Parenthood

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Brave(rman) New World

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

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Parenthood

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