'Parenthood' - 'The Big O' Recap
by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 7th 2010 4:23AM
(S01E06) "Wow, Crosby, you're a dad." - Zeek, after hearing about Crosby's son for the first time
I'll admit it. 'Parenthood' has been a hard show to read. It tries very hard to connect the audience with the human drama of the American family, but at the same time, it expects you to understand and appreciate every problem they come across.
It drags you through their cornfield of sadness and expects you to come out feeling as happy and reserved as the characters do in the end. It makes me wish life actually worked this way. Then it just makes me angrier.
A lot of the scenes from this week's episode had no other reason to exist other than to move the plot, like when Crosby tries to tell his parents about his kid but chickens out, and the "play date" scene where Crosby witnesses Racquel's fandom for Joel. It's just exposition that a character could explain in a scene worth watching. I'm all for plot, but there's got to be something else there that makes it worth watching and already, comedy isn't one of its stronger suits.
And speaking of plot, some of these characters' feelings and how they drive their moves make me wonder about their sanity. Sarah, for instance, knows that her daughter has a crush on her English teacher and yet she chooses to start dating him without really addressing what's sure to be a huge conflict down the road.
Even Adam and Kristina's argument about whether or not she's "faking it" seemed pointless and just there to add more stress on an already stressful situation. Dr. Phil needs to stop chasing the ambulance of every teen pop star who is one Jack and Coke bong away from rehab and work on parents like these.
That being said, there were some notable improvements. The script seems to have started tailoring itself to Lauren Graham's strengths, particularly in the scene with her and Peter Krause as she tries desperately to explain why some girls fake it. She gave it a nice touch of frantic and scatterbrained, as if she's trying to convey two billion ideas at once that won't make sense if she doesn't. It just had a nice flow, if frantic diatribes can have such a thing.
Even the scene where Joel admits to Julie that the Buddhist menace came on to him carried a really nice sense of drama and heaviness. It sucked me into the moment, just to see how she would react. Where the hell has this been all season?
But then we got right back to the happy ending and the weekly Braverman family get together, this time for an impromptu puppet show at the Braverman compound. It wasn't as overblown and ridiculous as the indoor pool scene awhile back, and the ending where Jabbar gets his old man's old bike was actually kind of sweet.
Still, they couldn't spring for a decent helmet?