A Laundry List of Edgy Family Situations Tackled on Last Night's Parenthood
Times are tough for a lot of American families out there, which is why NBC probably adapted Parenthood, the '89 Ron Howard film about worst-case childrearing experiences (for middle-class, white, suburban families) into a primetime series. Like Modern Family, NBC's Tuesday night drama deals with three generations of a sprawling clan. Only instead of jokes about adoption and homosexuals, Parenthood tackles more hard-hitting issues like that bag of weed you found hidden in your backyard that you know must belong to one of your brooding teens. Beginning with last night's episode, "The Deep End of the Pool," Movieline will provide a weekly forum to discuss the Bravermans' edgiest predicaments.
1. Your Autistic Child Is Expelled For Smashing His School's Fish Tank
Let's face it, Max Braverman's (Max Burkholder) teacher wanted him out of her class the minute he started dressing up in a pirate costume and wielding that pair of plastic scissors as a weapon. But let's look on the bright side -- Max can now go to an alternative school that will actually meet his needs, even if it means his parents (Peter Krause and Monica Potter) have to take out a second mortgage on a house, and share more worried glances each week.
2. The Biracial Son You Just Met Pukes In Your Vintage Corvette
It happens! Crosby Braverman (Dax Shepard) was just a carefree 32-year old hoping that he didn't get his girlfriend pregnant until -- dum dum dum -- an ex reappeared and introduced him to the son, Jabbar (Tyree Brown), he never knew he had. The first step is -- not a DNA test -- but an afternoon of babysitting where Crosby feeds his newly discovered son Sponge Bob and enough chocolate bars to ignite that lactose intolerance.
3. A Pack of Judgmental Mothers Watch You Nearly Drown Your Daughter
Working mothers are stuck with such a terrible stigma. Just ask Julia Braverman-Graham (Erika Christensen), a headstrong lawyer, who is saddened to see her daughter (Savannah Paige Rae) develop a stronger bond with her stay-at-home dad (Sam Jaeger). But even if Julia can't be home to read her daughter bedtime stories, she, being a former champion swimmer, can teach her daughter the freestyle effortlessly in one afternoon off. Right? Wrong. When Julia pushes her daughter a little too hard in the pool, the daughter starts screaming "You tried to drowned-ed me!" as the the other parents look on in horror.
4. Your Married Father Does Not Want to Talk About That Box of Condoms You Found In His Love Den
Why is dad (Craig T. Nelson) hiding a box of male contraceptive devices in his office? Who knows, because he is certainly not going to tell you, Sarah (Lauren Graham), especially during that father-daughter trip to the junkyard.
5. You Dump the Barista You Pity-F*cked Because Your Life Is Just Too Complicated Now -- With the Dad and the Condoms, the Broken Down Car, the Fact That You're Sleeping in a Twin Bed With Your Teenage Daughter Because Hard Economic Times Forced You To Move Back in With Your Parents
Last night's episode of Parenthood really connected with a few viewers out there dealing with two or more of the same obstacles that Sarah (again, Lauren Graham) faces. By the end of the season, we expect Sarah to have resolved at least one of these issues while regaining her self-respect and instilling better attitudes in her teenage kids. But please, producers, bring back the Barista (Mike O'Malley) because he and Sarah have great chemistry even if they don't yet realize it.