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<i>Parenthood</i>: The Best and Worst Braverman Pairings in “In Dreams Become Responsibilities”

After last week's surprisingly lackluster episode of Parenthood, it was nice to see the show back in fighting form. And by that, I mean it was equal parts humor and heart, and dammit, isn't that why we fell in love with those Bravermans in the first place? Not only did we get a break from screaming baby Aida, but we revisited some old friends (yo, what's up Mr. Ray?), Adam danced and we were treated (sure, treated) to a cameo from All-American Rejects leading man Tyson Ritter. Of course, it wasn't all smiles on the Braverman front (it never is) as Sarah seemed hell-bent on ruining Amber's happiness and Max made a really sweet gesture for his mom (and when Monica Potter cries, we all cry). Here now are the best and worst Braverman pairings from last night's episode "In Dreams Become Responsibilities."

Best: Adam and Mr. Ray
Listen, I could watch Adam desperately try to be cool around Mr. Ray for an entire hour. From Adam's nervousness to asking Mr. Ray for money for Kristina's campaign to Mr. Ray's dialogue (I imagine the Parenthood writers room is filled with people that have never met a rapper in their entire lives), it was all gold. In visiting Mr. Ray, not only does Adam eventually get a cool $20,000 from his hip-hop pal (under the promise that Kristina fix the school system and nix a road block on his street), but he gets the inspiration to turn the Luncheonette into a full-service music behemoth and go from a recording studio to a recording studio and label. While Crosby has his reservations, you could tell this lit a fire under Adam's ass and, despite his almost complete lack of knowledge about the recording industry, I don't see him giving up this idea anytime soon.

Best: Drew and Joni Mitchell
Oh God, poor Drew. Poor, sweet Drew. Not only does the kid have to get dating advice from his goofy uncles on how to go from the "friend zone" to the "fun zone" (their words, not his) but their advice turned into a plan that completely backfired. Since his crush Natalie enjoyed a Joni Mitchell song, he assumed she liked all Joni Mitchell songs and went to great lengths to lie about being a fan of her entire catalog himself. He eventually came clean and confessed his crush in the process and Natalie didn't seem terribly interested because she's a stupid college baby and is probably in her bad boy phase. You'll learn someday, Natalie. In the meantime, Drew, Joni has your back.

Best: Zeek and Victor
Individually, Zeek and Victor can be two of the most uninteresting and often frustrating characters on Parenthood, so putting them together for a story line could either be a disaster or a pleasant surprise. Turns out, it's the latter. When a frustrated Julia dropped her wretched, ill-behaved children off at Zeek's so he can give them chores to set them straight (in this case, cleaning car parts), he discovered that Victor is having trouble reading. (Sydney is, as expected, a total a-hole about it). But rather than be all Zeek, he sees an opportunity to bond with his grandson and help him read at the same time -- by asking the kid to help him put his new old car together so long as Victor reads the instruction book to him. It was pretty damn clever and awfully sweet.

Best: Kristina and Max
Kristina hit some roadblocks this week when she discovered that some politics go into politics. After getting a hefty donation from a scummy developer, Kristina decided to keep her morals intact (seriously, why is she getting into politics again?) and rejected his check. In one of the best moments so far this season, Max gave his mom a $20 bill (which he won from a friend who bet he couldn't keep quiet for an hour) and urged her to keep going. Of course, he's still going to do research on both candidates to see who deserves his vote, but it was still an amazing gesture and exactly what Kristina needed to get back in the game.

Worst: Tyson Ritter and His Porkpie Hat
Crosby finally gets away from one crying baby only to have to go to work and deal with the worst crying baby of all: the entitled rock star. Tyson Ritter played a douchey frontman of a douchey-sounding band who spouts things like "You don't know rock and roll" and "bone zone" and basically made Crosby's life a living hell at work. As Crosby cried, "He's defeated me with his pork pie hat." Mr. Ray would never pull this sort of thing.

Worst: Sarah and Seemingly Relentless Need to Ruin Everything
Oh boy, where to begin? How about when Sarah made it abundantly apparent that she didn't like the romantic lakeside spot Ryan and Amber picked for their wedding because, you know, people would have to walk to it and because there might be a spider outdoors? How about when she made it achingly obvious that she thinks it's strange that Ryan doesn't want to have his own family at the wedding because you know, maybe not everyone is as disturbingly close as the Bravermans are? Wait, I've got it! How about when she tried to convince her daughter to not get married in the space she wants to get married and instead get married in her grandparents' backyard and then usd that moment to unload about why she thinks Ryan is actually chock full of warning signs? Sarah, Amber had every right to storm out on you and tell you what's what ("I'm not you and Ryan's not dad!") and you should apologize, like, yesterday.

Worst: Amber and Ryan (Because Sarah, Of Course)
Now, I promised you guys that Amber and Ryan would always be in the best category, and they should be. The problem is that Sarah swooped in with her two cents and created tension between the two. Now, don't get me wrong, Ryan definitely needs to open up about his family life to Amber (from the looks of next week's trailer, he does come clean) but I believe him when he tells Amber he wants to put his past behind him and start a new future with her and damn Sarah for putting any doubt there. Thankfully, Amber still vowed to marry him by the lake, presumably wearing something billowy. See, they're still the best, even when Sarah brings out the worst.

Watch the entire episode here, courtesy of Hulu.com:

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