This episode of Parenthood could have been a real sob fest. They played it cool, though. They brought you to the heart of the issue without being overly sentimental. It was almost as if viewers were left to peer in through a window, instead of being welcomed into the home. The people aren't real, but the situation is one that millions of people face and Parenthood handled it with class.
Here's what I mean...
Most important, the number of tears was minimal. A few damp eyes and a quivering lip was the total summation of drama. That's not to say there may not have been a bit of sobbing on the toilet, just that it was left to be assumed rather than witnessed.
The show also kept in all the accidental smiles that happen even during life's most difficult times. When all the Bravermans are chipping in to help out Christina and Adam, Crosby (Dax Shepard) sulks that he got the kid-job of taking the new puppy, Otis, for a walk. He swears he's an adult and asks to help more.
Naturally, on the walk, Otis breaks loose and is practically maimed by another huge dog at the park. Not only does Crosby show up at Adam's with a very late dinner, but he also has to return Otis to his owners with the poor pup wearing a cone of shame.
They showed the very heart of a mother. Upon waking up in the recovery room, Christina's first words weren't of complaint. Instead, she immediately wanted to know how Max's speech for class president went. She'd spent the previous few days stressed about the fact that she was missing such a big moment for her kid. As soon as she woke up, she demanded to know about the election. The writers for Parenthood summed up motherhood in a sentence. It was perfection.
Life went on — the world didn't stop when one Braverman became ill. First, Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Drew moved into Mark's apartment and Drew reacted like a typical teenage boy. Then, Max still had to give his speech, still focused on winning the election. Even bigger than that, his sister Haddie was there to help him see other great qualities in himself. In the end, he lengthened the speech he'd planned on making. He talked about having Asperger syndrome. And, amazingly, Max won the election.
Also, Grandpa Zeek's young veteran friend, Ryan, showed up to ask Amber (Mae Whitman) on a date. That date, by the way, was awkward, but adorable. For the first time, it looks like Amber may be treated with heaps of respect.
In typical Braverman style, though, they all end up together at the hospital. Despite Julia's (Erika Christensen) best efforts to keep the siblings on a schedule, none of them could bear to leave Adam. In the end, they all were in the waiting room together. They may have all been dealing with their own lives and their individual family dramas, but for one long morning and afternoon, their lives revolved around their big brother.
Parenthood took the horrors of cancer and used them to show the beauty of family. Once again, I'm reminded: I want to be a Braverman.
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