Parenthood Recap: The Bravermans Hug It Out

Remember last week on Parenthood when Julia confronted Zeek about squashing her mother’s dreams, and Kristina kind of knew she probably wasn’t going to become mayor, and the Sustainable Dad was getting a little too cozy with Julia, and Amber and Sarah were going at it about the wedding?

Well, that all inched forward this week on “Parenthood,” for better or worse. Here’s your weekly recap:

Oh hell no.

Oh hell no.

Crosby and Jasmine

Crosby’s (Dax Shepard) wife Jasmine (Joy Bryant) announces their lives are about to change drastically, as in they must purchase a dreaded minivan. Her cute little VW bug isn’t cutting it anymore with the kids, to which Crosby gasps, explaining that minivans are basically vaginas on four wheels with automatic sliding doors.

They arrive at the car dealership to weigh their options, and their older son Jabbar (Tyree Brown) goes batshit crazy for the minivan’s bells, whistles and DVD player in the backseat. And as if things couldn’t get worse for Crosby, Jasmine explains that it’s not her VW going bye bye, it’s his hot little red piece of classic convertible steel.

“Crosby’s a minivan man,” Adam (Peter Krause) says glibly, jibing Crosby back at the Luncheonette recording studio. “You’re in the club.”

Crosby rejects the membership offer if it means he has to wear cords, listen to Norah Jones and be in bed by 11 p.m. Adam assures Crosby that he will actually like cords if he tries them. They, like minivans, are quite comfy. “Or I can just get a tattoo on my forehead that says ‘neutered’,” Crosby says.

The band they are working with, those lovable little rascals Ashes of Rome, decide to call it a day and do some mid-day drinking. Of course Crosby is in. He needs to drown out the minivan vagina monologues.

Crosby kills at beer pong moments before Jasmine calls with marching orders to pick up diaper rash cream. Buzzkill. And the fact that he can’t drive because he’s drunk is a double buzzkill.

At the urging of Crosby’s new BFFs Ashes of Rome, Crosby calls Jasmine to bring the vagina mobile to come and pick him and the band up. Turns out those roomy backseats have merit, particularly when the giddy rockers realize they can watch cartoons while heading to a drive-thru.

“How did you get such a hot wife?” Oliver Rome (Josh Ritter) asks, restoring a few of Crosby’s cool points.

“I knocked her up,” Crosby explains with a big loving grin as he looks lecherously at his wife.

“You have the best wife ever,” Oliver says.

Next morning, we see Crosby bonding with the new minivan and cultivating some appreciation for its electrical doodads, not to mention the reclining seats in the back (boom-chicka-wah-wah). “If I gotta own a minivan with anyone, I’m glad it’s you,” he tells her, and then the automatic door closes and we assume it will soon start rocking, and we will not be knocking.

Julia and Joel

Julia (Erika Christensen) and Joel (Sam Jaeger) hit the pavement, knocking on doors for votes for Kristina’s (Monica Potter) mayoral campaign. Brrrrrrng. It’s Peet (Sonya Walger), Joel’s sexy new boss.

Joel’s a workin’ man now, answering to another woman in his life, and as we know alpha-female Julia’s not real stoked about that. Things have been strained. She lets Joel off the hook, grabs the kids and continues on without him.

“Put on your good children faces,” she tells Victor (Xolo Mariduena) and Sydney (Savannah Paige Ray) as they head to another door. Whattayaknow? It’s Ed’s house, the Sustainability Dad (David Denman). So they go in for a pit stop, which turns into dinner and stimulating conversation.

Ed’s wife arrives and things get incredibly awkward. Julia practically bolts out the door, leaving no question that it was indeed inappropriate. Ed’s wife is visibly peeved, and Ed and Julia realize just how weird it is that they had dinner together.

Julia arrives home to find that Joel fixed an elaborate dinner for the family, an apology/thank you on a fancy plate type of deal. She sort of lies by omission, not admitting she ate or that Ed was involved, and she bribes the kids with TV on a school night to conveniently chase them out of the room.

The eyes say it all: busted.

The eyes say it all: busted.

Julia prepares to put her feedbag on. Then she feels really, really bad when Joel goes into his schpeel about how great she’s doing as a full-time mom and that he couldn’t do what he’s doing without her support and hard work. Through that hug, we see what’s in Julia’s eyes: Shame with a side of fear.

Adam and Kristina

The Kristina Braverman for Mayor campaign is in full effect, as we’ve already seen. But it’s clear Kristina’s inexperience and lack of name recognition is a campaign bummer. Bob Little (Jonathan Tucker), her rival and former boss, shows up to steal Kristina’s thunder with his clown van full of campaigners and free popsicles.

Fancy seeing you here.

Fancy seeing you here.

As Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” blasts from the van’s sound system, we are reminded of his questionable character, just in case we forgot about the whole sexual harassment thing. Remember when he promoted and seduced Kristina’s barely-legal-back-then niece Amber? Slime.

Kristina and Adam are stuffing envelopes when Heather (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) shows up to cautiously, optimistically crunch numbers and polls. The numbers aren’t impressive, but they rally for the positive and plan to make sweet love to the people, determined to win the voters adoration or, you know, they’ll probably lose. Badly.

Kristina shuts down Heather when she suggests talking about Asperger’s and Max (Max Burkholder) and how they struggle getting his special needs met in the public school system. “Education is my platform, not my son,” Kristina says, shutting her down.

At the big mayoral debate, Bob Little continually cuts off Kristina and makes her look weak. He hogs the mic and the glory applause. Then a woman who has a daughter with special needs in the public school system who, surprise, isn’t getting the help she needs asks a question. Bob cuts her off again, and Kristina cuts him in two.

Kristina drops the sentimental special needs bomb and kills it, pointing out that what works for some kids doesn’t work for all kids, which is why the system is broken. She starts tearing up talking about Max, doing exactly what she said she wouldn’t do, but it works and she does it with class.

sniffle, sniffle.

sniffle, sniffle.

She promises to fight for the woman’s child. She walks out to the woman in the audience, gives her phone number and a hug. And the crowd goes wild. And, of course, she’s totally sincere and real and great, and we would totally vote for her instead of that smarmy Bob Little who talks out of his ass.

The next morning, Max brings in the newspaper, on which Kristina graces the front page mid hug. The paper declares Kristina the winner of the debate. And just like that, she’s back in the game.

Sarah

Amber (Mae Whitman) and Sarah (Lauren Graham) toast to impending wedding plans over mimosas, tensely, as Sarah tries to gloss over their issues, to which Amber totally doesn’t gloss.

“I don’t want you there for me if you don’t agree with the biggest life choice I am ever going to make,” Amber says through angry tears before storming out.

Back at the apartment, Ryan (Matt Lauria) and Amber start talking courthouse, which is exactly what Sarah fears even more than the two of them getting married too young. Amber asks her brother Drew (Miles Heizer) to go with them as a witness, to which he refuses because it would devastate their mother. He’s a good boy.

Amber breaks down in tears. “It’s not about her,” she says doing her storming-out thing again.

Sarah unloads on her mom about the whole Amber-not-speaking-to-her thing. Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) stands up for Amber, and gives Sarah the look. “How many times did we tell you, slow down and wait?” Camille asks, referring to Sarah’s own defiant, too-young-to-marry nuptials that ended up an elopement.

Camille explains she wishes she had said nothing at the time because she ended up losing her relationship with Sarah for a couple of years. “You’re going to have to get out of her way,” Camille says about Amber.

“It’s hard,” Sarah says.

“It is, isn’t it?” She’s waited two decades for that moment.

Sarah shows up at Amber and Ryan’s to say she’s sorry. And Amber smiles, squeezes back the tears and scrunches her nose. “I trust you, and I believe in you,” Sarah says. “Can we please do this together?” And then the floodgates open.

“You’re so much smarter that I was,” Sarah says. “You’re nothing like me.” There, there, all better—at least until Sarah sticks her Converse in her mouth again, which of course will totally happen because she’s Sarah.

They're hugging, so it must be alright.

They’re hugging, so it must be alright.

Zeek and Camille

Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) agrees to go look at condos, which is what Camille’s been campaigning for strongly for Act Three. “I’m not saying I’ll like it, but we’ll look at it,” he says, totally not reassuring Camille of anything.

Camille instantly falls in love with the condo and its gardening system, fire pits, climate-controlled wine cellar and Zumba. Zeek musters up a smile, looking like he’s passing a kidney stone. Camille is not fooled.

Zeek, attempting to find some middle ground that still ends up with him getting his way, unveils the new fire pit he built at the old dilapidated, beautiful house. She tells him she told the real estate agent they weren’t interested in the condo.

That’s the good news, for Zeek. The less heartening news is that Camille’s art class is going to Italy for a month, they leave on Friday, and she’s decided she’s going, by herself. End of discussion. She heads toward the house, and Zeek is left to put that in his fire pit and smoke it. Act Three just got a rewrite.

The Bravermans return next Thursday, Nov. 7, 10 p.m. on NBC. Drew learns the ins and outs of co-ed dating, Julia connects even more with Ed, and Amber organizes an event for Ashes of Rome.

TV Show: Parenthood

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  • I like Lorelei Gilmore. I like Nate Fisher. I have a bunch of unwatched Parenthood piled up on my Tivo. I dunno. The stories have been all kind of the same. Some family crisis. People fight. They hug. Crisis resolved.

    • Homestar

      It’s a well-written show with nuance and character development that makes you feel good. If you don’t have time in your life for that, it’s understandable, but I look forward to it each week throughout the network TV season.

      • flurblurb

        I was obsessed with the first 2 seasons but I do feel like there are some diminishing returns…like another plot about Julia missing the rat race or Crosby being a man child? Okay but he’s saying crazy sexist bullshit about a minivan being a vagina even though he has a badass wife and a daughter? Not only was it lame but I like to think better of Crosby even at his most babyish. I straight up balled at Kristina hugging that woman so it still has some of that Parenthood magic. Warning: If you like Lorelei Gilmore, be ready to actually hate Sarah Braverman (Lauren Graham’s character on here) because while he’s got the smart, fast-talking, had-kids-young single mom thing, she -unlike Lorelei- can’t keep a job and is horrendously self-involved and generally a shit mom.

        • Homestar

          Yeah, you’re right about the diminishing returns. I’m increasingly bored with the Julia storyline. Crosby calling the van a vagina also really got on my nerves, but I didn’t think it was too out of character. His car seemed like the last bit of unattached, single Crosby left, and I could understand his feelings (thought I found them irritating). While I would hope the writers would be less sexist, it’s not that strange that a man like Crosby would call a minivan a vagina. I don’t hate Sarah as much as I empathize with her, which takes the edge off a bit. The parts about here that annoy me I actually think also annoyed me about Lorelei.

          • flurblurb

            It’s true, I just get so charmed with Crosby that I forget he’s had that immature streak all along. I have mellowed on Sarah a bit once her kids were out of the house, I found basically anything dealing with Drew was the worst because she was so out of touch I hurt for him! But once she got with Hank (who I like, I never knew surly bespectacled Ray Romano would do it for me?) and did the photography thing leading to Max having a buddy and a hobby, I could at least deal with her. And the stuff with her and Amber has been good.