Parenthood: No one wants to be a loser

PARENTHOOD: 2.04 “Date Night”

Watching this week’s Parenthood immediately after Life Unexpected was amusing.  The television themes of this week were religion (Glee, Modern Family, Community) and winners/losers (Mad Men, Life Unexpected, and of course, Parenthood).  Almost every Braverman had to grapple with this—whether it was perceived (Crosby, Drew, Joel) or real (Haddie).

I was sort of bummed that the Braverman parents weren’t very prominent this episode—they haven’t been featured much at all this season.  Craig T. Nelson brings a lot of levity to the show that prevents it from becoming Brothers & Sisters, and I missed him.*  It would be interesting to get inside their counseling sessions as well or even see how the Braverman children are dealing with their father’s infidelity.  I hope that’s explored more.

Most of the Braverman loserdom was all perception.  Joel was inept at magic and needed to find a way of entertaining the kids in kindergarten.  I knew that he would do something with carpentry—it just seemed sort of obvious.  More importantly, this was a superficial concern for Joel; after two weeks of him grappling with his lack of career/the potential of having another child, this lacked emotional heft.  And of course, the kids painted blocks of wood and had a blast so Joel is on the winning team.

Also on the winning team is Haddie…literally.  She won student council president, only after working with Sarah to refine her speech.  I felt bad for Christina.  Haddie was a tool last week, and it was pretty clear she couldn’t write a speech by herself from the opening (I need some more Amber drama, by the way…she’s also been missing).

I also felt really badly for Christina for many other reasons. Obviously, when you hear that 80% couples with an autistic child end up divorced, you freak out and try to overcompensate by scheduling a date night.  Unfortunately, that was thwarted by Adam’s heinous schedule.  Does anyone think he’s about to be fired, by the way?  And where was Gordon last season?  There was no hint of a wretched boss, and here he comes out of nowhere.

Anyway, when Christina and Adam finally get their act together for date night, they end up on the Black Pearl.  And they run into Sarah who’s on a date with the inventory guy.  This freaks Adam out a bit, and also, curses their date night.  Luckily, during Haddie’s presidential victory celebration, they steal off to eat cake at night and they end up winners for the time being.

Crosby, on the other hand, was a disaster this episode.  I understand wanting to appear responsible in front of Renee, but at a certain point, you have to admit you’re drunk and a nightmare.  I am happy he didn’t try to drive himself…at least he didn’t endanger anyone, and I’m glad they didn’t fall upon the drunk driving/car accident cliché. I’m also glad that Jasmine’s brother didn’t engage drunken Crosby in a fight.  At least someone’s grown up.  In the end, Jasmine came home, quit dance and will devote herself to Crosby and Jabbar.  I still hate her though.

Which brings us to Poor Drew.  April from Gilmore Girls was flirting with him, and Sarah just had to intervene.  So he took initiative and kissed a girl and was rejected.  Poor kid.  Now he’s humiliated and will never make a move again.  This is problematic for all of womankind because when he’s in twenties, he’ll expect a girl to beat him over the head with her affections, and that is annoying.

It’s also annoying that they don’t give Lauren Graham enough to do.  When she was meddling, it reminded me of the episode of GG when Lorelei invited Dean over to watch Willy Wonka after Rory kissed him in the market.  And oh, look at her bad romantic choices?  I feel like Lauren Graham is talented enough to handle more complex issues, and it just ends up feeling trite.  All in all, I thought the episode was OK, but nothing spectacular.  Here’s hoping we get a little more action and a little less self-pity this week.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I watched Troop Beverly Hills this week, and Craig T. Nelson was a delight.  It made me want to see him more.

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