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Parenthood

Parenthood Review: Tragic Circumstances

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As Parenthood Season 4 winds to a close, we're getting into some really dramatic and intense issues. 

"Small Victories" highlighted to a chilling degree the latest in the adoption saga of Victor by Joel and Julia, as well as the consequences of the oodles of unprotected sex that occurred between Drew and Amy. 

Can Camille Help?

Julia and Joel: I know this will be a very unpopular opinion and I'm prepared for the feedback, but I cannot condone Victor's behavior. Yes, Sydney is and always has been a spoiled brat, but Victor is no better. He doesn't get a free pass because he was raised differently. He obviously loves his real mother very much and takes it out on Julia. She can't win.

My assumption is he was raised without a father, so Joel isn't taking any of the flack because there isn't anyone for Victor to compare him to or for him to miss. Either way, the situation is getting worse and it's very hard to watch, especially knowing how much Julia wanted another child.

Calling 911 on Julia because he refused to let go of the candy box and fell off the bed could have just invited social services into their lives forever. While he tossed a metal bat at his adopted sister and received barely a harsh word in return, he called 911 over another incident for which he was partially responsible.

Yes, Julia was behaving irrationally by grabbing at the box. She should have walked away. But falling off the bed is hardly child abuse. I think Victor has serious mental problems that will be exposed. His reaction to Joel wasn't even appropriate given the situation. Can their marriage withstand all the stress of their predicament?

Julia's second guessing the decision to adopt Victor didn't surprise me at all; it scared the hell out of me. For as much as she wanted and needed Victor, she was losing her confidence. It really makes me wonder how often these things happen to people who don't think as deeply and thoroughly about their decision to adopt and the kids who get caught in the middle. It's a very disconcerting situation, from both sides.

Adam and Kristina: Thank goodness Max's candid and brash nature offset the sadness of the Graham's situation with a bit of humor. Greeting Zeek with a chat about pubic hair was hilarious, as was Zeek's response about wet dreams. I was wondering why there was a note about adult themes at the beginning of the episode and I sure found out why with the stories that played out. Kristina was channeling the late comedian George Carlin with her many turns of phrases for the upcoming states of Max's private parts. 

Drew and Amy: If ever a teen pregnancy didn't move me, it was this one. I barely bought the romance between Drew and Amy during their first go around, but the sex-filled romp it became after she returned from summer camp never set well with me and now it seems the only reason they were brought back together was to tell this tale about teen pregnancy. 

That said, the very best thing about taking the time to tell it was they didn't back away from the abortion. It seems there are very few in Hollywood willing to touch the topic, despite its legality or its support in the liberal world of entertainment. It was a topic Jason Katims tackled successfully once before in Friday Night Lights.

At that time, the story had very far reaching repercussions for characters who weren't even directly involved, so I am interested in what this development might mean for Drew's future and Sarah's when she finds out she really was in the dark in thinking he was only stressed over school issues. Might it be a way for Sarah to get closer to Mark again?

Crosby and Jasmine: Even Crosby couldn't have prepared for how difficult it was going to be to incorporate Jasmine's mom, Renee, into their home. She was cooking food he didn't like and serving it before he got home from work, spending hours in the bathroom doing her hair for a job she was offered but turned down and even did her son's laundry at the house. It was beyond trying for him.

Every time Renee came close to getting a job, Crosby got his hopes up so high that his landings became harder and harder until he could no longer hide them from Renee. She was forced to admit she was probably looking for something that no longer existed, but it was awful to hear her talk about working for a non-profit for 30 years and giving every extra cent to them only to end up a budgetary cutback. Ouch.

What surprised me was that as much as Jasmine is into making lists and rules for things that she didn't try to make things more bearable at the house with time schedules, charts and graphs for eating, using the bathroom, when people could and couldn't visit, etc. When an extra person is added, it's workable as long as everyone is respectful of the time of others. The only person on the planet that scares Jasmine is her mom, and that ended up biting her in the butt.

It was another extraordinary episode of Parenthood. What did you think? Too controversial or did they get it right? 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
  • 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (72 Votes)

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

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I also wish they'd dig deeper on the Victor story line. I mean, Victor's mother was incarcerated. Julia is a lawyer. She might be a stay-at-home mom right now but she's still a lawyer. Maybe she could do something to redeem herself to Victor by reuniting him to his mother and hopefully in the end, she'd get her own baby.

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I can understand where Victor is coming from but I totally understand Julia's character too and kudos to the writers because so far, Julia's actions has been consistent with her character. Her qualms about pushing through the adoption is believable. I'm just hoping that in case they don't push with the adoption, Julia will get pregnant and even if they do, I still wish she'd get pregnant.

Blu

The adult who should know better. His not lashing out at Joel (the kid whisper) isn't solely because he technically isn't replacing anyone, but because God bless him, the man has the patience of a saint and isn't forcing or pushing the kid too much. He disciplines him as fit and they still let him get away with too much, as with Sydney, but he respects the adapting process. So I fully understand Joel 's reaction to Julia considering giving Victor up. Especially given all the sacrifices he's made over the years.
Sara is so out of touch with her children its sad. She's one of those parents who grew up with her kids. They raised each other. Sometimes its good, most times its unfortunate. Mark knew her son better than she did because she's too caught up in her love life. Loved Adam&Kristina. Felt bad for Crosby. Not a Renee fan since the despicable way she treated him when they met. Fantastic episode though.:)

Blu

Working and can't handle any of it now that she isn't because she's never had too. She has YET to have a real talk with him that isn't coming across as selfish! She's pissed and hurt that he doesn't call her mom and wants to see his real one. He was doing fine and adjusting quite well until she told him he couldn't see his mother without explaining why, dismissed the mother he's known for the first part of his life as nothing and insisted that he was hers now because she signed papers. She's trying to fast forward a transition that takes years, strip him of part of his identity, and she isn't taking the time to explain why. He's lashed out since then, and understandable so. He's old enough to remember and miss his birth mom...Julia's inadvertently trying to force him to forget and let her go. It's too selfish for words, and now that she can't hack it she's considering "returning" or "exchanging "him. Its irresponsible on her part because shes

Blu

No one is condoning Victor's behavior at all. It frustrates me that because he's having difficulties adapting the assumption is made that he has mental issues. What is that. Here's the problem, Victor is difficult that is without question but Julia has been handling this all wrong from the beginning. As someone who has studied child development and psychology and has personal experience with watching my own parent deal with a real troubled and mentally unsound child, I cringe at Julia. She has never been cut out for motherhood. She struggles with it in a gripping way that's reflective of the modern day working woman. She could barely manage Sydney. So when she expressed wanting another I was surprised.Her expectation that he was supposed to come in perfect and blend in instantly was RIDICULOUS and too naive for such a smart woman! Adopting a kid at that age takes work,time, and patience. She never had any of that when she was

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Oh, and Crosby is right...sometimes we have to take a job we don't love to support ourselves. It's lousy that Renee got downsized from a job she gave everything to for 30 years but that's the way the world works. You don't turn down a decent paying job when you're living with someone else. You take it, get on your feet and continue looking for something you'll love. It was horrible seeing Jasmine let her mother take over their home. She's so strong with everyone else...except her Mom.

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I LOVED this episode. The talks with Max were great from heartfelt (with Adam) to hilarious (with Zeek). I agree that Joel & Julia jumped into adopting Victor without thinking it through but that doesn't mean it can't work. He's a frustrated, angry, scared little boy whose been bounced around the system. Julia needs to stop focusing on getting him to call her Mommy. He has a Mom. He has a mother, a lousy one perhaps but that doesn't mean he'll forget her. Julia needs to do more talking & stop acting out the same way Victor is. I felt for both Drew & Amy. It wasn't exciting but it hurt to watch & now they'll both live with the consequences. I've always liked Sarah but come on! The romance merry-go-round has gotten old. I don't think Mark, although a great guy, is the guy for her. They are in such different places in their lives. I like Hank but what I really want to see is Sarah standing on her own two feet...finally.

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It was a great episode for sure. And I agree with Julia, I mean how far do you go. The rest of the episode was great too and I def. agree with Crosby, Renee was out of line

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I think Spookypaws summed up exactly how I feel about Sarah's situation. After seeing the upcoming shows preview clip, I think Hank suggest she has a problem because she doesn't know who or what she want. I just hope her choose is the right one and I hope Mark is her choice.

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have they been having sex, and they really were stupid enough to not be safe? Obviously Amy had another boyfriend over the summer, was she just not using birth control on her own? Not once did I ever hear it discussed what methods they were using to prevent a pregnancy, are we just to assume that they were being safe and it failed or that they were not using anything at all? Either way, there was more emphasis on having the abortion than the 'how did this happen, we were being safe' shock of finding out. Whether or not you agree with abortion, the storyline had to play out this way, because Amy and Drew are finished for good now, even if she was pregnant. I dont' really think she's as 'into' Drew as he is into her, she was too easily swayed to break up and then get back with him.