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<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":

Best: Julia and Joel
I'm starting to wonder how much the Parenthood writers are going to prolong this drama. They're going to get divorced, right? There's no turning back from all of this? Julia has continued to ignore Ed since their scandalous smooch (although it's still pretty apparent she still has feelings for him) and even had a heart-to-heart with the world's greatest older brother Adam. (Adam, in turn, recruited Crosby to keep an eye on her and Joel when they would inevitably see Ed at a school function, but Crosby kinda screwed up on that one.) It all came to a head when a pissed-off Joel pushed Ed away from Julia. Moments later, Joel asks Julia if she's having an affair, she denies it, but he says he doesn't believe her and leaves her to go home alone. Heavy stuff, but it doesn't feel any worse than the hundred other fights they've had lately. I agree with Adam that Julia is projecting the bad stuff from Joel as good stuff about Ed (boy, poor David Denman can't catch a break with TV show romances) but I also think there's too many cracks in the foundation of Joel and Julia. I still think this is the most interesting storyline on the show (aside from Ryan and Amber) but it's time for this to move in a drastic direction soon.

Best: Zeek and Rocky
Alright, so I like old fogies at diner counters ordering off the menu and talkin' about Nam, what of it? Zeek reluctantly made a new friend named Rocky, a funny old coot who he doesn't have much of anything in common with, other than needing companionship. For a second I thought Rocky's speech about wishing he could go on a trip to Italy with his deceased wife would inspire Zeek to buy a first class ticket to go meet up with Camille, but instead he reluctantly wished her well and told her to enjoy her now-extended trip. I hope this isn't the last we see of Rocky (I like anyone that can put Zeek in his place) but I'm still really keeping my fingers crossed for a Zeek and Millie Italian rendezvous.

Best: Drew and Amy
Drew deserves to be happy and since that trollop Natalie has treated our poor little scamp like a piece of ass, I was happy his first love Amy suddenly popped back up in his life. You know who wasn't happy? Natalie wasn't happy. She wanted nothing to do with tiny fawn Drew until she saw that he could now be unavailable to her and that pissed her off. Ugh, Natalie. Amy apologized to Drew for the terrible end to their relationship and then decided to stay for her visit a little bit longer, mostly because she missed Drew and wanted to spend more time with him, but also a little bit because Natalie is a conniving hussy and she had to keep things in check. Drew the Ladies Man, eh? Who knew?

Worst: Sarah and Karl
Speaking of seeing a good, worthwhile guy you initially brushed off because you're actually pretty terrible in a brand new light: Sarah and Karl. Sarah reluctantly (but not really) agreed to be a plus-one with Karl to a fancy event, only to find out handsome tenant Karl is also handsome humanitarian doctor Karl who cleans up real nice in a tux and is constantly surrounded by beautiful women. Suddenly, Karl, who has always been nice and charming to Sarah and has already slept with her, looks appealing! Go figure! Just gonna go ahead and say this... Sarah doesn't deserve him.

Worst: Max and Hank
It's nice that Max and Hank have found friends in one another, and that an outburst from Max made Hank realize that maybe he too has Asperger's, but this has all been dealt with before. We all already knew Hank was socially inept and that Max struggles with his Asperger's all the time. If Hank, does turn out to have Asperger's, I'm sure it will evolve their relationship more (Hank will teach him about photography, the Bravermans will teach him about life with Asperger's) but I still can't get nearly as invested in this storyline as I'd like.

Worst: Ryan and Amber
Where are Ryan and Amber?!?!? Unacceptable.

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