Parenthood Review: This is Real

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It's going to be an exciting year on Parenthood.

"It Has To Be Now" felt like the first day of school when you were a kid, when you got to see all of your old friends again and the anticipation was high as you looked forward to the promise of new friendships, but still had that beloved set of familiar faces by your side.

Adam on Season 5

Even in the first episode of Parenthood Season 5, we can feel a loosening of the ropes a bit, as the writers weren't constrained to tell their stories in a shortened season of 15 or 18 episodes. They were promised a full 22 to give us the very best they have to offer. Fan favorite Joel has a new project he'll be working on with a female superior, Julia is straining at the bit to get back to her own career, Kristina threw her hat into the mayoral race, Crosby and Jasmine face the distress that comes with a difficult baby and Sarah is finally living her own life again outside the confines of the Braverman compound.

That's just the tip of the emotional iceberg.

We had a time jump of about six months, and as Crosby and Jasmine were quibbling about big stuff (naming the baby) and little stuff (whether a pink car seat was appropriate for Crosby's ride), Jasmine's water broke.

Every birth on Parenthood doesn't constitute a world event, and - unlike the birth of Nora where we were front row and center with Crosby holding Kristina's hand during the birth, giving them much needed time to bond while Adam was making his way across town in the latest in rapper's apparel - before we knew it baby girl Braverman was in the house. 

The true test of this new birth was the difficulty of the baby and Crosby's inability to bond with his new daughter. Crosby's fears were laid to rest at the end of the episode when Jasmine assured him that their daughter was in a class by herself and she hadn't been through anything quite like it with Jabbar. Dax Shepard brilliantly portrayed Crosby's feelings in that moment with a comical lift of his eyebrows. Jasmine then shared their new girl's name. Aida Braverman - no hyphenation required.

Kristina has remained cancer free and continued her visits with her friends who are not; which gave her the inspiration to run against Bob Little for Mayor of Berkeley. Kristina has never been one to take little bites of life, and it's devouring what's put in front of her with such amazing gusto that got her through her cancer ordeal while keeping her emotionally stable. The Primetime Emmy Awards nominating committee didn't see fit to include Monica Potter on their roster for her amazing work as a woman battling cancer last year; perhaps they'll be more impressed with her run for mayor this year.

Sarah moved out of the house and appears to be making her living as a superintendent of an apartment building, completely unaware that Hank has returned from Minnesota. There also appears to be a misunderstanding between the two of them about who exactly ended the relationship, as we discovered when Max - taking his walk within his approved radius - stopped in on Hank and opened the discussion. Max continues to hold some sort of record for best lines given with a straight face. Check out the Parenthood quotes to see what I mean.

Adam felt the need to confront Hank under the guise of paying Hank for the work he did on Max's camera... when he really just wanted to find out what happened between him and Sarah. Adam needs to stop hiding behind his kid and say what's on his mind. It was rather insulting to both Max and Hank to offer money for what amounted to a friendly chat and advice about photography. At least Adam later came to recognize that there might be something to Hank's advice about Max's skill in the area.

Whatever happened between Sarah and Hank, he never gave the impression he would blow smoke up a kid's rear end to make him feel good. In fact, if he thought he might give Max the wrong idea and Max had little talent, he would have likely gone far in the other direction and insulted him to keep him from finding out a harsher lesson from someone he might have held dear. Hank is one of those hard-shelled good guys.

Joel and Julia seem to have their family all settled in since the last time we saw them, and Joel won a huge bid on a two-year project that will have him working closely with guest star, Sonya Walger. Considering Julia was hoping to get back to work, Joel's new work situation will likely cause problems for her as she comes to terms with the dilemma quitting her job under less-than ideal circumstances created. 

Julia had done everything right in her work situation until she quit her job. Nine years of impeccable work history essentially went down the drain because she walked. She's going to have to talk to her former employer and try to set things right, or he will continue to haunt her with a poor job recommendation. From what I know of California law, however, unless Julia expressly gives a potential employer the right to call a specific person, handing out a poor recommendation could be a basis for a lawsuit. Somebody tell me if I'm wrong.

Finally, we have our breakout romantic couple from Parenthood Season 4 - Amber and Ryan. They were last seen talking a long walk and looking at engagement rings in storefront windows, but the premiere had our lovers continents apart as Ryan had been redeployed to Kandahar while their relationship continued via Skype. By the end of the premiere, Amber received word he was coming home.

She stood on base, awaiting his platoon, seeing his face, unsure whether the stoic look was in response to seeing her or a reaction to being away. After his last deployment and the mental state he was in after he returned, she must have been filled with trepidation.

Amber had no need to worry. Once the platoon was given the okay to break from their fellow soldiers, Ryan headed straight to Amber for an embrace and a kiss. He got down on bended knee, asked her to marry him and she accepted. 

And so, we're off. The laughter, the tears, the emotional pull of Parenthood is back. Were you able to walk away with a dry eye? Seeing Amber in that girly, yellow dress waiting for her man to come home, the music, the proposal... they got me. Tears sprang from my eyes. Talk about the return and what you are most excited to see play out this season in the comments - and welcome back!


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (55 Votes)

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


First off, I do have to say it is kinda weird to go away from a show and then have it come back and all of a sudden a character (Jasmine) has had a baby since then...I kind of hate when in-between seasons of shows too much happens off screen. But I digress... So far in this season, I'm most interested in the plotline of Julia and Joel as they struggle to get by without having Julia work and the underlying tension that is brewing there. Also on the subject of those two, I loved that they used the song "If You Want Me To" by Adam Green & Binki Shapiro when Julia is telling Joel that Leon is being vindictive and it will be difficult to get another job and then Joel gets a phone call letting him know he got the job.


I've never been a jasmine fan. She has never been comfortable with the Bravermans being so close, so overbearing, so present all the time. They swallow you up in their Bravermaness. What we find endearing and awesome,she finds it overwhelming and annoying. It will always be something that will affect her relationship with Crosby. Throw in the fact that once you so much as break bread with a Braverman you're a Braverman and now her baby looks more Caucasian than biracial, she was having one of her losing her identity in the Braverman hoopla fits again, and taking it out on Crosby again. Hence the name thing as well. I look forward to seeing Crosby deal with his own infant and I loved the realistic issue of not immediately connecting with your own child. Parenthood always covers life in the best and most realistic of ways. A shame this show is so underrated.


So happy for amber and Ryan! They really are a great couple. Sara tends to forget that both her children are far more mature and put together than she was...and still is, honestly. Just because it was a mistake for her, it doesn't mean it'll be a mistake for them. I love Joel and I'm glad he's back out there and doing well. Definitely see where this is heading with a currently insecure and unhappy Julia though. I think if she tightens up her interview skills and channel a smarmy lawyer, she could get a job without worrying about her former boss. It's misdirection and knowing what to say and how to say it. Her work speaks for itself. Adam jumped the gun with hank. Hank and Max hit it off last season and I loved it, so I look forward to the bond. It works with Max's Aspergers and Hank's misanthropic curmudgeon thing. Best pair.


It doesn't surprise me one bit that Parenthood is still amazing. I'm stoked for 22 episodes. By the way, I cried as well when Ryan got down on one knee.


Newcomer to Parenthood. Watched last season finale & this season premiere & love the
Show. Looking forward to rest of season & getting to know all the characters.


I am so glad this show is back. I tell everyone this is the quiet show that can. I hope NBC leaves it alone and leave it on for 22 shows. I love Amber and Ryan. I agree this is my weekly cry show. Boy has Max grown and yes Crosby the baby is really white?! My moto for life: I am just in it for the sugar.


Darn Parenthood!! Always making me cry!


I loved the story line with Crosby and Jasmine. We had our first long-awaited child in January, and I know exactly what Crosby's character is going through. When he told Adam "I feel nothing," I almost started to cry, because I've totally been there. Those first few weeks and months with a difficult or colicky baby can be so confusing and trying. TV shows normally just make it all seem so magical and show moms and dads having this instant connection with their baby. But in the midst of sleep deprivation that you see no way out of, coupled with a baby that you can't seem to soothe no matter how hard you try, those warm fuzzy feelings everyone talks about can be few and far between or absent altogether. But just as everyone promised, it does get so much better. Best line by far, "I'm sure someday you will be the best thing that ever happened to me, but right now I hate you!" LOL. Still LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this show! So glad it is back. Such talented actors and writers! Oh, and the marriage proposal! (swoon)

Sarah silva

Are they introducing the guy in her building to be her love interest? He says he does not date anyone over 20, put he is also going to be a recurring character this season, so there is a chance they will become a couple.
I like Hank way more when he is not with Sarah. I think he is a good mentor for Max.
Christina would make a great mayor and I hope Adam fully supports her on that soon.
Joel and Julia seem great BUT I know what is in store for them this season and I found myself unable to enjoy there scenes because I know what is coming. Which is sad because I really like Joel too.

Sarah silva

So happy to have this show back and we have a full 22 episode season to look forward too!
I will start with Amber as she s one of my favorites! I knew Ryan was going to propose and yes they are young and she will get flack from Sarah, I really want them to get married. People to marry at 19/20 and it does work out.
I can understand Jasmine and Crosby being tired and wanting to get into a routine with the baby BUT Jasmine's mom lived with them at one point and you can bet if her mom came over and said she wanted to stay with them for a little while to help out Jasmine would say yes, but yet she does not want the Braverman clan over to visit!
As always Crosby (another favorite of mine) was super funny and had some of the best lines of the episode,
I am glad Sarah moved out on her own, but she has to learn that breaking the fire alarm is not the way to fix things. :)
Are they introducing the guy in her building to be her love interest? He says he does not date anyone over 20, put he is also going to be a recurring character this season, so there is a chance they will become a couple.
I like Hank way more when he is not with Sarah. I think he is a good mentor for Max.
Christina would make a great mayor and I hope Adam fully supports her on that soon.
Joel and Julia seem great BUT I know what is in store for them this season and I found myself unable to enjoy there scenes because I know what is coming. Which is sad because I really like Joel too.

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Parenthood Season 5 Episode 1 Quotes

That's my motto for life - I'm just in it for the sugar.


Max: I walked, during my radius, that I can walk to on my own. The idea is that I build autonomy so that eventually I'll be able to move out and support myself. Also, eventually, they're going to die, so I'm going to need to learn to live on my own anyway.
Hank: Hmm. That's touching.