Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Parenthood, "Rubber Band Ball": Our little genius

A quick review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I leave my sock and take your innocence...

First, in case you missed the news yesterday, NBC renewed "Parenthood" for next season. So no worries on that front.

"Rubber Band Ball," meanwhile, did a good job of addressing some holes the show has left in previous episodes. We got our first extended time with grandparents Zeek and Camille (so much so that I'll try to refrain from calling them Coach and Holly McClane from now on), as they began to tell their own story rather than just offer wisdom and/or comic relief for the adult siblings. It finally occurred to Crosby and/or the writers that he might have a reason to feel angry that he missed the first five years of Jabbar's life. And Amber finally pointed out the unintended subtext of all of Sarah's "don't repeat my mistakes" lectures to her mom. All those developments were welcome/overdue.

Meanwhile, the Asperger's/gifted story nicely humanized Kristina and Adam in their reactions to the idea that Max might not be the only "different" kid in the family - and then to the news that Sydney's difference is something to be celebrated rather than managed. My only complaint with that subplot: after the show made such a big deal about how hard it was to get an appointment with The Bob Dylan of Autism in the second episode, Julia managed to get in to have him evaluate Sydney awfully quickly.

There have been some episodes so far that have felt all over the map tonally, but "Rubber Band Ball" managed to feel all of a piece while servicing all of the different groups, including the grandparents. Nicely-done, show.

What did everybody else think?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

i'm a 21 year old male. i am the captain of my college ultimate frisbee. I have no idea why but I enjoy this show immensely and I am glad that it got a second season. (alothou more Minka Kelly please!)

Jill Mader said...

I think this was my favorite episode of the series so far. I'm thrilled that it's been renewed for a second season. I can't wait to see where the Crosby/Jasmine relationship goes.

- Jill (couchtimewithjill.blogspot.com)

Hannah Lee said...

I'm really enjoying this show - while it's still a bit uneven, the relationships between the characters are fun to watch. No one's perfect, but they are all trying.

It was good they finally spent some time with Zeek and Camille, and started to address the harm Jasmine's withholding of Jabbar from Crosby has caused.


Great news that it got a renewal. As much as a mess as NBC is in, the network's renewal of this, P&R and Community gives NBC a group of newer shows with a lot of potential upside. While each show is still finding its footing, all 3 seem to be heading in the right direction creatively.

LA said...

I liked the mix of drama and comedy on this episode. I'm also glad they are finally digging into Zeek and Camille's (seemingly complicated) story. Three cheers for renewal.

Zachary Kurtz said...

I'm now watching this show for Crosby and Jabar (and Jasmine). The other characters are interesting but a bit stale and hackneyed. Crosby is the only one really re-inventing himself. Amber's interesting. Haddie's suburban faux-teenage rebellion is boring.

The aspergers situation is interesting... i'd like to see whether the parents accept or reject the quackery. It's a controversial issue right now that I would like to see them deal with.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Crosby's girlfriend? I had been waiting for her reaction to his already having a child while she was obsessing about having one...

Mac said...

He told her a few episodes back, and she was upset and dumped him.

I was concerned about Dax Shepherd coming into this show, but he's been great, and tonight he really knocked it out of the park.

DonBoy said...

Given the Katims' real-life experience with an autistic child, I took, uh, Monica Potter's initial reaction to be based in reality and respected it highly. Nice portrayal of a delicate interaction between the couples.

Not-totally-off-topic, since I always wonder how Maura Tierney's doing when I watch this show: she's appearing in a play in NYC.

Jamie said...

i love how the show manages to make me cry week after week. so happy it renewed!

nyactor said...

Great Show and I'm also surprised like most of you..not only that I'm liking but loving Dax "PUNKED/Go to Prosion" Shepherd on it... Did I miss something? So when he told his gf that he was going to have a baby with in 3 yrs that he had a kid..she yelled at him but did we see her leave him?! Doesn't he still work with her...I am confused about that b/c it seems he is going to have a thing with Jabaar's(Had no clue it was a B and not a V from the way the actors were talking) Mom - So I guess she's out of the picture?

I think Julia got in way faster b/c when Julia WANTS something, as a headhunting lawyer, she seems to get it. So I think with her money, power, connections and motivation - She pushed her way into see him..so I'm buying it A.S.

*No sigh sound included*

While I did watch it Tivoed(wow, a verb!)..I still noticed the tie-ins and I'm not sure if I enjoy that kind of integration. I've seen it on The View and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon where they actually take show time to do a commercial..
I'm guessing they're doing that now b/c of dvrs.. AHHHHHHH is all I can say to that.

Not trying to change the flow of talking about PHood but curious about that topic -- especially since the V countdown Clock annoyed us all recently.. Advertising within a show and using the show & its music as part of commercials..

Glad PHood got picked up for another season. I was tivoing V and catching PHood on Saturdays but I wanted to see it more than V. Now I have to watch V online.. we'll see if I make it to those as I'm 2 episodes behind now.

Anonymous said...

I like the show, but just FYI, having Asperger's Syndrome and being gifted are not mutually exclusive. In the show last night, that is how they made it sound. Many people with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome are also gifted. Along the same lines, just because a child tests as "gifted", that does not mean she may not also have Asperger's.

Dan said...

There are some things this show does so well...and some things it does so, so badly.

Most of all, I have a hard time getting past the "family togetherness" stuff that appears in every episode.

Crosby gets mad because he can't invite his whole damn family to Jabar's birthday party? Really? He really wants his WHOLE FAMILY at his kid's birthday party?

And when Jasmine relents...they ALL show up? Coach and Holly McClane showing up, I get. Newly-discovered grandson, they're all about it, sure. But all the adult Braverman siblings, and all their kids? Even the teenage cousins who, the show has made abundantly clear, would rather be with their respective boyfriends than any family activity? How many five-year-olds' birthday parties involve a 6:1 ratio of adults to kids? Did we actually even see any kids other than Jabar and the other Braverman kids? I love my brother and I love my wife's sisters, but unless there's a massively compelling reason to do so, I'm not going to any of their kids' fifth birthday parties, nor would I expect them to come to mine.

shara says said...

I'll echo earlier comments that Crosby and Jabar are the high points of the series, so far, for me. I am enjoying all the family members in different ways, but I'd watch an entire show built around those two. Those actors are total scene-stealers, and they have great chemistry together.

shara says said...

@Dan - just for the record, I come from that kind of family. There are a ton of adults and kids and where one of us go, we all go. Birthday parties were always a massive family affair. When I was little I'd have one or two friends and the rest would be family. We have regular get-togethers where we all get together, fill up my aunt's ginormous living room, eat a big meal, and catch up on our week's events. I really like that aspect of the show because I can totally relate.

Anonymous said...

I too missed the development of Katie dumping Crosby (??). Agree with the commenter who said Hattie is a total cliche of a character ... I really do not enjoy anything about her screen time at all. The actress also seems too old to be playing a 15-year old. Ridiculous. I hope they make Jasmine a little more likeable as it seems she's going to play an increasingly important role...her "I just felt like lying about it" reasoning behind why she misled her family about Crosby's knowledge/lack thereof of their soon really irked. The scene b/w Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham about "making my mistakes" really killed me ... well done. And I cannot wait to see what we unearth as they finally dig deeper into the parents.

Parenthood said...

Anonymous, Sarah Ramos, the actress who plays Haddie is 18 years old. She was born in 1991.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1186061/

Anonymous said...

I too missed the development between Crosby and his girlfriend, seems a bit sloppy of them to just drop that entire storyline (and Crosby's supposed love for her) so quickly and have Crosby and Jibar's mom rekindle (well, a little) their relationship.

Does Lauren Graham have a way with young actors or what? Very nice chemistry between her and Mae Whitman.

stacey said...

I am jumping on the 'loving Crosby & Jabbar' bandwagon. I had absolutely no previous acting knowledge of Dax Shepard, and started watching with a bit of trepidation because of what I had heard about his talent, or lack of. I have been very pleased with his portrayal, seems very real to me.

Also, as the oldest of seven kids, I can vouch for the whole fold being expected at an event; in fact, in three weeks, my oldest niece is having her dance recital, and all of us who live in town are going to one of the shows. Which is kind of crazy, but it will mean the world to her.

On the Asperger's story line; I agree with Anonymous way towards the top; the diagnoses are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes, they are closely tied, and I kinda felt like that last scene of the three of them might have conveyed a bit of that.

And finally, I have to say, I really like Erika Christensen as Julia. I have seen some bashing on other sites, but I have really liked watching her try to be a good mother, even when she makes missteps. And, I totally *heart* Sam Jaeger!

Parenthood said...

Finally they're starting to make Mae Whitman's character rather enjoyable.

FYI: NBC ordered a full 2nd season of 22 episodes! I just think this show.

I just think that the lighter tone of these past 2-3 episodes would have made the show a perfect fit for USA and Characters Welcome format. There's been a tonal change since the pilot. Originally the show was going to be much darker when Maura Tierney was with it. It has that light heart feel that USA has. It's not as fun as Chuck or Burn Notice, but it's more Royal Pains and White Collar. Do you agree with me? Why or Why not?

If NBC did more USA style shows, it's ratings would be much better than they are at right now. I think the light heart dramedy is the direction NBC needs to go in. It's smart for the new NBC brass to be doing this.

Anonymous said...

Hey, what happened to Drew? A boy hits puberty and suddenly he's banished! He wasn't even in the background at the birthday party. You can't just lose a child character, even if he is rather dull.

Hannah Lee said...

Anonymous, Drew was at the birthday party...he was just visible briefly - 1-2 quick shots I think.

I'd imagine with such a large cast, not everyone can be featured each week (because of time and money constraints). Personally, I don't think Drew's dull, we just haven't seen enough of him to really know yet; he does seem to get edited out more than the other characters.

Anonymous said...

I haven't caught up with Parenthood yet, but it's got a good cast and a good showrunner, so it's nice to hear that they got a full 22 episode season next year to develop better stories.

But, how is it then NBC's other only drama people are still watching and talking about - Chuck - is always at the risk of not getting renewed as if it's some endangered animal? It's been doing better in ratings (and in a really tough slot too, certainly better than HEROES, which has GOT to cost more than Chuck and is not critically acclaimed anymore) this year - don't they deserve a full 22 episode renewal too if Parenthood got it?

Brandy said...

Youngest of five and in our family kids have a "family" party and a "friend" party and if family members who live in town miss the family party it's a big deal usually involving taking the kid to do something on a different day.

I drove home from college for a couple of family parties.

The friend party had people your own age and rarely family members other than your own parents... but maybe cousins if they were in the same age group.

Inconstant Reader said...

As the parent of two what we sometimes call "severely gifted" kids, let me state for the record that while giftedness may be cause for celebration, it too needs managing. I'll be interested to see how the show handles the giftedness issue; in general, TV handles it miserably.

Anonymous said...

Really good episode - I thought it was funny that Sydney turned up gifted then Max stole her ball and Peter Krause said she's brilliant - she can make another one! I love Julia and Sydney - I think there relationship is complex but really good - I also love Sarah's daughter, Amber.

Not loving Crosby and jasmine - thought he would be the single guy causing trouble on the show = he's funny - they should use that and give him a better storyline.

Trilby said...

OK. I have a slight problem with the name "Crosby." Whatup with that? The other siblings have regular names. Did the parents have a wild hair suddenly when he was born? Or is it a middle name? Or a nickname? Or what? Does it prove the theory that giving a kid an odd-ball name will make him an odd-ball? Or did he take on that name for himself because he is an odd-ball? I wanna know.

cadfile said...

Glad this show got a 2nd season pickup. I like some of the arcs.

This past episode liked the whole Dad and Adam road trip scenes "So, how's your sex life?" Adam: "Fine" Zeke: "That's not what I heard..." LOL

I do think they need to heat up the drama a bit more as some of the story lines are looking predictable. I can see Crosby and Jasmine getting closer but then not getting together because of why they didn't the first time.

cactus jack said...

Anybody else notice that in the last scene with Zeek and Camille, in the foreground there's a basket full of rubber band balls? Seems something that runs in the family?

blinky said...

I am glad to have Parenthood recorded so I can fast forward thru the cliched and obvious parts. It makes a nice 15 minute show that way.
The worst part is the sappy music montage at the end of EVERY SINGLE SHOW.
Good night John Boy from Berkeley.

Anonymous said...

Parenthood is near the top of my list, however I agree with what someone said about Crosby's character being funnier when he was the single trouble maker. I like the thing with Jabar, but Jasmine doesn't interest me and I hope they don't get together.
Love the plot lines about the kid/parent dynamics, but the grandparents seem kind of pointless at this point. They bore me.
Love Julia and Amber the most - great acting and good storylines.