Photo from NBCGreat news: The one-hour drama Parenthood (Tuesdays, NBC) has already been invited back for a second season -- so we can continue to follow the adventures of the Braverman family, four grown kids negotiating family life in Berkeley, California. Since last week was the best episode so far, next season should really be gangbusters.
In celebration of this news, I'm getting judgmental! No harm done -- I keep my judgy hat off (or set to "vibrate") in real life, but these, after all, are fictional folk on a TV show, and therefore fair game. I love fair game. So let's have a look at the Bravermans' parenting skills:
Adam and Kristina
Photo from NBC
You may recall my referring to these two as "the uptight twins." They're so high-strung, they make harpsichords uncomfortable. But while I would've written them off as totally hate-worthy at the beginning of the season -- with Adam's baseball-dad outburst and Kristina's perpetual twitching -- once their son Max was diagnosed with Asperger's, my attitude softened. I still feel a bit like they spend too much time yammering at each other, and I hate how older daughter Haddie gets shunted aside in favor of identified-patient Max. But to their credit, they hate it too.
Best Moment: Breaking into Hallie's laptop to find out who she was secretly dating. I know this was a hot-button, polarizing issue for some, but once direct communication fails, I'm firmly of the camp of "my house, my minor, my business."
Worst Moment: Their charging up to the "meth house" that they assumed her boyfriend lived in -- which turned out to be a lovely home owned by a lovely couple whose son has told them all about Haddie's parents and brother, presumably because they're not a pair of uptight, anal-retentive lunatics. Guys. CHILLAX.
Photo from NBCShe's a single mom with a lame-o ex, so she gets a bit of a pass. The series started with her moving her two kids from Fresno back to her hometown to live, essentially, in her parents' basement while getting back on her feet. Brave, strong choice. But she's still a big of a pud when it comes to parenting. Her daughter, Amber, bosses her around. It's almost like she's a third child, practically asking her two kids how to parent them. And oh, for God's sake, letting your daughter walk in on you giggling in the kitchen while swilling Scotch with a guy you're on your first date with? Really? I get Sarah's journey, but if she were my friend, I'd kind of want to strangle her.
Best Moment: Finally breaking up with Amber's English teacher, who Amber very obviously had a huge crush on.
Worst Moment: Letting that sitch go as far as it did. Falls right into the same self-indulgent category as … everything else she does.
Julia and Joel
Photo from NBCShe's a driven, hard-working lawyer; he's a nurturing stay-at-home dad. I think I identify with Julia -- not just for being the primary breadwinner (though she's WAY better at that than I am), but for being a hard-ass in the middle of hippie-town. I love how she gets stern, and it's almost always the right decision in the end. I also love how often she goes into a situation intending to be a hard-ass … and wimps out, like when she couldn't tell Kristina that, in fact, daughter Sydney wasn't Aspie like Max, but had tested "gifted" instead. I just feel like boring Joel melts into the background a bit -- what's his deal?
Best Moment: Relenting on her plan to cut Sydney's best friend out of her life because Sydney's mom made a pass at Joel. I almost hated her in this moment because I knew I'd never be able to do it.
Worst Moment: Forcing Sydney to literally sink or swim, causing massive panic and embarrassment at the hippie-dippie pool class Joel's been taking her to. (Though in the end, the mortifying moment turns out to be just what Sydney needed to actually learn to swim, so … also a best. Kind of cheating, Parenthood writers.)
Crosby and Jasmine
Photo from NBCInteresting pair: They aren't a couple since their son Jabbar was the product of a fling and Crosby only found out about him at the beginning of Season 1. They're managing to muddle through in a complicated situation, so okay, they also get the single-parent pass. But I detest how Jasmine repeatedly freaks out in front of Jabbar -- SUCH a super no-no.
Best Moment: Throwing Jabbar's party together -- and Crosby keeping mum about the fact that Jasmine hadn't told him about the kid until Jasmine was able to come clean on her own. (Also, Jasmine managing to do that. Really not easy.)
Worst Moment: Crosby still whoring around with a sexy divorcee when he's on Jabbar duty. Okay, so he relented before closing the deal -- but he could easily have saved the sex for a non-Jabbar day. Not that Jasmine didn't overreact, but jeez, dude.
Zeek and Camille:
Photo from NBCWe haven't seen all that much of the elder Bravermans, at least not until last week. We know that Zeek is kind of cuckoo, a self-professed "hard-ass with rage issues" who's bossy, inappropriate, and impulsive. Camille, so far, is the ultimate earth-mama in flowing garments, though we're beginning to see how steely she is, dealing with a lifetime of Zeek. As parents? All we know is that they're unconditionally supportive despite being tough to manage.
Best Moment: Cleaning up Crosby's old bicycle to give to Jabbar as a welcome-to-the-Bravermans gesture.
Worst Moment: All the worst moments belong to Zeek so far: Busting into the bathroom to talk masturbation with his grandson, accusing Jasmine's family of racism, trying to drag Adam into a weird real-estate deal … the guy's got issues. Which is one reason the show's so dang irresistible: How will he surprise us next?
How do you feel about the Bravermans' parenting skills? Tell us in the comments!