Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Parenthood: The Talk(S4E3)

Another Tuesday, another hour with the Bravermans.

Let’s start today with Adam and Kristina, and a ton of Max.  Adam and Kristina are back with the distracted doctor, and are setting the appointment for the lumpectomy.  There’s some sort of conflict for the initial date, and Kristina insists on pushing it out two weeks, cause it’s not like she has cancer in her boob or anything.  Adam is not terribly enthused, but it’s what she wants, so they go with it. 

Max is still in full student council mode, and has even managed to get the full 25 signatures he needs to be on the ballot.  However, when Kristina looks at those signatures, she sees a bunch of joke ones, and is very distraught.  She and Adam decide that Max shouldn’t run for student council, much to the ire of Max. 

Kristina, though, is very introspective this week, and decides that she gets to change all the decisions without consulting Adam even one little bit.  She pushes her surgery back to that original date, and then tells Max he can totally run for student council, and she’ll help him and everything.  After a quick talk with Adam: “I’m not gonna let the cancer rule me, so instead of doing the rational thing and not let Max run for student council, he’s doing it, cancer be damned,” she, Max and Adam start making a bunch of posters.  If the writers have Max win the election…well, I was going to say the reality bus will have left the lot, but that happened a while ago, I think.

In our second significant plot of the day, Crosby is a terrible parent, and Jasmine has to fix his mess again.  Jabar was at the studio with Crosby, and a rapper was laying his tracks, which had some very inappropriate lyrics.  Jabar was, of course, listening in, and heard and questioned every single one.  Crosby attempted to fix it, but failed miserably on account of him being white. 

This plot really irked me.  The fact that the bad words were racially based doesn’t mean you have to make it about race.  “No, you don’t say those words because they are terrible words used by mean people.”  He’s EIGHT.  Even if he had the cognitive ability to understand, it would only be superficially at best, and wrongly at worst.  They live in Berkley, for God’s sake.  He is more likely to be in an animal stampede than be the victim of racism.

Anyway, Jasmine makes everything better by giving Jabar ‘the talk,’ and Crosby is all in awe: “You are so amazing, and did everything amazing, and I’m a sad sack and a terrible person.”  I really hate the thought process that says you have to have experienced something to be able to understand it.  It’s a lazy way of shutting out people who may not agree with you, but could have a different perspective, that you would never know because you don’t care to listen.

On to slightly more upbeat topics: Zeek is having a hell of a time with the sprinklers, and Camille wants him to volunteer somewhere to get him out of the house for a few hours.  He goes to the VFW, and is about as condescending as a person can get to the coordinator: “I don’t want to be here, but my wife is making me.   Give me something to do?”  The coordinator rightly brushes him off to coffee duty, which he does.  Poorly.   A recently returned vet complains about the coffee, and Zeek gets all defensive for whatever reason, it’s not like he tried or anything.  Zeek gets to talking to this guy, and it turns out he’s an irrigation specialist, and Zeek is like “score!”   He insists the new vet comes over to his house(boundaries much there, Zeek?) and listen to his sprinklers. 

The vet figures out what is wrong with them, and fixes the sprinklers in short order.  They reminisce about homecoming, and Zeek really seems to connect with the guy, letting him know of his experiences, and what kind of things he can expect.  It’s actually kind of sweet, in an odd way.  Zeek realizes what a jerk he was, and volunteers for real at the VFW, and the coordinator is happy to have him.

And in our completely unsurprising adoption adaptation plot, Julia and Joel are over Viktor playing video games all day, and try to get him to want to attempt an activity.  Of course, they do it in the worst way possible:  “Oh, hey, I really this thing, and this other thing, and isn’t that thing great, too?”  instead of, you know, parenting.  If I were them, I think I would have bargained a bit with him.  Viktor is ten, and has the capability to understand action and consequence.  I’d tell him you can play video games for ‘x’ amount of hours a day/week if you try a sport for a full season, to be renegotiated after the sports season has ended.  Is that really that hard?  Whatever.   

They opt instead to say “You have no choice, choose a sport, the end.”   He goes with baseball, and there are predictably poor results.  There is bat throwing, and storming off the field, and even a “you’re not my real dad” thrown in for good measure.  Wowie, it only took three episodes for that to pop in.  Color me surprised.

Anyway, Joel decides the best course of action is to tell Viktor how brave he is for even trying, and Viktor’s all, “meh.”  But apparently it worked some kind of magic, because Viktor later asks Joel to play catch, as Julia pulls into the driveway, sees them, and smiles for the first time this season.

And lastly, Sarah.  She walks into the studio to find Hank reading The Hunger Games, and susses out that he has a 10 year old daughter named Ruby who is coming to visit for the weekend.  Hank and his daughter are not close, and Sarah attempts to help by telling him some about the book. 

His daughter comes, and she’s annoyed at everything Hank wants to bring her to.  Minigolf?  Yuk.  Aquarium?  That’s for babies.  Photo shoot with dad?  As if.  During that photo shoot, she stays with Sarah, and apparently, Sarah is a bonding-savant, because she and Ruby hit it off almost immediately.  Sarah talks up Hank to his daughter, and Ruby vents about how lame it is she has to miss the biggest party of the year to be here.  But Sarah has a great idea:  “lie to your friends, and tell them you are at a photo shoot with Justin Bieber.”  Because there is no way that could backfire in a million different ways or anything.

When Hank gets back, Ruby is in a much better mood, and they photoshop a pic to send to Ruby’s friends as a family whoops, getting ahead of myself a little bit there.

Grade: C

While the technical aspects of the show, pacing and whatnot, were good, and the dialogue itself was quick without being annoying, this episode falls short in the actual plot department.  These are some seriously out of whack with reality characters, and it’s almost distracting.  I know we need conflict to have a story, but does the conflict really have to involve one or more person acting incredibly dumb week after week?  

1 comment:

  1. Great overview! I was a little disappointed with the fact that so many things went wrong in this episode, and they all seemed to be fixed by the end of it. I didn’t necessarily agree with Sarah and Hank getting Ruby to lie to her friends; it's seriously not the right thing to teach any kid. I was discussing this episode with some of my co-workers at DISH this morning since I didn’t watch this episode until last night. I mentioned that Crosby could’ve been thoughtful and not have allowed Jabar into the recording studio while EXPLICIT material was obviously being recorded. A few of them pointed out that parenting is a process of mistakes, and this wasn’t a premeditated event, so obviously it was a mistake. I do like that Crosby is having to mature quite a bit now that he has his family together, and I’ve enjoyed seeing that transformation take place since the pilot. This season has been tough for me to watch as it airs live, but I don’t complain since my Hopper’s Primetime Anytime feature records NBC every day during primetime. It’s saved me a few times, since NBC’s primetime shows are the only ones I actually look forward to watching weekly.