A review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I remember that I'm lactose intolerant...
"The Deep End of the Pool" was the first episode of the series that I didn't get to see in advance, and the first episode where my attention kept wandering. Those two might be related (staying up to write those Lost reviews kinda wears me out on Wednesdays), or it may be that the show has already fallen into some familiar rhythms, and I know which stories I want to tune in on (Asperger's, Crosby and Jabbar), where I'd rather avert my gaze (Julia making a fool of herself at the swim class), and where my interest comes more from previous affection for the performer than what's happening on screen (Sarah's car/boyfriend troubles, whatever is going on in Coach and Holly McClane's marriage).
Still, "The Deep End of the Pool" did some interesting things with the various stories. When I interviewed Jason Katims for the Asperger's story, he said he wanted to show how tough that situation is not only on the parents, but on the siblings who get less attention because their problems aren't as big or obvious. Max doesn't want to be the squeaky wheel, but he is and he gets the grease as a result. And the scene where Haddie first vented to her dad about it, then asked if Max got into the private school, was a really nice one.
And while the Julia plot was cringe-worthy at times, and still feels like a rehash of too many other shows, I did like the scene where her husband complained about her parachuting in and trying to run the show when she doesn't know anything about the situation. Even if he later softened and tried to make her feel better about her effort, the angry scene by the pool rang true.
Was expecting more fallout from Jabbar messing with the mixing board, given the band's earlier apprehension, but one of the problems with a show this crowded is that corners have to be cut to give everybody their moment. (Which is why, again, I hope we get some episodes down the road that don't try to be as balanced with the ensemble.)
Also, I know this will sound odd coming from someone who spent half this TV season complaining that the three groups on "Modern Family" don't interact enough, but it feels like the Bravermans have waaay too much free time to get together for each other's plays, and school interviews, and impromptu free swims. I know that's kind of the wish-fulfillment aspect of things: we sit through the tougher parts of the show because we can all enjoy the fantasy of having so much time to hang with our loved ones and help each other. But given how much the show likes to deal with the messy realities of parenthood, you would think they'd be more comfortable dealing with all the scheduling problems that would come with this many adults, children and personal issues. I like seeing the characters cross paths in smaller ways (Julia swinging by Adam's office, or Crosby asking Adam for help cleaning the puke off the upholstery), but I think the huge family get-togethers should be treated as more of a special occasion, rather than routine.
What did everybody else think?