Parenthood Review: A "New Plan" For An Uncertain Future

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When Parenthood started last season, Sarah had just moved home after living away from her family for many years. She is so integral to the family now that I found myself wondering what life with the Bravermans was like before she returned.

She and her children have really shaken things up, and given the family a perspective that must have been missing while she was gone.

Perhaps it's because she is hard at work on her play that she can see things so keenly and almost from afar. Unless it is with regard to her own children, and her view is clouded with darkness. She brings to each of her family members a warmth and understanding I think they must have genuinely missed in her absence.

Parenthood Guest Star Scene

When she visited Julia at work and ribbed her about her broken arm (I'll have to ask Erika Christensen what she did to that arm on Twitter...), you could see the genuine pleasure her concern brought to her sister.

In one exchange Sarah learned of Julia's heartache and inability to conceive more children and that her own daughter didn't get accepted to Berkeley. It was quite the visit.

I've mentioned before that the similarities between Sarah and Amber keep them from fully embracing the intricacies of their relationship, and watching them deal with this unexpected turn of events in Amber's life drove that home. Sarah really had no idea how to react to Amber's news, and yet I could imagine a young Sarah behaving in the very same way.

I enjoyed their moment discussing the prom. Any reference to Pretty In Pink while surrounded by a pile of old gowns has to bring a smile. Did anyone else notice that what Amber actually wore to the event looked nothing like what was on the bed earlier? That must have been one heck of a sewing job.

As Sarah struggled with Amber, she was also expected to strip and rewrite a portion of her play. After a rather heated exchange with Amber about her "New Plan" to take control of her life, it looked like she found the inspiration to bring the changes to fruition. I wonder how that personal event will resonate in the play, and how Amber will take it (assuming I am right in my assessment). If a reading is imminent, it won't take long for us to find out.

Adam was a bundle of nerves worrying that Haddie and Alex would have sex at the prom. After all the conjecture, Haddie returned home looking sullen, until she reached her room. A sly, intimate look came over her face. We will have to wait to find out if Adam's nightmare came true, but it sure seemed like something happened that Haddie wasn't yet willing to share.

Crosby made another rash decision in a seemingly long string of them this season. At the very least, this one can be viewed as an investment. Sarah's talk with Adam brought him back into the fold and although he may never forget that his brother messed up his beautiful, budding family and the loss Max suffered as a consequence, he was willing to forgive him. The siblings rallied around Crosby as they realized together they could work some magic on his little house to make it a home.

My favorite part of the episode was the pre-prom scene, when the various family members mingled and snapped photos and laughed. Adam worried, Sarah beamed at Amber's beauty, Alex and Haddie waved at Kristina from the couch. It was like a perfect family moment and so rare to see it portrayed with such simplicity.

Each week, I become more invested in the lives of the Braverman family. Share your thoughts about the episode and the Bravermans' familial interactions in the comments. I'd love to hear them!


Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (24 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


This show has the finest writing I think I've ever seen on TV. Even though my own experiences both having parents and being one are not identical to the Bravermans' , every episode touches chords that feel almost unbelievably accurate. The way the characters talk over each other and events swirl around -- that truly is the way most groups of people act, rather than the staged and canned comedies and dramas that have inundated us for years and years. For instance, the way Haddie's and Amber's moms dealt with the beginning of prom night (the living room photos scene) was dead on. So many scenes feel to me as if the writers had reached into the deepest places of my own experiences and feelings and brought them out in a way that I could only begin to do. Another thing I love about this show: it's an excellent way for new parents to actually learn about realistic parenting -- parenting where inexperienced people try to do their best with deep love but often imperfect behaviors. And the cast -- I cannot imagine a different actor/actress for any one of these characters. Actually, it is hard to believe they are acting, it feels so real. For example, the scene where Julia's mom hugs her when Julia breaks down and cries about her infertility. Watch Bonnie's face: it is completely how a mom feels. I know. Another thing -- the show has given me a much better understanding of autism and how families cope with it. I also know that all good things come to an end, and I have seen other excellent TV shows be dropped while complete junk stays on the air for years. I hope that this show is NOT one that gets cancelled, and that it continues for many, many seasons.


p.s. I also watch The Good Wife, that show is also excellent. A good match; two fabulous shows, very different but both amazingly good. I watch them both, they are good counterparts of each other, I watch one after the other. I can recommend everyone to watch not only Parenthood but also The Good Wife. Wouldn't want to miss either one!!


It's definitely one of my favorite shows, too. It's absolutely fabulous! Love the characters, love the special bonds and the realistic stories. A special place in my heart is reserved for Joel, whom I really love and adore for Julia. She's blessed with him as her soul mate!
Great to have a show like this one to watch.


This is definitely one of my favorite shows right now. I loved this week's past episode – so many touching moments. I know the cast is huge, but it's kind of strange to me when some of the characters are missing. For example, where were Max and Drew? Sure, the spotlight was on each of them recently, but I thought they'd want to see their sisters off to prom.


Parenthood is the best show I've seen in many years. It explores the imperfections in families as well as showing the love & humor involved. The writing is excellent! The actors are excellent for their roles! Keep up the good work!! I agree that it should have a different time slot & not be up against The Good Wife. I know there are many people who would love this show if they had a chance to watch it. I watch it on 'On Demand' from my cable co.


Having a family with kids brings this show home. Now if you don't have kids, it can hit on different levels which is why the writing is great. I can see myself acting like Adam...easily! I can also see myself acting like Amber's Mom. To be honest...I'm still chuckling at the "Doctor's Office" scene from last week. Nothing like failed phone sex to bring it home... :-)


I wanted to choke Adam!


this show is one of the best on tv. each character is so beautifully developed. to bad they are up against Good Wife.

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Parenthood Season 2 Episode 20 Quotes

Mom, this is exactly why I didn't tell you. I'm not ready to make a plan on what to do next. I'm not ready to think about it that way. I'm feeling vulnerable and upset and sensitive about it and I don't want advice or ideas right now. I just want you to listen and I just can't talk to you about it yet this way because I'm still too hurt, okay?


I didn't get into Berkeley.