<i>Parenthood</i>: The Best and Worst Braverman Pairings of “The Offer”

Leave it to Sydney to ruin an episode otherwise dominated by the youngest of the Braverman generation. Sure, there was plenty of grown-up drama (this is Parenthood, after all) but "The Offer" was all about the kids, namely Victor and Max. But not Sydney, because Sydney is terrible. As Max devastatingly came to terms with his identity at school as a "freak," Victor dealt with his abandonment issues and worried that he was the cause for Joel and Julia's split. You know who put that idea in his head? Sydney, because Sydney is the worst. The entire episode wasn't perfect as a whole, but those last 15 minutes really packed an emotional wallop. If you never felt connected to Victor and Max before, you did after last night's episode. That is, unless, you're a monster like Sydney. While I'm still choking back tears thinking about the Max and Victor story lines (damn you, Parenthood, damn youuuuuuuu), I still have to declare the best and worst Braverman pairings from "The Offer":

TAGS: Parenthood
<i>Parenthood</i>: The Best and Worst Braverman Pairings in “Limbo”

My favorite episode of Parenthood so far this season. "Limbo" was funny and sharp and emotional and, for most of us who aren't as functional as the Bravermans all the time, very relatable during that dinner table blowup scene. In addition to being all of those things, "Limbo" actually moved the storyline along for several characters, including Joel and Julia who inched a little bit closer to reconciliation. While "Limbo" technically centered around the drama caused by Baby Aida's christening (that Baby Aida, always starting problems), let's be honest, it was all about Drew and Amber getting totally stoned together. I could have watched that for the entire hour. Here are the best and worst Braverman pairings for the best episode of Season 5 to date, "Limbo":

<i>Parenthood</i>: The Best and Worst Braverman Pairings of “The Enchanting Mr. Knight”

Hey! It's Zachary Knighton! Better known as Dave from the beloved, but far too short-lived, Happy Endings! Sorry, I get excited about anything Happy Endings-related. Knighton is the latest addition to the Parenthood family playing a handsome (Adam's words), cool teacher named Mr. Knight who, much to the delight of Kristina and Adam, sees Max for the bright kid that he is. In fact, it was an all-around great week for Adam and Kristina: they found out Kristina is still cancer-free. I guess you could say it was a… happy ending. Well, it wasn't all happy endings for the Bravermans. (When is it ever?) There were far more vague endings (Hank and Sarah, Drew and Natalie, Julia and… Ed?!) in "The Enchanting Mr. Knight." So, with that, here are the best and worst Braverman pairings from last night's episode:

<i>Parenthood</i>: The Best and Worst Braverman Pairings of “Just Like At Home”

After a long five-week hiatus, I was had begun to fear that the first episode back -- "Just Like Home" -- wasn't worth the wait. I blame it on yet another chapter in the god awful saga that is the Hank/Sarah/Karl sorta love triangle for feeling that way. Though the rest of the episode was pretty good, it was all worthwhile to make it to those wonderful last ten minutes. The Joel and Julia split has been the best story line in all of this shaky Season 5, and now it's starting to have a ripple effect on the entire Braverman family. And while Julia is adjusting to a new phase of her life, with the support of her siblings, one thing still remains constant: Sydney is awful. Here are the best and worst Braverman pairings of last night's new episode "Just like At Home":

<i>Parenthood</i>: The Best and Worst Braverman Pairings of “You’ve Got Mold”

Well, I think I may have just switched my allegiance from Team Joel to Team Julia. I know, I didn't see it coming either. While I still respect and understand Joel's decision (especially for sticking to his guns and knowing himself well enough to know that he's confident in his choices), the guy really could have given counseling a try for a little while, no? Again, I know. For weeks I have been saying the show needs this shakeup, which I still stand by, but jeez… poor Julia. I mean, was there anything sadder than her plea, "Don't give up on me"? Hell -- and this is the most shocking thing of all -- poor Sydney and Victor. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself, but Joel and Julia's collapse was the biggest thing to happen in "You've Got Mold." Some other story lines did take place, too, so here are all the best and worst Braverman pairings from last night's new episode:

<i>Parenthood</i>: The Best and Worst Braverman Pairings of “Jump Ball”

Finally, what Parenthood fans have been waiting all season for: an almost entirely Hank-themed episode. What. Wait. No, that's not right. In fact, there's been an overabundance of Hank all season when there are main characters being all but neglected. (Seriously, Hank has had far more screen time and storylines than Crosby, Jasmine, Jabbar, and practically nonexistent baby Aida combined.) What was especially frustrating about "Jump Ball" was that the two most compelling storylines (Amber confronting her father Seth and Joel telling Julia he's going to move out) were pushed towards the end of the episode. Why all the stalling lately? While "Jump Ball" had its moments (Parenthood always does, after all), it felt like yet another set-up episode. So, until we find out the big stuff, here's the best and worst Braverman pairings of "Jump Ball":

<i>Parenthood</i>: The Best and Worst Braverman Pairings of “Stay a Little Longer”

You know it's a heavy episode of Parenthood when All-American Rejects front man Tyson Ritter singing an original song called "Jasmine All the Time" is the least traumatizing thing to happen. "Stay a Little Longer" not only had us say goodbye to Ryan and Amber, presumably forever, but it also gave us a crumbling Joel declaring that he didn't want to work on his marriage with Julia. Just in case that didn't twist the knife enough, they also had Adam struggling with the realization that his son Max might go through life alone. Oh, and Sarah was there bellyaching to Hank and Hank was there bellyaching to Sarah and they both sucked up a whole lot of the show's precious hour with their "drama." I mean, couldn't the show, like, check in on Haddie during those times? She's gotta be up to something these days. The Bravermans seemed to have phased her out completely. Until then, here's the best and worst Braverman pairings from "Stay a Little Longer":

<i>Parenthood</i>: The Best and Worst Braverman Pairings of “Promises”

The first new Parenthood episode of 2014 was titled "Promises", but it just as easily could have been called "Stalling." That's because, even though it's been several weeks since we last saw the Bravermans, everything is pretty much exactly how it was when we left them. Joel and Julia are still drifting further apart, no thanks to Ed; Sarah is still dancing around her feelings for Karl; Amy is still suddenly back in Drew's life; and Zeek and Camille are still an ocean apart, both physically and metaphorically. The only people we didn't get updates on last night were Ryan and Amber. Of course, the two characters we're all dying to know the fate of got less screen time this week than baby Aida. (Hey, on the bright side, at least we didn't have to deal with the All-American Rejects guy again!) Here now are the best and worst Braverman pairings in the surprisingly lackluster "Promises":

<i>Parenthood</i>: The Best and Worst Braverman Pairings of “All That’s Left is the Hugging”

Well, that was most certainly worth the wait. After being Parenthood-less for three weeks, the show returned in top form with the genuinely surprising, funny, and unbearably heartbreaking episode "All That's Left is the Hugging." That's an appropriate title, actually, given I desperately needed a hug after Ryan and Amber's inevitable split. (I didn't think it would end like that, I must say). While Ryan and Amber's crash and burn break-up was definitely the drama that anchored the episode, pretty much every storyline worked here. And, hey, congrats on your Golden Globe nomination, Monica Potter! Not only is it long overdue for any Parenthood cast member to be nominated, but she had an especially outstanding year. Here are the best and worst Braverman pairings from last night's episode:

<i>Parenthood</i>: The Best and Worst Braverman Pairings in “Election Day”

I know I usually do an even split of best and worst pairings for Parenthood, but honestly, that's impossible for the best episode of the season (so far), "Election Day." Even the "worst" storyline in this episode could barely be considered bad, let alone a storyline really, and that's because everything here clicked. This was Parenthood at its best: heartbreaking, funny and surprisingly compelling television about human moments. While I still think the worst is yet to come for powder-keg couples Joel and Julia and Ryan Amber, the groundwork that the writers are laying for both of their eventual implosions is some of the best stuff the series has ever done. Not to mention the fact that it's gotten series-best performances out of Sam Jaeger (who has been particularly outstanding and Emmy-worthy this year) and Erika Christensen. The only truly bad thing about this intense installment is that we'll have to wait three weeks to see how everything shakes out.

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