'Parenthood' review: Oh, Crosby, you big dummy. Also: Oh, Haddie, you naughty girl...
Another week, another foolish decision made by the character we love to see make foolish decisions. In a new plan — hey, that was the title of the episode, “New Plan” — to win back Jasmine, Crosby decided to buy a house. Because if there’s one thing a woman who’s hurt by your infidelity wants, it’s to move in with you, and into a house so small, she can’t help seeing you when you’re both in it all the time.
This sort of impulse was totally in keeping with Crosby’s personality, which is why I totally bought it. That, and the fact that the hour was Jasmine-free, which meant we have yet to hear her reaction. And, well, that and the fact that Crosby sold his houseboat — to a guy who looked as though he’d died and gone to heaven. Perfect.
Also perfect? The entire Haddie-goes-to-her-prom plot. The spectacle of Adam being so worried that his daughter was going to do what he did (i.e., have sex on prom night) brought out the best in Adam when he’s in his stern-control-freak mode. As opposed to his other mode, which is genial-control-freak. Either way, Peter Krause is terrific; he’s the soul of this series. The way he withheld his affection from Crosby, nursing that well-earned grudge until Sarah wore him down with the surefire “But he’s our brother” speech — Krause/Adam was excellent.
And, as it turned out, correct about the “raging hormones.” Haddie may have the perfect boyfriend in Alex (plug: Watch Michael B. Jordan in NBC’s broadcast of the final season of Friday Night Lights, starting Apr. 15!), but neither of them was immune to the charms of the other, and now Haddie is a well-satisfied secret-keeper.
You know who else had a “new plan”? Amber. Rejected by Berkeley, the college-free gal tried for just a little while to act like a normal teen and go to the prom, but then went back to being bitter and sullen. Another first-rate performance here, by Mae Whitman. Her rebellious brattiness, breaking her mother’s heart, saved the weakest part of Parenthood right now, which is the Richard Dreyfuss Is Going To Make Sarah A Star Playwright foolishness. Why is an intelligent woman like Sarah gulled by this gasbag? (“You’ve got to give Barry some dignity!” Oh, please…) Oh, that’s right: Sarah was gulled by that wastral John Corbett, too; Sarah has self-respect issues, which Lauren Graham plays beautifully. But it’s more absorbing to watch Graham stretch out in the mother-daughter tussles with Whitman — a relationship so un-Gilmore-Girls-like and therefore all the more enjoyable for the opportunity to see Graham show her range.
As for Amber’s whole I-gotta-be-me speech — well, the parent in me says, “Sure, kid, you go ahead and do what you like. Just make sure you go down to McDonald’s tomorrow and fill out an employment application, because I’m not paying for those cigarettes and whatever else you’re planning to smoke.” But I guess I’m supposed to be more sympathetic, right?
Some stray Parenthood questions for you:
• What was up with the cast on Julia’s arm this week? Had Erika Christensen really hurt her arm and they wrote it into the script, or was it meant to be a rare light touch in her heavy, I-can’t-get-pregnant plot?
• Where was Max during the whole getting-ready-for-prom intrigue? He didn’t even show up during the ritual picture-taking before the prom, and you know there’s no way Max would have been able to keep himself out of that chaos.
• That final, heartwarming, “We’re going to fix this house” moment between the Braverman siblings? You know who’s gonna really do the fixing, right? Poor Joel!
• Most important: How do you think this new-house project is going to play out for Crosby and Jasmine?
And finally: I’m going to pretend I didn’t see the coming attractions for next week. Let’s not talk (yet) about what’s going to happen to Amber.
What did you think of Parenthood this week?