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'Parenthood' Premiere: Haddie Turns Out to Be a Bad Influence on Alex (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 14th 2011 6:45AM
['Parenthood' S03/E01 -- 'I Don't Want to do This Without You']

When your daughter's dating a recovering alcoholic, as Haddie is on 'Parenthood' (Tue., 10PM ET on NBC), you might fear that he'd be a bad influence on her. Sure, he's in recovery, but that's no guarantee he won't relapse, or that some elements from that darker side of his life won't impact her.

And while Haddie's been rebelling a lot more of late, she's still supposed to be the good girl who makes good decision. Luckily, Alex (Michael B. Jordan) seems like a solid guy who really cares about her. More importantly, he's taking his sobriety very seriously.

Unfortunately, that makes it even harder when he's dating a high school senior who wants to go out partying where there's a lot of drinking ... and maybe do some drinking herself.

I stepped away from the Bravermans midway through last season because it just felt like things weren't really going anywhere with the family, and while not a lot has changed since then, I do like that the creators are shaking things up. Plus, any show that sees fit to bring in Michael B. Jordan is at least making smart casting decisions.

I loved Max's nod to Alex's previous show when they were in the car talking about the party. "I know there's alcohol at high school parties," he said. "I watched 'Friday Night Lights.'"

Jason Ritter was another character I liked on the show, and it looks like he's back to make things awkward for Sarah again. With Amber all growing up and moving out, though, I'm not sure why it's still so awkward for her, but I like those two together. Is it still the age difference?

The storyline with Amber moving out was probably the smoothest in the entire episode. The relationship between mother and daughter always feels so authentic with these two, and I absolutely believe that they are a real family dynamic. Plus, there was a sense of hope in the end that they can become so close as Amber continues to grow up and make smarter choices.

Hopefully, she brings out the "promise" she saw in that studio apartment, because it looked like a dump to me. Of course, Crosby's recording studio looked like a dump to me as well, so maybe I just lack that artistic vision.

What's surprising is that Adam looks like he's actually going to turn down a stable, but soul-destroying job to go into the very risky business of trying to turn that dump into a working and profitable recording studio. But maybe the Adam taking risks is an Adam I can like.

Crosby's way too laid back, but at least his isn't a character I struggle with on an almost weekly basis. Adam used to drive me so crazy, I found myself hating his character. He was so arrogant and judgmental. Luckily, many of the characters on the show agreed with me, but it was hard to have a lead on a show be so unlikable.

He got me to cringe again this week when he yelled at Kristina for taking a full-time job because he's the man and he's supposed to provide for his family, blah blah blah. And it took him getting drunk to apologize and he still screwed that up by telling her he wasn't mad at her. What on earth did he have to be mad at her about? Taking a job that would provide for the family?

In case it isn't obvious, distaste for this character is one of the reasons I wound up walking away from the show. I like to like the lead characters in shows I watch. Even bad guys like Dexter are more likable than Adam Braverman sometimes.

It doesn't look like the writers know what to do with Julia and Joel still; they've always had the most mundane storylines and non-adventures. This time it's the old cliché of wanting to adopt a child, and now Julia wants to "buy" the latte girls baby at her work. Admittedly, that whole discussion with Sarah was pretty funny, but we've seen this kind of storyline before.

That said, 'Parenthood' has never really been about forging into uncharted waters in storytelling. It's been about relatable people living relatable lives. In that regard, this premiere was a perfect example of the potential the show has always had.

The challenge will be sustaining this momentum through an entire season, and 'Parenthood' has fallen into the trap of slowing the plots to daytime soap opera pacing in the past. Right now I'm interested in some level on what happens to everyone, and certainly intrigued by Alex's prior offenses. But how long will I care?

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It makes zero sense to me why this show is even in production and aired on TV

November 07 2011 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What is it with Peter Krause and horrible, judgemental characters? Nate on Six Feet Under was just as bad.

September 14 2011 at 2:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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