Everyone is on drugs in this week’s episode of “Parenthood,” ‘Trouble in Candyland.”
Sarah (Lauren Graham) is such a frustrating character because she never learns from her mistakes. She’s incredibly realistic, but this week, she is hard to watch. There were several points when I wanted to grab her and shake her.
Sarah and Mark (Jason Ritter) awkwardly pack for their separate weekend trips. Mark is rightfully furious that she is blowing off their planned romantic weekend for a non-essential “work” trip. He tells her she is a great employee but a lousy fiancee. Ouch!
In L.A., Hank’s ex-wife warns him not to try and stop her from moving to Minnesota. She has a good job lined up and points out that the public schools are excellent. I have to say, she seems to be in the right here. If Hank wants to be closer to his daughter, he could move to Minnesota. As a freelance photographer, his life is portable.
Sarah realizes how nuts she was to give up a planned trip with Mark to be the middleman in someone else’s custody dispute and leaves him a voicemail apology.
Watch “Trouble in Candyland”:
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Ruby is enthusiastic about moving and Hank realizes his grand stand is over nothing. Sarah and Hank get drinks at the hotel bar. Great idea! Not. Sarah thinks it’s terrific that Hank is making more of an effort to be a father than Seth did. They get wasted. Yes, she is regressing into old patterns. They are drunkenly walking down the hall with their arms around each other when they encounter Mark, who is sitting in front of her hotel room. Sarah claims she was just drunk. Nothing was going to happen. Mark flew to L.A. to apologize. Sarah insists she would never cheat, not acknowledging even to herself that she has kissed both Hank and Seth while dating Mark. Mark leaves.
The next morning, Hank and Sarah have a hungover breakfast. He tells her he wants to invite Ruby to live with him and asks for Sarah’s opinion. She says it isn’t her job to fix him. Hallejulah. She has seen the light. She explains that she has wrecked her own life in an attempt to help him. Sarah tracks down Mark at the hotel gym. She apologizes again. He agrees to have dinner with her.
Mark and Hank end up in the elevator together. Hank praises Sarah for coming to help him even though she knew his gig was a sham so he could see his daughter. It’s hard to tell whether Hank is passive-aggressively trying to wreck Sarah’s relationship or sincerely thinks he’s making Sarah look good.
At dinner, Mark calls Sarah out on her choosing Hank over him because he needs her the way Seth did. He thinks she runs away from anything good in her life. He loves her but he can’t be with her anymore. Ouch. But he is right. It’s not just with men. Sarah was a playwright savant, but we haven’t seen her even attempt to write since her initial success.
We are treated to a scene of Hank’s sad goodbye hug with Ruby, as if he doesn’t totally suck. Sarah tells him that things didn’t go well for her either. Then they head home together, because Sarah can’t be mad at someone as screwed up and needy as Hank.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as Amber (Mae Whitman) attempts to help her own damaged, but far more sympathetic and attractive man. She persuades Joel (Sam Jaeger) to hire Ryan (Matt Lauria) for his construction crew. She has acquired a pink streak in her hair. Ryan is concerned that he has no civilian construction experience. On the site, Ryan accidentally breaks a window by hitting it with two pipes he is carrying. He apologizes and walks off the site. Ryan takes pills and ignores Joel when he knocks on his door.
Marleise, the Luncheonette’s crazy neighbor, has special guest star Glen Hansard’s (half of The Swell Season) car towed. Crosby (Dax Shepard) tries and fails to bribe the tow truck driver not to take it. Crosby tells Adam they have to argue for The Luncheonette’s zoning at tomorrow’s city council meeting. Adam thinks they should try to talk to Marleise together.
During the meeting, Marleise complains about the power strip in Adam’s office. Crosby blurts out that Adam hasn’t been able to address her concerns sooner because his wife has breast cancer. She says she had it last year, then she accuses him of trying to use his wife’s cancer to manipulate her.
Adam practices his speech to the Council to a distracted Amber. Marleise has emailed a photo of Crosby peeing in the alley to everyone. That is really gross. Sometimes it’s hard to root for the Bravermans.
At the meeting, Marleise makes a speech calling the alley a haven for vagrants, drug users and hooligans. She has photos of musicians smoking pot as well as Crosby’s urination. San Francisco city council reality check: there was recently a huge debate about whether a new law banning full frontal public nudity would ruin the city’s free-spirited vibe. The law that passed created exceptions for a local S&M-themed street fair that is a beloved civic tradition. Marleise needs to move to the suburbs, or, at least, a neighborhood that is more conservative than Haight Ashbury.
Crosby makes a speech about all of the great musicians that played at the Luncheonette. He has brought a bunch of other local business people to voice their support for the studio. It works. We are treated to a Glen Hansard song. Amber does place a no parking sign in the alley, which seems like a fair compromise.
Julia (Erika Christensen) coaches Sydney and Victor on their homework. Sydney yells out Victor’s answers. Victor does not want to study. Julia finally snaps and tells him if he doesn’t do his homework he can’t play baseball. He shoves the paper away. Wow this is almost as riveting as when “Brothers & Sisters” did the exact same storyline when Kevin adopted a Hispanic child. According to TV, adopted Latino kids do poorly in school. Hooray for stereotypes! At least Victor is literate.
Julia tries to consult with a Kristina who is high on marijuana. Apparently Victor missed a bunch of school last year and is behind. Kristina advises bribing Victor like she does with Max, showing her a stash of reward candy. She eats a bunch of it. Stoner Kristina rules. Julia tries the candy studying method. Victor admits he feels stupid, especially since the younger Sydney can easily do his homework. Julia assures him that he is smart and he will catch up. Victor fails the math test. He calls Julia a liar for convincing him that if he worked hard he would pass. He thinks he is stupid. Julia tells him she is proud of him for the progress that he did make and promises that she will always love him. Then she feeds him sugar until he feels better.
The promo for next week’s Christmas episode implies that Kristina is at death’s door. Happy holidays?