‘Parenthood’: Kristina Gets Shocking News!

"Parenthood": Monica Potter as Kristina Braverman -- (Photo by: Danny Feld/NBC)

This week’s episode of “Parenthood” is called “Left Field.” It more than lived up to its title with a shocking ending that has the potential to change the Bravermans forever.

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It all starts simply enough, when Crosby (Dax Shepard) discovers that Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter) schedule sex on their synced calendar app. And they call it “funkytown.” Ha! Adam and Kristina are the antonym of funky. Crosby notices that Kristina has a gynecologist appointment scheduled and I assume she is seriously ill because nobody has a routine check up on TV.  “Kristina is diagnosed with a mild iron deficiency” would not be much of a story. Also, showrunner Jason Katims hinted that either she or Adam was going to get sick when I interviewed him.

However, Kristina’s immediate agenda is to replace Haddie (Sarah Ramos) with a dog. If she wants to simulate parenting Haddie, she should get a cat who will reject all of Kristina’s attempts to show affection for her. But Max (Max Burkholder)  is excited about getting a dog. He falls in love with an expensive golden retriever. Adam understandably balks at paying 1,200 dollars for a puppy.  Someone else buys the dog while Adam is contemplating spending Haddie’s tuition on a canine. Max goes into full meltdown mode and Adam leaves Kristina to deal with him on her own because he has to take a shower. Adam turns into a “Mad Men” era father when it suits him.

What seems like a typical marital spat does a 180 when Kristina goes to her doctor’s appointment. It turns out that she’s getting a mammogram, which would be at an imaging facility not a gynecologist’s office, so Kristina’s calendar is less than 100 percent accurate. In a very effective scene we see her get the bad news that there is a mass in her breast  in et to music that is intercut with Adam and Max getting a rescue puppy. The song keeps playing as Kristina arrives and tells Adam that she may have cancer. Watch and see if you can hold back your tears.

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In less dramatic stories, Drew’s (Miles Heizer) girlfriend Amy dumps him on the first day of his senior year. Drew predictably handles the situation by trying to avoid talking about it. That seems like a valid way to cope, but Sarah (Lauren Graham), of course, wants to know all about his thoughts and feeling. She tells Hank (Ray Romano), who thinks Sarah is too involved in the situation. Hank reveals he was cool in high school and suggests Drew get revenge by sleeping with Amy’s best friend. Sarah does not find this advice as funny as I do. But when Hank actually ends up talking to Drew, despite insisting that’s the last thing he wants to do, he ends up telling a story about a girl who dumped him.  He is still mad at her decades later, but his point is that it’s okay to be sad. Sarah is surprised that he was sensible and nice. The promos made it look like Hank came through when Mark (Jason Ritter)  couldn’t, but Mark wasn’t even in the episode, so there’s no reason to believe that he, a teacher who works with teens every day, would be unable to give manly advice to Drew.

Julia (Erika Christensen) and Joel (Sam Jaeger) let Victor (Xolo Mariduena) fake an illness to get out of starting school. Finally, Julia ovaries up and insists he go,  but Victor won’t get out of the car. Julia sweetly asks him to be brave for her, and promises to wait outside all day in case he needs her. She ends up spending the day surfing the net on her cell phone.He waves to her at recess. Julia tells Joel that he looked so scared that she had to help him through what she now realizes was a frightening experience for him. Victor thanks her and is impressed that she kept her word.

Jasmine (Joy Bryant) and Crosby argue because Crosby thinks he is too cool t schedule anything in advance, while Jasmine is a planner. I start to have PTSD flashbacks from every flaky guy, artsy guy that I ever dated, Finally, after he forgets to pick up Jabbar (Tyree Brown)  at school, he realizes that he does need to make plans on occasion.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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