TV Diary | Parenthood: “Missing”
TV Diary | Parenthood – Episode 3.11 – “Missing” – Original Airdate: 11/29/11
Editor’s note: New feature time here on the blog. I’m kind of shamelessly stealing from The AV Club’s format for their episode reviews, but I don’t think they’ll care much. I’m actually going to start doing some mini-reviews that I’m calling TV Diary. As we enter the digital age, DVRs have become much more prevalent over the past five years and many people tend to keep up with their favorite shows on their own pace. Many, like myself, rarely watch anything live so the stockpile of shows on the ol’ TiVo can get rather large. TV Diary will give you a look at what I’ve been watching – it may be a show that aired months ago, or it could be a show that aired just last night. My hope is that maybe I’ll turn you on to something you haven’t been watching or warn you away something that’s terrible. At the very least, it’ll allow me to exercise my writing muscles. Anyway, onto the entry.
One of the problems with Parenthood is that its sprawling ensemble cast necessitates focus given to one of the four main Braverman siblings on a rotating basis. That, in and of itself, is fine but when a storyline isn’t resonating – such as the recent martial conflict between Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter) – it tends to drag the entire show down with it. A little backstory: Adam and his brother Crosby (Dax Shepard) started a recording studio earlier in this third season of the show and hired a nubile young assistant named Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) who, in a vulnerable, drunken haze planted a kiss on the very married Adam. Since Parenthood is a fairly nuanced show, Rachel’s mistake was shown for what it was – a mistake. The Rachel character has been drawn as someone who is very good at her job, has an obvious and legitimate skill for the music business, and is simply a decent person who made a mistake. But, as Kristina has proven to be THE WORST over Parenthood’s two and a half seasons, she’s ordered Adam to fire Rachel. Adam, being a decent person himself, can’t bring himself to do that and when Kristina finds out he’s failed to carry out her demand she initiates a cold war between herself and Adam. The Parenthood writers do what they can to redeem Kristina somewhat , but the character has become so problematic that it’s difficult to feel any kind of sympathy for her or her situation . Ultimately – after a falsely dramatic scene where Max, unable to cope with the fact that neither of his parents are available to take him on an outing due to being preoccupied with their own crap  – Adam and Kristina come to an understanding: Adam capitulates and agrees to fire Rachel, causing Kristina to call Rachel  herself and bury the hatchet while warning her that nothing like the kiss had better happen again. Thankfully, this less than expertly-executed storyline seems to have drawn to a close in “Missing,” hopefully giving Parenthood a chance to return to a better version of itself.
 She does offer a job to her downtrodden niece Amber (Mae Whitman) and there’s a nice scene where Amber expresses doubt that she’ll be able to avoid disappointing Kristina, leading Kristina to provide her with a nice show of faith in her abilities in callback to Amber’s work with Kristina’s Asperger’s-afflicted son, Max (Max Burkholder) earlier in the season. Big fan of continuity – I like when past storylines pay off in future ones.
 It’s also difficult to not yell nasty names at her as I watch the show. Suffice it to say, my wife is not amused by this.
 Which, in fairness, does lead to a nice scene where Adam and Kristina’s teenage daughter Haddie (Sarah Ramos) expresses her earned frustration with dealing with Max’s condition. As always, Parenthood is never better than when one or more of its characters are yelling at each other.
 Never mind that Rachel called Kristina herself earlier in the episode after receiving counsel from Crosby and was shut down icily. Have I mentioned that Kristina is THE WORST?
*Sarah (Lauren Graham) wasn’t given much to do in this one, but the way that Graham played the combination of fear, shock, acceptance, and excitement when her much younger boyfriend, Mark (Jason Ritter), offhandedly mentioned that he’d like to have children with her after a day of babysitting Adam and Kristina’s infant daughter was a masterful display of wordless acting.
*Just as nice was Crosby’s realization that his ex-girlfriend (and baby mama) Jasmine’s (Joy Bryant) new boyfriend, Dr. Joe (D.B. Woodside) is actually a good guy after the good doctor leaves seats on the 50-yard line at a University Of California football game in order to tend to Crosby and Jasmine’s injured son Jabbar (Tyree Brown). Crosby’s acceptance that Joe isn’t the enemy and the guilt he felt over sleeping with Jasmine in the last episode, “Mr. Wonderful,” put nicely in perspective his own betrayal of Jasmine in season two with Minka Kelly’s Gaby.
*After being extorted by the boyfriend of their surrogate/adoptive mother Zoe in “Mr. Wonderful,” Julia (Erika Christensen) attempts to make a clean break after Zoe confronts the boyfriend over his dickishness. This isn’t entirely surprising because did anyone really think they weren’t going to end up with the baby? Also, this sets up the birth nicely for February sweeps in a month.
*Zeek’s (Craig T. Nelson) dick medicine commercial premieres. And it’s awful.
*I can’t remember… I mentioned that Kristina is THE WORST, right?
Episode Grade: C+