Parenthood Recap: Election Day
Here, for your “Parenthood” pleasure, we bring you a swell little plotline recap of the haps in Bravermanville. Leading up to last night’s episode, Julia and Joel were struggling to not cheat on one another, Kristina was closing in on the mayoral race finish line, and Amber’s impending nuptials were looking less and less likely. Max has been working with Sarah’s ex-flame/employer Hank, and Jasmine and Crosby are exhausted from all that new baby brouhaha.
Now to this week’s action, storyline by storyline:
Sarah, Hank and Max
Max (Max Burkholder) meets Hank’s daughter at the photography shop. The 14-year-old, Ruby (Courtney Grosbeck), is visiting from Minnesota. Max makes the logical connection, in his mind, that Ruby should become his girlfriend because they are the same age and like the same hockey team.
Hank (Ray Romano) knows some uncomfortable shit is headed down the pipe. And he is right. Max wastes no time in getting down to the business of asking Ruby for her hand, and he is rudely rejected, which he doesn’t understand at all. As if being a young teen isn’t awkward enough, poor Max has the ineptness that goes along with his Asperger’s diagnosis piled on top of his horrible, gross little hormones.
Hank talks to Ruby in his own awkward way and asks her to be nicer to Max, which apparently means let Max tell people she is his girlfriend but not really do any girlfriend type stuff with him. For his efforts he gets a door slammed and the threat of a phone call to his ex-wife, who hates him.
Hank appeals to Sarah (Lauren Graham) for kindly assistance, which of course she takes the opportunity to make him feel like an ass. When he admits that his daughter hates him now because he told her she should pretend to be Max’s girlfriend, Sarah is horrified, like any woman would be.
“Ugh, girls are the worst,” Frank mutters as Sarah continues brushing her teeth in the other room. We’re pretty sure he’s talking about all the menstruating women in his life.
Hank takes the jibber jabber to Max, giving the awkward talk about having a girlfriend being about more than hockey teams. “It’s about feeling stuff, like on the inside,” he says, adding that it’s about conversations and such. And that it’s hard for lots of people. “It’s going to happen for you Max, trust me. Guys like us, just, take time. You don’t need to rush it.”
“OK,” Max says. “Can I go back to work now?” And then he actually thanks Hank, which is pretty astounding if you know any teenage Aspies. But it does happen.
Crosby and Jasmine
While working the streets for the Kristina Braverman for Mayor campaign, Crosby (Dax Shepherd) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) are sent to a market in a more urban area, to which Jasmine is completely not offended by, nor does she even think of it to begin with. But good ol’ “honorary black person” Crosby is offended for his lady.
But nothing daunts proud voter Jasmine, who talks of crying when she cast her vote for Obama and the advances for the black community via civil rights. Crosby is all, yeaaaaah, me too, babe. But clearly he’s totally taken his voting rights for granted because he never had to fight for them because he is a white male. He lies and says he, too, shed a tear whilst voting for Obama, which Jasmine doesn’t detect is total crap.
Crosby takes his son Jabbar (Tyree Brown) with him to vote for Kristina, and—mystery solved—he’s not even registered, and apparently doesn’t even get that he can’t just show up the day of and possibly even get some applause for his efforts. The volunteer gets snippy and asks him to leave, but not before he “publicly” votes in front of everyone by raising his right hand and declaring his vote for Kristina Braverman in front of Jabbar.
Then once the family is all back together, Jabbar explains to his mother Jasmine the intricacies of public and private voting. “Where’s your sticker?” Jasmine asks Crosby crossly, ready to punch him in the face.
Things gets worse for Crosby. “What more important thing were you doing other than voting for Barack Obama in 2008?” Jasmine asks.
“I was incapacitated in Napa during that election,” Crosby answers, which is probably the whitest thing he could have possibly said in his defense.
Then Crosby really steps in the crap. For some reason in that manbrain of his, he thinks if he can talk someone who is planning to vote for Bob Little into voting for Kristina that he will then have better voter karma. He stoops to flashing some bucks with his reluctant prey, who gets him up to $40 in return for a vote for Kristina and an “I Voted” sticker.
Amber and Ryan
While rummaging through drawers, Amber (Mae Whitman) finds a bottle of her Afghanistan post-traumatic stress case fiancé Ryan’s (Matt Lauria) anxiety meds, which he has told her he no longer needs nor takes.
On the upside for Amber though, Uncle Crosby needs her presence in the recording room at the Luncheonette. He has her lay down some vocals so he and the band can see how the whole girl-guy thing would potentially sound on an Ashes for Rome song they’re working on.
And no surprise, Zach (Matthew Atkinson), the hot dude from Ashes of Rome who gazes longingly at Amber every chance he gets, is with Crosby behind the soundboards. And of course, Zach falls deeper into intense like with songbird Amber. We all did.
Amber arrives home late from work to find Ryan eating Chinese takeout on the sofa, solo, all disappointed because his romantic meal didn’t go as planned. So she asks him immediately if he is mad about the whole taking back the engagement ring because it was too outlandish on their budget thang.
Stoic Ryan promises that is not the issue, that he’s just feeling neglected. Then they start smooching and she goes right into: “Are you taking those pills again?” Ryan lies, saying that he’s absolutely not taking those horrible pills. She even gives him the out saying she doesn’t mind if he’s taking them, but she doesn’t want secrets. He sticks with the lie.
Amber and the band sit and listen to the playback of their vocals and everyone loves it, and Oliver (Josh Ritter), the lead singer, announces that they’re going to use it on the album and that Zach was the one who encouraged it. To celebrate they all head to the bar. Nothing could go wrong to ruin such a spontaneously celebratory moment, right?
There’s a toast to their honorary bandmate. “You have the voice of an angel,” Oliver says. She’s lapping it up, hanging with the boys, when she breaks for a phone call from Ryan, who has already called repeatedly freaking out.
Apparently she was supposed to get off early, and, whatev, it doesn’t matter because he is on his way out the door to pick her up, which should be totally fine.
Oh wait, it’s totally not. Ryan walks in as Zach has his hands on Amber’s shoulder and the shit hits the fan immediately. Punches are thrown within seconds and Ryan beats the crap out of Zach’s handsome face and promptly goes to jail.
Grandpa Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) is there to wipe up Amber’s sloppy tears at the precinct. Nothing seems to ever go right for this girl.
Julia and Joel
Victor (Xolo Mariduena) is being made fun of for moving back a grade at school, and kids are seizing the opportunity to be little jerks. The next day, the entire family makes the walk of shame together. Julia’s school husband, Ed (David Denman), shows up in time to comfort Julia while Joel (Sam Jaeger) and Victor are using the facilities. As soon as he walks out, Joel picks up on the fragile platonic vibe in the air.
Later that night, Joel intercepts a text to Julia (Erike Christensen) from Ed. “You guys have been texting a lot lately,” he says accusingly. Obviously, he looked at more than just the one.
The next day after school, Victor develops a mouth like a sailor, says a few nasty things, and sums up his feelings by calling Julia a liar for having called him smart. She freaks.
Julia calls Joel over and over leaving tremble-voiced messages because she’s crumbling. Her next move is to barge into his office, where she finds Joel eating take out with Peet (Sonya Walger) during a working lunch. When Joel doesn’t drop everything, she gets even more fired up and snaps at Peet, Joel’s hot boss babe. And then he basically kicks his wife out.
Julia and Joel have their moment outside Kristina’s campaign headquarters, and Joel makes it very clear that her senile moment at his office was not cool. “I championed you for nine years,” he tells her, adding that he never would have burst into one of her work meetings under those circumstances. “You can’t even give me three months.”
That night at the Kristina Braverman for Mayor headquarters, Julia accuses Joel of not doing his part for the family crisis. He promptly excuses himself from the festivities to do so right that moment, which conveniently means not having to look at his wife’s face anymore.
Kristina and Adam
Kristina (Monica Potter) is kissing babies, serving meals at the local diner and just about every photo opportunity thing she can to connect with potential voters. The polls start coming in and they are closing in on her opponent Bob Little (Jonathan Tucker) within two points. Hurrah!
Awesome Husband Adam (Peter Krause) slows down the bustling campaigning for an Adam Braverman moment with Kristina, confessing that he didn’t think she was ready to jump into the political game so soon after winning her battle against breast cancer. He declares her a champ in every sense, saying that he couldn’t be any prouder than he already is, romancing her as they cast their ballots.
And then there is more sobbing when Kristina’s chemo buddy Gwen (Rose Abdoo), who was also the one who encouraged Kristina to run with the ol’ Carpe Diem speech, turns up to rock the vote and take in the scene. And remarkably, there are no cameras snapping making the sincere moment into a photo opp and ruining everything.
Kristina concedes the election to Bob Little gracefully. It was a close one. On the podium, she touches on how a year ago she didn’t know if she would even be around let alone nearly becoming mayor of Berkeley.
She thanks everyone and then walks off the stage, only to see the woman from a few months back at the debate who had asked her about struggles with education for her deaf daughter, Emma (Naomi Taylor). At the time, Kristina ended up on the front page of the paper as she handed the woman her cell number, which put her in the race.
The little girl steals the show at the election night festivities. In sign language, with her mother interpreting, she tells Kristina that because of her help she is getting a better education, which has changed her life.
“You’ve just changed mine,” Kristina tells her holding back the waterworks and going in for the big hug. Cue the feel-good music as the red, white and blue balloons and streamers fall from the sky. Kristina then becomes the mayor of our hearts.
“Parenthood” returns Thursday, December 12, 10 p.m. on NBC when Kristina figures out what to do next with her life, a kiss really screws things up between Julia and Joel, and Amber and Ryan try to clean up their mess.