Photo from NBCYou know what I'm loving this week? The opening credits. The Parenthood theme song is a crusty old Bob Dylan tune from his 1974 album, Planet Waves, called "Forever Young," and it perfectly captures the dusty Berkeley-hippie environment the Bravermans would have grown up in. Plus, the genius idea of using actual baby photos and videos of the actors on the show is so effective, I almost start crying every time it flickers by. Kudos to whoever came up with it.
Anyway, it's a night of hyper-parenting for the Bravermans, for better and for worse. Let's start with worse. Sarah (Lauren Graham) continues her flirtation with Sir Hotness of the English Teacher. They, like, totally click even though he's 12 years younger; in fact, the Braverman women all sign off on the relationship despite the fact that he's Amber's beloved teacher. It's only Adam who spots the terrible truth: Amber's got a crush on this guy the size of the Riverside Shakespeare, which is why she's doing so well and studying so hard for the SATs, for the first time ever. When he tries to tip Sarah off to this, she goes into Super Defensive Mode, accusing him of undermining her happiness and yadda yadda zzz. Still, this prompts her to finally tell Amber; Amber's little round face expresses cautious approval, then crumples into misery the minute Sarah leaves the room. Have I mentioned how stellar the kid actors are on this show? That face made me want to jump into the TV and shake Sarah by the lapels.
Ah, but I didn't have to: She hears Amber crying, and runs straight over to Hottie's house and dumps him, saying they can date in two years when Amber's out of high school. I think I'm supposed to find this tragic; the only tragedy is that she waited too long and let it go too far, so Amber, devastated by this latest hot mess, blows off the SATs and calls her ex from Fresno to come and get her. Niiiice one, Sarah.
Crosby has his own parenting "aha" moment when a hot, wealthy divorcee picks him up at Mommy & Me Yoga, inviting him and Jabbar over for a "play-date." She has a poolboy who can watch the kids while they "get a snack," by which I obviously mean they get hot and heavy in the house by a picture window overlooking the pool. Downward Doggerena is all set to chaturanga on his tree-pose when he's struck by the wrongness of it all and scoots out from under her before you can say "ohm shanti." Also too late: Jabbar tells his mom about the play-date, and she throws a fit over his using the kid as "chick bait." Personally, I think she's a little over-reacty, and again she makes the stellar parenting move of having this argument in front of little Jabbar ... should we be taking up a collection for the therapy he's going to need? Anyway, Crosby's in hot (tub) water.
Meanwhile, Uptight Twin Kristina has her own crisis. As her daughter gushes over having a professional role model in Aunt Julia, she pulls out her own former career milestones -- she was a legislative deputy who worked to ban excessive billboards from the landscape. Hm. Heddy is mildly impressed. Meanwhile, Adam spends the entire episode scheduling early meetings and running around like a silly chicken so he can finally spend some quality time with Kristina. When his efforts are frustrated one too many times, he goes super ape-crap, complaining that everyone has a life and all he has is a schedule. This is all Kristina needs; Max is improving but still totally demanding, and she's the one implementing the rules Gaby's putting in place. She tells him to take a break, take care of himself before he really freaks out. Mollified, he makes a point of showing Haddie a park that her mom helped get built, and by the end of the episode, he's in a wetsuit and out on a surfboard, his Blackberry lying fallow on a beach towel. The most uptight surfer in all the land.
Real Berkeley and Oakland sightings were thick and fast this episode! I'm going to find out when they're filming next season and get my butt in some crowd shots.
What did you think of this episode? Tell us in the comments.