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Monday, 29 of May of 2017

Tag » Parenthood

Parenthood – “One More Weekend With You”

“There are no secrets in parenting.”

Adam watches Kristina smoke a joint to help with the post-chemotherapy pain.

Kristina’s getting all potted up!

(Note: Usually, these Parenthood reviews would go up on TV.com (you can see the rest of them for this season) but I missed a deadline. Apparently I have stuffing on the brain. So enjoy it here this week.)

I think we’ve been ignoring Sydney for so long that we missed her growing up. She looks like she’s about six months for a driver’s permit now.

It’s a good representation of the shift in balance for the show. Over the past few episodes, Parenthood has turned from being comprised of post-modern parenting morality tales couched in well-developed narratives and portrayed by nuanced characters (think back to “The Talk” which was a hair away from being a sit-com A story) to focusing heavily on characters rather than the Braverman family unit. Julia and Joel struggling with Victor and putting Sydney not just on a backburner but completely out of the picture is just an example of how the togetherness of the family is starting to pull apart just slightly.

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Parenthood – “I Don’t Want to Do This Without You”

“It’s a Braverman.”

Zeke teaches Drew how to grill.

"Hey. Do I know you?"

Our fellow Monster Karen checked out last season’s finale of Parenthood as it aired at the behest of Matt and me insisting the show is good, sometimes great, and worth everyone at least checking out. We warned of crushing emotional scenes and certain actors knocking it out of the park to the chagrin of a viewer’s tear ducts (Mae Whitman, my elbow is pointing at you). Yeah, we like the show a lot. So when she reported back to us, just before we recorded a podcast, we were both pretty excited to certainly have a new convert.

It was not to be.

She may be able to stomach Gossip Girl camp and other CW fare but jumping into Parenthood at the finale was a little too saccharine, a little too schmaltzy for her. Needless to say, Matt and I were a little disappointed. But, at the same time, understanding.

One has to approach Parenthood with the knowledge that the series is a continual setup for emotional and familial catharsis. If the Bravermans aren’t hugging it out, they’re fighting against hugging it out even though they know they will eventually embrace — embracing. The basic elements of this show (diverse cast, unscripted scenes, copious demonstrations of togetherness to the point that you’re sure none of these characters have any other friends and, if they do, they’re villains) all contribute expertly to these cathartic moments in the season. We’re led up a mountain by a Braverman sherpa and, if you’re just choppered in to meet us without seeing the journey, Base Camp 2 may seem really overdramatic.

The collapse of my mountain metaphor aside, the Parenthood season opener picks up smartly where the finale left off. Maybe with a couple of hiccups that are the seeds of major season arcs. But they’ll pull it together — right? Read more »


“Parenthood” and the Complexities of Interracial Relationships

Parenthood made me cry today.

The show is fantastic. It’s superbly acted, well cast and it hits on a lot of problems that families go through. I’m sure that once I am a parent, many many moons from now, I’ll think back to “What did Adam Braverman do in situations like this”? And for better or for worse, I’ll know what to do. Or what not to do.

But that’s not the point of what I want to talk about. There’s another aspect of the show that hits very close to home for me. It’s not about familial ties or issues with siblings or growing up.

It’s about the complexities of interracial relationships.

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Podcast 002: Basic Cable is Just Like Everyone Else

Well, well, well. It’s an All-Monster Podcast. It’s like Rampage but better because we have four monsters tearing up your town instead of just three. These week, Karen, Matt, Nick and Noel discuss a range of topics across the television landscape including The Walking Dead, the Mad Men finale (yeah, we know it’s old news — but it’s our show), how cable has disappointed us by having the nerve to cancel shows (Rubicon, Caprica), the USA brand (popcorn/beach-reading), how Life Unexpected is gross probably because they need to keep up with the rest of the CW, and Conan’s pedestrian return, among other things. It’s an interesting hour of witness. Listen to the podcast at the bottom of this post or subscribe to the podcast feed.

Running time: 75 minutes

Topics: Place in the Podcast

  • The Walking Dead: 0:00:58
  • Rubicon: 0:10:23
  • Mad Men: 0:16:21
  • Cable as a Haven: 0:21:42
  • The USA Brand: 0:25:53
  • House: 0:29:52
  • TV Actors: 0:35:59
  • Chuck: 0:37:41
  • Nikita (and other spy dramas): 0:44:51
  • The CW/Life Unexpected: 0:51:41
  • Parenthood defense: 1:04:25
  • Conan: 1:06:21

Brief note from Nick: I know that Chuck didn’t air this week because of the Lauer/Bush thing. I meant last week.


Podcast 001, pat 2: “It’s Still Halloween Somewhere (but just barely)”

“What was that accent?”

And just barely slipping in before the witching hour on Halloween (on the West Coast anyway) are some thoughts on this week’s Halloween episodes. Some of the things we reference:


Parenthood – “I’m Cooler Than You Think”

“I think that deserves a consequence.”

Joel's frustration finally erupts as Julia steps over the line.

Joel does his best Angelus impression.

This is the story of boy meets girl. The boy, Mike, a forklift operator in the shoe warehouse, is tightly integrated with the “scene” in the Bay Area despite his blue collar appearance. By day, he hauls pallets of shoes but by night he is the person who makes sure to walk the velvet rope and show people stuck outside that he’s getting in easily. The girl, Sarah Braverman, a single mother trying to connect with her daughter, has a checkered past when it comes to men and suffers a bipolar sense of confidence, brimming with it at times and then watching it needlessly empty out of her at others.

This is a story of boy meets girl. But you should know up front: this will probably end in some sort of horrible disaster.

While non-Braverman men deal with the Lorelai Effect, Julia actually has an honest-to-space-baby storyline (that paints her like a thick-headed jackass) while Crosby has his baby-daddy issues and Adam has adult onset impatience when it comes to his autistic son comes to a head.

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Parenthood – “I Hear You, I See You”

“Why is nobody wearing shoes?”

After watching LUX all day, capping off the evening with an episode of Parenthood threatened to send me into a family-drama sugar coma, leaving me to ponder how affected I am from my childhood and why I have no paternal desire. But, instead, the season premiere left me less sentimental and more glad to see these characters again.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about this episode since it was mostly lighter fare and set-up for drama later on down the road but there were some interesting additions and wrinkles to this season that make me look forward to future episodes.

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Parenthood – “Lost and Found”

“I’m going to sing now.”

Adam and Sarah confront Steve's parents.

“Adam, stop doing your Taxi Driver impression. No one is talking to you.”

I had a hard time picking out an opening quote for this episode. There were so many choice lines from Max’s celebrations of Haddie’s new hair color (“You look like a panther. Or a vampire from Twilight.”) to characters asserting series theme-summations (“You be a man, dad” or “I consider myself too big to fail”). One of the goals when writing television/film is to temper realistic dialogue with dramatic substance. If it’s all “realistic,” it might come off “banter-y” (and, at times, robbing the emotion of a scene). If it’s all dramatic, it turns out to be a Nic Cage flick. A balance is necessary and has been a goal for this show from the beginning.

We’ve discussed the “Robert Altman scenes” between siblings in this series, scenes where the characters (typically the adult Braverman siblings) talk over each other, have natural cadence, and laugh at each other (a crime many shows commit, especially sit-coms, where people will say something funny but no one will laugh diegetically). The comfortable, conversational tone between them is often tempered by dramatic, sometimes poignant, scenes from the characters when they’re without the other siblings. This is a balance the series has been hoping to hone throughout this half-slate and this season finale is the culmination of that practice, an execution of character and narrative that shows real potential for next season. Although, I’m not sure where next season is going.

I think they might be writing Julia off.

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Parenthood – “No More Namaste”

“Fine. But I’m not saying ‘unconditionally.'”

Amber dances with Haddie's recently ex-boyfriend, Steve.

Oh, Amber.

Earlier in the series, and really throughout, Zeek has acted as the purveyor of the mighty name Braverman, making sure that Jabbar is going to take the name, bucking his children up with phrases akin to, “Hey, come on. You’re a Braverman!” The last name which, let’s face it, sounds a little made up (apologies to any readers surnamed Braverman but, come on, it sounds like a cartoon hero’s alter-ego), is a source of pride for ol’ Zeek. He believes himself the patriarch of nobility (but hard-workin’ nobility). He has two markedly successful children, one who is wildly talented, just trying to get out of her own way, and, you know, Crosby, who’s cool (he might be successful, too, though it doesn’t seem like he ever works). The Bravermans breed pride which makes failure so hard to swallow for them.

Failure is the theme for this episode and not just for the main cast but for the children as well. It was a dangerous and, at times, horribly awkward, time to be a Braverman. Good thing Jabbar hasn’t taken the name yet.

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Parenthood – “Perchance to Dream”

“Second base is reading Tennyson.”

Adam shows Drew some moves as the Braverman women look on.

This is the shot that’s going in all of Peter Krause’s future press materials.

Daughters are nothing but trouble. If you have one, you’d better lock her up in a tower because all they do is lie, cheat, and break vases. Sons, on the other hand, are honest and endearing. They may be a little troublesome but, as you know, boys will be boys.

At least that is the general sentiment of this episode. “Perchance to Dream” focuses almost exclusively on relationships with the daughter: mother vs daughter (Julia/Sydney), father vs daughter (Adam/Haddie), mother and daughter vs The World (Sarah/Amber), and, the happiest couple of the group, the couple without a daughter (Crosby/Jasmine).

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