Parenthood Recap: Field Trips, Fire Pits, And Free Phones

Last time we hung with the Braverman bunch, Crosby was throwing a tantrum at dinner about his parents putting their home on the market—his childhood home. Adam and Kristina were thinking about starting a charter school for high-functioning kids like their son Max who has Asperger’s because he is not being challenged enough and kids are mean.

Julia and Joel continued to shuttle their kids back and forth with little suitcases with wheels while they decide whether to go through with the divorce. Sarah and Hank were finishing up a surf catalog, and to do so she didn’t run off with her hot-doctor neighbor to Africa on an extended date. She put herself first! And Drew and Amber decided to live together so he could avoid dorm drama.

The Field Trip

Max (Max Burkold) wants to go on his first field trip without his doting, well-meaning parents. Kristina (Monika Potter), his usual chaperone for such trips, is not so thrilled about it, but Adam (Peter Krause) feels like it’s time for Max to spread his wings. And so he goes, in a dorky floppy hat that the kids will most likely tease him about mercilessly.

Max headed to field trip

And, so just as Kristina and Adam are settling in for a carefree, Max-less night in front of the tube, Max’s teacher Mr. Knight (Zachary Knighton) calls. “We’ve got a little situation here,” he says.

All was well, the students were on their way to dinner, and Max started freaking out, yelling and swearing and basically having a total meltdown. He plopped himself down on the floor in the middle of the lobby and wouldn’t move.

“I think you better come down here and get him,” Mr. Knight says over the phone, and Kristina gives Adam the I-told-you-so look that husbands hate and wives hate to have to give but must because they did tell those dumb husbands so. Meanwhile, Mr. Knight plops down on the rug and makes small talk trying to get to the heart of the matter like Don Henley.

Adam and Kristina arrive and swoop up Max. Adam stays behind to talk to Mr. Knight a bit, who still doesn’t really know what happened other than that teenagers can be mean and he is guessing it has something to do with that.

In the car, Max still doesn’t want to talk but he eventually gives it up. “Why do all the other kids hate me?” he asks. “Is it because I’m weird?

Trevor peed in Max’s canteen. “He said he did it because I am a weirdo freak,” Max says. “I think he’s right. If I’m so smart, why don’t I get why they’re laughing at me? I don’t understand why.” And Kristina holds him while all our hearts break.

Kristina

Asperger’s sucks. And we’re glad “Parenthood” is showing the world how badly it sucks for everyone involved. It sucks badly. And there will be no forgiveness for Trevor. He’s an ass. And we want to cradle Max in our arms, too, even though he hates hugs.

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The Crier

The moment Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Hank (Ray Romano) finished the surfwear catalog project and pushed send on the ol’ email, the waiting and obsessing began in earnest. Three days went by and still there was no cheery email or call from the client saying “good job,” “way to go,” or “we want to hire you to do more fun stuff for a shitload of money.”

Sarah at computer

We feel her pain. Freelancing isn’t for sissies or people who expect to be treated like human beings who have to pay rent and sleep at night.

Hank tries his hardest to console Sarah. But when he reaches out to her to try and help her, Sarah gets weirded out because she doesn’t want Hank to get the wrong idea, as usual.

Hank

And of course Hank is getting the wrong idea. “There’s a million Bravermans out there,” Hank says, explaining why, yes, he is getting the wrong idea. “Right? Every corner, there’s a Braverman, like Starbucks Bravermans. But you come here. You come to me every time. Why? Yes, I’m getting the wrong idea because you come in here and you’re vulnerable, you’re needy. I want to be there for you because I want to be here. And it seems like you want me to be here.”

“I do,” Sarah says. “As my friend.”

And right then, she gets an email from Alec, the client on the other end of the catalog email. He wants to meet with her the next day.

“I can’t be here for you anymore, Sarah,” Hank tells her amid the email reply craziness. “It’s hard. It’s confusing. I just don’t want to do it anymore.”

The next day, when Sarah shows up for her meeting with Alec, Hank is there waiting in front of the building, doing the whole being-there-for-Sarah thing at the meeting in case she cries. And as she walks in Hank tells her not to cry, because no matter what she did phenomenal work and he’s proud of her.

Sarah emerges with a smile and a hug for Hank, probably again sending the wrong signals. But maybe Sarah can’t help herself from sending said signals because maybe there’s more to why she constantly turns to Hank. Hmmmm. Pour on some corn starch. That plot just got thickened.

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The Sad Stoners

Extra, extra! Drew (Miles Heizer) plays guitar! And he’s turning into a pothead! He is not going to classes so he can avoid Natalie (Lyndon Smith), his former hump buddy who humped his roommate Berto (Nick Krause) after his ex-girlfriend Amy (Skyler Day) showed up to hunker down in their dorm room and be depressed over an abortion from the previous year. Whew. You’re all caught up on that one.

But back at his sister’s apartment where he is now living, Amber (Mae Whitman) cannot let that be. She harangues him until he heads to class.

Natalie and Drew

Natalie tracks him down at the one class they don’t have together that he still goes to. “I’m here,” she says, looking for some accolades for her stalking prowess. “I miss you.”

Drew’s still pissed over the whole you-slept-with-my-roommate thing that Natalie doesn’t really understand since he doesn’t even like Berto. See, our Drew is old fashioned, Nat.

And it turns out, it may have been a little payback, the old fashioned variety, for Drew dropping her when Amy came to town without any real explanation as to the delicateness of the situation.

Amber isn’t letting up so easy though. She gets to the bottom of it. Drew isn’t just sad about Natalie boning Berto. He’s sad about Amy, and he wants to lay around sad-stoned and write sad songs on guitar and just be sad.

Drew sad

Amber comes home one day to find Drew playing his sad, sad song again and begs him to play it again to help her with her sadness. They sit together, she sings harmonies, and they’re adorbs even though they’re sad.

Parenthood Recap: Field Trips, Fire Pits, And Free Phones

The Separation

Joel (Sam Jaeger) accidentally went to the wrong field to pick up his adopted son Victor (Xolo Mariduena) from baseball practice, and the kid started freaking out because it reopened some old, painful wounds. He’s starting to get anxious about all the changes because he knows that the last one hired is the first to go.

Max freaking

So to fix the problem—that’s what men do—Joel bought Victor a phone. Immediately. And that causes more problems because apparently, all the parents have an unspoken agreement that there will be no cell phones until sixth grade.

The cell phone saga continues, with Victor texting at the table, Sydney (Savannah Paige Ray) pointing out to Julia (Erika Christensen) how unfair it is that Victor gets a phone and she doesn’t, and so on. And then it turns real ugly.

“It’s all your fault,” Sydney shouts at Victor. Apparently, everything just started going to shit after Victor showed up, which is actually sort of true coincidentally and of no fault of his own, but it’s still a horrible thing to say to your adopted brother who comes from a broken, druggy-parent-infested home.

“They used to get along and now they hate each other, and it’s all your fault,” Sydney screams from across the dinner table. “I hate you.” And she is swiftly sent to her room.

The next dad day, Victor offers to give the phone back to get Julia to stop being mad at Joel. “I messed up,” Joel says

“Is it my fault you and mom got separated?” Victor asks. No. No. No. Joel sets things straight. Victor is their son no matter what, the rest of his life, no matter what they are not going to stop loving him. “No matter what.” Us, too, Victor. Us too.

The House

Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) can’t find his pants, and the real estate agent Karen is at the familial house with some news. Before the house even made it to market, a motivated buyer who is in love with the house wants the thing.

Camille and Zeek after buyer

After showing the home to the horrible man who wants to buy Crosby’s (Dax Shepherd) childhood home, Karen shows back up with an all cash offer, barely below the asking price, and a 30-day escrow: a seller’s dream. Zeek doesn’t want to budge on the whole “barely below” part though.

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That night Zeek and Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) snuggle in by the fire pit in the backyard, reminiscing about their home. Zeek confesses that he did something rotten a long time ago. He told Camille that her favorite oak tree had a disease and needed to be cut down, but he really just wanted to build a barn.

Camille starts rethinking the whole thing. It’s all happening so quick, she says. Zeek tells her he wants what she wants. “I want to wait,” she says. “We’ll put it on the market in three or four months, like we originally planned to do, when we’re ready.”  There, problem solved. We can all rest easy now and Crosby can sleep blissfully.

But wait. That pesky Karen shows up again with a higher bid, higher than asking, a record for the neighborhood. “You’ve got three days,” Karen says, already dreaming of her vacation in Hawaii from the commission. Fuck Karen. And fuck Trevor. Fuck, fuck, fuck

To see everything get even more fucked up, watch Parenthood on NBC next Thursday, March 27, at 10 p.m.

TV Show: Parenthood

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