Finally, I’m Responding to Last Week’s ‘Parenthood’

PARENTHOOD: 4.12 “Keep on Rowing”

Is there anyone still out there? I realize Raked’s been a little quiet since Christmas (perhaps still licking my wounds after Leverage ended), but I have been watching what little new TV has been on as of late, and I did plan to write about Parenthood in a timely manner.

Unfortunately, while I was wholly invested in the episode — I believe I yelped and jumped the minute that bat left Victor’s hand — I ran a blank every time I thought about writing about it. With such a reaction during the hour, why did I run out of things to say?

Well, perhaps because it was surprisingly good, enthralling television. Much like the Christmas episode that I also had a hard time reacting to (and didn’t write about), Parenthood actually just seems to be doing better and better, despite that it’s using one of the most difficult storylines to do freshly — Kristina’s cancer.

The cancer storyline has been done in so many dramas, and while I don’t want to say it’s cliche, it is one to do in a new and different way, just because so many others have proceeded it. And when you add in the fact that TV desperately wants to play with a viewer’s emotions as much as possible, you can generally guess that the main character will eventually say their final good-bye, and you’re left tear-stained, wiping your nose on the couch.

But with Kristina, they’re making the story a lot more three-dimensional. They’re adding close calls. They’re adding interactions with her family. It feels real. So when she lost her hair this week in the cold open and immediately shaved her head, not only was I surprised how fast that happened (I thought for sure that it’d be mid-episode), but I appreciated the fact that her realization of what others thought of her was something I would have thought as well. To her, shaving her head was liberating. She was free, and it was part of the process she wasn’t going to be ashamed of; she was going to embrace. But others didn’t see her that way. They gave her looks like she was sick, like they might get sick, too. And while in a moment of weakness, she looked at wigs online, it was really just showing her own sensitivities.

Possibly my favorite part of the episode was Adam’s attempt to get Kristina a wig. Not because I knew it was a bad idea (and it was a bad idea) but because I could see the inner workings of the husband mind versus the wife mind. To him, he thoughts, “Find problem. Fix problem. Kristina’s upset she has no hair. She looked at wigs. I’ll buy her a wig!” To Kristina, his buying her a wig just fed into her insecurities. If her own husband was embarrassed to see her bald head, what would the rest of the world think? Plus, look at what he brought her? If that horrible wig is what he got, he must think anything is better than how she looked!

Of course, it all worked out. She realized her emotional response and apologized, and they even got a date night out of it. But I just like how real the show is taking this entire situation.

There was so much more going on in this episode, some of which I remember, some of which I don’t. So I’ll just respond in some bullets to the other family members:

  • Sarah’s driving me nuts. As much as I like Hank on the show, I hate this whole relationship she has with him. Plus, the fact that she got jealous over Mark’s New Year’s kiss on the cheek was just uncalled for when she’s sleeping with someone else already.
  • Crosby also is driving me nuts. It’s one thing to be caught off-guard when an in-law might move in. But instead of looking at how she may dominate (and we know he’s had issues with her dominating in the past, like her religion), he focuses on how he doesn’t get his man cave anymore. That’s just selfish and juvenile.
  • Based on the last scene with Victor, I think we’ll be seeing him running away pretty soon. I think Julia was right, that she needed to make it clear that his actions were not acceptable and not an accident, but when your husband says she needs to explain that she’s not angry at him, she’s angry at the behavior, she should have taken note. Leaving that overnight just made Victor think more that she’s not his real mom and she doesn’t even like him anyway. Don’t they know never to go to bed angry?

Anyway, those are my thoughts on last week’s episode, and I’ll do my best to be a little more timely with this week’s episode. I’ve been pleased with Parenthood so far this season, and it’s just showing me more and more that when a show is good, it’s harder to write about. So just know that my silence may not be a bad thing.

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