Thursday, January 17, 2013

Parenthood: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (S4E14)

Hmm.  So this was not a strong episode.  At least two of the plots made me hate the characters, and the rest were utterly predictable, or overly schmaltzy. 

Lets jump right in.

Adam and Kristina start off by having an utterly adorable moment with Nora, until Hurricane Max storms into the house ranting and raving about the fascists at his school, his obsession with the vending machine having finally grated on the student council advisors last nerve about as much as mine.  Adam is all for letting him learn the hard lesson of ‘things don’t always go your way,’ but Kristina thinks they should punt that down the road again, some more, and she decides to give Max a bit of a helping hand in getting the vending machine back.

She starts out by hitting up the other moms while waiting for Max outside of school.  They are basically sanctimonious bitches, and I kind of wanted to punch them in the face.  Kristina looks like she wants to do about the same, and so goes back home to regroup.  She and Adam devise a plan:  they will divide and conquer, getting people individually to agree to the vending machines, and then bringing the proposal to the PTA.  She finds a bunch of information on healthier vending machines to bring to the meeting, but it turns out it wasn’t even necessary:  one of the teachers is jonesing for a pop, and would really like the vending machines back yesterday, thank you.

When next we see this story, Max is dancing in a shower of Skittles.  As you do.  And thus ended the schmaltz.
Joel and Julia are still having issues with Viktor, and Julia is terribly concerned about her lack of connection with him.  She’s been losing sleep over the whole thing, and tries way too hard with him, throwing out the ‘I love yous’ like candy.  It’s a good thing he’s their kid, I suppose.  Oh, WAIT.

Julia and Joel argue through most of the episode about whether or not to go through with the adoption, including at the case worker’s office, and the case worker clearly feels the tension, and tells them to sleep on it, that maybe the adoption isn’t the best option for them.  Julia and Joel meet up with Crosby and Jasmine for dinner, and Julia’s head is so far in the clouds, even Crosby notices.  When Julia needs some air, Crosby follows her out, and asks her what’s wrong.  She spills almost immediately, and Crosby finally reminds her that Viktor is NINE.  And seriously, what 9 year old boy does like his mother? 

Julia acquiesces, and decides to go through with the adoption.  I’m a little torn on this, because I feel like Julia’s concerns are legitimate, but Viktor really does need the stability that a permanent would provide.  I hope they continue to show issues they have, and not just whitewash the whole thing.

Amber and Ryan had a small plot this episode, one that started with a late night phone call from Ryan to Zeek.  They still have a mentor relationship going on, and Zeek advises him to makes amends with Joel, and ask for his job back.  He does, but is kind of a jerk about it, and Joel shoots him down hardcore. 

Later, Amber is making pies with Camille, and learns Ryan is still talking with Zeek, and about the meeting with Joel  She goes to Ryan’s apartment to talk to him, and tells him to bribe Joel for his job back, using treats or coffee to make an inroad.  Ryan does so, and Joel, in a moment of madness, clearly, give Ryan back his job, the end.

Crosby and Jasmine, on the other hand, had a rather contentious plot.  Crosby is still not thrilled with her mom living with them, and when grandma isn’t impressed with Jabbar’s eating habits, she goes to the organic whole foods store for ‘better’ food.  Crosby rightfully discusses with Jasmine first, and they agree to talk to grandma about her not trying to run their lives.  Crosby, now with his bad decision pants on, decides to take the lead on the whole confrontation thing, and it got all confront-y, with hurt feelings all around, and grandma pouts the rest of the episode.

And finally, Sarah has herself a little love triangle.  She runs into Mark, and for some reason agrees to a coffee date with him.  They do, and Mark and his big dumb head attempt to be all cute, and he fails miserably.  Sarah does manage to spill the beans that Hank kissed her while she and Mark were still dating, and Mark does not take that well.

They leave, but later, Mark and his big dumb head are loitering around the shop.  When Hank leaves, Mark confronts him, telling Hank that he is going to fight to get Sarah back honorably, unlike some people he knows.  Hank, the next day, tells Sarah she needs to make up her damn mind already, and leave it at that.

BUT!  You know what wasn’t discussed at all this week?  The whole Drew situation.  In fact, I don’t think he was even in the episode at all.  I feel like they used the big A just for a stunt, to get ratings, which isn’t fair to the issue, or to the characters.  It’s needlessly manipulative, and unfair to people who have strong feelings one way or the other, myself included.

Now, going back to the episode, like I said before, it wasn’t very strong, and the continuity from last week’s episode was really poor, which is unfortunate.  It seemed like the writers saw that there was only one episode left, and realized they had too many plot threads to tie up that hadn’t been touched for half the season, and so, ‘why not?’ they thought. 

Next week:  Sarah/Mark/Hank love triangle finally resolved!  Except the part where I don’t care about that at all.

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