Parenthood Review: Happy Chaos

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Utter chaos erupted when Jasmine's mother Renee insisted it was time Aida was baptized on Parenthood Season 5 Episode 17, but the time together turned out to be exactly what the Braverman family needed.

Any large family gathering can be chaotic, but toss in a breaking marriage, a second-place godfather, stoned siblings and the sale of the beloved childhood home and an extra dose of crazy cracks the surface of a peaceful dinner.

The way everything cascaded into place worked really well. And even though nothing was resolved as the hour was finished, there was a temporary sense of peace.

When Jasmine's mom is involved, tensions always rise. If Sarah thought that Max had a hard time with the word no, Renee must have had a hard time understanding that conversation because Renee just walks right on by. It wasn't really her place to push the issue of a baptism, especially given the unstable circumstances of Crosby and Jasmine, but the addition of the dinner helped get some issues out in the open.

Since Julia and Joel are apart, Renee pointed out that he wasn't the right choice for godfather any longer. It wasn't exactly her choice, but nobody likes to argue with her. That caused strife with Joel and Julia, but did force Julia's hand to make a call and ask why Joel hasn't been fighting for them.

It wasn't really a surprise that Joel didn't have an answer. It wouldn't be surprising if the writers haven't determined a reason for Joel's disappearance in the marriage at this point. He's just gone. None of it makes a lot of sense given the evidence, and his lack of communication is so off the wall attempting an explanation when it wouldn't stand up seems unwise.

Before that's tackled in more detail, let's hit what else occurred leading up to the dinner.

Drew finally reached his breaking point with Natalie and Berto after seeing them hook up. They're both rather useless and Drew has more in common with his sister. He and Amber were in her apartment having two separate conversations at the same time but following along without issue. They get each other. They decided to get drunk and high, apparently not realizing the big dinner was that night. 

Watching them tumble out of the cab, downing mints and dripping eye drops into each others eyes, then jamming asparagus into their mouths by hand at the table was an interesting scene that wasn't lost on Kristina and Adam, who were feeling put off by Sarah because of Max's lack of desire to listen to the word no. It's not that he doesn't know it, he just doesn't like it.

Crosby asked Adam to be Aida's godfather, but he neglected to tell him he would be stepping in for Joel, who had resigned. While everyone was bickering about all of this, information about the sale of the house came up and then somehow Julia decided it was all her fault if only she had held her marriage together long enough to get through the baptism... what?!

The end result was Zeek talking to Joel and finally eliciting some emotion from him. If anyone can bring a tear from a grown man, it's Zeek Braverman. His speech about walking Julia down the aisle and feeling comfortable putting his daughter into Joel's arms was rough. It got through to Joel on some level because he showed up to the Christening.

What was interesting and not apparent from the commercial was that Joel didn't smile at Julia, but at Zeek. The look he has for Julia was far more reserved and somewhat concerned. It seemed as if he might have felt coerced. 

Some really great news was Drew decided it was probably best if he stayed with Amber so they can support each other. Does this mean we won't have to suffer through the dorm life anymore and can nix Natalie and Barto off the schedule? Hooray!

The dinner was so brilliantly done and just made the hour. It's difficult to imagine that at least some of that conversation isn't improvised. The actors know their characters so well; don't you imagine them speaking on their behalf trying to get in the best zinger?

What did you think about the chaotic, lovable baptism weekend for Aida? For a refresher, be sure to watch Parenthood online and then hit the comments with your thoughts. We never talk anymore!!

Did Zeek force Joel's hand before he was ready?


Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

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 liked seeing the sybling relationship between Amber and Drew. I am also over the Max story line and I hope they don't start a charter school. Still a great show and nice review!


I like the show. BUT, it's getting to the point where I'm losing interest because every single episode has been about Max. Sorry if this offends people but it's just boring. Lately I've switched the channel when Max, Max talk, Cristina and Adam whining about Max and anything to do with Max is on....I'm gone. Oh and btw, not everybody "Loves Raymond"....his character is beyond BORING. Parenthood should seriously look at the powers that be who write this show and it really a show about a family...."Parenthood" or a show about MAX....I'm bored.....and almost done.


The Sarah/Max story line and Adam and Kristina's reaction to it was infuriating to me. I get really sick of their constant coddling of him. Sarah is right he is not a kid anymore. His behavior is unacceptable and their reaction of "oh well, he has asbergers" is exhausting. They know Sarah has a big project for a major client and they also know how Max can be and they completely tore Sarah apart. Sarah is an adult working with expensive equipment on a tight deadline with a lot of money on the line. It is great that Max found a hobby that he is so passionate about but ultimately he is a kid working on the school yearbook, he should be respectful of an adult and respectful of the work taking place in the studio he has been given access to. The fact that this did not even cross Adam and Kristina's seemed insane to me. Sarah was also right that they are not doing him any favors by treating him like a baby. Eventually Max will have to interact with the real world without the safety net of his family and he will be totally unprepared for unfair situations if they do not prepare him for it now. You can not throw a massive tantrum and run out screaming that your co-workers are fascists when you do not get your way at work.

@ andi

I so agree with you on everything you just said. I couldn't have said it any better. I am sick of them letting Max get away with this stuff I get he has a disability but they aren't helping him any by the way they treat him.

@ andi

I agree it bothered me as well!! I understand he has limitations but the world can't stop so he can have what he wants when he wants he. He won't be able to survive in the real world if they keep handling situations like this.

Sarah silva

That dinner scene was one of the most intense scenes that Parenthood has ever had!
However they prove that they are a strong family and the next day Sarah and Kristina both tell each other how pretty they look.
The issue with Sarah and Max was hard to watch, I can see both sides of that situation and Kristina was trying to protect Max but I feel like she could have told Sarah to stay and that she would go talk to Max and then come down and talk to her. Kristina was really angry and Sarah and it just seemed odd. However Sarah should not have told Adam that he does not tell Max NO enough!
The Aida getting baptized story line was great, it lead to some great moments throughout the episode with several characters.
I liked Crosby and Zeke going to talk to Joel. I also like that Joel told Julia that he is not ready to give up on their marriage but still needs time before he fights for it. I really have been mad at Joel all season but I saw sprinklings of the old Joel this week and I think if it continues in that direction I will be happy to see them get back together. However next week it looks like Sydney is mad at her mom, she goes from being mad at her dad and not wanting to go to his place and then mad at her mom!
I can not stand Natalie at all. We need to be done with her storyline line. I felt bad for Drew, but I loved that it lead to some great Drew and Amber scenes and it looks like we will get more of those as he will be moving in with her for awhile.

@ Mrs alex o'loughlin

Ditto. And Sydney will be mad at Victor next week. She's blaming him for splitting up the family.

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Parenthood Season 5 Episode 17 Quotes

Add a dinner to the Aida weekend and let the festivities begin.


Crosby: I really hope you guys can, you know can, find your way back. I know it's none of my business, but I just, you know, we love having you in our family and..I'm sorry, you know.
Joel: Thanks buddy. Thank you. Thank you. I completely get it. You know, I don't... I don't need to be the godfather.