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

29 Jan

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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

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“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

Parenthood

“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

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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

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.

CAMILLE WANTS TO SELL THE HOUSE

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.

SARAH AND RYAN

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.

JOEL’S NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITES

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.

MAX AND THE YEARBOOK

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.

ADAM AND CROSBY

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.

HADDIE

I miss Haddie.

GRADE: A-

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

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