Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Parenthood-"Qualities and Difficulties"

NBC didn't have a picture from this week's episode so you guys get this one of the cast.
Credit: NBC

My review of last night's episode of Parenthood is after the jump.

Last night's episode of Parenthood was remarkably quieter then the past few weeks, that made for teh perfect cool down from the past few weeks. The episode told the stories it told brilliantly and it let the cast shine. When a show has as strong an ensemble like Parenthood has it's great when an episode calms down and lets the cast shine, it makes a fantastic episode.

Max centric plotlines usually resonate stronger with me then most other plotlines, this week's was no exception. The plotline was brilliant in the way that it told the story it wanted to really well. We knew that one day Adam and Kristina would have to sit down and talk to Max about his Asperger's and this episode told that story really well. The talk at the beginning was a brilliant start to the plotline. Peter Krause and Monica Potters did a fantastic job playing Adam and Kristina in that scene. It was filled with real and genuine emotion. They apparently approached it all wrong, but the scene still worked on its own. Then Dr. Pelican (played by Tom Amandes, apparently it was a night of returns for Parenthood) returns to give Adam and Kristina advice about how to talk to their son about Asperger's in a scene that wasn't bad, but it didn't quite click either.

Even though the first half was brilliant, it was the second half of the plotline that worked a lot better in my mind. The scene at the amusement park was fantastic. Krause and Max Burkholder were fantastic in that scene. It was very, very good and another great showcase for Burkholder who was great in this episode. The ending conversation with Max worked very well. It was great and, again, Krause and Potters were fantastic. This time Kristina didn't cry and Adam didn't call it a disability. It was a very well written and very realistic scene. Also, the ending image with Adam, Kristina, and Max all in or next to Max's bed was a great way to tie the plot together and it was a great conclusion. (*)

(*) Haddie was notably absent in this episode. Wouldn't she be present for something like this?

This week, the show returned to the arc about what Sarah is going to do with her life and used it as an excuse to bring back the very good Jason Ritter (**) to the show. Sarah did try to advance her job at the bar, but that doesn't work out because she's not cut out for it. The interview was a good use of Jim O'Heir (AKA Jerry on Parks and Rec) in a non-punchingbag way. Apparently, Sarah's a brilliant writer. She used her creative spark (***) in last week's episode to write a brilliant story and she gives it to Jason Ritter who reads it over and, supposedly, it would make a brilliant play. This is probably what we've been waiting for all season in terms of what Sarah should do with her life and this episode introduced the idea of her being a playwright very well. This is something that I can't really pass judgement until I see more of the arc but it's looking good right now. The plot was also a brilliant use of Jason Ritter in a completely non-romantic way.

(**) I noticed he's very good at playing a role where he can be charming and not have to unravel a government conspiracy. This episode reminded me of how badly the first four episodes of The Event are wasting him.

(***) Misinterpreted the ending of last week's episode, oops. Just a creative spark, not going after her husband.

This week, Crosby was the family's punching bag. This was deservedly so, he made a huge mistake and is now dealing with the rammifications of his mistake. I'm glad the episode didn't forget that Crosby made a huge mistake. Jasmine continues to be mad at him, and Joy Bryant is doing a great job at being angry. This really worked, Jasmine wouldn't immediately take Crosby back after what he did to her and the haste between them will resolve, but it might be awhile. Adam still being mad at Crosby is a completely realistic thing and was well played by both Krause and Dax Shepard. I did think that Zeke coming in and telling Adam to forgive Crosby was over the top, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the plotline. The scene at the end with Crosby and Jabbar was very good, as these scenes usually are.

Again, Joel and Julia are used very sparingly and don't do very much as value. Julia was the first family member to reach out to Jasmine but that's about it. With an ensemble drama this large, not every character will be featured every week (****) and I'm ok with that. The one thing I could have done without is the "I will not cheat on you" speech. It was a hindrance to the ending and it  didn't really work at all.

(****) Heck Haddie, Drew, and Amber were completely absent from this episode, probably saving them for an episode that they will be better serviced.

Overall, this very quiet episode of Parenthood worked very well to create another very good episode of Parenthood.

What did everyone else think?

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