The latest episode of "Parenthood" was another home-run in an already stellar season of drama, humor, and family love. "I'll be Right Here" delivered -- not by over-the-top acting, but with realistic, heart-tugging emotion and a few pivotal "big days" for the Braverman clan.
Kristina's life-altering day
One of the strongest, most memorable story lines throughout recent episodes has been Kristina's battle with breast cancer. Monica Potter and Peter Krause have been stunning in their roles as Kristina and Adam Braverman, creating honest, gripping, and loving portrayals of a couple dealing with a medical crisis.
The last few minutes showed the up and down emotions of Kristina's post-operation doctor visit, where at first, the couple was told the "good news" -- that the surgery was a success, and the tumor was removed. However, the gut-wrenching reality hit seconds later, when they found out that an aggressive form of cancer was discovered in the lymph nodes and chemotherapy was imminent. It was as if every viewer was in that doctor's office, sharing the painful moment with them.
If there is a criticism of the writing, it was the concluding scene, when Kristina and Adam delivered the news to Haddie, who came home from college to support her family. Kristina actually "lied" and told her daughter that she was cancer-free and everything was fine. While it is certainly understandable that parents have to sometimes tell white lies in order to protect their children, it felt wrong that they would conceal the truth from Haddie, regardless of their valid reasons.
What? No cable?!
Another big Braverman day happened for Sarah and Drew, who moved in with Mark. This was a typical flaky, last minute Sarah-kind-of-thing to do with a haphazard decision that alienated her son while creating confusion and mixed feelings for Hank. It is certain to lead to a juicy love triangle confrontation between Sarah, Mark, and Hank.
Drew was immediately disgusted and said, "I don't want to go," complained about being uprooted in the middle of a school semester during his last year of high school, and the fact that there was no cable TV at Mark's place. "You literally made the decision and told me I am moving. You didn't even think about me at all," said a frustrated Drew.
God and the new presidentAfter a particularly difficult, extremely anti-social and moody Max year on "Parenthood," the character finally won over the sympathy vote of viewers in the election run for class president. His off-the-cuff speech started pretty badly with a microphone mishap, deer-in-the-headlights gaze, and a giggling audience filled with classmates, but it ended with a triumphant victory.
Not only did Max win the election, but it was his speech -- a short, sweet thing of beauty -- revealing his medical condition that moved his classmates. He declared that "Asperger's is my greatest strength." That simple confession, followed by a couple good declarations of his character and determination, earned a standing ovation and the title of Mr. Class President for the young Braverman.
A scene that came out of nowhere, but packed a punch, was Crosby coming in to Jabar's room and asking if the boy would teach him how to pray to God. "You just say Dear God and start talking like a friend." When Crosby offered up a couple amusing comments to the Almighty, as well as prayers for his sister-in-law's cancer battle, it melted viewer hearts and probably earned a few brownie points in Heaven. It was really sweet and memorable.
Why no Emmy love?
"Parenthood" continues to shine with strength, passion, and reality; with amazing writing, acting, and directing. This show works on nearly every level, and this year in particular, they are outstanding. Why this program does not walk away with a dozen gold statues every year is baffling and certainly unfair. They deserve the respect and accolades of their peers and the Emmy-voting members.