Can you feel it, Parenthoodlums? Wait, no. Parenthoodaholics? Definitely not it, either. Parenthoodies! Yes, that's the ticket. Anyway, can you feel the excitement? The entire Braverman clan is finally back for Season 5. While the show wrapped things up in a nice little bow in the Season 4 finale (after all, their future was uncertain, so they had to tie up any loose ends, except for stupid Sarah picking stupid Hank instead of awesome Mark, but I digress) so much happened in the premiere. While certain things have remained the same (Sydney is still mind-blowingly awful, even by awful TV children standards), there were plenty of shakeups and surprises. So, here we go, Parenthoodies, a new season of the best family drama on television right now. I'll be here all season, breaking it down Braverman by Braverman and picking the best pairings week by week.
Crosby and Jasmine
I've always had a love/hate relationship with Crosby and Jasmine's love/hate relationship. Crosby is a man-child who has made some big mistakes, but it's always felt like Jasmine punishes him for that beyond the point of reason. Still, despite their incessant bickering (to be fair, they have one awfully good screaming, pooping, crying reason) they just felt so damn authentic in this episode. Their arguments have gone from that joking, pleasant way that established couples pick at each other to the kind of straight-up sleep-deprived madness that takes you right to the brink. Still, even when Jasmine and Crosby aren't on the same page (he fails to connect with his "so white", yet "bi-species" newborn daughter, while Jasmine effortlessly coos "I'm just so in love with her"), they can agree on one thing: a name. Aida! Aida Braverman. No hyphen.
Adam and Kristina
Adam and Kristina have returned from the ocean and are back on land with sexy new haircuts and even sexier sexy eyes for each other. Kristina is cancer-free and the two decide to "Carpe diem" (kids, that's older person speak for "YOLO") by dirty dancing at dive bars and getting it on at cheap motels -- going to "Funky Town", in Zeke's words. But things got serious after sex creep and mayoral candidate Bob Little asks Kristina to not only join his campaign, but run it -- a proposition that Adam wants her to reject. But even the Husband of the Century can't go around telling Kristina Braverman what to do, a point that her brave cancer-battling buddy Gwen reinforces: "You don’t wait…if this is something you wanna do, you need to do it." This leads her to break the news to both her hubby and former boss: she is going to run for mayor (yeah, maaaaaaaayor) herself. I'm not in love with this storyline right off the bat (we've already gone through the ups and downs of a Braverman campaign in the face of adversity) but if anyone can sell this, it's these two.
Amber and Ryan
Like anyone with a beating heart who watches Parenthood I was beyond thrilled that they got Ryan and Amber back together…only to find out their relationship consists of strained Skyping because Ryan has been deployed to Afghanistan. Amber is a mess throughout the episode, worried for the well-being of her man and nervous about the toll that the time apart, distance and effect of war will take. Then, in the final scene of the episode, Ryan returns and the couple are reunited at a coming home ceremony. Mae Whitman is marvelous, equal parts nervous, deeply in love, sad and overjoyed. But why is super handsome specimen Matt Lauria so stoic? Has Ryan changed during his time overseas? Oh nope, he looks super intense and serious because HE'S DOWN ON ONE KNEE PROPOSING TO AMBER. In the pantheon of Parenthood tearjerker moments, an overjoyed Amber saying yes is officially way high up there on the list. I'm still crying. Even better, it's going to make Sarah flip out. Everything is wonderful.
Joel and Julia
Now, if anyone can rival Adam Braverman in the husband category, it's living saint Joel. He not only has two of the worst children on television (Sydney somehow upped her smug, whiny game since we last saw her), but his wife Julia has it made in the very well-built shade and still always has a crisis. While Joel is waiting to hear on a possible development project that would give him a stable job and bring in some major quiche for two years, Julia tries to get back to work (something tells me she's threatened by the idea of Joel being the big bread winner in that household) and in no time has an interview at a top law firm. But, despite being a "legend," Julia's reputation has become tarnished thanks to her unhappy former employer. To dig the knife in even deeper, Joel has his potential new boss Pete over for dinner, having forgotten to mention that Pete is a very pretty lady who looks an awful lot like Penny from Lost (probably because she's played by Sonya Walger). Now, Julia has no need to worry about Joel straying (or does she?), but the idea of having to put up with someone like Pete (even that name is insufferable) for the next few years would be enough to bum anyone out. Still, I hope Julia finds a job sooner than later, because her pouting around instead of being super psyched for Joel is downright annoying. That behavior is reserved for Sydney, thankyouverymuch.
Hank and Max
Hank and Max as pals actually makes perfect sense to me. They'd already hit it off last season, and now that Hank is single and back in town, he needs as many friends as he can get. That's right, apparently Sarah dumped him and things did not go well in Minnesota thanks to his ex-wife, so now he's back in his photography studio, grumpier than ever. Now, before I go dumping all over Hank here, let's point out the real loser here: Sarah Braverman. She dumped perfect person Mark Cyr to be with a human Muppet that is perpetually frowning… only to break up with him? I will never understand you, Sarah. Anyway, Max shows up at Hank's store and Hank discerns that Max has an eye for picture taking and advises him to expand his subject matter beyond bugs and lizards (as Max later relays, Hank told him "[People] are a pain in the ass, but they pay to have their picture taken"). But despite Hank and Max making a good team (they both agree that people are "boring" and that flat cream soda can be considered an acceptable snack), I wouldn't mind if this bromance turned out to be short-lived. They are each such small-doses characters as it is.
Sarah and Whatever Ridiculous Non-Problem is Bothering Her
The once-again single Sarah is now apparently a full-time dog photographer (huh?) and a landlord in a building (I assume we'll learn more about how that even came to be down the line) with a sexy neighbor named Carl who likes to give her a hard time. Oh, and Carl is a 40-something bachelor who likes to romance ditzy 20-somethings named Lincoln (actually, I bet it's spelled Linkin) who still flirts with Sarah ("You're a super super") and literally says things like "I don't date women over 30." Hmm…you think these two will get together? But Sarah can't be bothered with her future ex-boyfriend just yet, since she has to do things like learn what emojis are from Amber and endlessly harp on Drew for not calling her every three seconds about what he's doing at college. In short, Sarah is definitely not getting off on the right foot with me, or Season 5 for that matter.
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