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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Parenthood Season 3, Episode 4 Clear Skies from Here on Out 10:00 PM NBC

Zeek lands his first commercial, prompting Camille to reflect on her own achievements. Sarah and Mark take their friendship to a new level while Haddie and Alex grow apart. Meanwhile, Crosby and Adam disagree over a minor parenting crisis, Drew's first date with Amy doesn't go as planned and Jabbar and Max hit a rough patch in their friendship.
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User Reviews
Parenthood is a one-hour drama inspired by the box office hit of the same name; it follows the trials and tribulations of the very large, very colorful and imperfect Braverman family. Sarah Braverman (Lauren Graham) is a financially strapped single mother trying to raise two teenaged kids, the bright but rebellious Amber (Mae Whitman), and sullen and sensitive Drew (Miles Heizer). On the home front, Sarah and her kids live with Sarah's larger-than-life, headstrong father, Zeek (Craig T. Nelson), and pillar-of-strength mother Camille (Bonnie Bedelia), who are dealing with their own marital issues. Meanwhile, Sarah's sister and complete antithesis, Julia (Erika Christensen) is a successful corporate attorney trying to juggle work and motherhood, alongside her loving but increasingly restless stay-at-home husband, Joel (Sam Jaeger). Commitment-phobe Crosby (Dax Shepard), Sarah's younger brother, is helping raise a five-year-old son he had out of wedlock with former flame Jasmine (Joy Bryant). However, it's Adam (Peter Krause), the oldest Braverman sibling, who has had to relinquish his expectations about what constitutes a "normal" family, as he, his quietly forceful wife Kristina (Monica Potter) and independent-minded teenage daughter Haddie (Sarah Ramos), struggle to cope with their eccentric son and Haddie's little brother Max (Max Burkholder), who has Asperger's Syndrome. Although each sibling and family has its own share of everyday challenges to grapple with, they still manage to be there for each other in their hours of need. So many storylines, so little time. So we had some great moments in this episode, some good moments in this episode, and not really any bad moments I can think of. That’s the thing about Parenthood: I don’t known anyone who couldn’t sit down and not enjoy the show. The problem comes when next week’s episode airs and you realize that there are about ten different shows on television with heightened stakes than just, y’know, life as we know it. There’s loads of problems the Braverman clan have to contend with: infertility, job security, teenage daughter’s grown up alcoholic punchy boyfriends, autistic child, the list goes on.

That’s probably the show’s main detractor, and it is also its best asset. It explores problems which the regular middle class whites in suburbia face every single day: but then the question becomes about the escapism on television. Sure, Breaking Bad is far gloomier and more depressing than Parenthood will ever be, but it still represents a life I’m about 99.999% certain much of the middle class will never see or be involved with. I’ve about as much chance cooking crystal meth as I have becoming khaleesi of the Dothraki.

That being said, this was a fine episode of Parenthood which was at times gripping – Michael B Jordan in particular stood out in this episode as his character Alex delivered a rattling confession about his desperate past. Parenthood also doesn’t fudge around with the harshness of reality. It’s not like Alex’s past record was something stupid like drinking and driving. It was a serious charge of armed robbery, propelled by his need to fuel his alcoholism. It was a fantastic moment and the relationship between Alex and Hattie (people-including myself-often praise Mae Whitman, but Sarah Ramos is also fantastic) has become something I’m deeply invested in.

Something I probably shouldn’t be so invested in but I am is Julia’s need for a child. Dammit, Erika Christensen, why do you have to be so likable? When Julia asked for the latte girl’s baby, my heart literally shrivelled. And you know what was more bizarre? I was annoyed at the latte girl, for not giving Julia the baby! As if cease and desist orders and adoption papers are the same thing.

Alas, likability isn’t everything. I love Lauren Graham, but every time she rolled in and out of bed with Jason Ritter my eyelids started drooping. There’s something about the Jason Ritter I just don’t get. Maybe it stems from my disgust at the plot in Joan of Arcadia where he started to get some feeling back into his legs after his brother poked him in the ass with a pin. That plot-the hint that he might one day get out of his wheelchair and walk, made my stomach churn. It’s been several years. I should probably get over it. One day.

Then there’s Max’s story, which is always touching and wonderful because if the show hits wrong notes with other storylines, it is careful never to tread wrong with Max and to portray autism with authenticity and honesty and humor and heart, which I love.

Also, somehow the show made me also care (just about) about a recording studio’s business opportunities. For that alone the show deserves some mad props.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.

Genre : Comedy, Drama, Family
Stars: Peter Krause, Dax Shepard and Sam Jaeger
Country: USA
Language: English
Also Known As: Parenthood - Minha Família
Filming Locations: Berkeley, California, USA

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