Category Archives: Parenthood

Parenthood – Jump Ball (S5, Ep13)

Another excellent episode of Parenthood. Tonight I’ve decided to post my notes from my viewing, as I think it captures my emotional roller coaster. (I edited them a little bit for structure.)

I guess coming back from Italy means you try new hair styles and be fabulous with movie 558dacb3319fa7c5.parenthoodstar sun glasses. I get post trip depression and excitement. I’m sad Zeek didn’t surprise her, but his attempt to make her return better was nice. He sees himself losing a best friend. Camille, don’t get too snobby. I need them to find a medium ground. FRANCE!? What class is this? I want to take this painting class. I understand both of their points of view. Like Joel and Julia they need to actually talk and not just be. Here they are just trying to be supportive. At least Zeek is…

Joel and Julia are tough nuts to crack. At this point, they’re both wrong. He’s not trying, but has to figure out what he wants. She keeps pushing a solution on him. What are they going to do?

Oh, poor Drew. This is just too hard to watch. I get they love each other. Amy had me in tears. It can be so hard. College is tough when you’ve never really been away from home. Is she playing Drew? Probably not. She’s just a freshman. We’ve all been through it, but she’s putting a ton of pressure on Drew and taking away his experience. The tear potential came from her. Unexpected.

Julia and Sarah scene is a nice combination that we usually don’t see. Sisters.  After talking to Adam, she talks to her sister, and now I love her 1/2 a second speech.

Amber. I get her deal. She wanted her dad. She’s totally torn up and we know she has destructive behavior. This was an expected spiral. She wanted a fight. Amber’s little smile Parenthoodwhen her dad came to protect her made the entire episode worth it. It was perfect. Chills. She wanted her dad. She wanted to be taken care of by a man. Her man. She wanted a fight. Tear alert. I might start crying. So layered. So layered. Oh man. Oh man. John Corbett. Mae Whitman. Oh man. That’s the benefit of having been watching this for years: scenes like that weigh so much heavier. His talk with Sarah was wonderful. I really hope that Corbett sticks around a little bit longer.

Ray Romano gave another wonderful performance tonight as Hank. The Dr. Pelican scene was pretty incredible.

Oh Poker night. Was it really gonna work? Nice glasses Hank. Adam is so polite. It’s funny sometimes. Especially with Hank. Lovely moment between the two characters.

DREW, GET ON THE BUS!!!!!! NO NO NO Come on. I really need her to see what she’s taking away from him. He won’t say anything until it’s too late.

Joel coming home? MOVING OUT?! That’s too much for me. I kinda don’t believe it. It seems that it’s just to touch on another aspect of “marriage and parenting,” as opposed to being a natural organic step for this couple.

“You could never be me because you’ve got your mother in ya.” Beautiful way to end the episode. At least on a positive note.

Last Thought: I NEED MORE MONICA POTTER.

Keep On Watchin’!

-Bryan

Parenthood – Stay A Little Longer (S5 Ep12)

Parenthood-Season-5-Episode-12-Stay-a-Little-LongerWhat a powerful show. The moments we continually get to experience never cease to amaze. This is one of those shows that whether is subtle or a little over the top, it usually delivers.  Tonight was no exception.

You’d think that Max issue’s would get old for TV.  Seeing Adam and Kristina, season after season, try and get Max to relate or pull him out of a pickle would get redundant, as far as material for a television show. I assure you, that is not the case. These characters are infused with so much life and since we’ve been with their through their entire journey, it affects us at every life/plot development. We are growing with this family and all I want to do is  dance their foam finger dance. Max’s final smile was worth it all.

ZEEK! Always the MVP this year. His touching scenes with Amber, ever since her car accident, have always been warm and full of love, even when she’s yelling at him. His subtle, caring nature, even with Ryan, has a huge impact on the viewing experience and we can understand how his family turned out to be this wonderful. He is the definition of a true stand up guy, except with Camile, but that’s another plot line, so we’re good. (Also, where was Zeek’s new BFF?!)

Joel and Julia started the episode off very strong. Julia’s straightening out of the stereotypical yoga moms was excellent. Her confession to Joel was even better. Her combination of emotion and legal defense was a perfect whirlwind of who she isPARENTHOOD -- "Promises" Episode 511 -- Pictured: Erika Christensen as Julia Braverman-Graham  -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC) and why she’s in this situation. Joel’s reaction couldn’t have been more raw and accurate. It was more real than a lot of what we’ve seen this year and there’s been a lot of down to earth moments. Then, just as I was feeling what kind of a toll this was taking on Joel at work and in life, we had to wait almost 40 minutes for their next, episode ending, conversation. Do you think that Joel is overreacting? (Not entirely, but she needs to give him more time before they actually talk it out.) How poorly did Julia handle this situation? (The talk was handled okay, but let’s face it… it shouldn’t have gotten to that point.) Will they try to bring it back together? (I don’t really know.) How do you come back from something like this? (For them, it’s going to be hard, as Julia teeters on unbearable.) I can’t wait to find out where this all goes.

Some other thoughts:

  • Haddie (in Ithaca) and Amber are literally perfect versions of their mothers. They way they yell, cry, talk. It’s incredible.
  • There are so many possible pairings of people and they always nail it.
  • I enjoyed this version of the Crosby family. Jasmine wasn’t a pill and actually help the situation. Crosby got to be the always effective comic relief. I wan’t totally into this storyline, but it’s humor and sweet ending were nice fillers.
  • Now, do we all think that Ryan’s a goner?
  • Sarah and Hank are always a treat, so I’m excited to see what this episode spent a decent amount of time setting up.
  •  I missed Drew this week.

Until next week, my fellow Bravermans!

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

Parenthood – Promises (S5, Ep11)

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This season of Parenthood has not been the best.  There have been very few ‘teary’ scenes, as well as a lack of overwhelming moments.  Certain storylines have been dragging on forever, but the acting has stayed top notch.  When I say it hasn’t been the best, I mean that in the nicest way, as it is still an overly enjoyable show. However, this week’s return episode was outstanding.

As we get back into the thick of it with the Braverman Clan, was filled with love triangles, self-discovery, and BLTs.

Zeek, while missing Camille and thinking on her extension possibility, meets Rocky, who is clearly going to be his new best BFF. Rocky reminds Zeek of how lucky he is to have a ‘go getting’ wife.  We can only hope that he meets her in Italy and makes all of us cry. Regardless of his this arch ends, Craig T. Nelson’s subtle performance is always perfect and touching week in and week out.  He captures so much in such a small amount of time.

Sarah, per usual, is plopped right into a situation with a guy. Oh Sarah… I wasn’t digging the superintendent role, so this, regardless of how comfortable it seems, is an improvement over the nothing that was previously happening.  Hank’s mini freak out over discovering that he may have a version of aspergers is a very interesting choice.  Even if some people saw it coming, the execution of his discovery coupled with Sarah’s  date was genuine Parenthood gold.  Ray Romano’s Hank is a perfect example of a show bringing in a new character and mining him or her for all they can.  It’s heartfelt, scary, and brilliant.

With no Amber in site this week, we of course need at least little Holt love.  Drew’s amazingly awkward weekend with his two ladies continually made me anxious.  I am a huge fan of this story line, as it feels real, grounded, and raw (as far as feeling accurate).  As much as I like Amy, this is just not going to end well for anybody.

Finally we get the beginnings of the pay off to all the Joel and Julia build up. It’s taken a while, but I do believe they’ve created some nice fundamentals to explore a seemingly perfect marriage.  I’m over Ed, but not the scenario he helped them get into.  Julia’s talk with Adam, as well as his chat with Crosby, were the two episode highlights.  I’m still worried that these characters will be taken too far by the writers.  They could have a hard time bringing them back to likable regulars–not that Julia has ever been truly ‘likable’.

As I mentioned, this season has not their best effort, but it’s still entertaining and heartfelt.  If this episode is a trend for the winter/spring, then I’m very excited.  Welcome to 2014 Braverman Family!

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

The Halfway Point

There’s only so much I can review, regardless of how much I actually watch.  Since we’ve reached the midway point of all of our favorite TV shows’ seasons, I’ll give you a quick report card of what I’m watching.

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Arrow (CW) – A

It has been pretty great this season.  Not only is it course correcting some season 1 issues (island flashback importance), it is making the hero genre fun for TV again.  It’s exciting how it is incorporating the DC universe into the action (the pretty great for TV action), as well as dealing with interesting themes.  It has taken a giant leap forward.

Bones (FOX) – C

It’s average. I stopped watching after the wedding episode, as it became my background show that I wasn’t even paying attention to at all. I’m just not engaged in their stories anymore.

Castle (ABC) – B+

Somehow this procedural knows how to keep things fresh and interesting, while still delivering the fun they promised early on.  Some episodes do fall flat here and there, but overall, it nails it week by week.

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Eastbound and Down (HBO) – A+

What a way to go out! This final season was outstanding and dealt with Kenny Powers on a human level–not just baseball.  It dealt with a man addicted to fame and showed it’s effects on his family and friends.  Also, it was freaking hilarious.

Homeland (SHO) – B

It still isn’t the great show that season one brought us, but it still delivers in certain moments.  The acting is always outstanding, but realistically the plot and pacing are suspect.  I’m hoping the finale can bump this grade up.

How I Met  Your Mother (CBS) – D+

This is severely below average.  If you read this blog, you know how down on it I feel.  If more mother was involved we might be at a higher grade.  We’ll see how this plays out over all.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX) – B+

For being a comedy so late in it’s run, I’m still amazed that it’s still this funny.  Episodes idea are brilliant, highlighted by the met-Emmy awards plot.

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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) – B

The pilot was fun, but then the show took a while to find itself.  While it still isn’t there 100%, the midseason finale was a huge step in the right direction and has given me more hope that this season will only get better.

Nashville  (ABC)- C+

It’s getting better as the season progresses, so let’s hope the drama and music stay top notch and over the top.

New Girl (FOX) – B

It’s had a rough go at it thus far, but it still makes me laugh, so I can’t complain too much.

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Parenthood (NBC) – B+

Some of the plot lines aren’t doing it for me.  Everything else always works, so it’ll iron itself out.  I do have to say, there haven’t been many tear moments this season.

Parks and Recreation (NBC) – A-

Despite the Leslie being negative episodes being one too many, the show is still as stable as ever as it continues to be hilarious.

Sons of Anarchy (FX) – N/A

I have to say I stopped watching because it’s gotten to be too much.  A lot of the plot developments only happen because actors’ contract dictate that they need to be on the show.  It just keeps going and going with no end in site.

The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – B+

There have been some excellent episodes this season, which is way more memorable than it’s been in the recent past.  I especially loved Sheldon’s mistake being a success, then retracted.

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The Walking Dead (AMC) – B

It’s been an inconsistent season–again.  It started strong, then lost it’s momentum when they reintroduced the lame governor. Still, the moments are great here and there, but the zombie attacks were made enjoyable.  I have a good feeling about the second half of the season.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

Parenthood – All That’s Left is Hugging (S5, Ep 10)

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Here we are at the midway point of the season.  While it hasn’t been very strong overall, it still is better than most shows in terms of moments, acting, and relationships.

Monica Potter’s Kristina (who was just nominated for a Golden Globe*) is finally done with the mayoral campaign.  This was a really bitter sweet story (as much as you liked or didn’t like the race) highlighted by how bitter and sweet Adam is at the park and billboard.  I hope we get to see a better plot for these two in the second half of the season.

*She was nominated for this season though, as the Golden Globes do it by calendar year.

Crosby did nothing, except be pretty funny.  So, I’m good with that…

The Julia and Joel plot line is in a heck of a lot  of trouble.  It isn’t that I don’t believe what is happening.  I do.  Every moment that has come out of the rough start is justified and grounded in actuality of human behavior.  The issue is that by making Julia (the main character, as she is of Braverman blood) the adulterer, you risk her reputation never coming back to normal.  She has been making bad decisions for years and while Joel has some strikes against him, they aren’t of this magnitude.  Julia is misplacing all of her unhappiness on her marriage, when really, it seems to be based in job issues.  I hope that this plot line is handled with great care.

Amber and Ryan are done.  We all saw the fight coming, but I didn’t know if they’d actually end it.  Well, it’s over.  I can’t say I’m upset (definitely not as upset as Amber), but it was very effective television with some excellent acting by the two actors.   The scenes leading up to and including the break up were outstanding, my favorite being Zeek and Ryan.   An important, understated, scene.  It also made me realize that Sarah is most effective as a character when she is primarily Amber and Drew’s mom and not the “older relationships” character.  It is called Parenthood for a reason.

Now onto my favorite moments of the night” Mr. Drew.  From the Crosby scene to the return of Amy (a scene that is reminiscent of Julie Taylor showing up at Matt’s door– I get chills just thinking about it), this plot is so dead on freshman year of college.  It’s a nice way to still include Drew and utilize him as a rod for parental advice. (Both good and bad advice).

When it comes down to it, I will always be excited for what Parenthood does and what we will hope it can do in the future.  Sure we can predict things, as there does need to be obvious drama (Joel will find out. Hank will find out…), but it’s those moments that make us smile or cry or laugh that makes us remember what we love about this Braverman family.

Keep On Watchin’!

-Bryan

Parenthood – Election Day (S5, Ep9)

Parenthood - Season 5

We WON! We WON! I really mean that we won.  Kristina may have lost, but her not being the Mayor of Berkley is a huge win for us viewers.  This plot arch, while grounded in an understandable post cancer reaction, was pretty tedious and almost worthless.  Hopefully it won’t affect the next adventure they go on… And I’m sorry! WHERE WAS HADDIE?!  If this was real life, she would have been there or at least skyped in!

As I’ve stated before, keeping Ray Romano around has been a great idea.  What makes it work is that he’s not just there as Sarah’s ex-boyfriend.  His father-son relationship with Max has been both funny and heartwarming at times.  This week it was just hilarious, as his advice was less than parental, but his help session from Sarah was pretty excellent.

Another addition to the humorous side of the episode was Crosby’s voting habits.  While a little too silly, it helped to balance out a heavy episode, highlighted by Joel/Julia and Amber/Ryan.

Amber and Ryan finally came to a head, as we’ve expected.  I’m sure there is more to be discussed, but his violent side erupted in the bar after Amber’s good fortune in the studio.  We also have Joel and Julia finally confronting each other.  Joel couldn’t answer a text or call?  Julia has to storm into work?  Granted the roles were reversed at one point, but they’ve never had this kind of a home life situation.  They writers have worked pretty hard to get this characters into believable fight, so let’s see if they can keep it up.

Keep on Watchin’

-Bryan

Parenthood – The Ring (S5, Ep8)

Parenthood - Season 5

Another solid episode, sans the Kristina mayoral race… again.  But let’s just not talk about that (I did like that Kristina did take the high road, regardless of it killing her in the polls.).

I appreciated the smaller plots this week.  They were more grounded in a Parenthood place.  Zeek’s home alone time, Crosby attempting to connect with his son over something that don’t have in common, or even Sarah hesitantly going to a party, realizing she has no real friends at her age.  It was all subtle and well done.

As we build to what is an inevitable Joel/Julia blow out, we are getting moments of believability to support that eventual fight.  Ed comforting her at the school and the awkward after moments were well down.  As was the “telling Victor moment,” but for me it is all undercut with the fact that a school district would NEVER EVER EVER hold him back in the middle of a year.  They wouldn’t hold him back at all.  Still, the scenes played out very well.

Keep On Watchin’!

-Bryan

Parenthood – Speaking of Baggage (S5, EP7)

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Oh, there you are Parenthood!  This was by far the best episode of the season because Parenthood was doing what it does best: The small moments.  Everybody had a moment that influenced somebody else and these sequences and “feelings” helped to clear up a lot of areas that were fuzzy until now.

One example is Julia/Joel/Ed.  This relationship is more understood now with an episode like this one.  We see the tension and why it exisits for these characters.  We see it influence their everyday life.  Sure Joel and Julia love each other, but right now they are the cause for each other’s unhappiness, so she finds the good moments some where else–Ed.  Where will this go? I don’t know, but it feels a bit more justified.  It’s also nice to see some Julia and sibling moments, as she is the least likely to be the focal point in those scenes.

Zeek and Camille are by far the most complicated and deep of the story lines and finally we get them back to the forefront of what is a bumpy history.  The kids get involved, but they can only watch their parents figure it our themselves.  The good bye in front of the house between these two was heart wrenching.

Other thoughts:

  • Kristina is so much more effective when she isn’t running for mayor.  Her story to Amber was beautiful.
  • Ray Romano continues to be a scene stealer.
  • Max is… oh Max.
  • Everybody had such “hug looks.” Ryan, Julia, Drew…
  • I guess Amber still works for her uncles.
  • I’m interested to see what happens with Ryan and Amber.  She keeps flip flopping, but is beginning to see how silly they are, especially when he gives her the ring.  It doesn’t feel as right as it did.
  • I have to say that they are nailing a college experience from a certain point of view.  I hope Drew gets what he wants though.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

 

Parenthood – The M Word (S5, Ep6)

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Oh… they totally got married already.  No doubt in my mind…

But we’ll get to that.

This season of Parenthood isn’t as emotional as most.  It isn’t as high drama as most.  It isn’t even as engaging as most, but we’ve gotten so close to these characters and their lives. We can’t help but continually fall in love with them or scorn them when we know how wrong they are in the moment.  They’re always their for each other in the Braverman Cult… I mean family.

A few thoughts on each couple:

Joel and Julia: If their gonna go this way with these two, I like the angle their taking it from, as Julia seems to be the culprit.  Even if it’s an emotional cheat.  She needs to delineate friend from anything else. She’s having more fun with Ed then she is Joel, but Joel is still that great guy we know and love.  He’s always there.  It seems like Julia is breaking too easily.  The passive house canvasing argument that they had seemed much smaller than it was, as Julia isn’t sharing what she’s feeling with the one person who needs to know.  I don’t want to see this go down the wrong path unless it’s earned and at this point Julia feels too guilty to break his trust, so we will just have to wait and see.  Also, that dinner exit was painfully awkward.

Camille and Zeek: Way to man up Zeek.  He went and saw the condos, which was a huge step.  Camille’s looks at him when they were in the condo were like a Peta worker at a zoo.  He was a caged animal in a forced habitat.  It was never going to work.  Perhaps they could find some alternative?  Let’s be honest though, Zeek wasn’t really “trying” when he was looking.  He was literally just looking, but Camille knows her husband.  I think that her going to Italy is totally fair with the way that he’s been acting.  She needs some excitement and he clearly trusts her so it shouldn’t be an issue.  But it will be, as it’s Zeek.

Kristina: I’d have to say that this was a more successful attempt at making her mayoral race more exciting, as it was an actual campaigning challenge that was the obstacle.  It wasn’t money, but her own self getting in the way of a chance at winning.  It added a little bit more depth to it all.  In general, the stakes do seem lower, as they are only based in how important this is to Kristina because we know their expenses are taken care of by Mr. Ray.  We know they’ll be fine, it’s just a matter of will she win or not and I’m not too concerned about that prospect.  I did like that she “won” the debate by being her caring/concerned self.  (I wonder if her tears would be viewed as a weakness.)

Amber and Sarah: I really loved this story line as it played out perfectly.  The fighting, the bad ideas, the Drew scene, the realization with mama Camille.  Everything was paced and arched perfectly.  The emotional high notes were hit and the tears were flowing.  It’s only going to get worse from here on out… She totally got hitched…

Also:

  • Good job Drew by having that backbone and dismissing Amber’s bad idea.
  • I LOVED that Jasmine wasn’t a party pooper and just yelling at Crosby.  I’m sure she had “words” with him, but we got to see the nice moments.  Something that we haven’t seem from them in a while.
  • “A mini van isn’t age appropriate for anyone.”
  • Crosby running into the former one night stand was outstanding.  It set up the mini van self identity plot nicely.
  • The parallel between Zeek and the condo and Crosby and the car worked really well, as subtle as it was this week.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

Parenthood – Let’s Be Mad Together (S5, Ep5)

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Another solid episode of Parenthood, as story lines seem to be breaking towards something.

Julia doesn’t want to see Joel get screwed finically on the construction deal with “Penny.”  Like Camille, she feels like her voice isn’t being heard, as Joel shuts her down as soon as she gets too involved in his outside work.  I don’t think that Julia is wrong, but there is a lack of communication between the two.  I am hoping that this is the extent of the doings with “Penny” because and ‘affair” would seem unjustified and a silly way for the writers to create conflict between the two people.

It sucks that Max can’t be a photographer for the school yearbook, but I think Kristina needs to find a way to supplement that loss for her son.  If he can’t be doing it for the school, maybe convince Hank to take Max out on a gig or take him on a trip to give him new things to photograph.  I understand why he was pulled off and the titular “let’s be mad together” scene was a huge step forward for Max, as he didn’t flip out.

Ryan is truly a stand up guy.  Amber is terrible at explaining things.  Sarah always looks like he is being shamed for bad behavior.  The more Sarah and Amber argue and don’t communicate with Ryan, the more Ryan comes out the winner.  Sarah and Amber are so concerned about the outcome and the long game of the wedding, that they aren’t solving the issue in the moment.  It takes a misunderstanding to temporarily solve the issues, so let’s communicate a little bit more, please?  Ryan must really love Amber if he’s willing to talk with Sarah about his past, following his hesitancy last week.

Adam is lucky that Crosby found a way to get through to the band because things weren’t looking good.  Crosby was being taken advantage of by his older brother.  I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but even though things are better now, I don’t see this ending well at all.

Other thoughts:

  • Stop being a dick Zeek.
  • It was SOOOO nice to not have to deal with the campaign this week.
  • Even though he’s probably overstepping his boundaries, I appreciate how honest Hank is with Max.  He sticks to his guns.
  • No tears this week, even with all the nice moments.
  • Even though plots started to head in the more tense directions they were intended to go, I’m gonna wanna see something more with all of the stories sooner rather than later.
  • I also kinda miss Haddie.  Is that weird?

Why can’t everybody just communicate with each other!? Ugh.  Also, Ryan is right, “Not everybody has a family like yours.” Woo! Braverman Family!

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan