Review: ‘Parenthood’ – ‘The Ring’

A quick review of last night’s “Parenthood” coming up just as soon as we sketch at the Uffizi…

The mayoral campaign came back in a big way last night, and was for the most part as clumsy, cartoonish (Bob Little is now eeeevil) and implausible as usual, but I at least appreciated that Kristina’s principled stand wound up hurting her in the polls, which it very much would in real life.

And it’s frustrating because so much of the show around it continues to be strong. Zeek being home alone was a terrific mixture of whimsy and melancholy, taking advantage of Craig T. Nelson’s comedy chops while also showing us how much Zeek misses his wife. The Crosby/Jabbar story was one of those simple, universal parenting stories (in this case, about learning to be excited about the things your kids are excited about) the show tells so effectively. Amber getting Ryan to take the ring back is clearly building to some difficulty down the road between them, but for now it was just small and awkward. Sarah reluctantly going to her neighbor’s party wasn’t incredibly dramatic, but was at least a nice commentary on how she’s a single woman in her 40s with two grown kids who has no real friends beyond her family and her exes.

Julia and Joel’s story was more of a mixed bag, because the writers are trying to squeeze multiple seasons’ worth of conflict into a single story arc for them, but the parts that worked – Victor’s reaction to the news he’s being held back, Sydney asking why Mommy and Daddy are fighting, Julia’s initial reaction to the Victor news (before Ed and his giant hands showed up to offer comfort and an unspoken invitation to have sex with him) – worked incredibly well. I could do without Ed, and some of the Joel/Julia tension is being approached in an odd way – Joel’s line about Julia making bad decisions was treated as a terribly mean thing to say to one of the core Bravermans, but it was more the way he said it and when he said it that was the problem, when he’s entirely right that she has been making huge decisions that affect their entire family without ever consulting him on them – but on the whole, it’s still vastly closer to the “Parenthood” mission statement than having Kristina run for mayor of Berkeley.

What did everybody else think?