Thursday, October 31, 2013

REVIEW: 'Parenthood' Gives Crosby a Minivan & Makes Kristina a Statistical Anomaly in 'The M Word'

NBC's Parenthood - Episode 5.06 The M Word

Sarah and Amber struggle with the wedding bell blues; Julia and Joel try to keep it all together; Kristina and Adam hit the campaign trail hard and enlist Team Braverman to go door-to-door; Jasmine helps usher in a new era for Crosby and his band on the run; and Zeek gives Camille a little of what she wants.

Well, it was bound to happen. The rest of the Braverman clan have been sucked into the Kristina runs for mayor plot. After taking a week off to produce the best episode of the season, the mayoral campaign is back and bigger than ever. On the one hand, I respect how the show first states how bleak this whole thing initially is for Kristina. She has no name recognition and barely no one knows she's even running. It's a pipe dream for that character. It's an attempt to give her something good after the emotional turmoil the show put her through last year. It's fantasy wish-fulfillment which ultimately makes the rousing moment of success at the episode's end just an elongation of a plot that doesn't feel like a natural progression for those characters.

The campaign also forced Julia and Joel into a certain situation. That's the other plot that doesn't feel natural to the characters. It operates under the idea of a concept that it would be interesting to see Julia and Joel's marriage feel less strong than it used to be. A big problem is the presence of Peet and Ed as physical embodiments pushing them apart. I don't know a better way to tell this story that doesn't also include outside forces. But right now, I also feel like I know what's going to happen and strive for some unpredictability in this story.

Unlike those two stories, the riff between Amber and Sarah does come from a meaningful place. Sarah doesn't want Amber to become just like her and Amber thinks that it's foolish to even be thinking of that. That dynamic was interesting but wasn't something I necessarily needed to see for multiple episodes. The show accurately picked up on that and was able to resolve enough of their issues to keep Amber from eloping and allowing those two to talk again.

And Zeek and Camille actually had an honest conversation as well. Lately, he has just been shutting her out. That has been very beneficial for Julia and Victor but crappy for Camille. But in "The M Word" he actually listened to what she had to say. He made an effort. He didn't enjoy it and the condo they saw was in no way a good fit for those two. But Zeek still thinks he can make things better for Camille simply by adding a fire pit. It's not that simple, Zeek. And good for Camille for not letting Zeek keep her from doing the things that she still wants to do and enjoy.

And then, there is the stuff with Crosby. The show hasn't given him some big grand story this season. By keeping things simple on this side of the show, it's actually pretty pleasant. And pretty funny too.

Some more thoughts:
  • The doors being "slammed" in everyone's faces was probably the most enjoyable moment the mayoral campaign story has produced.
  • Who else seriously thought the audience question that forced Kristina to talk about Max was planted there by Heather?
  • Are we seriously suppose to believe that one dynamic moment would suddenly mean Kristina would win the debate?
  • Ashes of Rome live together. Because why wouldn't they?
  • Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" was playing when Bob Little's bus pulled up. Parenthood isn't going mainstream with the music, is it?