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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
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (72 Votes)

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

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'you're not my mom' comments. She's NOT his real mother, but she's working on it. She needs to have a heart to heart with him and tell him she knows she's not his real mother but his real mother didn't take care of him, and she wants to take care of him. Maybe even a visit to the 'real mother' might be in order for Julia to understand Victor better, but he's angry and scared and acting out because of it. Sydney was not prepared for a 'grown up' brother, hence why she's acting the way she is, they need to get a handle on that pronto. Victor didn't attack Sydney, I don't really think he thought he'd hurt her. I don't think he's got mental issues, I think he's just a kid whose had a hard upbringing and been through lots of foster homes and this is a cycle for him. It'll work out in the end,but Joel and Julia will probably have rough times before it's over. #4. Drew/Amy - While I don't think the subject of abortion is anything to yawn at, I was really bored with this storyline. How long 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.

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go through with raising another child again, because she's so out of touch with her own kids and what's going on in their lives, that she's going to let Mark go, so he can be happy and have kids with someone else. She needs to fix herself! I think Hank is preferable to Mark, but I don't know if he's 'the one' for her, but he's much better suited for her. Divorced with a teenager..they can relate and are comfortable with each other. #2 Crosby/Jasmine/Renee - All I can say is Crosby is totally right. I love that they've developed his character so well, he's really grown up a lot but still has that fun quality :) Renee needs to take a job and support herself. Besides, who is she to tell her son she'll do his laundry at his sister's house?! Time for him to figure out what a laundromat is....Jasmine I think will see Crosby is right (especially cause she's going to get pregnant soon) and help push her mom to get out and take a job. #3. Julia/Joel - Julia needs to let is slide about the 'you're not my mom' comments. She's NOT his real mother, but she's working on it. She needs to have a heart to heart with him and tell him she knows she's not his real mother but his real mother didn't take care of him, and she wants to take care of him. Maybe even a visit to the 'real mother' might be in order for Julia to understand Victor better, but he's angry and scared and acting out because of it. Sydney was not prepared for a 'grown up' brother, hence why she's acting the way she is, they need to get a handle on that pronto. Victor didn't attack Sydney, I don't really think he thought he'd hurt her. I don't think he's got mental issues, I think he's just a kid whose had a hard upbringing and been through lots of foster homes and this is a cycle for him. It'll work out in the end,but Joel and Julia will probably have rough times before it's over. #4. Drew/Amy - While I don't think the subject of abortion is anything to yawn at, I was really bored with this storyline. How long 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.

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I rarely comment on this show, even though I watch it pretty regularly, but last night just had me screaming "WTF???" at the writers.... #1 Sara Braverman - Where to start with her? I loooove Lauren Graham, she's a fantastic actress but WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO HER? She's 40+ years old, living at home with her parents, and is constantly going from man to man. First it's her ex, then it's Mark, then it's her ex again briefly, then back to Mark, then it's Hank and now possibly Mark vs. Hank? Oh and the guy from Adam's work when she briefly worked there was in the mix somewhere too...I mean, give Sara some dignity. Have her MOVE OUT of her parent's home, get a place of her own and stop trying to find a man, or at least be dependent on one right off the bat. She hasn't stood on her own two feet at all since this show started, it would be nice to see her do that for a change. And as far as the Drew and Amy thing goes, I think it's going to make her realize that she can't or shouldn't go through with raising another child again, because she's so out of touch with her own kids and what's going on in their lives, that she's going to let Mark go, so he can be happy and have kids with someone else. She needs to fix herself! I think Hank is preferable to Mark, but I don't know if he's 'the one' for her, but he's much better suited for her. Divorced with a teenager..they can relate and are comfortable with each other. #2 Crosby/Jasmine/Renee - All I can say is Crosby is totally right. I love that they've developed his character so well, he's really grown up a lot but still has that fun quality :) Renee needs to take a job and support herself. Besides, who is she to tell her son she'll do his laundry at his sister's house?! Time for him to figure out what a laundromat is....Jasmine I think will see Crosby is right (especially cause she's going to get pregnant soon) and help push her mom to get out and take a job. #3. Julia/Joel - Julia needs to let is slide about the 'you're not my mom' comments. She's NOT his real mother, but she's working on it. She needs to have a heart to heart with him and tell him she knows she's not his real mother but his real mother didn't take care of him, and she wants to take care of him. Maybe even a visit to the 'real mother' might be in order for Julia to understand Victor better, but he's angry and scared and acting out because of it. Sydney was not prepared for a 'grown up' brother, hence why she's acting the way she is, they need to get a handle on that pronto. Victor didn't attack Sydney, I don't really think he thought he'd hurt her. I don't think he's got mental issues, I think he's just a kid whose had a hard upbringing and been through lots of foster homes and this is a cycle for him. It'll work out in the end,but Joel and Julia will probably have rough times before it's over. #4. Drew/Amy - While I don't think the subject of abortion is anything to yawn at, I was really bored with this storyline. How long 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.

Sarah-silva

Then there were the numerous other things! Jasmine has no problem standing up to Crosby but she will never ever stand up to her mother and until she learns to do so there will be issues with her and Crosby. While Renee worked for a non profit and gave them all her money, that IS NOT Crosby's fault and there comes a time when you have to look out for yourself and Renee should have looked for a job with benefits a long time ago and she could have volunteered somewhere if she wanted to do good.

Sarah-silva

I loved this episode!
I will start with Max, he was super funny. I laughed during every scene, especially the scene when Camille and Zeke came over.
I agree with everything you said about the Victor situation!!! He does not seem to want to be part of the family and while a child is not a pair of shoes that you can easily return. There comes to a point where if it is not working then adopting him may not work out. I sadly predict that Joel will leave Julia in the last episode of the season after she says that she can not go through with the adoption.
I have never ever ever liked Renee! She proved once again that she thinks she is in charge where ever she goes. While eating dinner at 800pm may be late for a child, she had no right to change that and over rule Crosby and Jasmine. Then there were the numerous other things! Jasmine has no problem standing up to Crosby but she will never ever stand up to her mother and until she learns to do so there will be issues with her and Crosby. While Renee worked for a non profit and gave them all her money, that IS NOT Crosby's fault and there comes a time when you have to look out for yourself and Renee should have looked for a job with benefits a long time ago and she could have volunteered somewhere if she wanted to do good.

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Do you know how many children call 911 on their parents for something they were responsible for? Believe it or not alot. After a friend told me in order to avoid trouble just threaten my mom by calling them, I did this and my mom handed me the phone (apparently she dealt with that before and has had the cops called on her when my cousin was younger and apparently the cops did nothing after my cousins told them what happen and they replied "what did you expect her to do to you?").
As for Julia, she still wanting some overnight change and wants this to be easy and to be honest Julia doesn't even have a handle on daughter at times. The mom thing is tricky as his mother is still alive and I think good way to handle this is to have Victor refer to Julia by another name like mama (I think of Charlotte's situation on PP).

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I loved tonight's episode's. Julia/ Joel were really, insanely hard to watch tonight i'm worried for them no doubt .while I agree that julia is getting the brunt of victor's anger and my heart break's for her every time he screams that she's not his mom... I kinda feel like she's as stubborn as she is, like instead of working through the heartbreak and reminding herself of her commitment and that she is the adult here.. she just put a wall, it's like things haven't worked out perfectly so she frazzled and clueless, kinda fits her character in a way, like when got mad with joel when he first went back to work and upset their routine... of course, this is a much more complex situation, and yeah

Aries93

I can't really blame Julia for her second guesses. Her child says he doesn't love her, constantly says she isn't his real Mom and though she doesn't know why Victor attacked Sydney, it is still a scary thought of knowing one of your children threw a metal bat at them. I know it'll all work out in the end, but I still get where Julia is coming from.

Parenthood Season 4 Episode 13 Quotes

Hi grandpa, I have pubic hair.

Max

My real mom got me Burger King every day.

Victor
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