Review: ‘Parenthood’ – ‘Small Victories’

A quick review of last night’s “Parenthood” coming up just as soon as I pee with extreme prejudice…

I’m at press tour, and wasn’t expecting to even have time to watch “Small Victories” until next week, but I also am still not entirely on Pacific time, which means I woke up early enough to see it before today’s panels, and wanted to at the very least provide a venue to discuss the episode.

Another strong installment of this strong season, and one that managed to make a light storyline like Max entering puberty (and how his Asperger’s changes the usual discussions about it) just as compelling as something more serious like Amy getting an abortion.(*) The show just has such a strong handle on its characters, and on how apply universal family moments specifically to them, that it’s always a pleasure.

(*) In my book, Jason Katims talks about how “Friday Night Lights” was able to have a regular character have an abortion – which hadn’t happened on network TV in decades – in part because it was during the DirecTV years, when NBC was more hands-off with the series. Amy’s not technically a regular on the show, but it’s still notable that the show was allowed to go through with it, given how heated this topic remains. (And I’ll remind you once again of the No Politics rule on this blog.)

I’m not wild about Sarah and Mark each regretting how things ended, which suggests a kind of lather-rinse-repeat future for that part of the series. But on the plus side, the social worker finally re-entered the Julia/Victor story. For dramatic purposes, Julia and Joel have been left on their own to deal with a messy emotional situation for which they would have significant support in real life, and it’s led to good material for both Erika Christensen and (last night especially) Sam Jaeger. But at this ugly stage, there need to be more people involved, and I’m glad that that’s starting to happen.

What did everybody else think?