September brings an all new season of Parenthood on NBC. Tuesday night, I sat down with my favorite TV family and got caught up with where life has led them since their finale last spring. Remember the finale? Crosby got married! Sarah got engaged! Julia welcomed home a son! Adam decided to stick with the Luncheonette (and Crosby), convinced that they can make a go of it.
The show opens with a rather hilarious, incredibly dated Braveman family photo. Camille reminds Sarah of Crosby’s insistence that his girlfriend at the time be included, only to break up with her two weeks later. Sarah’s lobbying hard for Mark (hot young teacher-man) to be included since they are engaged, but Camille is rather dismissive. Zeek is in the background helping Drew press bench, in preparation for Amy’s return from summer camp.
We then get a quick shot of Crosby’s house, where he walks by Jabar praying, and a quick shot of Julia’s house where Victor is eating squirt cheese out of a can while watching a violent television show while Sydney notes the double standard. At Adam’s house, Kristina and Adam are lobbying for Haddie to finish a few things before she leaves for Cornell. Max chimes in with suicide facts for Cornell, and the new Braverman baby is crying.
At the Luncheonette, we find Amber, working for her uncles and flirting with the musicians. Oh Amber.
Within the first five minutes of the show I was excited, because this was clearly going to be one of those all-inclusive episodes where every major character is included. Every story line is going to get touched upon, at least briefly. I also knew immediately it was going to be a tough one to recap because a lot of little things were going to happen, and since it’s the first episode of the season, it’s hard to know which events are going to become focal points.
Adding to the plot, at least for this episode is the character of Hank, played Ray Romano. Sarah meets him when she drops off Camille’s deposit, and in typical Sarah fashion, she manages to get hired by him as an assistant.
After the opening credits, the theme “Family Portrait” continues all the way through to the closing credits. This episode seems more about actual parenthood than some of last season’s episodes, as each of the four Braverman siblings are working through different stages with their own children.
Victor is working on assimilating into the Braverman family, but is having trouble at every turn. Julia walks on eggshells around him, Max tells him in his very blunt way that he’s “technically not even part of the family yet.” When Max’s lizard goes missing. Kristina has to talk to Julia about it.
Jasmine and Crosby tell Jasmine’s mom to butt out where religious beliefs are concerned. One interesting point is that Jasmine and Crosby seem to be communicating better, which is good, because, you know, they got married last season.
Adam’s whole family is in a tizzy with Haddie leaving for college. Everyone’s on edge, and there are several explosive scenes leading up to Haddie’s going away party. Kristina’s realization that Haddie’s never going to live at home again is hitting her hard. Do remember the tension in your house before you moved out of your parent’s house? I do. Whew.
Sarah is busy enough with making Mark feel okay, and faking it at her new job with Hank. She clearly brings something to Hank’s photo shoots, but it takes the client to point that out to Hank. Meanwhile, her kids are going through their own angst – Drew’s gut feeling is that Amy’s going to dump him soon, and things with the musician and Amber are over before they begin.
Mark does man up and talks directly to Zeek and Camille, and he convinces them that he is a part of their family now. My gut tells me that something may happen there later in the season, but I could be wrong. As the going away party/family photo shoot begins, Max and Hank have a fantastic exchange in the kitchen, and my guess is that Sarah is going to start seeing parallels in the way Max and Hank see the world.
The going away party is everything fans expect from Parenthood. There are homemade decorations, lots of sweeping scenes with the whole ensemble smiling their Braverman smiles. It’s the kind of scene that makes you want to go to your own family’s Thanksgiving dinner.
The episode wraps up with Sarah staying on with Hank, Julia admitting that she’s having a hard time letting Victor in, and Crosby talking about the universe with Jabar.
The closing scene is, of course, Adam and Kristina seeing Haddie off at the airport (did you fly away to college by yourself? This was odd to me). It’s as heart wrenching as you’d expect, and in 30 seconds, she’s gone.
“Family Portrait” is such a good title for this episode. We saw each family unit, as well as the entire clan as a whole interact. It was great, and I can’t wait for the next episode.
You can watch full episodes of Parenthood on NBC.com.