Parenthood S05E19: “Fraud Alert”

…an episode reminding us all the importance of “not living in limbo.”

I have not been shy about extolling the virtues of this fifth season of Parenthood.  Even when it’s been inconsistent (ahem Joel) or implausible (ahem Mayor Kristina), Parenthood never fails to deliver the proverbial goods on the character-based minutia that truly forms the backbone of this series.  I’m not going to address the Joel and Julia stuff this week because frankly I’m tired of it.

All I will mention is the way that this episode opened: a series of Bravermans being interrupted in the midst of bedroom activities: Max interrupting an impending sojourn to “Funky Town” for Adam and Kristina with a declaration never to return to Cedar Knolls again, Zeek’s awkward coitus-interruptus between Jasmine and Crosby to announce his finding of a grille for his car project, and a braying phone awakening Julia about a $468 charge to her credit card (insert sad trombone noise).  She’s alone, it sucks, Joel sucks.  But let’s move on with life here, shall we?  Julia doesn’t want to be stuck in limbo and the way this plotline has been dragged out, I second that motion.  Preach!

Onward and upward, friends.  Let’s dive in and explore what this episode did very well: pairing off characters.


Crosby and Zeek

In the midst of the seventy-two hour timeline the realtor granted Camille and Zeek to accept or decline last week’s offer on the Braverman homestead, Zeek opts to get out of dodge (#CarPuns) with Crosby to acquire what he termed the Golden Fleece of grilles.  Much like the yarns of Greek mythology, this journey ends in the mystical land of Eugene, Oregon in the den of one colorful gentleman named Bernie because yes.

Along the way, it’s all chili dogs and glass-shattering opera (seriously, Zeek, spare us) until Crosby brings up the looming decision about what to do with the house.  However, Zeek, adept at avoidance at all costs, has an acute bout of ATV ADD and adds an unexpected detour.  It was around this time in the episode that I began to get a SNEAKING suspicion that this impromptu road trip might be about more than a grille?  Kidding.  Of course I knew all along because, like you, I am not an idiot.

By the time our road-weary travelers reach Bernie’s garage, things do not go well.  Patience has never been a particularly noteworthy attribute of Zeek’s, and he really lets the Oregonian have it when he feels as if he’s being taken for a ride (#CarPuns2).**

**I don’t know about you, but this might have been a subtle commentary on the state of diplomacy in the world, or perhaps Zeek just struggles in the find art of GTFO of his own way.  Either way.

But then, the surprise of the episode: Zeek confesses that this road trip was not really about the trip at all!  I know, I gasped and clutched my pearls like the proper Southern belle I am, too!  Say it ain’t so!  Seriously, though, he’s feeling old and selling the house is just another step in that inevitable process, so he’s wary of it.  Makes sense.  Thankfully, Crosby knows what to do: piss off his wife by buying a motorcycle to make sure his dad gets the grille at the heretofore agreed upon $450.  Classic Crosby!

Oh yeah, and tells Camille upon his return that he wants to sell the house.  Aren’t healing road trips to find long lost, symbolic car parts just the best?  You don’t have to answer that because obviously yes they are.


Drew, Victor, and Sydney

This week, we took a break from “The Continuing Journey of Drew, the Pothead Balladeer,” which allowed us to remember that he is actually a delightful and interesting character when not ensnared in a love triangle with an emotionally-wrought ex and a manipulative hell beast.  So hurray!

This really proved a fascinating tangent to pursue in terms of fall out over Julia’s separation from Joel.  Drew has handful of babysitting gigs (that are the #MostDepressingWaysToEarnFortyBucksEver), pairing him off with Sydney and Victor***, his two cousins that he claims hate him.  Maybe they’re listening to his original songs?  Sorry, but probably they were.

***Leave it to Sydney to turn a run-of-the-mill sibling spat over a turn at a video game into an indictment of Victor’s difficulties in school.  Seriously, if ever a character were a hemorrhoid on the underside of Satan’s hindquarters, it’s Sydney.  I don’t care for her ‘tude.  No way, no how.

Until this episode, I never considered how Drew and Amber are very much reflections of Sydney and Victor.  What a perfect opportunity to bond over the crowd-pleasing topic of broken homes!  I’m glad to know roller rinks are still able to bring people together.  I guess clumsily navigating around a slick circle for hours on end will just never get old.

Seriously, this was great stuff, maybe my favorite off-shoot of an overall very drawn out and inconsistent plot.  Not only did it rehabilitate Drew’s character but it also provided us with an insight into the way separation and divorce can both split apart and unite those affected by it.  An excellent paradox handled with subtlety and compassion.  More like this please!  (And a WHOLE lot less of Julia dating Ed because ugh).


Sarah and Mark Cyr (HUH?!?!?!?)

Okay, okay.  I buried the lead a bit here.  Yes, Jason Ritter returned this week as English teacher/former fiancee of Sarah Braverman/sporter of unfortunate facial hair Mark Cyr.  It all (re)begins with an incredibly awkward–but perfectly performed–stop-and-chat between him and Amber.  After muddling through the ideal chitchat and pleasantries expected, Mark asks after Sarah and leaves.

In a nice contrast, the scene cuts to Sarah and Hank hanging up a framed copy of the Surf Sport photo that seems to have launched Sarah’s photo career in earnest, now that she and Hank have a follow up gig for some organic skin cream.  The juxtaposition of this editing is clear: Sarah seems perpetually caught between the two men she left.  A deft touch.

But let’s not forget the true victims of Sarah’s artistic success: her neglected tenants, who have been living in LITERAL darkness, adrift in a sea of discarded catalogue.  Who was that lady and why do I want to smack her with one or possibly all of the catalogues?

Amber arrives with news of her run-in with Mark, visibly affecting Hank, who had recently opened up to Sarah about enjoying their time together.****  Before long, Mark calls up, asking to meet face to face for the purpose of relaying big news.

Anyhow, it turns out Mark’s publication in a literary magazine with a circulation of 37 WHOLE PEOPLE wasn’t the sole reason for their meeting.  Also, he’s engaged.  So, there’s that.  What I found amazing is that, after this truth bomb, the two pick up their menus and actually–it seems–have dinner together?  (#BigBowlofAwkward)

****I’m absolutely loving Hank’s continued therapy sessions with Dr. Pelican.  It gives Ray Romano additional chances to shine and more screen time for the best character on the show (imo), so that’s win-win from my perspective!

Great stuff, but nothing worked as well as that sly smile during the photo shoot when Sarah tells Hank about the engagement.  Drop that anchor ’cause I’m shipping these two hard!


Elsewhere, Kristina and Adam disprove of the school’s handling of Max’s field trip incident, Max takes up (deeply symbolic) surfing because #CedarKnollsSucks, Joel has no interest in fixing his marriage, as he feels Julia disrespected him in their marriage (seriously, wtf and get a grip), and…oh hi, Jabbar!  Glad you’re still around.  Where you been, boy?

Another solid episode of Parenthood, but that’s a foregone conclusion.  If we can just wrap up the Julia-Joel saga one way or the other and keep Drew out of Natalie’s orbit, then this last string of episodes will just improve on what’s come before.


Conversation Around the Dinner Table

– Amber: “Common interests?  It’s not E Harmony.  It’s babysitting.”

– Sarah [to Hank]: “Really, you had a negative outlook on something?  Shocker.”

– Crosby: “I’m going to write a bad review on Yelp about this!”

How “The Following” Has Displayed Alarming Irresponsibility

I’m no prude, okay?  If what you’re presenting on film or television (or, of course, in print) has purpose to it, then I’ll consume and likely love what I’m reading or seeing.  I love action movies with teeth-rattling explosions and Liam Neeson kicking ass on planes or in Eastern Europe or wherever there might be a congregation of bad guys in need of an honest-to-goodness whooping.  I relish the subversive delights of a quality horror film (and, in the process of searching for one, I’ll also wade through the many, many, many terrible ones).  I guess my point is that violence does not, per se, offend my delicate sensibilities as I don’t really have any.

So why then am I finding myself so put off by the second season of Fox’s serial killer thriller The Following?

In many ways, this show should be my proverbial jam.  I dig this sub- genre, and my predisposed affection in and of itself carried me through an inaugural season of head-spinningly inconsistent quality.  But something’s changed this year for the worse, and it has to do with the show’s increasingly cavalier depiction of violence.  On the one hand, if you’re watching a series like The Following, you sort of know what you’re getting yourself into and more or less what to expect.  After all, violence has been part of this show’s DNA since its debut; the opening minutes of the pilot episode find Joe Carroll having murdered five guards and escaping prison.  And let’s not forget he’d been locked up in the first place for eviscerating fourteen college girls.  So yeah, The Following established itself and its grisly tone early on.

The grisliness of the violence, however, is not my concern.  The shift in the sophomore season’s public acts of violence is what gives me pause.  Part of Joe Carroll’s villainy has been about dismantling the complacency of the masses; the dude’s sort of messed up in the head, what with this obsession with Poe an all, and he believes in saving the less enlightened, meaning you and I ostensibly.  What makes him such a chilling villain (in the beginning at least) is that he could orchestrate acts of violence anywhere at anytime.  In the pilot, a woman walks into a public building, disrobes, and gouges her eyes out.  Joe Carroll’s minions set up violent tableaus of victims throughout New York City, posed in frequented spaces and venues for the sole purpose of rattling the general public.  So, in some ways, the idea that any given time or place could become the stage for a violent act is not foreign to the show.

This thread continued into the second season.  In the premiere episode, a group of assailants, donning Joe Carroll masks, overwhelm the No. 6 train and slaughter multiple passengers.  Immediately, that didn’t sit well with me; in my mind, there’s a considerable difference between one woman walking into a building and gouging her own eyes out and a trio of people butchering unsuspecting commuters.  Narratively speaking, it’s upping the stakes and the ante, so I get it.  But that doesn’t mean I like it.

This disturbing trend has continued throughout the episodes that followed: a massacre in a book shop, where a masked group cut a bloody swath through the crowd, stabbing and slicing with abandon and–just last week–a shoot out in the hospital where doctors and patients were mowed down as simply matter of course.  As I watched two men (dispatched by Lily Grey to obtain her convalescing son) produce automatic weapons from a tote bag, I cringed.  I knew where this was headed, and I didn’t like it.  Not one little bit.

Because at a certain point, despite something or other benefitting your show from a narrative standpoint, there has to be a sense of moral responsibility, doesn’t there?  We’re living in a time where actual acts of horrifyingly random violence plague us: bombings at marathons, shootings at movie theaters, massacres on school grounds.  This is a reality with which we must all live, and does The Following  have the right to exploit it for the purposes of making a B-grade television show?

On the other hand, you might think it the purpose of the horror genre to hold up a mirror to our fears.  Universally, I would agree with that statement.  Quality works of horror, after all, have taken our societal anxieties and subverted them into a form of subtle commentary.  That is, in my estimation at least, the true purpose of an excellent horror film: to provide us with an artificial and safe experience wherein we can process and purge some of these emotions.  But the key word in this paragraph is subtle.  There’s nothing subtle about what The Following does; it simply recreates random acts of public violence just to get under our skin.

What’s worse, its characters display an alarming indifference.  After the bookstore murder, Ryan Hardy doesn’t even react when an on-duty officer reports five people were murdered.  If Ryan, the protagonist of the series, has such a nonplussed demeanor about this violence, it speaks to the series’ perspective as well.  This is where The Following could, if it wanted to explore this violence in a meditative way rather than exploit it, establish itself as a social commentary.  But Ryan shrugs off the death count, suggesting the way the show itself dismisses the implications of what it’s depicting.

And what it’s depicting isn’t allowing us to confront our very real fears.  The Following just wants to create a world where someone can get stabbed in broad daylight because he reminds a deranged cult member of a high school tormentor.  I’m not naive; I know such random acts of violence occur.  But do we need a television show to remind us of that fact?  Or, at a certain point, doesn’t a show (or film or book) that dwells in this genre take on a responsibility  to do more than just push our buttons?

If The Following wanted to pursue its narrative down this path, I don’t mind.  Go for it.  But do it mindfully because, if this is how you choose to tell your story, it needs to mean more than just a weekly body count that results from that decision.  It requires a nuanced approach, a light touch, even a hopefulness.  We need to know Joe Carroll (and now, I suppose, copycat in the making Lily Grey) are aberrations.  We need to know their violence has an expiration date.  We need to know these lunatics cannot hold us hostage with threats of violence, that the hate and death that populates newspapers and news cycles is not forever.  That‘s the message we need from The Following if it wants to depict its violence in the manner it has because then it becomes a show with something to say.  Look, there was no more disturbing show than True Detective, but each narrative wrinkle came imbued with ideas for us to ruminate on; its darkness held purpose.  The Following depicts public violence because it knows it will make us cringe.  It has no interest, it seems, in doing more.

But until it does that, it will remain irresponsible.  With only a handful of episodes left, I will stick with it in the hopes that there is some redeeming subtext to pull from it in the end. And after what it’s put me through, there had better be.

Reacting to the “How I Met Your Mother” Series Finale

How I Met Your Mother accomplished a great deal over the course of its nine season run.  It honestly depicted the ebbs and flows of friendship, the painful process of adapting to new stages of life, and the generally turbulent time of your late-twenties and early-thirties.  It was never perfect, but it did set incredibly ambitious parameters for a traditional comedy series, unafraid of the dramatic detours that this story yielded.  It assembled a phenomenal gallery of characters and allowed its talented cast to imbue them with a wonderful complexity.  In short, it did a considerable amount right.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure that its final episode is one of those things.  Look, let’s be clear right off the bat: I didn’t hate it.  It’s not going to taint my affection for this show.  In fact, moment to moment, I quite liked parts of it.  I laughed.  I choked up.  I reminisced.  In other words, How I Met Your Mother hit the broader notes of any serviceable finale, and I think–truly and deeply–that Thomas and Bays believe they put together a finale they thought their audience wanted to see.  Their intentions were admirable, and that’s got to count for something.

But here’s the thing.  The How I Met Your Mother that debuted in 2005 was not the same How I Met Your Mother that signed off for good on Sunday night.  Like its characters, the damn thing changed.  It evolved.  So, yes, Ted and Robin seemed destined for one another back in the day; but, just last week, Ted admitted that he didn’t love Robin as he once did.  And I bought it.  Ted bought it.  So why did Bays and Thomas force the issue of Robin and Ted together in the end?  Why jam a round peg into a square hole?  The series came full circle when a salt-and-pepper haired Ted raised that blue French horn aloft as Robin peered down from her window, but I’m not sure it should have.

On the one hand, I understand the impulse to address the lingering intimacy between Ted and Robin after all these years.  However, I found myself far more satisfied with Ted’s realization last week that he no longer reciprocated her feelings.  That felt like growth, an acceptance of the fact that he loved and would always love Robin, just not in a romantic sense.  I liked that.  But the implication that he would end up with Robin?  I’m up in the air.  I certainly don’t love it but nor do I vehemently hate it.  Mostly, it feels like Thomas and Bays forcing the issue, hung up on the How I Met Your Mother of old when many of us, including Ted, had moved on.  And who could blame him?  The version of Robin he ostensibly ends up with is very much a self-involved mess.

Unlike some, I’m not angry that the Mother died.  Most of us suspected as much at this point, and her sickness and death did not in any way blunt the connection she shared with Ted.  In a way, it spoke very powerfully on the idea that love can be both all-consuming and terribly brief.  It reminded us how important it is to immerse ourselves in love when we encounter it because, like Tracy, we never know its lifespan.  Cristin Milioti was wonderfully charming, and I wish we’d grown to know her better than we did–there was a sad richness to her character that I feel we only had the opportunity to explore partially–but having her die at least provided a logical framework to the overarching narrative.  Plus, it gave their story a sense of beautiful tragedy.

At this point, you could classify my reaction to the finale as staunchly ambivalent.  However, one thing I strongly disliked (despite its inevitability): the dissolution of Barney’s and Robin’s marriage after a paltry three years.  Look, it makes sense–I suppose–that their relationship could not and would not endure.  We expect as much of the older versions of these two characters.  But, dammit, we had more bizarre character retconning!  This season (this sometimes drawn-out season) worked overtime to convince us again and again that Barney was a changed man.  In fact, more than half of this season’s installments concluded with the sole purpose of reinforcing that idea.  So what the hell, show?  Not only did you undermine your own character development** because you just had to have Robin and Ted end up together, but you also rendered the last season’s containment at the Farhampton Inn virtually moot.  Yeah, yeah.  Ted met Tracy at their wedding.  But if the goal was to split Robin and Barney up anyway, why spend SO LONG on the weekend of their doomed marriage?  Ugh.

**After the wonderfully touching way Barney disposed of the Playbook last year, he makes a second one after his divorce?  That, most of all, felt less like a callback than a slap in the face, a final slap bet of sorts.

Fortunately, Barney’s send-off felt appropriate.  After convincing the gang that he was not the kind of guy to fall in love with a girl and devote his life to her, it felt perfect that he instantly did just that with his newborn daughter.  Sure, he might have wound up an unwitting father after impregnating the thirty-first woman in as many days, but ending Barney Stinson’s womanizing in this way worked very well.  Of course fatherhood would have him reevaluate his treatment of women as mere objects. Plus, the scene of him holding his daughter and vowing his love to her was some of Neil Patrick Harris’s finest work on the show and served to remind how effortless he made it look taking a character that should have been a caricature and transforming him into a lovable goof.  That, at least, the finale did very very right.

That leaves Marshall and Lily.  Over the years, flashforwards provided us with considerable clues about their future lives, and their story very simply filled in those blanks.  So yes, Marshall becomes Judge Fudge and eventually Fudge Supreme.  They have three kids.  Lily sports an unfortunate bangs situation.  Marshall will never relinquish his love for puns and/or Sasquatch.  As the series’ most stable characters, Marshall and Lily neither shocked nor surprised us with where they ended up in the finale.  I’d like to imagine them high-fiving without looking well into their golden years.

I say let’s chalk it up to a mixed bag.  Wrapping up long-running comedy shows is difficult, and Thomas and Bays had their hearts in the right place.  Unfortunately, that also led them to reroute the narrative of How I Met Your Mother rather than to follow it to its more organic conclusion.  And I’ll conclude with this: Ted ending up with Robin is not my favorite, but it does posit an interesting growth for Teddy Westside.  As the man who romanticized love to unattainable heights, it’s sort of neat to see a different Ted by the end, a man who has experienced true, honest love and all of its unromantic and painful facets.  He loved Tracy deeply, and nothing can take away from that; however, he also loves Robin.  There isn’t truly a “one” for Ted as he insisted all along.  In loving both women, the journey of Ted Mosby, Architect proved more grounded, realistic, and–ultimately–sad: love cannot save a life, but it can create a new one.

You know what?  I’ll buy that.

Parenthood S05E18: “The Offer”

…an episode reminding us all the importance of “Defcon wake and bake.”

When it comes to the stacked deck that Parenthood  brings to the table week in and week out, it can’t help but be consistently excellent television.  But a few times every season, this perenially outstanding series manages to one-up itself and turn into something truly transcendent.  For me, that was this week’s brilliant “The Offer.”  I don’t know about you, but I’m still piecing together the tattered remnants of my heart and trying so hard to push through the pain of feeling all of the feels.

Let’s just cut the malarkey, shall we?  Several plots continued to move forward, including the glacially paced saga of Drew’s emo phase and the ongoing quest of Camille and Zeek to sell the Braverman homestead, ** but tonight’s hour belonged to two characters: Max Braverman and Victor Graham.  Considering that Max Burkholder and Xolo Mariduena are two exceptional young actors (and young Mr. Burkholder has reduced me to tears on more than one occasion), it did not surprise me that these two young men were up to the task of carrying the heft of this narrative on their shoulders.  But what did surprise me was the extent of their success.

**I mean, Zeek Braverman traipsing down the stairs to great his realtor in just his unmentionables?  Classic Zeek!  But seriously, put some pants on, old man.  You’re not living in a nudist colony and Jabbar’s all like, “Pants are for suckers!”  Get a grip, Zeek!

I have no interest in splitting tonight’s episode into three parts as I have consistently done in the past.  Like last night’s episode, this recap belongs to two people.  Perhaps it’s better to forego the tip-toeing and just rip off the emotional band-aid.  Oh man, holding back the tears…Shut up!  You’re crying!


Victor Braverman

At this point, my deep-seated animosity toward Sydney is well-documented.  But, several weeks ago, when the Joel-Julia marital crisis hit its apex, I postulated that focusing on Victor–and not, for the love of God and all that is holy, Sydney–seemed far more interesting.  I take it that Mr. Katims is an avid reader of this blog and granted my wish because we had the opportunity to do just that.

Given the unstable domestic situation that defined much of Victor’s life prior to his adoption, it wasn’t long before he began to  view the separation of Julia and Joel as another form of abandonment.  Of course, it didn’t help when Daddy Dearest drove to the wrong baseball field to pick up Victor after practice.  I mean, come on, Joel! You organize the construction of some huge project but find yourself flummoxed by the intricacies of a middle school rec baseball schedule?  (#BizarrePersonalityDeficiency)

However, Joel’s mama didn’t raise but no fools, and he is a lethal quick study when it comes to very obvious things, so he can tell the scheduling snafu has shaken his son.  Therefore, he decides to throw Victor’s entire class into a certifiable tizzy by buying him a cell phone, despite the organized efforts of the class moms from hell to hold off as a collective bargaining unit.***  Not to mention the fact that he didn’t consult Julia.

***Um, what?

On the one hand, I see where Joel’s coming from.  He’s nothing if not tuned into his kids, and this seemed like a simple enough concession if it meant providing his emotionally fragile son with a peace of mind.  On the other hand, Joel has been acting like a complete poo nugget all season, and his indignation toward Julia when she confronted him about his poor unilateral decision-making really steamed by beans.  Joel seeming to play favorites by giving Victor a phone and not Sydney, prompting the little brat to blame everything on her brother because she is a hell-beast borne of the pits of Hades.

Fortunately, Joel realizes that Victor doesn’t want a phone.  He wants his dad to reassure him that he would not disappear, that he would not slip out of his life, that he would not forget about his son.  What a beautiful scene between Joel and Victor at the end of the episode wherein father vowed to stand by his son until the end of time.  Powerful stuff and beautifully portrayed.  In other words, it kicked me directly in my heart-pants.


Max Braverman

From the minute we watched Max methodically pack his belongings for an overnight school trip, I can’t imagine that every single viewer across America didn’t let out a nervous sigh.  This was never going to end well for young Mr. Braverman.  It wasn’t going to go well when Kristina volunteered as a parent chaperone; it certainly wasn’t going to go well when Max insisted his mother withdraw her offer to chaperone; it unquestionably wasn’t going to go well when Adam advocated for his son to get his way as a means of exerting independence.

Did you slap your forehead when Adam said that, or was it just me?  Because, look, he’s right.  Adam and Kristina can’t shelter their son indefinitely; he will need to branch out on his own.  Unfortunately, logic will not help here because Adam neglected to consider the obvious: middle school kids are so terribly cruel to one another.

Donning perhaps the single greatest outfit of all time (replete with laced up wader boots and safari-style sun hat), Max boards the bus without lingering for an emotional goodbye.  I found myself heartened by the presence of Mr. Knight, the Massiah-like educator and potential co-conspirator in Braverman High School.  But don’t we all know one excellent teacher does not a flawless field trip make?

Of course Mr. Knight phones the Bravermans that very night**** because Max has had an absolutely massive meltdown.  He tries to get through to Max, who simply sits in the middle of the hotel lobby, staring vacantly into space.  Kudos to Knight for trying his best to connect with Max despite his palpable disinterest.  OMG guys, is Mr. Knight Jesus?  Btw, the answer is yes because dude is THE.BEST.

****Proving the selflessness of parenting, Adam and Kristina willingly pause their viewing of Top Chef because they have excellent taste in television.  Ha!  (#CulinaryPuns)

I don’t have the ability or skill with words to convey the raw emotional power that Max Burkholder, Monica Potter, and Peter Krause brought to the absolutely brilliant car sequence that followed Max getting picked up from the trip.  Adam and Kristina try to keep it together as Max finally opens up about what prompted his meltdown: a classmate peed into his water canteen.  Adam, choking back tears, calls the bully an asshole (how’d ya like them apples, NBC censors?); Kristina sits stunned as her son continues to pour his soul out.  He can’t understand why his classmates laugh at him, why he can’t understand them.  He calls himself a freak.  And means it.

But the scene had not finished using my bruised heart as speedbag.  How hard did you bawl when Kristina unbuckles her seatbelt and climbs into the backseat, squeezing her son close to her as he first resists (he hates hugs) before relenting and falling into his mother’s arms?  Better question: how hard are you crying right now reliving that scene?  This powerful five-minute television sequence moved me profoundly.  I’ll never forget it, and for my money Mr. Burkholder could win an Emmy if he submits that to the Academy this year.  Could and, folks, should.  Definitely should.


Elsewhere,  an aggressive buyer comes in above Camille and Zeek’s asking price after one rebuff, Drew’s transformation into pot-smoking balladeer worries roomie Amber, and Hank struggles with his emotions for Sarah but ultimately stands by her side in the wake of a positive review from Surf Sport.

A brilliant hour of television, one that will haunt me for the rest of my days in the way that only truly exceptional art or literature can manage.  It’s another example of why Parenthood is such a very special television series.


Conversation Around the Dinner Table

– Hank: “Just don’t ramble.  If you ramble, I’ll punch a bird.”

– Hank: “There’s a million Bravermans out there.  Every corner, there’s a Braverman.  They’re like Starbucks, the Bravermans.  But you come here.  You come to me every time.  Why?  Why?  Why?”