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'Parenthood' goes to prom: What's the best prom episode?

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Parenthood Prom

TV prom season is upon us, and depending on your experience in high school, these fictitious events can either bring back horrible memories you’ve been trying to suppress (by watching so much television, natch) or make you jealous that your alma mater didn’t have enough money for a fancy ice sculpture.

Last night’s Parenthood offered up one of the first takes on ye old high school tradition of the season (not to worry, there’ll be plenty more), and as always, the episode aimed to get the entire family involved, even though only cousins Haddie (Sarah Ramos) and Amber (Mae Whitman) were attending. There wasn’t really anything special to their big dance — just a nice handcrafted Parisian landscape and some stars made of cardboard. And as stress-inducing as the Braverman clan can be when they’re jammed together in one room fighting for the last word, it was refreshing to see a fairly realistic depiction of what’s often an awkward event. Instead of focusing on shallow or mundane aspects of the night (limos, prom court, last-minute sabotage), it was all about the buildup and aftermath, from Haddie’s shopping trip with mom Kristina (Monica Potter) who attempted to sneak in a surprise sex talk, to the blinding flashbulbs of hovering family members upon the boys’ arrival, and the Bravermans’ silent acknowledgment that their baby girl is all grown up, inevitably making her own decisions.

We’ve seen great prom episodes everywhere from Beverly Hills: 90210 to How I Met Your Mother. My personal favorites have always been Friends‘ flashback to the big night of Monica (pre-weight loss) and Rachel (pre-nose job), and Zach and Kelly’s alternative prom on Saved By The Bell, which culminated in a slow dance outside the gym. (Nothing says love like matching loungewear.) Thinking back to your own prom (if you can remember your date’s name), was it a high-class affair catered to the Upper East Side’s elite, or more arts and crafts supply chic à la Parenthood? What’s your favorite prom episode?

Read more:

‘Parenthood’ review: Oh, Crosby, you big dummy. Also: Oh, Haddie, you naughty girl.