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Parenthood “May God Bless and Keep You Always” Review (6×13)

29 Jan


In a TV landscape filled with “dark and edgy” dramas, Parenthood has spent the last six years as a light shining bright in the darkness. Yes, it was willing to explore sadness and heartbreak and conflict, but there was one element that anchored the show throughout its ups and downs: that focus on love and family, that focus on what exactly makes us human and how we interact with others. It was a show not without its flaws, but it consistently found beauty in the simplest moments, and it wrapped everything up wonderfully in its series finale: “May God Bless and Keep You Always”.

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Parenthood “How Did We Get Here?” Review (6×10)

8 Jan


“Life is short. You cannot know how impossibly fast it goes by. Cherish every minute of it.”

“Life is short” is something that comes up quite often in “How Did We Get Here?” It’s an episode about life in general, about what happens when the realization hits, about what happens when you’re forced to confront the notion of death. As we move into the homestretch of the series, Zeek’s situation becomes not only a gut-wrenching scenario in and of itself, but also a catalyst for the rest of the family; these characters are faced with mortality right in front of them, and as a result, they begin to reevaluate where they are in life and what they want to do.

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Parenthood “Happy Birthday, Zeek” Review (6×02)

3 Oct


“I’m going out on my own terms.”

Throughout “Happy Birthday, Zeek”, responsibility to a family is placed alongside an individual’s desires, and the question for Zeek becomes not only whether he wants to do the surgery or not, but also whether what his family wants outweighs his insistence on going out on his own terms. There’s an interesting framing device to the episode in the birthday party–considering a birthday is probably the most personal day of each year–and the show utilizes that party to wonderfully execute its stories, bringing the Bravermans together for one of the last family gatherings we’ll be seeing.

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Parenthood “Vegas” Review (6×01)

25 Sep


Final seasons simultaneously bring closure and look toward the future, and that’s exactly what we see throughout “Vegas”, the final premiere of this wonderful little show. The episode is largely framed around Zeek, who collapses while he’s in Vegas for his birthday, and we’re reminded of the mortality that is inherent in life, of the fact that the idea of parenthood is ever evolving through the generations. Simply put, people die. Parents die. We saw Kristina battle cancer in season four–with a near perfect performance by Monica Potter–but here, we’re seeing someone come close to the end by natural means.

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Parenthood “The Pontiac” Review (5×22)

18 Apr


Parenthood‘s always been one of my favorite shows on television, but it’s certainly had a shaky season: the Kristina mayoral campaign was a misfire, for one, and there was a hell of a lot of wheel-spinning over the course of the last 22 episodes. However, this finale is a touching, emotional, and satisfying conclusion to season 5.

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Parenthood “Let’s Be Mad Together” Review (5×05)

25 Oct

Parenthood- Season 5“Not everyone has a family like yours.”

When Ryan walks up to Sarah’s door at episode’s end, what follows is a powerful scene filled to the brim with raw emotion, vulnerability, and honesty. It’s a fantastic closing segment that finishes the best episode of the season. Let’s break it down.


This is easily the best storyline this season, and while it was strangely put off last week, I’m extremely happy to see it back. It’s a fantastic outlet for Bonnie Bedelia to showcase her acting skills, and like I’ve said before, it’s a realistic, relatable storyline that is heartbreakingly sweet. There’s a couple fantastic scenes involving Julia here, the first one being one between her and Camille in the kitchen. It’s heartbreaking to watch Camille try to hold back her tears, a woman caught between two loves: her husband and her life. It’s also sweet to see Julia allowing herself a small smile, and Christensen does brilliant work conveying sadness when she realizes what selling the house would mean; she also conveys happiness for Camille when she realizes there’s so much more out there.

Julia then heads over to talk to Zeek, and we once again witness a wonderful dynamic playing out on screen; she breaks down in Zeek’s arms, determined to say what she’s feeling and trying not to upset her parents. It’s a fantastic storyline, and I like how they’re slowly integrating the rest of the Bravermans into it; the kids brought them together, and now they can set them free.


I’m glad that Ryan tells her the truth; as much as Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham act the hell out of their respective characters, we can only see marriage tensions so long. The final scene is a refreshingly honest one, and while it shouldn’t completely validate Ryan in Sarah’s eyes, it should be a major step in having Sarah support the marriage. I also enjoyed the scene in which she tries to connect with him by bringing him coffee; it’s a very Sarah thing to do, and it reflects how she’s really trying to give her support.

As for other Sarah adventures, I can only roll my eyes at the tired TV trope of “I suck at plumbing.” I could not be interested less in her budding romance with Shirtless Weird Guy.


Speaking of budding romances…I’m glad that we have Sonya Walger on the show, as I adored Penny, but I’m apprehensive about this storyline. It would be much more interesting just to see Joel and Meredith as friendly, but not romantic, business partners and friends. She could be to Joel what Ed is to Julia, although I suspect this is not going to be the case moving forward.

However, this storyline does give us a fantastic scene between Sam Jaeger and Dax Shepard, complete with a drunk Joel eating terrible cake with Crosby in their car. It’s just two guys hanging out.


My, isn’t is refreshing not having a terrible election plot? Yes, Kristina going to bat for Max isn’t anything new, but it still allows for some sweet scenes, especially that one at the end; I’m glad she says that she’s mad. “Let’s be mad together.” The camera then pulls back for a wonderful shot of the two side by side on the bed.

I also like Hank defending Max’s photo; like I’ve said, it’s a fantastic relationship. Plus, he’s right; if you’re going to cry, don’t do it in the middle of the damn hallway.


This feels all too familiar, as tensions arise between Adam and Crosby over their business direction. It’s a bit repetitive, but it does culminate in a great scene in which Crosby tells the band to cut the crap and just sing. It’s a bit sugercoated, but it works.


I miss Haddie.


Credit to NBC and Parenthood for all pictures. I own nothing.

Parenthood “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities” Review (5×04)

18 Oct

Parenthood-In-DreamsDoing the right thing and doing what we need to do aren’t always the same thing. Tonight’s Parenthood is all about dealing with these uncomfortable situations and moving on in life. Let’s break it down.


I’m not a big fan of the storyline in general; I get the motivations behind the campaign, but I don’t really like how it’s playing out. Yes, it would make absolutely no sense for Kristina to run without money, but I wish Adam had not gone to Mista Ray for the 20 grand. It’s more plausible than the Luncheonette profits funding the campaign, but it’s a bit too easy for my tastes. The show needs to explore the gritty details of a campaign and whether or not she deserves to win, and this week’s storyline only scratches the surface. Kristina having to sacrifice her morals to win, or even Kristina dropping out entirely, would both be more interesting than where we’re going now.


I do like this storyline better, as the Adam-Crosby relationship is usually a good source of humor; watching Krause and Shepard play off of each other is always a delight. I like that the writers are taking them down a newer path that will lead to increased individuality, but I also hope that we’re not going to just see an emulation of the first Luncheonette plot.


Pairing Zeek with one of the kids is always sweet to watch, and this bodes well for Victor’s storyline. Much like Adam has to turn to Mista Ray for both his and Kristina’s sakes, Victor turns to Zeek for both his and Julia’s sakes. I’m glad that Julia isn’t angry about Zeek being a better teacher than her; when you love your kid, you want what’s best for him or her. The “jealous parent” storyline is one that I never like seeing, as it inevitably leads to contrived conflict.


Drew has another romance blooming! I don’t know what to think about this storyline. His love interest’s cute and all, but I hope there’s a spin on this relationship; I don’t want it to turn into another Amy, much as I like Drew actually taking the initiative and doing something about his life.


Once again, I’d like to state my love for Mae Whitman and Matt Lauria. Their chemistry is off the charts, and I really hope nothing bad happens. In this episode, we start to see some tension between Amber and Sarah over Ryan’s past. I like that Sarah’s stating her opinion, as she’s actually right (I like her line about her actually knowing what it’s like in this situation). At the same time, I wish she would leave those two crazy kids alone.



-I do wish we had a continuation of last week’s Zeek-Camille storyline. That was beautiful and realistic, and it feels too abrupt that Camille’s isn’t even in this episode. You’re right, Zeek! You’re not going anywhere, so you should.

-Drew’s haircut annoys me.

-Heather’s great, as she really grounds Kristina and is good at doing what she does.

-I like the cold open shot of Sarah awkwardly standing beside Amber and Ryan making out.

-“Hank said he would give me 20 dollars if I could shut up for an hour.” Shut up for another 1000 hours and Kristina will have her money!

Credit to NBC and Parenthood for all pictures. I own nothing.

Thursday TV Round Up 10/10/13: Parks and Recreation, The Vampire Diaries, Parenthood

11 Oct

Due to my lack of time to write 3 separate reviews, I’ve decided to introduce TV Round-ups to provide abbreviated thoughts on shows I’ve watched.

DATE: October 10, 2013

SHOWS COVERED: Parks and Recreation, The Vampire Diaries, Parenthood


Now here’s a much better way to handle Leslie Knope. Last week, she bordered on insufferable because 1) No one called her out on her actions, and 2) Her relationship with Eagleton isn’t as deeply personal as her relationship with Ann. While at times she may seem childish, her actions here are understandable. She’s acting out because her best friend has told her she’s leaving (the scene where Ann goes to Leslie with waffles and a picture of Joe Biden is sweet and hilarious).

We also have a bunch of Eagleton Doppelgangers joining the proceedings, and it’s absolutely fantastic. I like that all of them aren’t really straight up “rivals”; there’s a spin on each that subverts my expectations of what the show would do with the character. Billy Eichner and Sam Elliott are wonderful here.



This is a slower episode than last week’s, seemingly more of a “move the pieces into place” episode. It’s not bad, but there seems to be a bit of wheel-spinning going on. It’s always entertaining to see Silas-Stefan, especially when he’s battling it out with Jeremy, and I think Bonnie’s storyline is better handled this week. Her scenes with Matt are touching, and she doesn’t feel as superfluous here. In addition, Katherine is becoming increasingly entertaining; I could watch her complain about her sinus infection all day.

However, I’m finding that the Damon-Elena scenes don’t work for me. Elena’s made her choice, and bringing up the Stefan drama again is tiring.


627-2PARENTHOOD, “Nipple Confusion” (5×03)

The episode has its ups and downs. I love the Crosby storyline; it really details the difficulties of parenthood in a moving, realistic way. In addition, the Zeek and Camille storyline shines; they never get enough to do, and this episode shows exactly why they’re great. It’s a very relatable and realistic conversation to have, and I’m looking forward to where this goes.

As for Sarah, I hope that she can settle down and focus on photography. I love that Hank calls her out on her “flightiness”, and I like that he doesn’t sugarcoat things too much when she visits him later with the photos. She has a need for validation from others, and I like that Hank just compliments her on her photography, not her person.

The Drew college adventures are pretty inconsequential, mainly used as an excuse to have Matt Lauria act all badass. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to watch. Joel and Julia’s spat seems a little excessive, but it’s still rooted in reality. I hope that Julia’s relationship with Ed doesn’t turn romantic, as I think it’s an extremely interesting premise to explore an emotional connection, not a physical one.

Now, on to Kristina. She acts childish in this episode; I’m having a hard time believing that she wouldn’t worry about their finances. Also, it’s unrealistic that she would get going this quickly. I love Monica Potter, but this storyline’s dragging a bit.


Credit to NBC, The CW, Parenthood, The Vampire Diaries, and Parks and Recreation for all pictures. I own nothing.

Parenthood “It Has To Be Now” Review (5×01)

27 Sep

627-2Season 4 of Parenthood was one of the better seasons of television I’ve seen. Monica Potter had a breakout performance that should’ve earned her an Emmy nod, and the rest of the show gelled in a way that the previous seasons had not. How’s the Season 5 premiere, though? Breaking down the episode by storylines….

Kristina running for mayor

This is an interesting one. The mayoral race is more about taking advantage of her life (per her scene with Gwen) than actually winning, although she wouldn’t want to lose. It’s understandable why she’d do it, but it feels kind of strange in the context of the show. Still, Monica Potter can make just about anything work. As for Bob Little, he’ll probably get the brunt of Adam and Kristina’s heat; he doesn’t deserve it, because two consenting adults had consensual sex, but he’ll be Kristina’s enemy.

Max and Hank

This is a storyline I love. I hate that Sarah always has to be stuck in a romance plot, and I’m glad that we focus on Hank in relation to Max here. These two have a deeper connection and understanding of each other than pretty much anyone else in the show, past or present.

Joel’s new project and Julia’s job-finding troubles

Sonya Walger’s around to stir things up a bit! Also, we continue to see Joel becoming more successful as Julia becomes less prominent. Sydney explains profit margins.

Crosby and Jasmine

Although I love the issues this storyline focuses on, the fact that the two have been in conflict for so long underscores the importance of Crosby’s feelings. They seem like they’re in an endless marriage of conflicting viewpoints, yet they love each other so much. It’s a bit of wheel-spinning.

Ryan and Amber

This is a beautiful relationship. That final proposal scene is definitely cliche, but it’s so well acted by Whitman and Lauria that it becomes something perfect. I wish we could avoid the inevitable relationship troubles that they’ll face.

Other thoughts:

-Drew grows more hair! People forget Haddie even exists! Zeek can still go to Funkytown! Sarah used a hammer and smashed a smoke detector!

Grade: B

Credit to NBC and Parenthood for all pictures. I own nothing.

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