Sunday, October 3, 2010

Parenthood: Season 2, Episode 3 "I'm Cooler Than You Think" Review

"I'm Cooler Than You Think!" I believe this was the exact statement Sarah was trying to prove to Amber. What mother wouldn't want to be seen as their child's best friend, at least friendship was important to Sarah. Amber seems to have grown up so fast, surpassing Sarah's expectations, leaving little time to be a mother. Now it appears as though friendship is Sarah's weapon of 'last resorts'.

This relationship partially touches on the drama each member of the Braverman clan has to live through, day in and out. This time, Adam's relationship with his son was exhausted because of Max's condition. We had Haddie prioritizing her goals and aiming for a leading role, resenting any assistance from her mother. Sarah interestingly formed a new relationship with a fellow colleague, and strengthened her relationship with her daughter. Julia wanting a new addition to her family against her husband's agreement and Crosby coming to a block when Jabbar's grandmother attempted to restrict 'daddy time'.

When there are this many story lines occurring in one plot, within one hour, it may be difficult to keep track of all. Yet, we manage to keep connected, just as we would with the many family members in our lives, blood related or through friendship. The Bravemans take family on a long journey and give parenthood new meaning.

Sarah - The Cool Parent

This venture in Sarah's life took a sudden turn through Amber's eyes. We hardly got any decent time spent on what Amber was up to, especially since she got a sudden friend. Amber's friend came in the picture under suspense, in fact we found out about through Sarah's discovery. Now Kelsey is where Amber spends most of her time. Meeting Kelsey's mom was also discovered through Sarah. The writers deliberately give us as much information as Sarah for a particular reason I am intrigued about. Kelsey's mother seemed not to have a care in the world; anything went for her.

Sarah: "I don't know if the girls mentioned, I wanted to take them to this uhm, club to see a singer this week? It's on a school night?"
Jennifer: "Oh fabulous! Oh it sounds fun! Great yes! Good for you!"
Sarah: "I'll be with them the whole time!"
Jennifer: "Oh great! Great! Thank you!"

It seemed almost hopeless then, as though all Kelsey's mother heard was "I am taking your daughter away", before she was quick to give in without hearing anything further. Sarah would have certainly asked her more questions, like what time is the concert? What day exactly? How long would she be gone? Would there be supervision? Sarah seemed to answer that final question for her. Jennifer had not one care in the world, which could possibly be why Amber spends most of her time there, who doesn't love the 'no rules mom'?

Jennifer was painted as the rich mother; through Zeek's interest in her car and her attitude in general depicted the cliched wealthy woman. Yet she spends more time with Amber, having Sarah resort to 'underground club tickets' as some sort of motherly salvation. I took interest specifically in this plot because of Sarah's new love interest; the co worker with underground connection, how charming! I especially admired the lengths Sarah would endure just to spend a few seconds with Amber. I was hopeful for a decent outcome and that her underground connection guy did not bail, but it worked out for the best and Sarah also scored a potential boyfriend.

Adam - The Father in need of Love from his Son

When we first learned about Max's condition, it was Season 1. Adam had moments with his son before, but as Max grows older with the asperger syndrome, Adam realizes his son's disconnection with the world surrounding him and saw a future where he and Max were complete strangers. Adam is unable to relate completely with what Max is going through. His opening scene where he tries to get Max to agree to terms outside the comfort zone was hope in Adam's heart that he and his son could have a different future to the one painted in his head.

I sympathized with Adam as he voiced his concerns to Gaby and she stared at him blatantly with no response. All the feelings Adam was going through, were natural.

Adam: "It's just hard, and I would like to have a conversation with my son"
Gaby: "He would get there"

Somehow I expected more from Gaby, she must have had this conversation several times with other families. Adam's questions were pertinent, so why were her responses of disregard. She told Adam that 'everything would be alright' without explaining how. It's not her job to counsel parents, but it could just as well be her job to recommend help for Adam, even as she didn't have all the answers. The final scene however was moving to me. Others believe that it was too much for Adam to experience that much improvement in Max's condition, but how can we understand how much interaction Adam has had with his son or whether or not that was his first break in communicating with his father? It is almost puzzling as to why the writers gave us that piece of comfort, but does this mean that Max is progressing?

Julia, Joel and a Newborn (?)

Fall in love, get married, have one child, but did Joel count on leaving his job and becoming a house dad? Nothing can be too predictable and we all knew how much Joel resented being the stay at home dad. He loves his daughter very much, but he got a taste of his old life. After Sarah asked him to build that desk, it just brought back old memories as to how much he loved his job and another child could prevent him from reconnecting with his older job.

I admire Joel and Julia's relationship. Julia is the baby girl in the family, but Joel seems wrapped up in Julia's world, unable to resurface. We haven't truly had the chance of understanding what makes Joel beyond the handsome husband role model. Last season we had some conflict with another woman and now we have Joel's passion to be other than 'the dad' resurfacing. I expected more of a fight for him to go back at work, rather than suffocating at home, although they each have their merits. There is so much Julia could promise. There is no guarantee her job would not come in the way again. Only when the idea went public did Joel blow up, he should know that Julia would confide in her brother, only when Julia's colleague gives a high five should he draw out his armor.

Crosby - The Unexpected Father-Type

Crosby surprised me the moment he decided to be a real father to Jabbar, even after he began an exclusive relationship with Jasmine. Crosby came off as a party guy, who would hook up with the many women in his life. Now he has focus and his son has taken priority, along with his relationship with Jasmine. His relationship with his mother needed a little work however. She continued to picture him in a poor light, as though he would leave Jabbar as soon as he could, just like her husband did Jasmine. I believe Crosby's connection to family came from his own family that is well connected and his love for his son goes beyond actions and reaches for his heart.

Crosby: "Well, I'm his dad and I don't have a say in it so..."
Zeek: "Oh I see. Well your balls will still be here when you get back."
Jabbar: "What balls?"

I always admired the Braverman family interactions, especially that cute remark by Jabbar made hilarious by how oblivious he was to the statement. Crosby's commitment as a father encouraged him to stick up to Rene, to show her that he was there for Jabbar. Jabbar is proving to be a loved child, which makes his presence prodigious.

Crosby: "It's not fair of you to hold a grudge against me for some crap your husband did years ago! I'm, I'm here for my son! Okay and I'm not going anywhere! You're going to have to deal with that!"

Yeah! You tell her! Crosby's words had an effect and Rene worked with that, she even joined him on his game ventures even past Jabbar's bedtime. I thought that was grown up of her and she would be giving Crosby more chances to prove himself as a father in the future. He's not completely off the hook yet!

Kristina and Haddie - Mother and Daughter Dispute

Haddie is fortunate to have a mother that cared so much to smother her with love. I believe Haddie knows how over enthusiastic her mother can become about situations surrounding changes in her life, and Kristina could be a bit enthusiastic, but when it comes to the amount of love Kristina has to offer Haddie's election was her chance to show off that love. Kristina may have little influence over her daughter's decision (eg. Her boyfriend choices), but campaigns were Kristina's thing in the past and that was something she could hold on to with Haddie. Still the off and on conflict between shows the fluctuating tension between parent and child. It's natural and makes them a family because of it.

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Four and a Half Stars

Grade A-

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