Parenthood recap: 'The Scale of Affection is Fluid'
There’s four things you need to know right off the bat so the meat of this recap will make sense:
1. Amber bumps into a cute, nerdy guy coming out the coffee shop. They flirt. He gets her number. They’re wearing matching plaid shirts, so it seems like a match made in Land’s End heaven.
2. Jasmine, making a typical Jasmine-like unilateral and controlling decision, has put a boot on Crosby’s motorcycle because she’s concerned about his recent behavior.
3. Max Braverman has decided to
stalk go all in (perhaps literally, but we’ll get to that in a minute) with the new girl at Chambers Academy, Dylan (Ally Loannides).
4. Joel and Julia are still confused.
Actually, that’s pretty much it. Thanks for reading, see ya back here next week!
If only it were that simple. Of course there’s more to it; our Bravermans are a complex bunch that come to the party carrying some major emotions that make even the simplest life events dramatic. Speaking of parties, Adam and Kristina are having one in their backyard. It’s a BBQ picnic lunch, and the whole gang is there. Well, except Sarah and Hank, who are off on a photo shoot. (And by “off on a photo shoot,” I’m quite certain they mean “taking this episode off so the network doesn’t have to pay all the principal actors’ salaries for all 13 episodes.” Wonder who will be on a trip next week?) Zeek immediately zeroes in on Max, asking him what base he’s gotten to with Dylan. Um, excuse me? I know grandpas are known for being inappropriate, but a fart joke seems a bit more suitable. Crosby, of course, happily joins in and gives Max an education, “Crosby style.”
Crosby: First base, kissy kissy.
Adam: Well… maybe hold hands…
Crosby: Second base, touchy touchy. Third base, feely feely, maybe with a little kissing down south.
Timeout for this recapper to rewind to make sure that’s really what he just said. Yep, that’s really what he just said. Face palm.
Crosby: And then Home is little Max with a baby carriage.
Adam: …or watching TV on the sofa.
Crosby: You can do that on the sofa.
Kristina wants them to stop encouraging him because she knows Dylan isn’t going to like Max in the same way he likes her. Seems like stopping the encouragement to do some “kissing down south” might be more critical, don’t ya think?
Meanwhile, former college fling and current fling Chris shows up with work papers he needs Julia to sign. What convenient timing! Adam comes out and grills him a bit before inviting him to stay for a burger. Although both Julia and Chris seem to resist the idea, Adam twists his arm (using the force of a moth) and he stays. Later, while trying to make a quick getaway, Adam convinces Chris to stay for a game of hoops with the littles, which is played in front of an adoring Julia (who is seemingly imagining future Christmas mornings) and another, less enamored spectator, Joel. Joel shows up (probably to drop something off that one of the kids left in his car) and sees Chris hooping it up with Victor and a surprisingly involved and cheerful Sydney, and as you can see from the picture above, he isn’t too happy about it. More on that later.
While the basketball game with Uncle Chris is taking place, Crosby unloads his wife troubles to Zeek.
Zeek: Why the long face?
Crosby: This is my castrated face. My wife put my motorcycle in jail.
The two commiserate on controlling wives (Millie is still getting on Zeek’s last nerve with her hovering) and Crosby offers to drive his dad to physical therapy the next week.
Amber, wearing purple dinosaur shorts my daughter would have loved when she was five, excitedly tells Drew and Natalie about the coffee shop dude. The only problem is, he doesn’t know about the “one big thing.” Her questionable taste in fashion? Good guess, but nope. He doesn’t know about *whispers* the pregnancy. After Drew tells her she really needs to tell this guy about the baby (ya think?) she eventually does—after going out on a date with him and after he kisses her—and then cute coffee shop dude bails. Later, despondent about her life being over, Amber gives Drew all her booze, her skull bong, and her weed (awww), and Drew gives her some sweet words of encouragement.
NEXT: Sticky fluid
Later that evening, Adam and Kristina have a serious talk with Max about relationships. Kristina tries to break it to him that relationships can be one-sided; that sometimes two people can like each other at different levels. Knowing Max will identify with numbers, they explain the concept of attraction on a five-point scale and tell him that the numbers can change. For instance, Adam and Kristina’s current level of mutual attraction is a 5, but when they first began dating, Adam was a 2. “So the numbers can change,” Max understands. “The scale of attraction is fluid.” As he says this, Kristina is shooting daggers at Adam. She thought they were there to dissuade Max from running the bases, not to encourage him to suit up.
Adam: It gets a little sticky, but it’s fluid.
Kristina: It’s sticky fluid.
You guys, I really, really wish I’d written that, but I didn’t.
Max later confronts Dylan at school, wanting to know the number which she likes him. He tells her he likes her at a 5. She says she’s at a 2. Max is cool with that. “I imagine I have a decade, maybe more, to change your mind.” When Dylan raises her number to a 2.5, Max consults “experts” on the subject of dating, checking out books with titles like How To Get a Girl Into Bed With You. After an argument where Kristina chastises Adam for encouraging Max (because she’s protecting him, but which also goes against like every Kristina character trait we’ve ever known), Adam convinces her to accept it. “I need to believe [Dylan liking Max] is possible,” he says.
Meanwhile, Joel is chatting up his kids about “mom’s new friend” and is not liking what he’s hearing. Both kids are singing Chris’ praises (even Sydney!) so Joel makes a surprise visit to Julia’s office to confront her. “You do not have the right to introduce our kids to whoever you feel like sleeping with that week,” he spits at her. Point—Joel. Julia remains calm, and in a very lawyer-like manner tells Joel that Chris being at the picnic was an accident. It wasn’t planned. Point—Julia (mostly for not flying off the handle at that ‘sleeping with’ comment). Joel asks her if Chris is going to be in the kids’ lives. Julia, not surprisingly, says she doesn’t know, and that she’s sorry it went down this way. Joel, not surprisingly, clams up and walks away. I’m gonna have to call that one a draw.
Crosby takes Zeek to physical therapy, driving the minivan like he’s on his motorcycle, zipping in and out of cars and popping up on the curb. Zeek, meanwhile, is getting tossed around like a flounder against his seatbelt (anyone else grimacing while imagining the pain that must’ve caused?), and loving every minute of it. When Crosby later inadvertently sees Zeek stumble on the treadmill and almost fall down, it’s obvious he’s shaken. Zeek has always been invincible to him, and seeing him like this is almost too much to bear. Even though Zeek is off the sauce, Crosby tells his dad he needs to day drink and takes him to a bar. There the two spend the afternoon regaling each other with stories from the past, and as the glasses of whisky are downed, Crosby admits that he’s frustrated: Jasmine is nagging him, The Luncheonette is failing, and even Jabbar is annoying and needy lately. Zeek tells his son he knows what it’s like. “You gotta try to enjoy it, son. Have a little fun. It just goes by so fast.” Aaand there it is. The patented Parenthood tear-jerker.
When Jasmine arrives to throw Crosby’s drunk ass in the minivan-slash-paddy-wagon, she tells Zeek that she’s worried about her husband. Zeek admits he is, too. And looking ahead at scenes from next week, it looks like Crosby’s mid-life crisis is about to create all sorts of chaos. Buckle up, folks.