Moral At Bottom Of Article
Written by Duana
Okay, previously on Parenthood, Julia wasn’t pregnant, and then she learned it was because of IntraUterine Scarring. Camille incredulously asked whether Sarah was up all night writing her play, and she grinned. Zeke told Richard Dreyfuss that Sarah’s play was amazing, Amber didn’t get into Berkeley, and in case you missed it, Crosby slept with Minka Kelly and Jasmine was really mad about it.
We open on Crosby telling the story of how Jabbar came into his life. He says things like “great smile” and “about this tall” – the way it’s shot, we wonder if it’s an eHarmony commercial, or Cheaters Anonymous. As he begins to speak more freely we can see that there’s someone behind him. Then, he’s yelling in a bathroom – then, sitting on someone’s floor – it’s a weird, confessional montage where we hear that Jasmine won’t take his calls or his emails. Oh, and he wants to be forgiven.
OK, I guess he’s been talking to his real estate agent.
Haddie! Haddie, we missed you. You didn’t fix your hair while you were gone, huh? Anyway, her boyfriend Wallace/Vince/Alex, depending on which show you watch, is watching her make stars for the prom. “Midnight in Paris” theme. She asks him to the prom, and he ‘doesn’t think he’s a prom guy’ but she pressures him into it, and says he’ll look great in a tux, even though nobody ever does.
Sarah at Julia’s law firm, she turns in the door of Julia’s office, and oh – Christiansen has a cast on. Oh man, this always sucks. The writers have to deal with it or hide it, the wardrobe person has to dress it, and the actor feels like a dork. Apparently Christiansen broke her wrist – I think I heard bike?
Anyway, Julia broke hers ice skating, and apparently it’s really funny for her to hold it upright. Sarah gets paper from Julia which is an excuse for her to say that her producer is good and gives her deadlines. Then asks how Julia’s cast is for ‘baby-making’. Julia has the right amount of rueful humor as she tells Sarah she’s not having another baby. They are awkward and trying not to be formal with each other as they assure each other that it’s fine – and then when there’s an opening to talk about Amber, Julia grabs onto it because she knows Amber was taking Berkeley hard, and THAT, my friends, is how Sarah finds out Amber didn’t get in.
Crosby leaves a house that has to be fake. It’s a 1.1 million dollar bungalow with flowers on the picket fence, and parents being nice to their kids outside (ball-throwing, bike rides). He zooms in on the less gorgeous one across the street…
Home. Camille and Amber doing the crossword. Sarah starts right in, soft-voiced. “Why didn’t you tell me?” Amber’s also soft as she says she just…didn’t know. She tells Camille the truth and these women are all being so soft and openmouthed. Sarah, wants to know if Amber thought she’d be mad, and Amber just knew everyone would be disappointed - when Sarah tries to surge forward, Amber tells her she’s not ready to talk about plans and is emotional and vulnerable and hurt. That is NOT how that conversation would have gone in my house, let me tell you.
I’m exhausted, and it’s only the credits. How many times am I going to cry?
Adam. Golf shirt. Kristina is annoyed at how annoyed Adam is about Haddie’s boyfriend taking her to the prom. Adam says the prom is “about sex, it’s club Med for teenagers” and my LORD, is this lame already. At least Kristina isn’t weeping. Apparently they thought Alex wouldn’t want to go because he’s older. Anyway, it’s about patriarchy and sex somehow. Lame.
Upstairs, Amber and Haddie talking about dresses that Haddie could wear, Amber wouldn’t ever go, and Alex is throwing paper around. They accuse Amber of being afraid to go to prom, Haddie throws in some clumsy compliments about how pretty she is, and I agree on most of these points – the foremost being that Amber shouldn’t go to the prom. She’d find it lame. Sorry, I said it. (For all of you who are gearing up your email to call me bitter – I went to the anti-prom. Yes. Also lame.) Anyway, Haddie gives her the guilt, they fix her up with someone called “Brandon”, and Amber, who needs desperately to do something fun, says she’ll think about it. Okay, now I want her to go.
Fictional Richard Dreyfuss did theatre in London, did you know? He’s telling Sarah all about it, and she’s giving him pity laughs as he talks about how he could fix Hamlet. I’m bored. Anyway, this is all a leadup for her to cut the first two scenes of the second act. I love that Sarah didn’t even know play terms a week ago. Anyway, she fights him, but OH LOOK, an opportunity has arisen for a staged reading at the Berkeley Theatre company. She can’t make the changes in time. 3 days. Dreyfuss Dreyfusses that she can do it, then Oprahs that she needs to let herself come first.
Crosby comes over to see Adam, who says “what the hell do you want”. EASY, ADAM. God. He is an utter, utter d*ck when Crosby says he’s buying a house, and what the hell are you so pr*ckish about? Your wife is over your Asperger nanny’s betrayal. Your son is moving into the mainstream. Can we PLEASE take it easy? Jesus.
Crosby soldiers forward, volunteering that he’s buying a house now because he’s going to win Jasmine and Jabbar back with it. Adam berates Crosby’s plan, because he’s a jerk, calls him immature and irresponsible, and as Crosby finally raises his voice, Adam kicks him out. Despite the fact that they end in a round of “fine, fine! Go! I Will!” that seemed really, really mean. I thought bros would stick by each other in this situation. I’m going with “Adam is horrible” as my explanation.
So I guess Erika Christiansen has to keep her arm elevated all the time? I can’t tell if this is an Erika thing or a Julia thing, because you’d think if it was Erika they’dve given her one of those smaller poles that goes from your ribs to support it. I don’t know. Anyway, she enters the kitchen, arm aloft, as Hot Husband Joel and Sydney have a laugh at her expense. Can I say how wonderfully expressive I think Christiansen’s face is?(I would say it more, but her name’s too long to type.) Anyway, Sydney is also adorable, and Julia wants to take Sydney for special time together, wherein they are going to the zoo because of the Komodo dragons. Sydney is seduced by this, despite having had ‘special time’ both yesterday and the day before.
Annoying Patriarchy house. The Rules Of Prom are established as Adam and Kristina fold nautical clothing. Haddie’s curfew is an hour later, Adam calls Kristina naïve, Adam is histrionic because he took some girl’s virtue on prom night, Kristina points out that kids are going to have sex no matter what, and before I tune back into Adam’s tirade, I think I have to appreciate the characterization here. As annoying as Kristina is – it’s mainly about Max, who is ‘special’ and needs help. She’s a lot more relaxed about her teenage daughter and I like the peek into an alternate universe where, even though she’s not actually this laid-back, she has to take that role because of how wound up Adam gets.
Anyway, his point is he remembers nothing about his prom night because he had sex. This is too irritating to even discuss.
Crosby tries to talk to Sarah, she’s all “I’m working, which is new for me.” He ignores this, because what he has to say is important, and boy do I ever feel for them both. He explains Adam’s still pissed at him, and despite Sarah saying Crosby “slept with his behavioral aide”, she gives it a real eyeroll. Anyway, Crosby yet again admits he’s a jerk, she says it pisses her off, and he came because he’s going to buy a house for he and Jasmine. Sarah is also predictably skeptical, and Crosby just wants to know if she’ll come see the place so he can know whether a woman will like the house. Sarah agrees, because she’s a normal human. My friend Dean likes the relationship between these two the best, and he might be right. They chat about how fun it will be if he gets it and then Crosby says Adam’s never going to forgive him.
Prom shopping. I don’t love the dress Kristina pulls for Haddie. She wants to know about Haddie’s after-prom plans, and Haddie emerges in a purple gown as she sighs that nobody’s getting a hotel room. Kristina is diverted from her mission by how cute the dress is, and it is, kind of, though Haddie doesn’t like it – and then asks if Alex and Haddie are going to have sex. Haddie declares it a cliché, which it is, and they handle it with a reasonable amount of grace. Kristina seems to think she missed the boat somewhere but I liked how that went down.
Over in non-traditional teenage parenting, Sarah confesses to not cooking dinner and gets Amber’s takeout dinner order. Amber is sitting among ‘Nana’s old dresses, and when Sarah asks why, Amber tells her not to laugh and says she might go to prom. Sarah, of course, laughs – and these two are my favourite relationship, Dean, even though it doesn’t count. Sarah thinks it’s adorable that Amber’s going to the prom on a blind date, calls it 1954, and says it’s lame and dorky and also sentimental and lovely. That makes sense.
Crosby sells his boat to alternate-universe Crosby who has a weird dirty mustache, and what, did they do this in cash? Dirtstache also calls him “Mr. Braverman”. Crosby is Alone In The World.
New Day. Sarah is being chased by Dreyfuss, who is screaming about a character needing dignity. Sarah needs time because it’s her daughter’s prom. He yells about prom, and calls her a soccer mom like it’s a dirty, dirty word. They yell about how he doesn’t have kids, he has a bunch of wives. She comes around when she realizes he still wears the ring of his first wife. But she has to go. Gosh, do you think this dichotomy between writing and life has been felt by one of the writers on the show? Or yours truly? Or everyone in the world?
Adam’s. Camille wants to know which dress Haddie picked. Kristina’s voice indicates “I hate it, but what can you do?”. Hee. Adam gets all panicky because Zeke is having a beer, and Alex is a recovering alcoholic. Zeke is all “Shut it, until you talk to Crosby”. More patter about Adam’s prom date back in the day. Sarah arrives. Apparently they’re all waiting for the unveiling. At Sarah’s prom she sang “Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong”. Doorbell!
Alex and Brandon, from the shelter, arrive. Brandon, Amber’s date, is like if Michael Cera was blonde. I know it’s an easy comparison, but nonetheless. The boys are completely blinded by photo flashes. Amber and Haddie arrive, both all reticent and ‘don’t-call-us-pretty’, and the dialogue in this scene is all one loud hum. Amber’s date seems to charm her by asking if he can wear the corsage, Alex makes Haddie twirl (in her beige dress that I HATE the colour of but quite enjoy the style), there are more photos, Mae Whitman’s waist is insanely tiny, more montaging, Adam oversees everything like they might start boning right there on the floor, and I feel like this family is too WASPY to express how they feel about all this. They need some Yiddish up in here. Schlepping Naches, is that right?
Adam and Sarah can’t believe that Amber’s actually going to prom, with a guy she’s never met. She tries to soften the ground for Adam to look at Crosby’s house, and forgive him. He refuses, and I love how she basically just swallows, all – ‘well, it’s decided, my older brother is a dick’. I wonder if these two are still dating? But she gives Adam the business. “He’s in pain, he’s our brother, he needs us. Just show up” Good for her.
Prom. “Paris”. Cheesy as all get out. Amber is perfunctory , she and her date are awkward, it’s kind of fun. Meanwhile, Alex can’t stop telling Haddie how beautiful she is. It’s really nice, actually.
Doorbell, and Joel answers. Camille and Zeke are really making the rounds today! They have Julia’s old golf clubs for Sydney, who is delighted to be released from her French flashcards, but not delighted at the idea of having to play golf. Julia is flabbergasted – SHOCKED – that her daughter doesn’t want to do this, and when precocious Sydney asks “How many things do we have to do together?” in front of everyone, Julia looks pained. She has her arm down now as she leaves the room. Zeke is all “What’s going on” as though now is appropriate.
Amber and blonde Cera. They’re chatting. Amber’s old friend Kelsey appears. They talk like they haven’t seen each other in forever, but wouldn’t they see each other in the halls? Kelsey wants to know about Amber’s college plans, and drops that she’s going to Yale. Amber is forced into a situation where she says she didn’t get into college, everyone is awkward, and I kind of love this kid who’s like “Yeah, what are you going to do with THIS bomb I’m about to drop?” Kelsey stammers that it’s better, Amber tells her to eff off, basically, and I’m not sure that wasn’t awkward either, that particular reveal. Amber walks up to Haddie and Alex, bails on the prom in very short order, and bails. Her date follows her.
Julia, drinking with her good hand. The camera focuses on the drink in a way that makes me really hope that’s not a future plotline. And then Camille comes up behind her, and she just turns on her and weeps. Sad. Not long enough on that scene, but still, sad.
Haddie and Alex. They are saying sweet nothings to each other too loudly for me to Shazam the sweet song that’s playing underneath. Haddie hemms and haws about whether Alex has thought about ‘getting a room’ after prom. Alex thinks when the time’s right, they’ll know, and there’s no rush, because he’s a Categorical Sweetheart. She kisses him.
The thing about TV proms is they always set them in the gym, but aren’t they usually in a rented hall?
Sarah’s. She’s working hard. Amber comes in, not wanting to talk. Sarah’s immediately aware of how much she doesn’t want to talk and so pushes her to talk. Amber is teetering on the edge of a breakdown as she says that everything from working hard and going to prom and getting good grades is Not. Working. Amber says she tried so hard to take part in high school life, but it didn’t work, and she did all the things that Sarah wanted her to do, and what Sarah thought would fix her problems, and Amber says she’s going to start making her own decisions.
Again, I love all the sentiments here, but Amber seems to be saying she’s going to choose a non-traditional path, and that Sarah has to be okay with it, and I get that Sarah wants a better life for her daughter than the path she chose, but really, do we think she’d object to this? Really? It’s Sarah Braverman. It seems a tad forced.
Haddie and Alex, making out in a hallway. From the welcome mats, I wonder if it’s his apartment complex? Haddie starts in with knowing when the time is right happens to have arrived already, even though it’s prom night, and she feels like the time is right and she feels good. I mean, I also feel like the time is right, because they really enjoy each other, but is not the letter of one of her parents’ laws being broken? No Apartment?
At home, Adam ipanics because it’s four minutes ‘til curfew, and I’m still one of the teenagers when I mentally think you can get in trouble before curfew as easily as after. Anyway, they hear Haddie come in, she marches up the stairs with what can only be seen as a somber face, and they go out to meet her in the hallway. Haddie really has to force her face when she says that yes, she had a good time and Jenna was prom queen, Adam thanks her for making curfew, and she thanks them for her dress. She goes into her bedroom, shuts the door - and finally she does smile, and I’m not sure what that was about, show. Did you worry that her smiling would give it away to mom and dad? That was odd.
Julia and Joel, also in bed. He wants to play golf with her, she starts to cry again, because who wouldn’t, because he’s the best, and she loves him.
Sarah’s not working, thinking. Amber comes down in her pajamas, looks at her, and moves on. Sarah forces herself to get back to her Macbook. Just do it, Sarah. Type. Fake it ‘til you make it.
Morning. Julia, Joel, Crosby, Sarah looking at his house. They’re pointing out the problems. It smells like cat urine, and it needs all new windows. Julia points out the nice house across the street, Crosby gets mad – he already bought this, apparently crappy, house. Apparently nobody knew that. They start to tell him he can wiggle out of it during escrow, he wants to kill himself, and then Adam shows up, all magnanimous because his baby girl didn’t have sex (I mean, that’s what he thinks, right? That he’s morally superior as a result?) and says they can all fix it together. All the Bravermans beam now that Adam has gotten over his fit of pique, he hugs Crosby, an all’s right with the world.
Moral? Sometimes your brother is a jerk.
File photo from Chris Weeks/Stringer/Gettyimages.com