‘Parenthood’: The Braverman Women Take Their Men For Granted

"Parenthood": Erika Christensen as Julia Braverman Graham -- (Photo by: Danny Feld/NBC)

The Bravermans are a lovable fictional family, but, at times they are selfish and entitled. In this week’s episode of “Parenthood,” the biological Bravermen women, with the notable exception of Amber who continues to be more mature than most of the older characters on the show, spend the week mistreating the too perfect to be real men they have in their lives. What the hell is wrong with them?

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At a student council meeting, Max (Max Burkholder) vetoes plans for a school dance.  He has a gavel. This school takes student government very seriously. Adam (Peter Krause)  and Kristina (Monica Potter) tell him he can’t be a dictator. He agrees to compromise and let the dance happen, but does not want to go. Despite being aware of why a dance would be difficult for someone with Aspergers, or, for that matter, any middle school student who is not part of  the popular crowd, they insist. I phone my Mom and thank her for never pressuring me to attend school dances. However, I cut Kristina slack because she has cancer. She’s allowed to let her controlling side out. Kristina gets Max a dress shirt and tells him it’s an important life experience. Adam changes his mind and sides with Max. Kristina has a meltdown and insists he has to go. Adam tells Kristina there are plenty of dances in Max’s future. She is concerned that she might die before is prom. Adam tells Max that since Kristina is sick they should do things that they don’t like to make her happy. Max says, “I don’t like doing things for other people.” Ha! But he  puts on his dress shirt and tells Kristina he will go for 30 minutes. She gives him a lesson in how to slow dance, which would be great if he were going to a cotillion in the 1950s. It’s middle school. Everyone dances in big groups and flees when the slow song comes on. But Kristina gets a touching m0ther-son moment.

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Joel (Sam Jaeger) gets an offer to be the foreman on a big construction job. Julia (Erika Christensen) is less than enthusiastic, apparently believing their family can live on love. The other stay-at-home Moms at her school force her to join them for coffee. Julia is horrified by their yoga pants and decides she is too good to be a Stay-at-Home Mom. Julia picks a fight, saying that Joel shouldn’t work since their first priority should be Victor. She even accuses the man who sidelined his own career to raise demon spawn Sydney of bailing on the family because he has committed the horrible crime of getting a job. Raise your hand if you’d like to be married to a caring, considerate, smoking hot man who knows how to build things. Joel wisely points out that someone needs to bring home the bacon, and that he’s pretty much the most devoted family man on earth. He points out that he was tolerant of her being a workaholic for years and knew she could be both a lawyer and a parent. He wishes she would show him that same respect. Julia later tells him that she respects him, but I don’t think she does. She says she is not cut out to be a SAHM and feels terrible about it. Joel advises her to enjoy having free time. Too bad there is a law against two parents working. Oh, wait, there isn’t? Then why doesn’t Julia look for a job with a manageable schedule and hire a nanny since they are apparently so rich that neither one of them needs to work?

Hank (Ray Romano)  phones Sarah (Lauren Graham) while she is in bed with Mark. He is drunk. Sarah leaves to give him a ride. He rambles on about his wife. He is upset that she is moving farther away, making it harder for him to see his daughter. When he  passes out on his bed, she tenderly takes off his glasses. Let’s face facts. Nobody loves taking care of a drunk more than Sarah. He books a photography job in Los Angeles just to have an excuse to see his daughter that weekend.Mark and Sarah have planned a romantic weekend in Napa, where they will attend Mark’s friend’s wedding. Drew (Miles Heizer) is pissed that he has to stay with Zeek anfd Camille instead of being left to his own devices so he can have sex with his girlfriend without being interrupted. Mark tells Sarah if it were up to him, he’d have let Drew stay. He logically points out that Drew is going to find a way to have sex no matter what.

Hank wants Sarah to join him on his trip, taking for granted that Sarah can hang out with is daughter while he attempts to persuade his ex-wife to stay in California. This is so not Sarah’s problem. In fact, it’s completely inappropriate to involve her. Plus, we have only hears Hank’s side of things. Maybe his ex-wife has good reason to limit Hank’s time with his daughter. Maybe Hank is a more functional version of Seth. When she reminds him that she has plans, he backs off. But Sarah is determined to find a way to do both. Sarah tells Mark maybe she can spend Friday in L.A. then fly back Saturday morning. Mark logically points out she asked for the time off in advance and is being ridiculous. Sarah tells Hank she can’t change her plans, but it’s clear she’d rather get involved in someone else’s family drama then spend a romantic weekend with her fiance. Raise your hand if you’d like to be engaged to a hot younger guy who is willing to lt your teenage son move in with him. Sarah is a selfish, dysfunctional mess. She tells Mark she has to go to L.A. but doesn’t explain the situation about Hank’s daughter. Mark says he doesn’t care about Hank’s problems and calls out Sarah prioritizing Hank’s needs over their relationship. He knows she isn’t going to go to the wedding and bitterly tells her to let Hank know she will be free all weekend.

A woman named Marlys is furious that musicians who record at the Luncheonette keep parking in her spaces and making noise. She files a complaint with the city.  Crosby (Dax Shepard), who is handling everything so Adam can spend more time with Kristina,  shows the complaint to Julia. He wants to file a counter complaint. Julia wisely advises him to be nice to her and diffuse the situation. Crosby brings her a gift basket as an apology. She yells that she cannot be bought off. She has paid 900 grand for her condo. He points out that she probably shouldn’t have moved to the Haight-Ashbury if she wanted to live in a quiet neighborhood. She really is nuts. Julia goes over the paperwork and tells him that the Luncheonette is in a residential zone and the city could shut them down. She thinks Crosby needs to tell Adam.

Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) prepares Ryan (Matt Lauria) for job interviews. For some reason, Zeek advises him to downplay his military experience which seems like it would be very impressive to most employers. Ryan tells Amber that the interviewer asks if he killed anyone in Afghanistan. How could anyone ask something so inappropriate during an interview? Amber has the same reaction that I do. Ryan closes himself off and goes for a walk alone. Amber talks to Zeek about Ryan’s behavior instead of berating him or cheating on him. Is she sure she’s a Braverman? Zeek gives her sage advice about how difficult it is to readjust after being a soldier.

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

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