Parenthood Review: You Can't Always Get What You Want

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Kristina may have said to her family, "There's Something I Need to Tell You" this week, but nothing was actually uttered.

The beauty of Parenthood lies in the performances and the unspoken words. The cast and writers express through their performances such nuance that I am continually amazed more people haven't tuned into this gem of a program over the years.

The Braverman's Ball Game

Never do you feel farther away from home than when someone you love gets sick. Peter Krause tugged at my heart as Adam spoke with Haddie about Kristina's cancer and tried to hold it together for his girl. If you've been reading my Parenthood reviews long enough, you know I've not been a fan of Haddie's, but since she left home and gained some respect for what she lost by choosing a school across the country, she's crept back into my good graces. 

To be so far away from such a tightly knit family and learn of your mother's diagnosis of cancer would be enough to send any girl back home. Knowing each other as well as all Bravermans do, when she walked into the restaurant after the baseball game, all questions about why Adam had seemed so flaky and off kilter disappeared.

Showing the reaction of each of them to the news rather than listening to Kristina tell them about it was a unique way to depict a difficult tale. It allowed us a moment to imagine the conversations each of them had with various members of the family and where their heads were at the moment they digested the news.

Mark hasn't been living with Sarah? Why was I so certain he had moved in long ago? Now I wish that he had, because breaking up and moving out would be easier than what might happen after Sarah suggested they move in together at this point in their relationship. Sarah's overemphasis on how great she and Mark were together was painful. Contrast that cringe-worthy scene with the one when Hank admitted his feelings for her and I had to wonder why we haven't heard the news that Jason Ritter has been let go from Parenthood already.

There is a chemistry between Lauren Graham and Ray Romano that was never expressed with Lauren and Jason. There was too much attention to the age difference, his position as Amber's teacher and Sarah's desperation after the Seth debacle for them to ever properly click. It felt forced. Hank and Sarah are magical.

So you can't have it all; but do you really need it? Julia had to grovel after submitting paperwork late for one of her cases, and that was just the start of what was almost a total mental collapse, as well as nearly burning her house down while cooking breakfast. Joel has always been the strength in the Graham union, silently carrying the family as Julia was driven to have it all. She wanted the career, the kids, the perfect marriage and didn't want any of it to suffer.

Something had to give eventually, and thankfully it was only her career. Joel has suggested a few times that he might want to pursue different options and maybe he'll get the chance to do that. In the meantime, they need to focus on what they have and strengthen their new family. 

I loved the turnout for Victor's first baseball game, and Zeek's demand that he get to play. Good call, Zeek, your new grandson hit a home run! The look in Victor's eye as the ball was thrown and the knowledge that it was the one he would finally hit was filmed so well I felt as if I was at the plate with my own family's eyes upon me. I can remember my first hit and that combination of pride and excitement that you'd really done it. Hopefully, it will be the last home run Julia misses.

The Braverman family has so much to offer. Zeek's new friend Ryan was floundering after returning from Afghanistan, and Zeek knew just what to do: introduce him to the family! As he was tricked into it, Ryan could have easily been annoyed when he arrived at the baseball game, but with a family of that size, if one of them doesn't float your boat, you can bounce around and make conversation with someone else, most assuredly finding somebody that interests you.

After Max's line of questioning to Amber about her being an adult - why she doesn't dress like an adult, why she's shorter than most adults and isn't married? - she met Ryan. Amber's answer about not being married was not having met the right guy. Ryan and Amber seemed to hit it off both at the park and in the restaurant.

Could this be the romance she wasn't even looking for? I really hope so. When she easily dropped the topic of his recent return to the States, he appeared very pleased. I look forward to seeing a lot more of the two of them. 

Like the Rolling Stones said, you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need. All the Bravermans need are each other. 


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (85 Votes)

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


One of the best episodes of the series. For those harping on Victor's homerun, anyone who has been involved in little league baseball will tell you there are often a lot of wild plays like that with several errors. I liked how they showed the family's reaction to Kristina's news without us hearing what was being said. However, I think the scene would have been even better if they had let it play out a little bit and shown the interaction between Kristina and the family after her news and they support that they obviously gave to her. The scene seemed to end a little too abruptly.


FANTASTIC episode. i love this show, makes me want to watch friday night lights. favorites are crosby, max, drew and amber. i like crosby less though the more responsible he becomes though


I am so in love with this show. The acting, the tugging of hearstrings, the laughs, the sense of family togetherness, how real everything is. I cry almost every epsiode. The direction of this episode was amazing. How they showed all of the family reacting to the news without actually hearing the words was just incredible. I can not agree with the reviewer(Carissa)more on not understanding why more people aren't enthralled by this series.


This is the best show on TV, sucks that the ratings don't show it. Sarah needs to learn she doesn't always need a guy. Adam and Kristina are great. Joel is my wife and daughter's favorite. Zeek is a great family patriarch.


@G who writes: even with Victor's unrealistic home run.
I loved the scene because it was hilariously realistic. Or what's next on tv.
Victor (who plays badly) was able to have a home run because the other kids were exactly at his level.
That made him part of the group, more than the home run, and on a plus side in one scene they show us that Victor (gorgeous kid, by the way) realizes that the others are family, someone who will fight for you, not just people. I thought it was brilliant story telling.


I loved it, too, even with Victor's unrealistic home run. I cried when Haddie walked in. The looks on everyone's faces even before Kristina shared the news were so effective to get across their confusion and concern (after initial excitement, of course).
Where was the Bravermans' new dog?? Love Amber and Ryan together. I think Sarah needs to ditch both her love interests and learn how to be alone! I quit a job like Julia's recently for similar reasons. Best decision I ever made. I'm sure there will be challenges for her family, but they will work through them and it will be better than where they were for sure.


Agree with Carissa: Mark was because of the issues, then I too felt like it was imposed. I may be heartless, but the fuss about family picture IMO was absurd. Hank on the other side is magic. It is. It will still give us plenty to look at (not the easiest and natural kind of romance, but entertaining). I don't know why every body MUST settle down (for the fans). I mean Amber.
There are so many relationships on this program it would be nice to dig into Amber's career possibilities instead of another boyfriend.
End scene: I wasn't a fan of the whole cancer plot, but if it's delivered this way: way to go!
As for Julia, finally! I mean, I hate to see a woman give up what she's worked for and hope to see her soon in a new work environment, but still, you had to ask yourself.. how could she always be around for the family while pursuing a career? Truth is, it's really really hard for men and women alike... just, for a woman, it's a little bit harder.^_°

Sarah silva

The end was so fantastic they look on all there faces as soon as Haddie walked in was a mix of happiness and shock and then quickly went to sadness when Christina told them about her cancer.
I too thought it was a sweet moment when Victor got his home run, however I found it a little odd that the team they were playing was winning 4-1 and then when he hit the ball they could not catch or throw it. No new episode next week....BUMMER

Sarah silva

This was another great episode!
Carissa: Mark still has his apartment 2 weeks ago they were at his place making a meal when she was first talking to Mark about Hank. Jason Ritter has said many time that he loves the show so I really hope that he stays. I do not want her and Hank to get together!
I too am not a Haddie fan but I knew she would come home as soon has she heard the news. I am just curious as to how she knew where they all were.
I knew Julia was going to quit as soon as she was making pancakes and Sydney was still super upset.
I really want Amber and Ryan to get together! I think they would make a great couple and I can see him being on the show a very long time! I hope he stays around.
Amber is so great with Max. Amber is one of my favorite's. I almost cried during the scene with her and Christina!
The end was so fantastic they look on all there faces as soon as Haddie walked in was a mix of happiness and shock and then quickly went to sadness when Christina was telling them about her cancer. The last moments were so fantastic!
While I too think it was great Victor got a home run was great it seemed a little odd that the team they were playing was winning 4-1 and then when Victor hit the ball the team could not catch or throw a ball. It was a sweet moment but it would have been a little better if he smacked it out of the ball park!
No episode next week....Bummer!


Such an underrated series! It ridiculous that not everyone watches this show. Best betrayal of a family's love and support through many tribulations!
Loved this episode. My favourite so far for the season!

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Parenthood Season 4 Episode 5 Quotes

I love us! We have the best relationship.


You don't want me to worry, but you have breast cancer?