Parenthood is Growing Up

When Parenthood premiered at the beginning of March, I made a pact with myself to stick with it—for the sake of Lauren Graham and Peter Krause—even if it didn't live up to the hype. Turns out it wasn't that difficult; I've liked the show from the start. It's not deep or groundbreaking, mostly just interesting—and so it's become a guilty pleasure. But Tuesday's episode, "The Situation," made some significant progress. Besides making a probably-unintentional-but-still-amusing reference to Jersey Shore, it gave the characters some much-needed dimension.

Finally, Crosby (Dax Shepard) did something responsible! Finally, Julia (Erika Christensen) did something wild and crazy! Finally, Sarah (Graham) did something selfish! And finally, Adam (Krause) admitted he can be wrong! In previous episodes, most of the drama happened when one of the Bravermans did something selfish. They're a pretty selfish family, even though they're also really nice. But the whole mantra was getting a little old. I couldn't stand to watch Crosby lie to his girlfriend anymore, or Julia disappoint her daughter anymore, or Sarah act like a martyr anymore, or Adam try to be Super Dad anymore—and in this episode, I didn't have to.

In a span of 42 minutes, Crosby told Katie (Marguerite Moreau) that he has a son, Jabbar. Julia spent more time with her daughter and dropped the goody-goody act by breaking into a pool with her husband. Sarah didn't tell Amber's teacher that Amber (Mae Whitman) copied her essay—she flirted with him instead. (I'm going to ignore the fact that this plot was stolen from Gilmore Girls. Max Medina FTW.) And Adam accepted his nephew Drew's help in relating to his son Max.

This means that Bravermans are capable of change, though I must admit I've doubted so in the past. And now I'm hoping that their ability to adapt doesn't stick around—that they remain inconsistent for awhile. Because that's how real people grow, and it would be awesome to see the Bravermans grow realistically. I'm sick of seeing characters change too quickly (Peggy on Mad Men) or not change at all (Don on Mad Men), and the characters on Parenthood have the potential to hit the sweet spot inbetween. I'm glad to see it's finally being realized.

What did you think of the episode?

Follow writer Stefanie Lee on Twitter: @StefAtTVDotCom

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