‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’
A simple line can sometimes can it all and boy does it ever in the case of ‘Opening Night’, the climax of the Crosby-led school play and descent of the Haddie storyline from refreshing and honest to hollowed out clichÃ©. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Whereas control was the name of the game last week, this week Team Braverman dealt with issues of honesty and just exactly how much truth your loved ones should receive. Even though the phrase ‘theme episode’tends to have a lot of negative connotations, I really enjoy when Parenthood takes a concept and delicately shows several different sides of it. In tonight’s case, we got to see Crosby confront Jasmine for more parental weight, Kristina being hurt that Haddie refuses to confide in her, Haddie and Alex’s relationship coming back into the light, and Zeke proving not to be such an awful guy.
Probably the biggest story of the season has been Haddie’s relationship with Alex, but this episode felt more like Haddie of season 1. Whereas season 2 Haddie has been a little more mellow and increasingly thoughtful, season 1 Haddie was a shrieking, defensive ball of hormones and boy were they raging in ‘Opening Night’. While the story is something that continues to happen in families with a teenage girl, it feels like old hat in terms of television and there was nothing tonight that really differentiated it from the thousand other portrayals of parents-forbid-teen-girl-from-seeing-boy-and-she-still-sees-him that we’ve seen in the past. I mean, even the arguments that Adam/Kristina and Haddie had were very stunted and bland (slamming cabinet doors, rudeness, storming out of the room, etc.). If there’s anything I can say about the Braverman family, it’s that they know how to talk and nothing like that was unleashed tonight. Alex was a little reluctant to continue, yes, and he even called Haddie on her BS; I would have liked to have seen him stand strong and not even entertain the idea of getting back together, but between his charming appearance in Adam’s office and the ambivalent phone call with Amber, I have a feeling he’ll stick around for a while.
Aside from a cute Sarah/Drew plot concerning procrastination and Christmas wrapping paper sales, the other main issue of the episode was Sycamore Charter’s production of the History of California as directed by a one Mr. Crosby Braverman. Tonight brought the first performance and it went surprisingly well (the children of Sycamore are good actors for 6 year olds), aside from a bout of stage fright from Jabbar. I like how Crosby and Jasmine’s relationship isn’t the romantic fairytale that the both of them thought it would be going into their engagement, so while seeing them butt heads may be incredibly frustrating sometimes, it’s good TV and it’s necessary TV. Jabbar ends up going through with it, thanks to a speech given to him by Crosby, which gives the little booger a shot of confidence; his understudy, Sydney, wasn’t too broken up about losing her role, as she used her mother’s negotiation skills to procure a movie and unlimited candy courtesy of Crosby. While it was an admittedly cute scene, I’m a little worried about Sydney because this isn’t the first time that she’s exhibited bratty behavior. I only hope that they keep her nice and sweet instead of turning her into a hellion that would surely drive Julia into the nearest psych ward.
Episode Grade: B-
Episode MVP: Jabbar
Favorite Bits: Al Roker reviewing movies, Sydney as Marilyn Monroe, Sarah’s idea for wrapping paper sales in July, the butterflies, visakah puja paper, ‘…like freestyling?’, Sarah calling Julia “dude”
Least Favorite Bits: Kristina playing the self-righteous victim that she has been for most of the series in her scenes with Camille, Zeke’s Archie Bunker-esque commentary on who ‘wears the pants’in Crosby’s relationship
Next Week: The State of the Union Address is next Tuesday, so on February 1st, there’s fallout from Haddie’s decision to move in with her grandparents at the end of tonight’s episode (the fireworks should be insane from this), Max and Zeke go camping, Julia throws a bachelorette party for Jasmine (I am so excited for Drunk Julia), and Sarah demands a raise to help with Amber’s college.