Review: ‘Parenthood’ – ‘The Scale of Affection Is Fluid’

A quick review of last night's “Parenthood” coming up just as soon as my sister gives me her condoms…

My local NBC station pre-empted a good chunk of “The Scale of Affection Is Fluid” last night to cover the press conference about the New York doctor with Ebola, which means I didn't get to watch it til this morning, and unfortunately don't have a lot of time to write about what was one of this season's stronger episodes.

The hour not only tabled some of the season's more problematic storylines (this was Lauren Graham and Ray Romano's week off, for instance, so no Hank/Ruby drama), but found ways to liven up other ones that hadn't been entirely working. The show's weird blame game in the Joel/Julia separation has been a mess, for instance, but the question of how the kids and Joel would react to Chris' introduction into their lives was both inevitable and interesting. (I especially liked that the kids only know Chris as “Mom's friend from work,” as I imagine their opinions of him will change rapidly once they realize he's auditioning to be their stepdad.)

And both the Adam/Max and Zeek/Crosby stories did a nice job of illustrating the fears and hopes that fathers have for their sons at any age. Max learning about girls and relationships is a fine topic on its own, but reminding us of Adam's concerns about what the future holds for Max – “I need to believe this is possible,” he says, echoing sentiments he hasn't expressed this much since Amazing Andy performed at Max's birthday party – gives it higher stakes, so it's not just about whether the Aspie boy can get the non-Aspie girl to like him. Crosby, meanwhile, has been oddly backgrounded for the last season-plus, but the motorcycle accident and now the trip to the bar suggest a reckless streak of behavior that concerns his father greatly, even as Zeek can empathize with Crosby's concerns about money and loss of freedom.

Couple that with an effective and simple Amber subplot about the new reality of her single, pregnant life (and one that has me hoping “Silicon Valley” will do a subplot about a dog-sitting app), and you've got a strong all-around episode.

What did everybody else think?