Parenthood Review: "Qualities and Difficulties"

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This was an especially difficult episode of Parenthood to watch, given the subject matter of "Qualities and Difficulties."

Did anyone not get choked up when Kristina and Adam tried to define Asperger's to Max? Do you guys have Asperger's? Max asked his parents. Does Haddy? It was touching to see how badly Kristina and Adam didn't want Max to be negatively affected by this revelation.

Having the Talk

For a little guidance, Adam and Kristina turned to Max's therapist, who handed them a script for an intro to Asperger's "do over." Adam was irate. He did the best he could to explain everything to Max, and now this professional tells him that it was done all wrong?!? "I'm not interested in memorizing a bunch of facts that have been polished up to make it look like he's won something," he bitched to Kristina.

Adam's frustration was building the entire episode, until Zeek pushed him far enough over the edge that Adam blew. Between having to guide Max and his fight with Crosby, Adam was in a glass case of emotion. Wanting so badly for Max to feel loved and normal, he broke the rules and took his son to an amusement park.

Bad idea, according to Kristina: "I say this out of love, but you've gone rogue."

Max doesn't do spontaneity all that well, and taking him out of his scholastic routine wasn't a great idea. Oh, the lessons we learn at amusement parks. Ironically, the roller coast shuts down for the remainder of the day due to repairs, and Max has himself a good old-fashioned meltdown. Noted, thinks Adam to himself. Perhaps it's time to try the script and take a cue from the therapist. And a job well done, if I do say so. Adam formulated the talk in a way that made Max feel special.

Then there's Crosby. Oh, Crosby, how you've effed up. Jasmine wants nothing to do with you and yet you won't leave her alone. Crosby sought the advice of his sisters over breakfast, thinking up ways to get Jasmine to hear him out.

"I feel like, if I could get her to talk to me, or get her to look at me then talk to me..." he explained to Julia and Sarah. "This is the plan?" Sarah replied sarcastically.  "I could make it right," Crosby continued. Considering the exchange with Adam that followed this conversation, one thing is clear: it's time for some soul-searching, Crosby.

More things worth mentioning:

  • Jason Ritter was back as Mark Cyr.  Don't go back to The Event, please. That show is AWFUL. Stay here and date Sarah. She needs your help to finish her play.
  • I'm very happy that Julia did not cancel Syndey's sleepover with Jabar. I'm even happier that she and Joel stayed with Jasmine after realizing that Jasmine was too emotionally fragile to be left alone. Although I can't decide if Julia wanted to stay out of sympathy or that she didn't want Sydney being chaperoned by someone in Jasmine's state. Either way, it was the right thing to do. 
  • Who else was expecting something awful to come out of Joel's mouth when he made Julia put down her newspaper towards the end of the episode?
  • Sarah to Jerry from Parks & Recreation: "What's better than Ted Danson's job?"
  • Hats off to Dax Shepard. Those tears were real.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (28 Votes)

dont no y tv fanatic havnt put up the next ep promos yet. season 2 episode 19 taking the leap. promos up online, but nothin about it on here


was this the season finale??? whens the next ep? cant find antyhign online


Anyone who says Max shouldn't be a part of this show doesn't truly appreciate the show for what it is. It is realistic! it shows that people do live in these conditions, what sort of parents would Adam and Kristina be if they just shipped Max off to boarding school?......i personally love this story line, it has really enlightened me and i love love love the show for that


I agree with Kev, this is the best show on television. Makes you laugh and cry every week. Great characters, love Max....


@Caro & Elizabeth
I am not saying that cheating is ever justified, just that their problems are not all Crosby's fault. He did try to talk to Jasmine more than once and she would not talk with him and threw him out. They both are responsible and Jasmine acting like Crosby is the only one who did anything wrong is not fair and not acknowledging her part in creating these problems between them.


@MM2 Relationships are tough, we understand that Jasmine was controlling, out of line and even to the point unbearable. When Jasmine shouted at Crosby, it is fair to say she overreacted to the typical Crosby remarks, but let's be fair and say that Crosby did say some things to a Jasmine who is also struggling to figure out what their relationship means. She herself was having doubts about them and that's understandable, but Crosby had a choice and the way to fix a problem, is not to create another one. That situation as we see, made Jasmine lose control over her own life. She was even willing at one point to let go of her controlling issues, just for a while, so she could get to the root of the problem and mend her relationship. Crosby didn't have to sleep with someone else, but he did. The moment things got troubling, Crosby ran away. You cannot run away, not when you say you love someone, and not when you have a son together, it's also too easy that way. The only sad part to this, is that it could have been prevented. Had Crosby held out a few, or be as controlling as Jasmine and beat her to her own faults. They are only human for their mistakes, and as soon as Crosby realized what he did, he cried tears of anguish, that must have been difficult to admit and he must have been broken.


@MM2: Jasmine was a single mom for quite some time. Yes, she had to allow Crosby more to step up etc but he hadn't shown much responsibility yet. Still she should have given him more chances to co-parent and to decide, I agree. But nothing is an excuse for cheating, NEVER! A cheater doesn't solve the problems in his relationship but runs away from it and selfish destroys and hurts the people he betrays. There is never an excuse for cheating. He should have talked with Jasmine and worked those issues out, that is handling situations in a mature way. Something Jasmine wanted from him and he has now only proven to her that she was right for not relying on him. She could have relied on him more but he now proved himself unreliable. @Chelsey: I think you might be very young, if you find Max exhausting. It's actually a good thing that a show as Parenthood portrays this syndrome this well. I have nothing but the deepest respect for the parents of children with Autism. Parenting can be exhausting, but those parents have a much harder job. And kids with Aspergers are just like 'Max' on the show. You can see this as an opportunity to learn more about it and to deepen your respect for people having to deal with this every single day for the rest of their lives. Your comment are showing a lack of compassion and wisdom. I hope you will continue to watch this show and watch Max and get a bit of both.


I cried. A lot. I cried the most when Joel told Julia what he told her. Never expected a bad thing, you could see he was sincere. I can imagine Julia couldn't stop the tears after hearing his heart-felt emotions, he clearly had thought about the ramifications of such a horrendous act as cheating.
Crosby did Jasmine wrong. He betrayed her and of course she is hurt and embarresd and humiliated.
Adam also was understandable. He is the kind of guy that always wants to fix the faults of others, which I admire him for.
Beautiful episode, great review (as always).


Let's not forget that Jasmine is not so innocent -- she often discounts Crosby and what Crosby wants for their life and his opinion like she let her Mom have more saying in raising Jabbar than Crosby, with the minister when they were talking about their future and even for their wedding her Mom was making the decisions with her, not Crosby. I am just saying it takes two and she did tell Crosby to get out.


I applaud Jasmine, even as she is a strong woman, she broke down in tears. That shows how much of what Crosby did hurt her, and how much she loved him. What hurt the most for viewers, is the fact that Jabbar has to suffer through this, believing in the lie that Crosby is working on his boat, who knows how long that would last? This was an inspiring episode for Sarah, who actually smiled for most of the episode... and yeah a definite "had an affair" were the words expected from Joel, but I'm glad it was the "I would not let that happen" speech instead, it would have been a messy turnaround afterward. Adam actually annoyed me, he screamed throughout this one, but his speech with his son along with Kristina, made for the better. There is no doubt that this isn't a good series. This just shows the troubles this family has to grow through, as there are many other families that have their troubles, it's good to see the realism in their struggles and the joys in their happiness.

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Parenthood Season 2 Episode 18 Quotes

I say this out of love, but you've gone rogue.


I'm not interested in memorizing a bunch of facts that have been polished up to make it look like he's won something.