The Telefile

Parenthood: This Week’s Chuckle, Cry and Cringe

by Rachel Stein November 14, 2012 11:25 am
<i>Parenthood</i>: This Week’s Chuckle, Cry and Cringe

Welcome back to Parenthood! It's been so long since this show was last on, and now Sarah and Hank have a beautiful six-year-old girl together! Seriously, though, it's nice to have our show back, and so much time has passed that I wasn't even sick of Kristina's storyline at first.

Before we dive into the Chuckle, Cringe and Cry of "Together," I need to take a moment to address how sexy Amber and Ryan's scenes were before they got all serious. (I'm not really sure what to make of Amber and Ryan and Zeek and that whole veteran storyline just yet, quite possibly because this subject is extremely new to me, so if you've got any insight, let me know in the comments.) I know I always talk about how Parenthood is good at addressing sensitive topics that other series usually don't touch, but between Hank and Sarah, Amber and Ryan and even a little bit of Drew and Amy, the writers have also proven that they know how to write all kinds of sexual tension. And clearly a little Holt goes a long way, am I right? Gross, sorry. Let's get to it:

One of my favorite parts of the episode and the season thus far was the scene with Sarah at Amber's door waiting to get breakfast. I hate to do this when I talk about Parenthood, but seriously, it felt like a Gilmore Girls mother-daughter moment. Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman have such great rapport and I smiled every second of their conversation. Both actors had great moments last night, but Sarah stole every scene she was in -- watching her get introduced to all of Zeek's veteran friends was really cute, too.

Props also goes to our aforementioned little Holt player Drew, who at first accidentally, but later shamelessly, used Kristina's cancer to get a little something-something from his ex. He reminded me a lot of his Uncle Crosby in "Together," mostly because he balanced being totally sweet and taking on the burden of his family's problems while coincidentally being hilarious. (Also, this has little to do with Drew, but when he rode away from Amy and her perfect college boyfriend, my closed captions said "[Intense pop music]" which, of course it did. It cracked me up.)

Speaking of Crosby, thank God he took Adam out for some beers. I would have enjoyed the whole scene a lot more if it wasn't hammered into our faces that Adam is really stressed out right now, but Crosby offering to pay for drinks and Adam being genuinely shocked was fun. It was a nice juxtaposition with Kristina eating ice cream and going to the arcade with Max -- who, by the way, reminds me more and more of Gossip Girl's Penn Badgley every episode. Just me?

Before that evil tear-inducing music started playing, I barely cried during "Together" with the exception of Kristina sobbing on the phone to Adam saying, "I want my own mom to consider me important enough to get on plane and come here to see me." (Poor thing clearly must have forgotten the Number 3 rule for being a Braverman.) Sometimes I don't know if I well up because of the acting, or if it's because this show is so universally relatable that the second a character goes through an emotion I've felt before, I just go into ugly-cry mode. The same goes for the scenes with Drew and Amy at the lockers where Drew revealed how much a burden all of these changes have been on him which... totally makes me Amy. Dammit, show!

What got me the most, though, was Camille. She's been underused for seasons now, and watching Kristina feel frustrated with her broke my heart. And then the hand-me-down sweater and the awesomely candid and awkward-but-perfect reveal that she didn't think Kristina was right for Adam at first was exactly what this episode (and Kristina, obviously) needed. I know I was supposed to feel bad for Kristina, but I felt way worst for her mother-in-law who is trying to do her best.

And rather than harping on how cringe-worthy it was at first, Julia using Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish as Victor happily looked on in the background totally got me. I wrote a bunch of notes about Julia and Joel whitewashing Victor and how problematic it would be if the show didn't address how they should be helping Victor get in touch with his culture, but this little scene saved a lot of that for me.

So, are we going to have to follow every single step of Kristina's treatment? I mean, yes, that's obviously what we're in store for, right? I really do think this show is doing a justice to how (some) cancer patients would like to be treated, but my God can't we focus a little more on like, that peeing puppy instead? Maybe a few extra Amber-Ryan sex scenes for good measure?

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