Krause and Monica Potter are good at playing that (and also perhaps because making things tough on Kristina helps sand off the rough edges Potter usually brings to her performances). At the bottom, you have Crosby and Jasmine, whose problems tend to be simple stuff like their argument over the calendar app. And Julia and Sarah take turns between dark and light, with Sarah this week bickering with Hank while Julia tries to get Victor to finally trust her. It’s a well-established pattern, and I’m sure the show will do right by the breast cancer story that gets set up in this episode’s final minutes. But there also comes a point where it feels like too much being piled onto any one character. (See also Tommy on “Rescue Me,” Sipowicz on “NYPD Blue,” Mark Greene on “ER,” etc.) If they were going to go to this place, I wonder if it would feel more effective if a different female character had to deal with it, so it wouldn’t have a tinge of, “Oh God, now what?”

What did everybody else think?