Parenthood Review: Concessions

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If Jay Leno hadn't invited George W. Bush onto his program earlier this week, I would think that NBC just didn't want to talk about politics anymore.

First, Leslie Knope lost the recall election on Parks and Recreation and now Kristina lost her bid for mayor on Parenthood Season 5 Episode 9.

Kristina still won so much through her campaign, especially the love and respect of her family, friends and the community of Berkeley.

Running to Zeek

I have a feeling that Kristina will become involved with local government in some way, perhaps as a community organizer in a nod the Barack Obama. They talked a lot about his election and how important it was to the country and following in his footsteps to get a better hold on the process before she decides to run again would help. 

Kristina has already made a difference, as we witnessed after her concession speech when the mom who was at her debate introduced her daughter. Her life has already been changed for the better by what Kristina was able to do for her, and if someone is that dedicated to education, it would be a shame to waste her vast breadth of knowledge. 

What's so interesting about Kristina is that she never gives up, and she won't give up now. I anxiously await her next move.

While Joel and Julia seemed, on the outside, to be a united front when taking Victor to his first day back in the fourth grade, it was in appearance only. Victor was ridiculed and did not take his day well. Julia didn't reach out to Ed (as I expected), but to her husband. He wasn't there.

The only person he said he would be there for was Victor, and he wasn't. He worked late on what was one of the biggest, most life altering days in Victor's life. No argument that he made changed that fact. A fact he was completely incapable of seeing.

Julia hunted Joel down and found him eating sushi while looking over the blueprints with Peet. It was a rather casual meeting. They were chatting about the eel. He refused to hear Julia out and pushed her out the door. He then chose to have a serious discussion with her at Kristina's campaign headquarters. Because that is a great time to have a serious family discussion.

Joel had the audacity to compare his contractor position with the employee/employer relationship Julia was in at the law firm. This is yet another indication that he has no idea how the business world works. Telling Julia that her behavior could have cost him his job was ludicrous. His whining was embarrassing. Hit the Parenthood quotes to see exactly what he said. He is his own boss. He does not report to Peet, he works with her on a project. She has hired his firm to produce a result. He has no comprehension of contractor boundaries. 

What the series has done with Joel is as close to character assassination as I've seen. He's not even likeable anymore. Julia has some serious flaws, but Joel has managed to outrun her in what was once a race she was winning handily. I'm trying to think of a scenario in which he could make things right, and I can't think of one.

Which leads me to Amber and Ryan. The two of them are a mess. Their magic is gone. Their scenes together are wrought with tension and I find myself pulling back, waiting for the first blow. Not necessarily a physical one, but even a verbal onslaught is always just moments away when they are together. Their relationship has officially fallen off the adorable side.

Amber and Ryan now tiptoe around each other, speak in whispers and halted sentences, afraid to say the wrong thing - the thing that might set the other off. Especially Amber. She is frightened of Ryan. There is no way around it. She is a young woman in fear of the man she loves. Which makes me wonder if she really loves him at all.

Amber could have fallen in love as a way to ensure Ryan's happiness. A codependent relationship does that. She thinks Ryan needs her to be happy, and she complies because it makes her happy to make him happy. She's not happy. 

He's insanely jealous. I don't want to hear anyone make excuses that Amber shouldn't have been singing with a band, or should not have celebrated with them afterward. Her mistake was not calling to tell Ryan, but that happens. Those are things a young person does. The expectation is that anyone can do that and have fun. There is not an expectation that your boyfriend will come in and start throwing punches without provocation. 

So Amber was right to be afraid, because Ryan was a ticking time bomb. He has been bottling things up and pretending to be fine. It will only be a matter of time before there isn't someone else in the room for him to hit, and Amber is on the other end of his fist. I don't want their relationship to continue. I want to see Amber happy to be Amber again, not to be happy because Ryan is happy.

I can't even imagine Sarah's reaction when she learns what happened. Thank goodness Zeek was there for Amber. Thank goodness he'll be there for Sarah. 

Those were the big stories of the week, and they overshadowed everything else that happened. We had one inspirational story and two downright depressing ones. One out of three isn't bad. What did you think about these major developments?


Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.4 / 5.0 (27 Votes)

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


I disagree with your take on the Julia/Joel scenario. While he would have kept the contract he was on, it could hurt Joels' future business prospects because Julia made him look like a fool and completely unprofessional. They're not handling things right, but I find it hard to believe there was never a family crisis while Julia worked that Joel handled by himself. I find Julia hypocritical and not recognizing that she's doing what Joel did for without complaint or breakdown.


I like this show. And this episode was good. But does anyone notice that Drew desperately needs to ditch his casual friend, because he clearly wants more than casual and that girl has put him in the friend zone for sure. Also as for the whole Victor and fourth grade again Julia and Joel should have put him in a private school so that he can start over in a new class with new kids who do not know that he got moved down a grade. I knew that was going to blow up in their faces. And Amber/Ryan I hope that it is not over because clearly Amber never apologized for coming home or letting him know that she was going out with the band. And making him return the engagement that was Amber being super mean, Ryan just wanted to buy her a nice ring and for her to be able to show it off and she completely disses it and tells that she doesn't deserve it. If they are over good because Ryan deserves better.

@ kiera14

they can't afford private school


i think joel is an asshole he clearly wants a divorce but isn't man enough to ask for it

Sarah silva

This was another stellar episode of Parenthood.
I still wish that they would not be taking Joel and Julia in the direction that they are taking them. Joel has become some one I do not like at all.
Sadly I fear that these two are headed for divorce. I do not want Julia to cheat on Joel, however Joel is being a jerk and not willing to listen to anything Julia has to say. He is angry and seems to have no respect of Julia anymore, the way he treats her and talks to her is just awful.
I was pro Ryber, however now I am not so sure. They had Amber fighting with her mom weeks ago and telling her Ryan is the one and that they are not at all like her mom and her dad and they will last. However they are going to make Sarah be right and I forsee Amber breaking up with Ryan. At this time I think she is a better match for the drummer. Ryan and his issue are scary and I to think that one day he could hit Amber and that would be very bad. I did love hearing her sing.
I wanted Kristina to win, but I knew she would not.
I really liked Hank and his talk to Max it was very sweet.


Seriously Carissa, "Joel had the audacity to compare his contractor position with the employee/employer relationship Julia was in at the law firm. This is yet another indication that he has no idea how the business world works.".. Do you even know how the business work??
Unfortunately I can't used the word sexist against you....cause you know how women will manipulate the situation...Yes, I mean women...He was there all along and didnt whine when julia was working..Did he?? All she had to do while working was taking care and don't break down for every little problem...Oh so, you might think she is right in someways to fall into the hands of Ed...whatever !!

@ Kumar

Yes, Kumar, I worked in an office long enough to stretch my behind into the size of a chair. ;-) I'm happy to be free of it. How women will manipulate a situation? PUHLEASE. You just manipulated the situation. Men have used that tactic for years. "Do you have PMS?" "You're just too fragile." The crap goes on for miles. It isn't true, and men hate that we no longer fall for the manipulative ways. Should Julia fall into the arms of another man? He'll no! That's HER weakness and will only put additional strain onto a marriage in free fall. I never said she was right, but I do understand why she would talk to him, just like I understood Joel talking to the mommies in the first season. Spouses need affirmation. What happened to Joel that he forgot everything that made him the wonderful husband he once was? Didn't you see my comment about how far ahead in the race he once was? Their biggest problem is that they no longer communicate. Julia seems to be the only one interested in fixing it. Show me an instance in the last four episodes where Joel put forth an effort and I'll acquiesce.


This episode is still hurting! We all know Ryan is dealing with aa lot of issues but so does Amber. She is clearly caught up in the bad boy band and is not thinking about her so called luv of her life. She knew Ryan was struggling with his post war issues but still thought it OK to stand him up to party with the band. Ryan made big mistake going violent in club but Amber takes a lot of responsibility with her don't give a shit attitude.
Julia is about to make biggmistake judging from next week preview. Joel is looking like an insensitive ass but it looks like he knows something is going on with Ed and he is having hard time separating the issues with his son and the fact that his wife is cheating on him. Julia is taking easy way out and it will end up destroying not only her family but Ed's. Cheating on a marriage is always the norm on TV when things get rough. I only hope that it ends with just a kiss for the next person she claims to care about. Her son.

@ reailty addict

What is it about Ashes of Rome that makes you think they're a bad boy band? They've been nothing but kind and welcoming to Amber. They've never treated her poorly or made passes at her. They have joked, but that doesn't make them nefarious. She's 21 years old. She's too young and inexperienced to be in the type of relationship Ryan requires. Ryan isn't getting the therapy he needs and for some reason thinks medication makes him weak. If Joel thinks Julia might be about to engage with Ed, then why is he turning his back on her instead of talking about their marriage as she has asked numerous times? That says a lot about his lack of commitment. It's as if he wants out but doesn't want to take the responsibility for ending the marriage. I think He's been done with Julia for a long time.

@ Carissa Pavlica

After sleeping on it and reading your comments Carrisa I have come to the conclusion I need to wait a little while before posting my comments. You hit the Amber /Ryan issue right on the head. No pun intended. Still wish she would have handled things better before Ryan got there. Your right she's young.Joel is a dumb-ass. The pending affiar with Ed is really turning my stomach and I think it is a cowardly act by Julia. This has the potential to ruin alot of life's.That being said,Joel's total lack of communication is biggest issue force her away. Just wish she would try a little longer to resolve or get out of marriage before messing around with Ed and possibly ruining his marriage also. Really enjoy your reviews even when I end up humbled by comments. Don't think I can watch Julia's affair unfold next week but I look forward to your review. This is only a TV show right?

Ronald simkins

Sorry Charlie = but Amber and Sarah are toxic women. Don't make excuses for Amber being an idiot she should have learned from Sarah's totally failed relations with at least three men. Amber knew how fragile Ryan was and she put herself in a situation that could not have failed to set him off.

@ isoron

Sorry Chuck, but women don't entice men to violence, they have the capacity long before a woman enters their lives. Perhaps you didn't watch when Amber learned about Ryan's life before he met her. Does that mean he doesn't deserve love? No. Does it mean he needs to take more care about his aggression and be mindful of his choices? Yes. She gave him a chance and he failed.

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Parenthood Season 5 Episode 9 Quotes

Victor: Why did you say I was smart when I'm dumb?
Julia: Sweetheart...
Victor: You're a liar.

I have intentions of asking Ruby to be my girlfriend.