Last week’s episode was heavy on the emotions and light on the plot development. This week we finally get away from the cancer and on to other topics which was nice. But Monica Potter still managed to cry, somehow, so that’s at least one thing we can count on each week from “Parenthood.”

erika christensen 2013Jealousy does not look good on Mark. I’m getting a little bored with him, to tell you the truth. But his jealously isn’t totally unfounded. Since Hank’s been in the picture, Sarah has someone new to confide in on parenting advice and has made a friend. Hank definitely likes Sarah, but Sarah clearly adores Mark. Well, she used to, anyway. I do think Mark has every right to be angry, but trust is the cornerstone of any relationship. Without it a relationship cannot thrive. His jealousy has been on the backburner since Sarah took the job with Hank but this episode it all boiled over. And not in a good way. He is so afraid of confrontation that he didn’t know what to say to Sarah so he just yelled at her and walked out of the room. The two need a good, civil conversation about dealing with confrontation.

I really do think it all comes down to Sarah. She wants so badly to help everyone that she hurts the people she loves in the process. Hank’s wife is moving to Minnesota and taking their daughter with her. Sarah’s ex-husband chose to not see his kids; Hank is doing everything in his power to be there for his daughter and to make sure he’s a part of her life. It’s noble and Sarah finds that quality admirable. Maybe that’s why she wanted to help him so badly. But Hank’s not completely helpless, either. I’m loving Ray Romano on this show (I know!) but I didn’t buy his sad sack tale.

One of these guys is about to be out of the picture and I don’t think it’s Hank. Mark’s a sweet guy, but his age has always been a factor. It was the reason he and Sarah didn’t get together the first time. He needs someone younger than him; someone who wants to start a family instead of someone who is almost done raising hers.

By the way, when did Drew become so bratty? Because his mom won’t let him stay home alone and have lots of sex with Amy? You’re seventeen years old, Drew. I understand he doesn’t want to live with Sarah and soon-to-be-stepdad Mark, but he’s really becoming unlikeable

erika christensenSpeaking of unlikeable, I used to defend Max and stand up for him when he would get into one of his moods, but now I’m having a hard time watching his scenes. He’s much more of a spoiled narcissistic brat than a child struggling with Asperger’s — specifically, his lack of empathy toward others, especially his mom. Adam and Kristina don’t parent him and they throw in the autism excuse when he acts like a spoiled brat, but the show is sending a wrong message: children with autism can’t change. Yes, it’s hard and they might not want to but they can.

The writers have given Max every symptom on the autism spectrum and it’s too generalized a focus for one character to have to go through. I understand that “Parenthood” is trying to show the audience how difficult it is raising a child with autism, but it’s not coming across that way. Instead, Max is just a pre-teen who ignores his parents, back talks them, yells at them, always gets what he wants, etc. He’s not supposed to be a narcissist, but he’s being portrayed that way. If the intention is showing us about autism then it’s not working. His not wanting to go to the dance because he didn’t get what he wanted was typical Max behavior. Kristina wanted to see him go because she’s not sure how much time she has left. In the end, he went to the dance but it wasn’t because he wanted to. I will say, though, that the dancing scene with him and Kristina was one of the sweetest things the show has done. Also, it was a nice reprieve from the emotional cancer storylines of late.

Joel is a great dad, of that we have already seen. With Julia out of a job, someone needs to make money, so Joel’s new contracting gig is perfect for the family. They have had Victor for over six months now, so it’s time for some normalcy. Julia is really being insensitive to her husband. She’s taking his joy away instead of believing in him. The kids and Julia are the most important things to him and he will do nothing to change that. I did, however, love their fight. It’s such a married person’s fight, too. Julia just wants make sure Victor feels loved and important while Joel is feeling disrespected and worthless. He can be a dad and also have a job. Julia is not used to being the stay at home parent and I don’t think she realized just how difficult it would be for her. Sure, she was being ridiculous in getting angry at Joel for accepting the new job, but it was only because she is insecure in her new role.

dax shepard 2013Ryan, having been back from Afghanistan for some time now, is looking for a new job with the help of Zeek and Amber. Matt Lauria has really fit in with the cast, and as great as his scenes with Mae Whitman are, his scenes with Craig T. Nelson are a thing of beauty. Amber’s scene with her grandfather was heartbreaking and made me tear up. Darn you, show. I thought I could get through one episode without the tears! Amber is head over heels for the guy but doesn’t know how to help him. She saw Ryan in a new light during their trip last weekend and she’s scared for him. Zeek is the only person who understands what Ryan is going through and hopefully he can be a rock for him to lean on as he adjusts to civilian life.

Finally, in the most annoying storyline of the night, Crosby has to deal with an annoying new neighbor. Is civility totally a forgotten concept? Is barging into a business and demanding to speak to the owner because someone is in your parking place the best way to handle things? Not, probably not. Crosby could have handled the confrontation better, too. But seriously, you pay $900,000 on a condo and you DON’T do your research on who you’re going to be living next to? It’s a recording studio. Loud music and smoking comes with the territory, lady. Apparently she has a strong case to shut down The Luncheonette, but I’m sure that won’t happen. But until then, it means we probably get a few more weeks with annoying neighbor lady with the French name.

Another great, subtle episode. I like the heavy dramatic ones, but I also really appreciate the lighter ones, too. It’s a nice change of pace having other cast members front and center instead of Adam and Kristina. But what happened to Camille? We haven’t seen her for a few weeks?

Photo Credit: Danny Feld for NBC

Written by Jordan Hickman. You can read more from her at www.reallylatereviews.com and also follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/jordan_hickman



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