‘Parenthood‘ launched its second season Tuesday night. About three months have passed since we last saw the Bravermans. They are still as earnest and likable and co-dependent as ever. The premiere featured a bunch of nice moments that did not add up to an actual plot.
There was one shocking development: Zeke (Craig T.Nelson) cut his hair! A grateful nation rejoiced that it no longer had to look at his old man mullet. It turns out that Zeke and Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) are seeing a marriage counselor. It would be fascinating to probe the dysfunction that simmers below the surface of their relationship, but we never see them in counseling. Instead, whenever Zeke goes into domineering tyrant mode, he realizes what he is doing and tells Camille,”I hear you and I see you.” Despite being heard and seen, Camille had about five lines of dialogue.
Zeke spent the episode fixing a leaky roof with Joel (Sam Yeaeger). It’s not as exciting as it sounds. The upshot was Joel found the courage to tell Zeke he knew nothing about home repair. Zeke was impressed that his taciturn househusband son-in-law had the courage to stand up to him.
Joel may turn out to be the most interesting character this season. He and Julia (Erika Christensen) spend the episode cartoonishly flummoxed by their daughter Sydney’s (Savannah Paige Ray) questions about where babies come from. If only they knew that there were a couple hundred books for children about this subject. For some reason, the sex talk makes Julia realize that she’s ready to have another baby. Joel, who is clearly dying to get back to work, seems less enthusiastic. If only a lawyer and a contractor could afford a nanny.
Speaking of childcare, Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter) have hired Gaby (Minka Kelly), who is an expert at working with children with Aspergers, to be Max’s (Max Burkolder’s) nanny. There’s no way that Lyla Garrity is not going to end up hooking up with someone. Max is dying to have a slumber party with Jabbar (Tyree Brown.) Crosby is equally eager to see Jasmine (Joy Bryant) and his son, who have spent the summer in New York. When Jasmine cancels their trip to California, Max has a temper tantrum that reflects Crosby’s disappointment. Maybe Crosby would have better luck with Jasmine if he’d follow Zeke’s example and get a decent haircut.
Sarah (Lauren Graham) is still job hunting. She makes an off-handed joke to Adam (Peter Krause) about how there should be a lojack for kid’s shoes. I wonder why the kid wouldn’t just lose the clicker along with the shoes. But Adam ends up pitching the idea to his boss, who loves it. Sarah wants to be involved since it was her idea. She also asks Joel to build her a desk because she thinks it will enable her to have more ideas. There was some weird sexual tension in that scene. Adam gets Sarah an internship at the shoe company. In the most farfetched moment of the week, he says that the internship actually pays.
Gordon (Billy Baldwin) thinks Adam’s family is hindering his productivity. Gordon’s right. Everyone keeps barging in to his office to have conversations that are inappropriate for the workplace. Among other things, Haddie (Sarah Ramos) comes in to complain about how badly her driving lessons with her mother are going. Why do the Bravermans think this is acceptable behavior? Maybe the whole family needs counseling.
Every scene in the episode was well written and well acted, but the lack of actual story was grating.