May 19th, 2010
12:08 PM ET

TV recap: Family bonds are seriously strained on 'Parenthood'

There's no subtlety with the episode title this week: "Team Braverman" is all about the family bonding and supporting each other, and the Bravermans’ multi-generational problems are putting some serious strain on those bonds.

It’s been well-established that the Braverman family keeps secrets from each other, but there’s a big one that Max doesn’t know.  He’s excited about the whole family participating in an Autism Speaks fundraiser, yelling out at the family meeting, “Let’s walk for those kids with autism," and everyone is surprised that Max doesn’t know he’s one of those kids.

He was diagnosed weeks ago; they've changed schools and made all kinds of changes, but Kristina and Adam haven’t told him yet.  Kristina talks to Dr. Pelikan about it, and it turns out it’s not necessarily wrong or bad that Max doesn’t know.  The doctor says Max will let them know when he should know.  Neither Kristina nor Adam find that helpful or comforting, but they go with it for now.

Jasmine and Crosby are having an adult sleepover and Jasmine hurts her back, days before an audition with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.  While he’s taking care of her, he realizes the group is based in New York.  Not sure where he’s been - like Jasmine says, everyone knows that.  Crosby begins to realize that his son could disappear from his life just as quickly as he showed up.

Haddie and her girlfriends go all mean girls on Amber over the boyfriend incident.  The cousins end up rolling around on the soccer field.  When their parents show up to pick them up from school, Amber and Haddie get into another screaming match, and Haddie tells everyone what happened.  It’s a horrible scene.

Adam ends up caught between his sister and his wife after someone paints “whore” on Amber’s locker. Sarah thinks Haddie had something to do with it, and Kristina can’t believe they’re worrying about Amber after how she betrayed Haddie. There are tensions between Adam and Sarah; how could there not be?  It’s easy to side with your kid against someone else’s kid, but what do you do when that someone else is your own sister? 

It doesn't help that Sarah clearly still has issues about keeping up with what she sees as her perfect big brother.  Haddie tries to put a stop to her friends harassing her cousin. After a lunch table incident, she follows Amber, only to find her kissing her ex.

The hilarious storyline of the night has to do with Julia once again trying to impress the moms at Sydney’s school.  There’s a group called the Angels that helps out school families with medical emergencies.  Julia goes to her mom for a soup recipe, and Camille knows she didn’t decide to sign up on her own to help out; Joel put Julia on the committee.

Apparently the recipe didn’t work out, ‘cause we see Julia in her car, dumping several containers of store-bought soup into a large pot.  She takes it to the sick mom, who’s not exactly sick. She had an elective breast enhancement and is quite proud of herself, making Julia touch her new and improved girls. 

Julia didn’t get away with the soup thing either, but for Joel’s sake, she actually does make soup for the recovering mom (which is more than I might have done). Of course it’s serious surgery, but really, requesting home-cooked food from people who could be doing better things? After a minute of listening to her whine Julia tells her as much, but she slips and also tells the woman about her parents splitting up; the two end up bonding over failed relationships.

What did you think about the episode?  Do you think Sarah and Adam's sibling issues are clouding their judgment about how to deal with their girls?  Let us know what you think!


soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Nathan Horns

    Autism has a strong genetic basis, although the genetics of autism are complex and it is unclear whether ASD is explained more by rare mutations, or by rare combinations of common genetic variants.'..*^

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    June 8, 2013 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cande

    the chat between lauren graham and mae whitman, awesome. when the tear came down for sarah, that felt real.

    May 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SLACK

    Lauren Graham deserves an Emmy!!!

    May 21, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. Pierce

    I am a big fan of Parenthood. I loved the episode the other night. I found myself siding with Team Sarah. I feel that while what Amber did was wrong, she did try to stay away from Steve before anything happened. I also think that it was forgotten that she is just a 17 year old and as well all know mistakes will be made at any age but especially during the teenage years. I do understand where Christina was coming from in needing to protect her child, I felt that she was treating Amber like an adult when she is a fragile teenager who needed to be heard and understood. I also feel that Haddie added to the drama by getting her friends involved in something that she and Amber should have resolved amongst themselves.

    May 20, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. bill bailey

    hi this show hits mmyself and my wife to the heart, we have a 5 year old name dainel who is austism, in this show i see my son being the same way as max,and watching how adam handles him.ty for a great show

    May 20, 2010 at 5:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. diane

    this is by far my favorite show!!! i agree that this was an incredibly emotional episode–I found myself torn between Kristina and Sarah. I wanted to side with both moms because both had valid points. Mae Whitmam is an incredible actress–she had me feeling the same gut wrenching hurt and pain that her charachter was feeling! wonderful cast, wonderful stories, wonderful chemistry! i hope this show sticks around for a long time!

    May 19, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. J.R.

    I have to agree with Jessie, Mae Whitman is an amazing actress. Her ability to make you not angry at her character and also feeling bad for her and rooting for her shows tremendous strength and depth as an actress. She's probably the character on the show that I would most want to spend time with. And the line that Steve gave Haddie, when he said "You can't let hurt feelings dictate your actions." That's probably a line I'll repeat in my life. Great show.

    May 19, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. kelli

    Love this show–I look forward to it every week. My mother (Zeek and Camille's generation) and I were just talking about how cool of a family they would be–if only they were real. Wouldn't you love to be friends with the Bravermens and join them at family events? So glad the show was renewed! This is a quality show.

    May 19, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan

    This was probably one of the most emotional episodes and very well written. Although Amber did make a mistake in sleeping with Steve before first consulting with Haddie, I think both Haddie and Kristina were my least favorite characters in this episode. Haddie completely crossed a line when she brought her friends and parents into this fight between the two girls and that was incredibly uncalled for. And Kristina's fantasy that her daughter is incapable of doing any wrong is not only ignorant, it can also be detrimental to both herself and Haddie. Amber and Steve had an undeniable connection, and the timing was horribly off, but it wasn't done out of spite or to make Haddie made. They liked each other, so they did what almost every hormone driven, alone teenagers would.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JessieVA

    I think Mae Whitman who plays Amber is doing a tremendous job. Her anguish in this episode was so gut wrenching. Love the whole cast but for me she was the winner of the week.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. openout

    This is a very well put together show. I have not seen last nights show because my wife and I DVR it and watch it together on Friday night. I really look forward to sharing the time with wife. We relate to the charactors because of thier station in life as parents. Right after Parenthood we watch the latest episode of Modern Family. Funny how we relate well to that show as well.

    May 19, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sugiebear

    I do not necessarily think that Sarah and Adam's sibling issues are clouding their judgment; they are simply reacting to their parental instinct of their child being in pain and their child comes before anyone else.

    I am so happy that the show was renewed; this is the best drama on television; no violence or lots of swearing. The last drama I regularly watched was maybe 5 years ago - I have to be invested in the characters in order to watch the show and there just wasn't one that had any that I found interesting, much less intriguing or endearing.

    "Parenthood" shows that life is not perfect; it's messy but that we can get through things when we give and live receive love and together are capable of so much more when we come together. I remember in the original movie Jason Robards, who played the patriarch, said to Steve Martin (more or less Adam's character) how you don't stop worrying about your kids when they move out, you always worry about them. And as adults, we worry about our parents - they are not the infallible adults we thought they were.

    I think this show is so realistic in portraying how fragile we are as humans; sure, other TV shows do too; but nowhere near how "Parenthood" does: there is a vulnerability and fragility in these characters that completely endear them to us because there is something in them that we can identify with. We laugh with them, we cry with them, we are excited for them when they get their hopes up and sad when they are crushed.

    Adam is hands-down my favorite character; he has found the balance of being a parent to his children, but a friend as well. He has provided structure for his children and as illustrated in last night's episode (when Haddie did not want to go to the fundraiser due to Amber's being there), does not force them to do things, but gives them reasons why they should or should not do something, the consequences their actions may have on others and how it is important to stick together. He then still lets the children make their own decisions based on what he's told them. This teaches the children how to use their judgment. It's hard to argue with him. While he is the parent, he still respects his children's feelings and in turn teaches them how important it is to respect the feelings of others. He builds trust and self-confidence in his children. I thought the scene with Adam and Haddie last night was so beautifully written.

    May 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |

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