Considering NBC just hosted a conference call with Lauren Graham and Ray Romano, I figured "I'll Be Right Here," would have a lot more of Sarah and Hank. While I'm slightly disappointed that we have to keep waiting for more on that front, I'll give the writers credit for sticking in an episode where Mark was really likable (maybe he always is, I just have fun ragging on him) in order to make the love triangle all the more juicer. I will ask all of your Mark supporters out there: Did you roll your eyes maybe a little bit when he said he didn't have cable? What's next, he doesn't have a microwave?
All in all though, "I'll Be Right Here" felt more like a set-up episode that will make the next few weeks all the more enjoyable, and it fortunately didn't lead me to exhaustion from bawling like the last one so cruelly did. I think I've spent enough time weeping at Adam bravely fighting alongside Kristina in her battle against breast cancer to last a lifetime, and honestly, I'm kind of frustrated that Parenthood had a perfectly good out for leaving the heavy subject matter, but chose to make it even heavier by putting Kristina through chemotherapy. It felt like the opposite of that sitcom gag Arrested Development and Family Guy love making fun of, where the doctor sounds like he's saying there's terrible news but there's actually good news. What kind of doctor is like, "Good news, you still have cancer!"? So cruel. I knew Kristina should have stuck with the nice lady who would have probably been just as bad.
Anyway, let's get to this week's chuckles, cries and cringes. I'm working entirely from memory here because I'm too tenacious to keep notes, so please bear with me... Kidding! A thumbs up would be appreciated, though.
Lots of great dialogue tonight from Kristina and Max, including:
"I can help you write [your notes], I wrote for Bob Little." "He didn't win." (I adore Bob Little references, especially when they come in the form of Max driving Kristina crazy.)
"I don't know what that means, 'totes handle it.'"
"You know, if you eat something before your surgery, you can throw up into your breathing tube and then inhale it into your lungs? [...] If that ever happens to you, it's a 100% death rate. [...] There's no way to save them."
I know everyone offering Adam tea was supposed to be a big comic relief, but my favorite running gag throughout the episode was Julia's quinoa muffins. They were mentioned a handful of times, and felt like the kind of joke you actually have with your family. (There's an old joke in my family about this one time I made muffins with 1/2 cup of salt instead of sugar that still gets brought up every time I suggest cooking something. I was like, eight when I made them.)
Then, of course, Crosby had a role in making the episode a little more palatable, from his uncomfortable backrub for Adam to his adventures with Otis and his cone of shame. (Though what happened to the dog that he would need two stitches? Did that husky get to him? I need answers!) Joel also had his part to shine, too, even if he wasn't actually on screen, with his adorable hand-made card for Kristina. He is so cute.
And thankfully, Amber and Ryan made me laugh more than feel much negative emotion, particularly with Ryan helping Amber sort out her emotions with asking how she knew Kristina. Sure, the writers are using every trope to show us how good of a guy Ryan is, but whatever. I do wonder two things: Did the show just foreshadowing Amber having a break-in? And has that Mexican restaurant been on other series? I feel like I've seen it in a handful of shows, but Community is the first one to come to mind.
So, I'm done crying about cancer (for now) but Kristina and Adam selflessly pretending that the cancer is gone so that Haddie (who has a fabulous new haircut, by the way) will go back to school. It felt very real and difficult and was one of my favorite little Haddie storylines in a while... and of course, it's always nice to see Haddie interact with Max (but I'll get to that in a moment).
My biggest outburst of ugly tears came when Jabbar helped Crosby pray -- not so much at the concept of it, but when Crosby started telling God about Kristina's cancer and Jabbar assuring his dad that He already knows about it. What was implied was not that Jabbar believes God is omnipresent and omniscient, but rather that Jabbar has already been talking to Him about Kristina and praying on her behalf, thus shredding my heart into tiny pieces.
The whole Max writing his speech in his head thing was so predictable and on-the-nose. I'm glad he won since it gives the kid something real to do, but it was just a little too sappy for me. (And for the record, if that pretty blonde girl with the braid in the front won, I would have been pissed.)
And okay, Parenthood does awkward really well and realistically, but at the end of the day, it's still awkward and uncomfortable to watch -- especially when Sarah is involved. Aside from rock 'n' roll Drew being unintentionally hilarious, the new move-in was hard to watch, as was the sexual tension between Sarah and Hank. Nothing was worse, though, than sitting through Lauren Graham and Peter Krauss interact at the hospital and talk about Sarah's love life, because all I could think about was how in real life those two are actually the ones in love. Now there's some fanfic I would read the hell out of. (Just kidding. I think.)
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