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October 13, 2015

'Parenthood' - 'The Deep End of the Pool' Recap

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 17th 2010 9:00AM
Erika Christensen as Julia Braverman-Graham, Savannah Paige Rae as Sydney Graham, Sam Jaeger as Joel Graham, Peter Krause as Adam Braverman on
(S01E03) "You know Crosby, however hard you think it is having a kid, just double it." - Adam to Crosby as Crosby cleans kid puke out of his car

This week, things have slowed down a bit, compared to the land speed record that last week's episode achieved. And the show has started to grow on me a little bit.

It scored some great moments of sentiment and honest drama that were endearing and drew me a little closer to the characters, but it's still lacking in that other, all important area of the dramedy: the comedy.

The highlights of the episodes were between Crosby, played by Dax Shepard, and his new-found son Jabbar who get to spend a whole day together since his mom has a big dance audition. Crosby clearly wants to get to know his son, but in a way that doesn't interrupt his own life including the relationship he has with the woman he's about to marry. The moments between the two only took up a small portion of the episode, but it left me wanting to know and see more since it was the most promising outlet for comedy and humanity. In fact, their relationship alone could have made for its own great series.

The same goes for the Max angle and his parents who are finally coming to grips with his disorder and how it's not just affecting him but the entire family. Getting kicked out of school for smashing the class fish tank put yet another realistic spin on this serious plot line, and even though it led to a few stereotypical moments like Adam and Kristina begging the principal of the special school to make room for their son, it felt real and endearing. Even people without children could appreciate their situation.

That being said, the series continues to drag on the comedy side of things. Sarah's opening situation where she dumps the coffee house guy and his merry band of baristas attack her broken down car had me giggling, but the rest of the show didn't really have any good laughs left in it. Some might defend the lack of hilarity as the power of its dramatic element, but it's really not designed or even marketed to be a powerhouse of drama. It's supposed to have some comedy to it and it just wasn't there.

The low point of the evening was definitely Julia's ongoing battle to wrestle her family life out of Racquel's evil Buddhist clutches. It fell in that classic TV family comedy trap door of the parent trying to impose herself on her children, in this case Julia's swimming prowess on her daughter and the moment that she tries to do it by forcing her to swim from the deep end was painful to watch and not for the right reason. You could tell what was coming and the whole dramatic angle felt weak and dry.

At least it matched well with the comedy.

Other observations

- When Jabbar got sick after eating chocolate in Crosby's car, the first thought I had was, "Wouldn't a mother tell their babysitter that their children is lactose intolerant?" Then again, if you're letting Dax Shepard babysit, maybe you're not that good of a parent to begin with. No offense, Dax.

- Zeek thinks a 1948 four-door Caddy is a good car? The thing looks like a Volvo with encephalltis.

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Parenthood is turning out to be a pretty good series, but I have to say the the contrived reasons this family always gets together are getting annoying. They're worse than Brothers and Sisters. I don't expect real life from a television but always tossing the siblings together in these silly outings keep them from developing as characters.

On another note, Lauren Graham seems to be calling it in with her portrayal of Sarah. The character is so one note that she's actually boring to watch, which is a shame considering what a great actress she can be.

March 17 2010 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jimmy_MO's comment

I still think it's all leftover and slightly reworked '30-Something' scripts. Which had no strong female leads and explains why this one has none.
OK the lid and the dad thing has been done and redone as well.
That savings of this series will be the strong actors and the chance the plots meet their inherent talents.
I do agree the throwing together of the new Waltons to solve every individual problem is a bit forced.
Maybe it wil get better. Not without new writers.

March 17 2010 at 9:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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