Sarah rips a page out of Lorelei Gilmore's playbook and starts accidentally hitting on her daughter's teacher. Note to writers: We've seen this before. Additionally, the entire family is stunned that Amber got an A in English. They are less stunned when it turns out Amber copied an old paper of Sarah's. The good news is that the need to tell the teacher the truth gives Sarah another chance to flirt with el professor. When he compliments the paper and then offers to write a letter of recommendation for Amber, Sarah decides to let the truth go by the wayside. She also lets slip the name of the bar she works at. He shows up later to report that Amber told him about the paper and submitted her own. Flirting ensues.
In this week's controlling-lawyer-mom episode, Julia can't stand that her daughter has to play maid to a bossy friend who wants to be the princess. So she buys her daughter a tiara and pushes her to take the throne. But then there is a playground coup and little Sydney ends up dethroned and in tears. Julia's husband, whose name I don't actually know, which clearly says something, kidnaps Julia from her office for some light breaking and entering with a side of trespass. They go swimming, because this family does a lot of bonding in and around swimming pools.
Crosby and his pushy fiancée find out that her biological clock is ticking loudly enough for her doctor to hear. He encourages them to try and get pregnant nowish. Also, Crosby may want to tell her about Jabar sometime before she ovulates. But Julia's constant backseat lawyering convinces Crosby that he should get a paternity test. That does not go over so well with Jabar's mom, which does not go over so well with Julia. And then Sarah finds out that everyone but her knows Jabar exists and she gets mad at Crosby, too. You'd feel bad for Crosby if he wasn't such a complete and total chucklehead. Right before Katie (the fiancée) chucks her birth control in the ocean to start the insemination process, Crosby mans up and tells her that he has a son. Strangely she doesn't take the news well. Kind of like how Lorelei reacted when she found out Luke had a daughter he was hiding. Just saying.
Once everyone found out that Max has Asperger's, they feel bad for kicking him off the baseball team. So they invite him back to stand around in the outfield. Adam has some trepidation, because Adam is nothing but a walking trepidation. So he spends a lot of time trying to get Max to practice. But it is Drew (who? You know, Drew) who has the best luck with Max with the side effect of some much-needed paternal attention. Of course with fatherly attention comes fatherly disappointment. Adam stands him up at the baseball field and he has to play with his balls alone, which I think is what everyone was trying to avoid last week. Anyway, Sarah reads Adam a misplaced absentee father riot act and then Adam points out that he would have rather been at the ballpark then dealing with Max at Yogurtland. At the next baseball game, Max makes a catch and everyone celebrates, because: whee! Adam and Drew make up and play some much needed baseball.
Adam is still struggling with the fact that Haddie's boyfriend exists, while the rest of the family struggles with Steve's overwhelming Eddie Haskellism. Haddie's attitude has not particularly improved since the teenaged-snot fest that happened last week. Doors are slammed, lines are crossed, and the young couple is ousted from the couch. Oh the horror! But then the happy twosome disagrees about the merits of Love Actually and have their first fight. Tears! And then, no tears! The romance is back on. Adam shudders silently.
Check back for the full recap later or the Bravermans will make you play sports at odd hours of the night!
Take a closer look at the most ridiculous family dilemmas tackled by Parenthood.
Lulu Bates a.k.a. Melissa Locker would rather be watching The Gilmore Girls. You can follow her on Twitter @woolyknickers.
Lorelei Gilmore, er...Sarah Braverman wanders the halls of her daughter's high school open house. She is lost, but probably would have preferred staying lost than asking for directions when the first person she asks for directions thinks she is Haddie's mom and starts extolling Haddie's brilliance at AP Chemistry (right, as if THOSE PEOPLE exist). Sarah corrects him and explains that Haddie is her niece and Amber -- poor, schlumpy, unathletic Amber --is her daughter. The guy looks mortified at engaging with an unpopular kid's mother and pulls out a whole bottle of Purell and dumps it on himself trying to scrub the unpopularity off his hands lest he infect his child. His child who apparently spends all her time telling her parents about what a genius Haddie Braverman is, like, STALKER, much? He backs away slowly and Sarah pulls off her nametag and sighs.
In the chip aisle at the local convenience store, Adam and Kristina are trying to convince Lil Rainman that the potato chips in the beige bag are just as good as the ones in the blue bag. Obviously this is a GIANT lie and Max just stares at his parents in disdain and wanders off to the next aisle. Adam has a hard time grappling with the details of his son's way of thinking and his efforts usually come across as more steamroller than understanding and struggling parent. Anyway. The store's door opens and Adam blinks in horror as Max's Little League team comes barreling in for some unhealthy and trans-fat saturated snacks. Obviously the parents are wildly uninvolved. Adam has no interest in talking to the captain who took his place after his ouster. But Adam was apparently a naughty little boy and the baby Jesus is not hearing his quickly muttered prayer and the new coach and the entire team swarm him. The coach awkwardly mentions that he heard about Max's "situation" and at first I think he is talking about his abs, because That's The Situation, you know? But no, he is just uncomfortably talking about Max's Asperger's diagnosis. Kristina is astutely not making eye contact or acknowledging the usurper coach's existence, which is...mature. Then Max returns to the scene and the coach bends down and asks him if he wants to rejoin the team. As Adam and a suddenly-paying-attention Kristina both shake their heads no, Max says sure and for the coach, that settles it. Um, coach? In the future it might be nice to have the parents' permission first. But, oh well. Adam and Kristina make WTF? eyebrows at each other as the coach wanders off.
Back at the school, Sarah has stepped out a side door to chew some Nicotine gum in peace. I thought the whole point of gum was that you didn't have to go outside to chew it, unless you chew like a cow and then please take that action to the pasture. Some scruffalicious guy who looks like he snuck a few days past Shower Day comes outside and bums some gum. I thought the whole point of gum was that people didn't bum your smokes anymore. Are you telling me they bum gum too? That shit is expensive! Make him buy it for a quarter, Sarah! You're a single mom living in your parents' house, don't just give away your hard earned cash. The twosome makes small talk while smacking their gum and Sarah realizes that the guy isn't a parent, but a teacher. Specifically, her daughter's English teacher. WAIT. Really? No. I love historical reenactment as much as the next MILF, but the writers CANNOT have Sarah Braverman REENACT AN ENTIRE STORYLINE FROM GILMORE GIRLS. Yes I am yelling! That is STUPID. I know Maura Tierney was supposed to play Sarah Braverman (which, genetically speaking would make a heck of a lot more sense, but don't get me started on genetics and casting when I am already in the middle of another rant -- wait, where was I? Oh, right) and so perhaps we would not have noticed the similar storylines, but Maura backed out a while ago and CLEARLY the writers should have made the time to re-think this story line when Lauren Graham was cast. I mean, COME ON. And, no, adding a vague cougar element to the exact same story IS NOT A TWIST. Anyway, grumble grumble. So, Amber's teacher flirts with his student's parent the only way he knows how: by complimenting her daughter's mad writing skills. Of course, even Sarah knows this is bullshit, because, Amber? No. But, she does look vaguely hopeful when he insists that Amber's paper on The Sound and the Fury was truly insightful. Oh please, Amber read The Sound and the Fury? Did they re-boot it as a teenage vampire novel?
It's still light out when Julia comes home from work, so she obviously has mommy-tracked herself. She says hello and immediately starts questioning whether her daughter is PLAYING correctly. Sydney and her friend Harmony are playing "the princess and the maid" and Sydney is the maid, which is UNACCEPTABLE. Sydney explains that sometimes she's the gardener or the cook and then a bell tolls and she runs off TO HAVE FUN. Julia makes a face at Joel, like, HOW CAN HE LET THIS HAPPEN? But Joel shrugs, because he's always the cook. Also, THE KID IS HAVING FUN.
Crosby sits uncomfortably next to Katie as she asks a fertility professional questions about getting pregnant. For some reason she is concerned that she is infertile, but the doctor assures her that she's not...yet! But she should start trying to get pregnant now. This excites her (and her ovaries), but not so much Crosby. Don't worry Crosby, nothing puts a damper on a girl's baby cravings like a lying partner who doesn't tell her about his kid. Just ask Lorelei Gilmore!
It's Max's first game back on the baseball team. His parents, sister, and grandmother sit in the stands and so does poor cousin Drew, who has no friends and no hobbies and no dad to take him to real baseball games. Grandma is really concerned that Max's shirt is untucked, while the stands are populated with people who feel bad for the Bravermans because of their kid's diagnosis. One guy offers to bring them a meal, a kind, if very misguided offer. Adam thinks "Jackass!" loudly enough for Drew to pick up on it and call the guy a jackass out loud, even though he is sitting right behind them and probably heard it. And, he may be stupid, but he was trying to be nice. Haddie asks if her boyfriend can come to dinner and her grandmother insists, despite Adam's continuing stubborn prudishness. Then a ball is hit and it is flying in Max's general direction. Max has his mitt up, but another kid grabs the ball. The kid pats him on the back and says the coach said he should just stand there. Adam apparently has bionic hearing and shakes his head in aggravation at the remark. His kid may be on the autism spectrum, but he can still play sports. The Braverman sports genes trump all adversity!
Later at the Braverman Patriarch Homestead, Julia is busily chopping something healthy and lecturing Crosby on the overwhelming need to get a paternity test done on Jabbar. There could be serious legal and financial ramifications for him. Crosby shrugs and Julia glares at him. She is a lawyer and must be listened to. The really big knife doesn't hurt either. Adam wanders into the room and Julia yells at him for not telling Crosby to get a paternity test. Crosby is a child and must be told what to do. I would mock that statement, but it is pretty much accurate. Julia then asks if he told Katie about Jabbar, but he hasn't because her ovaries are overstimulated and he doesn't want to bother her. Are Crosby and Katie actually dating? Or are they just insemination buddies? Oh wait, they are supposed to be engaged, right? Their relationship seems so unbelievable. And I blame Crosby. What exactly does he bring to the relationship? I don't know if his character is supposed to be stoned all the time or whether he is stoned all the time or what, but I kind of want to slap him around for a while. And I know he is engaged to Kristen Bell and for some reason I assume she has good taste in men, but still...I want to work him over. So I don't mind when Julia yells at him or calls him a child. Out in the living room, Max is giving Drew a