Friday, November 30, 2012


Episode 8: One More Weekend with You
Episode 9: You Can't Always Get What You Want
By: Carlos Uribe

Parenthood is a show about the Braverman family.

Spoilers Ahoy!

One More Weekend with You:

One More Weekend with You is an amazing episode that makes everything work pretty well. Take the Kristina story. She agreed to take care of Max's best friend for a weekend while his parents go to Las Vegas before the cancer prognosis. She's not publicly broadcasting that she has cancer to the world so they don't know this. This leaves the Braverman household as busier than ever: there's the dog that needs to be potty-trained, Nora, Max, and his friend. This is a perfect recipe for chaos. It should come as no surprise that Max and his friend don't always get along throughout the episode as they have fights and try to get Kristina involved. This wouldn't normally be a problem but she's going through chemotherapy and she doesn't feel well in this episode. She's bed-ridden and in pain for a large portion of the weekend. Her condition gets so bad that Adam is forced to get some pot from his brother to try and make her feel better. One More Weekend with You explores not only the pain that a cancer patient has to go through but also the effects that it has on the lives on the people around her. That it leaves Adam completely alone on having to deal with every single issue that comes up really strains him. He doesn't just have to take care of his sick wife but a disabled kid, a kid with aspergers, a baby and a dog all by himself. This is taking a toll on him as well.

Adam is by himself but Sarah is trying to figure out how to be a parent with someone else. Mark catches Drew having sex with Amy. Mark tries his best to use the situation to try and become a parent figure to Drew but Sarah struggles with this. She tries her best to restrain herself. She's used to knowing everything about her son and being a part to his complete life. She doesn't like the idea that there is a part of his life that he doesn't want her to know or discuss with her. She can't help but bring up what happened. This annoys Drew and Mark loses a chance to bond with him. This is a plot that explores just how exactly a single parent deals with having a new parental figure in the household. What's interesting is the topic it deals in. The conversation of sex with a son is usually left up to the father. That Mark tries to fill in this role but is rebuffed by his mother is simply a way for the show to express this effectively.

While Sarah and Mark are trying to figure out how to be parents together, Amber and Ryan are getting closer. The two go on a road trip because one of Ryan's war buddies died in a car crash. It wasn't an accident but an act of suicide. Ryan's friend simply couldn't adjust to the reality back at home and he took a way out. This action in itself is enough to shed some light on what exactly Ryan is going through. He's probably not going to commit suicide any time soon but he's going through the same ordeal. The show is able to further show his problem with Ryan gets into an argument with another veteran who served with him. This argument turns into a full-blown fist fight. It's all over whether Ryan's friend had died a hero or whether he had died a coward. It's an argument that is all to real to these guys as they had just finished risking their lives in the overseas wars. Amber and Ryan may now be getting together but Amber is starting to see just how tough transitioning back into home life can be for a soldier.

The best part of the episode isn't the cancer story (which was still amazing). It wasn't the parental confusion over Drew nor was it the show's exploration of what it's like to be a veteran. It has to be with what Sydney is going through. Sydney has been used to being the only daughter of Joel and Julia. She's grown accustomed to having their undivided attention and love. Victor's inclusion in the family along with her parents attempt to get him to view them as his own parents has been hard on Sydney. She's now finding that her wants aren't being addressed immediately. She's having to accept that she now has a brother that takes her parent's attention away from her. This is tough for Sydney and it gets to her in this episode. She snaps and starts to act out. There's a particularly powerful scene where Sydney pretends to run away at home and yells at her parents that she's been ignored. She was there first after all. While Julia isn't too happy at her daughter's behavior, Joel does note that her tantrum was completely justified.

One More Weekend with You is an episode that's largely about how adding or removing people can have ripple effects. Adam has to deal with his entire household when Kristina is too sick to help, Sarah has to deal with sharing parenting responsibilities with Mark, and Sydney is acting out of no longer being a single child. The only minor plot that doesn't fit this theme is the Jasmine and Crosby story, that solely exists to include them in the episode. They have a minor fight over some party they're throwing and it's resolved as quickly as it starts. It was a genius episode that managed to balance all of it's parts rather well.

You Can't Always Get What You Want:

This is a show that's very good at making me feel emotions. It can make me sad and happy. I can go from laughing in one scene to almost tearing up in the next one. There's been multiple times in this show where I have cried. The one emotion I don't think I've ever felt while watching this show was blind rage. I've had to pause this show because it gets too powerful at times but this is the first time where I've had to pause the show because I was about to throw my laptop into the Charles river. To state that this episode made me angry is an understatement. Why was I so angry? There is this new character the show has introduced called Marleeze. She is frankly the worst bitch that has probably ever appeared on any television show. She comes into the show having completely legitimate complaints but presenting them with the worse attitude possible. She simply doesn't seem to understand decent human behavior is the best way to resolve any disputes. That she's threatening their business because she can't communicate peacefully with them simply made me want to see her dragged into the depths of hell, where she obviously belongs. You'd think this hatred means I thought the story was terrible? On the contrary, we're supposed to hate her. It's possible that I probably hate her a little bit too much.

The entire show didn't make me angry either. For instance, I rather liked the Julia and Joel story. Julia has quit her lawyer job a few episodes ago. This means that they currently don't have a source of income and two kids to feed. Joel's solution is that he's going to accept a job offer and become a foreman. This upsets Julia. She tries to hide under the guise that Joel is not putting Victor first but this never truly makes sense. It's going to be hard putting a son first if he's starving. It isn't until after they have a big fight that Julia realizes what's really bothering her. She's not finding being a stay-at-home mother as fulfilling. She loves spending time with her kids but it's the time when they're at school that she's struggling with. She doesn't find spending time with the other mothers as entertaining and she simply doesn't have anything worthwhile to do. It has led to her wasting times on small projects that are only able to satisfy her temporarily. She's angry with Joel because she's afraid that this going to be their new status quo. This is going to be something that the couple deals with until Julia can get her old job back.

The Adam and Kristina story is a sweet one. It begins with Max trying to close down the school dance so they can use the money towards the vending machine. Everyone is against this idea since a large portion of school populations actually like dances. Max tries his best to veto it but he's convinced by his parents to allow the kids to have dances. He agrees but then Kristina starts to insist that he goes. This enters a whole new drama where Kristina tries his best to convince him. Adam isn't sure why she cares so much if he goes until she reveals to him that she doesn't know how long she has on this planet. She doesn't want to miss any major milestones in Max's life. She wants him to go to this dance, rather than a future one, because she knows she'll be able to see him go. Knowing this, Adam is able to talk Max into going to the dance. Their story arc ends with a sweet scene where Kristina teaches Max how to ask a girl out to dance and then how to actually dance with her. It's a story that puts the cancer in the background even if it's what drives the conflict.

Sarah's love triangle between Mark and Hank develop more due to conflicting weekend plans. She had made plans with Mark to attend a wedding. He's very excited to spend the weekend with her that he even upgrades to a suite so they could enjoy it more. This plan is ruined when Hank reveals that his wife is moving his daughter all the way to Minnesota. He feels like he has to go to Los Angeles in order to talk with his ex-wife and that involves booking a job. He just assumes that Sarah is free and he expects her to be there. Sarah now has two conflicting desires: she wants to spend the weekend with Mark and she wants to help Hank with his personal situation. This inner conflict is resolved when Mark practically disinvites her to the wedding because he's not happy that she's putting Hank over him. This is pretty much going as any viewer would expect but it's still sad to see Sarah and Mark's relationship struggle because of Hank.

You Can't Always Get What You Want is a wonderful episode even as I hate with every fiber in my being this Marleeze character.

Other Notes:

You Can't Always Get What You Wants also has a story where Amber is reminded how little she understands what Ryan is going through.

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