It’s hard to believe it’s been eight months since I wrote my original love letter to Parenthood, a complex family dramedy that gets my attention every week via Hulu. Now that we’re a bunch of episodes into Season Three (of, hopefully, seventy-five), it’s time to sit back and reflect on the season’s run so far and how the Bravermans have been holding up. Obviously if you’re not into the show, you need to be. Don’t have enough time to catch up? Just read the original piece and then hop right in!
Zeek and Camille (The Grandparents)
Honestly, these two seem like doorstops so far this season. Zeek has been busy meddling with grandson Drew’s love life, but that seems okay because Drew is meek kid who needs to stop being a whiny kid. He’s also up for defending his assets when his daughter Sarah’s alcoholic ex-husband shows up at their house. Camille has had even less to do as the matriarch of the family, envious of Zeek’s ambition in a recent commercial shoot (yes, it would happen to be erectile dysfunction. Of course!)
Adam and Kristina (The Oldest Son and His Wife) + Max and Haddie (and Nora!) (Their Kids)
At the end of Season Two, this side of the Braverman family was up for some change. Adam’s younger brother Crosby slept with Max’s therapist, making a tough position even tougher managing their Asperger’s-diagnosed son. Adam lost his job managing a shoe company when their new skater-ish/on-a-spiritual-journey-man boss let him go (it wasn’t a great fit, anyway, let’s be honest) while Kristina revealed that she was pregnant with their third child. Adam spends the first few episodes of this season trying to find work, but as many know, that’s pretty difficult in the real world at the moment, much less as a former executive. He’s about to take a job in beverage distribution when that ever-lovable Crosby invites him to restore a classic recording studio: The Luncheonette. Wacky adventures ensue as Adam goes so far as buying new crazy threads to convince a major recording client that he’s ‘totally up in the hizzity’. I honestly chuckled out loud when I saw him in stride in slow motion. Hopefully the addition of new child Nora doesn’t slow them down.
Adam and Kristina have decided to mainstream Max, pulling him from his comfort zone and placing him in a more public school where he has to come to qualms with the social issues inherent with Asperger’s, culminating in a fight with younger cousin Jabbar (Crosby’s son). It’s interesting to see him struggle, but when Amber sits with him in detention after the fight, we see that he’s not quite as far off as one suspects, especially when bribed with sugar.
Haddie’s relationship with Alex honestly feels the most artificial here. After Haddie falls in love with him in the last season while working at the soup kitchen, their relationship has always been a weirdly tenuous one. Alex has a criminal history. And he’s black. And he was alcoholic. And tried to rob a liquor store. Connect the dots will ya? Anyway, after trying to take Haddie home from a house party (with tons of underaged drinking!) he gets into a fight with the owner’s son and his parents decide to press charges. When Adam steps in to diffuse the situation, Alex decides that he’s been too much for them to handle and bows out of their relationship. Aww.
Sarah (The Oldest Daughter) + Amber and Drew (Her Kids)
I can’t stand Sarah. I never have. Her insistence on injecting herself into her kids’ lives is no doubt a big reason why they’re so rebellious. I wouldn’t want her hovering around me all the time, either. She makes stupid decisions and seems to learn absolutely nothing, embracing little commonly sensical logic. Watching her on screen just makes me grimace and her kids have my pity. Regardless, she had a great arc last season under the tutelage of a playwright to try and mold her play into something successful. She doesn’t have anything so structured this time around, but she has fallen back in love with John Ritter’s English Teacher character from the first season (not that he has much to do after The Event was cancelled). He’s over a decade younger than her, coming off as a shy kid, moreso when Seth confronts her on Zeek’s porch.
Amber has her own place in the ghetto now and doesn’t seem to be accomplishing anything at the moment except, y’know, being her. Finding her way, being one with her spirit animal or something. I miss her friendship with Haddie from a few years back as well. Oh well. Drew falls for a girl with a little help from Grandpa Zeek, but watching him run and hide is almost as annoying as watching her his mom lecture them when hse obviously has little clue as to what she’s doing anyway. Drew sought his dad last season, bringing Seth back into the fold, but it appears that Seth isn’t going to be much more than a victim of self this time around.
Julia and Joel (The Younger Daughter and Her Husband) + Sydney (Their Daughter)
When it was revealed last season that Julia wouldn’t be able to successfully have any more kids, after trying hard throughout the entire season, despite stay-at-home-dad Joel’s initial objections, I teared up. Sniff. This time around, Julia has her eyes set on the bulging belly of Coffee Girl At Work (played by a super cute Rosa Salazar, who once did chore as the Kin’s spokesgirl) and eventually caves to ask her for her baby when she suggests that she’s giving it up for adoption. The Coffee Girl At Work says ‘No’ and she’s crushed, but eventually wins her over when she stays at Julia’s house. I hope this doesn’t mean that Miss Salazar is going to vanish from the scene so quickly!
Last season’s debacle over having a new kid lead Joel to spend some time outside of the house for once doing what he does best: construction. He’s obviously back to house-husband mode here and that’s a little disappointing.
Also: Sydney is there.
Crosby and Jasmine (The Youngest Son and His Baby Mama) + Jabbar (Their Son)
Crosby is an irresponsible fool. After sleeping with Max’s therapist, he not only loses Adam’s respect, but he loses Jasmine as well. Their relationship was already in an awful state as his free spirit was always at odds with her controlling, uptight personality. She ends up dating Jabbar’s nutritionist, producing a legitimate conflict of interest, but let’s be fair: this is karmic retribution at this point for what his carelessness has brought upon them all. This is the only role I’ve ever really enjoyed Dax Shepard in and I find that to be a relief. Jasmine continues to be an unlikable, yet passionate person who only wants the best for their son. As an audio technician, Crosby convinces Adam to restore the previously mentioned Luncheonette on the hint that many popular artists will follow him there (including Cee-lo in an upcoming episode). Adam serves as the brains and ultimately the money for the endeavor and together, despite the stupid things that Crosby has done, this may be his mea culpa.
At times the show comes off as a bit too melodramatic and that’s fine. The performances shield a lot of this and the mixture of people I love and people I simply can’t stand. I was honestly concerned that they were probably going to run out of ideas fairly quickly with this show, but the twists keep coming. Stay tuned as I continue to love Parenthood!