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

Not since the Season 5 premiere has an episode truly felt like the classic Parenthood we all fell in love with as "The M Word" did. It was great to finally laugh, cry and have story lines go somewhere again. While I'm still not on board with Kristina running for mayor, and I wish I could feel more invested in Zeek and Camille, this still felt like an episode that moved, in more ways than one. Hell, I didn't even hate Sarah and that's really saying something. Now we just need the whole Braverman clan in one setting (ahem, Ryan and Amber's wedding) and all will feel right in the Parenthood world again. Until then, here's the best and worst pairings from "The M Word":

Best: Crosby and Jasmine
Yes, this storyline all kicked off from yet another issue about Aida's sleeping habits, but this one was the most fun to watch for so many reasons. Not only did we get to see drunken Crosby (apparently the guy from All-American Rejects is basically a full-time cast member now) but we got to see the rarest jewel of them all: a fun, loving Jasmine. When Crosby -- who is suffering from an existential life/manhood crisis about having to drive mini-vans (or vaginas, as he refers to them) -- and the band get hammered in the middle of the day, Jasmine not only picks them up in said mini-van, but takes them out for burgers and drives them all home. Crosby comes around to loving the mini-van he was so vehemently against, not only because he can watch Adventure Time in it, but because he and Jasmine can totally do it in the backseat. By far, this was the most entertaining story of this episode and one that felt like an authentic problem so many parents go through with losing their identity.

Best: Amber and Sarah
I know, I can't believe it either, but Sarah finally realized she was in the wrong about how she was behaving towards Amber and apologized to her. But it still took the entire episode (and, well, the entire first few episodes of Season 5) for the oh-so-stubborn helicopter mother that is Sarah to get there. When Sarah unsuccessfully tries to win back Amber with frittatas with a heaping side order of guilt ("I don't think you should get married"), Amber runs off. She and Ryan decide to cut out all the bullshit (read: Sarah) and elope, but when she asks Drew to be their witness he says he won't go behind their mother's back. Et tu, Drew?! (That scene upset me more than any other because Amber and Drew are such a good team thanks to Mae Whitman and Miles Heizer's awesome rapport together). After a heart to heart with her own mother, who went through a very similar set of circumstances of having a daughter get married at a young age, Sarah, at long last, sincerely says she's sorry to Amber and supports her wedding. About time!

Best Julia and Ed
I know, I know, Joel is perfect and Julia would be crazy to even consider cheating on him and it won't happen in a million years anyway. But still, the chemistry between Julia and fellow stay-at-home parent Ed is palpable and exciting and it's the most thrilling thing Julia has done on the show maybe ever. Granted, nothing happened aside from Ed's wife looking startled as to why Julia and her children were having dinner at her house (hey, I wouldn't want Sidney in my house, either) and Julia feeling incredibly guilty when she came home to an incredible (second) dinner from an apologetic Joel. Still, I could listen to Ed talk about his therapy sessions and see Julia actually be a tolerable person for at least a few more episodes.

Worst: Joel and Julia
Again, I know, Joel. And honestly, the only reason he's lumped in here is because of Julia. She asked him to go canvassing for Kristina's campaign, but when he got called into work, she got all pouty and then recruited her kids along. Joel wound up making an apology dinner, despite the fact that he was quite literally doing his demanding job. Yes, Julia is still going through her whole career withdrawal thing, but she can't keep making Joel feel bad about his. At the end of the episode, he thanked her for making his current job possible, but she could say the same thing to him and doesn't. Plus, I want more Ed!

Worst: Kristina and Bob Little
Maybe it's because we already had a Braverman Defies the Odds and Wins an Election storyline that I can't get into this, or because it's just going to be damn near impossible to top her cancer storyline, but I am in no way invested in this. After getting trumped by Bob Little in public (he really isn't playing down that Sex Deviant thing by handing out popsicles and playing "Blurred Lines" from a van, I gotta say) and earning a whopping 7 percent in the polls, Kristina already looks and feels defeated and knows that if she doesn't kill it at the town hall debate, she has to withdraw from the race. But, because this is Parenthood and Kristina is its patron saint, she of course kills at by personally appealing to a concerned voter who is the mother of a deaf girl. Kristina's inspirational plea to the mother and her promise to do everything for her (she even gives out her phone number) makes her front page news and she wins the debate. I have a sinking feeling that this isn't the last we've seen of Kristina and Bob and the whole mayoral mess.

Worst: Zeek and Camille
Again, I simply wish I cared more. Zeek makes a half-assed attempt to go look at condos with Camille but before they even get there, he tells her he's not going to like it, and as promised, he doesn't. He's clearly not into the super modern condo and even tries to woo Camille to stay at their home by building a fire pit (a feature of said condo) in their backyard. Camille knows she doesn't have a prayer at getting Zeek out of that house so, instead, springs it on him that she's going with her art class to Italy for a month…without him. It's the closest Camille has gotten to leaving Zeek (for the second time) and I hope she follows through with going to Italy. If only to have an entire episode of "The Bravermans Go to Italy!"

Watch the entire episode here, courtesy of Hulu.com

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