Parenthood Recap: No Happy Endings

Nearly all the Bravermans made it into the newest episode of “Parenthood,” called “Stay A Little Longer,” so we’re going to recap where they’ve all left off.

Julia and Joel’s marriage is in trouble, and she pretty much sealed the divorce deal when she kissed Ed, her sustainable committee partner from the kids’ school. Sarah got naked with her neighbor Carl and then he swiftly got her an interview for a huge photography gig with a surf company despite her extremely unimpressive portfolio. We like to think the two acts are separate.


Crosby is at his wits end with rockstar bullshit from Ashes of Rome. And Adam and Christina continue to struggle with Max’s Asperger’s idiocracies, still holding out hope that he can overcome the social stigma. Ryan re-enlisted in the military, essentially ending his engagement to Amber following his violent outburst of jealousy.

Julia and Joel

Julia and Joel

Julia (Erika Christensen) confronts gossipy biddies at the school who are talking about her and Ed (David Denman), shutting them and their lies down, which would be impressive if it wasn’t she who were the actual liar. That law degree is still coming in handy!

Julia attempts to talk to Joel (Sam Jaeger), telling him she’s been unhappy since she left all the lawyering behind, and that she knows the whole holding Victor back a grade thing created some distance between them…“but Ed got confused about the nature of our relationship and he kissed me.” And it’s out there.

“But you said nothing happened,” Joel says, clearly even more peeved than she expected. She was hoping for a big hug, we thinks, and a “thank you for being honest” type of moment. As the details emerged, the kiss happened at his house, and so on, Joel immediately picks up on the notion that it wasn’t just a kiss, that it was an emotional affair followed up by a kiss. Which is worse? We think we know.

“I begged you to tell me,” Joel says, exasperated and quickly turning enraged. He storms up the stairs and clearly the kiss omission has not helped their situation.

Next we see Joel and sexy, hot Peet (Sonya Walger), his boss, with a client, and Joel is naturally a little preoccupied. Peet calls him out and makes it clear she doesn’t care about his personal probs. “Get it together,” she says unsweetly.

Julia goes to Joel and asks about seeing a marriage counselor, to which he says hell-to-the-no. “The marriage is not the problem, the problem is you,” he tells her. No happy ending to this one this week.


Hot neighbor Carl (Josh Stamberg) gets Sarah (Lauren Graham) an interview for a catalog shoot with Surfsport, a huge fictitious company that is way out of Sarah’s league. And as it turns out, Hank (Ray Romano) is going for the same gig, despite neither of them knowing the difference between a gun and a fish (see, you don’t either).

Sarah and Carl

During the interview, Hank turns on the charm, telling the guy how much disdain he has for surfing, driving home the plot line that Hank also has Asperger’s. The writers are really flushing this Aspy thing out this season, which is primetime refreshing. There are many Aspys on TV and in movies these days without anything being pointed out about the disorder, leaving many to count them as merely quirky. It’s not as funny in real life as it is on “Big Bang Theory.”

“We’ll get back to you,” the surf guy tells Hank. He walks out and runs into Sarah in the lobby. He again turns on the Hank charm before Sarah is warmly ushered up to the cushy office like they’re old surf chums from their grom days.


Hank shows up at Sarah’s apartment later, disposing of any courtesies, to quiz her on how she got the interview. He makes it very clear that she is in over her head and Sarah promptly kicks him out.

Of course Sarah heads straight to Carl to ask him if she got the job because of their, uh, relationship. OF COURSE SHE DID! She’s flakey and has little to no experience. But that is not what Carl says. Instead, he advises her to not dwell on it and instead just kick ass. Hank finds out she got the job, and he’s less supportive than Carl.

To make things worse, Sarah shows up at Hank’s to ask for help in the form of Hank working for her on the job. Yes, he says, as long as she admits that she is in over her head and pays him half. All part of his plan to win her back, perhaps? Yeah, probably not.

Crosby and Jasmine

Parenthood Recap: No Happy Endings

Oliver Rome (Josh Ritter), douchey lead singer of the Luncheonette’s contractual obligation Ashes of Rome, shows up at Crosby’s (Dax Shepard) humble home unannounced. He’s got a problem, see. The band is sick of his crap and they sent him away.

He turns to Crosby for shelter because he is the only person he knows in the area since they are only staying in the ‘hood to record at the studio. Crosby takes the “mini-van machine” to pick up his rockstar stuff.

Oliver takes in the Norman Rockewell-esque setting that is Crosby’s life these days and is moved to pen a little poem, but Jasmine (Joy Bryant) isn’t having his bullshit and especially isn’t having it when he tries to smoke in the house. He leaves to go tuck a little lady into bed, but he won’t be staying because he doesn’t want to give her the wrong idea.

Jabbar (Tyree Brown): “He’s so cool.” Jasmine: cringe.

Oliver Jasmine

And then Oliver gets busted big time for hanging out with Jabbar in the middle of the night and showing him Jaws. “Last time I checked it was brilliant cinema,” he defends himself to no avail.

Adam (Peter Krause) shows up the next day to throw down the gauntlet and try to force creativity, to which Oliver conveys that he shan’t. And then Crosby ’splains he can’t stay any longer unless he shows up at the studio to force the creativity anyway.

No go. Instead, he stays at the house and avoids Crosby’s calls. Jasmine walks in and gives Oliver the talk, getting to the bane of his existence, his fear of being mediocre. “This is all I know how to do,” he tells her. “I literally have no other skills.” She pushes him to look at his trajectory and get his ass out the door for better or worse.

Oliver packs up and heads out to the real world, well his real world. He leaves, but not before singing his new composition, “Jasmine All The Time,” which is sickeningly sweet. He has his moments.


Adam and Christina

Max (Max Burkholder) is exhibiting more Aspy type behavior than ever in his meager social circles at school, as Adam witnesses when Micah, who he knows to be Max’s best friend, shuns both him and Max in the hallowed hall. Max offers no explanation and seems to not even know why they are no longer friends, plus he doesn’t really care.

Adam and Max

When Adam tries to explain it to Kristina (Monica Potter), she tries to blame herself and fix things to no avail. Adam takes another shot and gets something out of Max: Max told Micah how stupid it was that he wanted to play wheelchair basketball, oh and that basketball is stupid, too.

Ah, yes. That does explain it. Max resists trying to do anything at all to make it right because, of course, he lacks empathy and has no interest in anything that doesn’t interest him due to the disorder.

With a little coaxing, Max shows up at the basketball court to talk to Micah and extend his pleasant invitation of nachos and courtside Warriors basketball. Micah shuts him down and Max, again, doesn’t really seem to care, which Adam interprets as humiliation. Max gets the third degree and really drives it home for his parents just how awkward and weird his teen years are becoming.

So he heads to Hank’s, where everything makes sense because they both have Asperger’s. They communicate on a different level, which means that everyone besides them sucks.

Adam and Kristina consider begging Micah’s parents to force him to go to the game, but then they don’t because they realize just how crazy that is. Instead, they get their foam fingers out and force Max in the most congenial-wacky way to go through with going to the game anyway. Way to hustle team.

Christina foam finger

Amber and Ryan

Ryan (Matt Lauria) shows up 30 minutes early to gather his things and break Amber’s (Mae Whitman) heart a little more before he heads off to the Middle East to try not to end up dead. He thwarted her plan to be out of there before he arrived.

Ryan wants to talk, and clearly she feels there is nothing left to say and for good reason: Dude straight up went and re-enlisted for active duty after he freaked out and punched the guys from Ashes of Rome out of jealousy, and without discussion, effectively ending their engagement.

Zeek and Ryan

Vietnam vet/Amber’s gramps, Zeek (Craig T. Nelson), shows up to talk with Ryan, saying he hopes that what he said didn’t push him to re-enlist. “I wanted Amber to be my life,” Ryan tells him, “Berkeley and your family …you know I love her so much. But I don’t know if I’m good for her.”

Before Zeek leaves, he and Ryan have the big manly handshake. Ryan thanks him for all he’s done for him. “Godspeed, Ryan,” Zeek says before leaving. The next day he stops by to see Amber to encourage her to make amends with her former fiance enough to at least say goodbye.


“Do you love him?” he asks her. She freaks out and lets him know it’s not the kind of talk she wants to have with her grandfather.

Amber and Zeek

Amber goes to the hotel to see Ryan anyway. “I don’t understand why you would do this,” she says through tears. “I don’t understand why you would leave me.” She makes him promise to come home safe, which obvs he can’t so it’s all jibber jabber leading up to the long, sad, agonizing goodbye hug.

Zeek and Amber reconvene by the backyard firepit with him telling her it’s going to be OK, which of course it’s totally not.

Tune in next Thursday, January 16, 10 p.m. on NBC to see how Julia explains to the kids where daddy is, Hank goes to see a professional about his possible diagnosis, and Amber spirals out of control as expected.

TV Show: Parenthood

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