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TV Diary | Parenthood: “It Is What It Is”

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TV Diary | Parenthood – Episode 3.12 – “It Is What It Is” – Original Airdate: 1/17/12

Episode Grade: A-

Parenthood has been on such a great roll of forward momentum lately that it’s a shame that the season finale is just a scant four episodes away [1]. And just as the season is slipping away, so too do some of the Bravermans feel relationships and desires slipping from their grasps [2]. Jasmine watches as Crosby grows ever closer to Lily and is surprised by the feelings it stirs. Haddie sees her dreams of going to Cornell potentially derailed by the financial toll that Max’s condition takes on Adam and Kristina [3]. Julia feels Zoe’s second thoughts over giving up her baby growing by the day. Sarah sees Drew assimilating into his girlfriend’s family and taking college visitations with them instead of her. Zeek feels the weight of his own mortality in the face of a health crisis. Since the season’s end is approaching at a rapid pace, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that some of these situations will be tied up by the finale while others will likely not see their resolution until (hopefully, assuming a new season does happen) the fall. Impressive, right? That’s why I get paid the big bucks. (Checks bank account) Wait… no I don’t. Anyway, let’s start with the storyline that’s working the most for me right now. Crosby and Jasmine navigating the perils of dating other people while trying to remain civil with one another has been impressively played by all the principals thus far, and I’m on record as saying that I think that Courtney Ford’s Lily is a welcomed addition to the series, a feeling that’s reinforced by “It Is What It Is.” Crosby is clearly taken with her and she’s actually quite good with Jabbar, something that doesn’t go unnoticed by Jasmine – or Dr. Joe, for that matter – and that frankly seems to surprise Jasmine. The longing look she gives Crosby when she, Jabbar, and Dr. Joe attend a concert in which Lily is a participant – again, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Dr. Joe – and Jabbar’s assertion that he really likes “Daddy’s new friend” eat at her. She actually almost manages to wrest the title of THE WORST from Kristina this week because any difficulty she experiences as a result of Crosby and Lily’s burgeoning relationship is really the height of hypocrisy in light of the struggles that Crosby had when the situations were reversed. Hopefully, this isn’t a step towards putting Jasmine and Crosby back together because I like what DB Woodside and Ford have added to the show and find the dynamic between Crosby and Jasmine much more interesting when they’re apart. Meanwhile, the news of Haddie’s acceptance to Cornell stirs conflicting emotions in Adam and Kristina [4]. Adam is freaked out because of the tuition costs of an Ivy League school – an interesting angle as I thought that they might go more with the distance aspect, particularly after the events of “Road Trip” – while Kristina pitches harder to get Haddie to Cornell. Adam’s feeling that he doesn’t want Haddie to exit school with mounds of debt makes sense to a point, but when he points out to Kristina about Cornell that, “It just doesn’t make good sense,” well… neither did opening a recording studio with your flaky brother while knowing next to nothing about the recording industry, but that seems to be working out for you, doesn’t it? Ultimately, Adam gives in and tells Haddie that they’re going to do what it takes in order for her to be able to attend Cornell and while that scene was played well by both Peter Krause and Sara Ramos, I can’t help feeling like the storyline did feel a little rushed due to all of the plotlines that “It Is What It Is” had to serve. However, the great thing about “It Is What It Is” – and Parenthood in general, for that matter – is that the problems that its characters face aren’t just TV show problems. They’re problems that are easily relatable for any member of the show’s audience and, as played by an incredibly talented ensemble, they lead to some exceptional television.

[1] And here’s hoping that it’s not the SERIES finale. Parenthood always teeters on the ratings precipice and its 18-49 numbers have been hovering below the 2.0 mark usually needed for renewal. Still, TV By The Numbers’ weekly cancellation index has it as a near-lock to be renewed, but I won’t feel comfortable about that until it’s announced as a part of NBC’s 2012-13 schedule at the upfronts in May.
[2] I’m so sorry for that hackneyed BS. But what are you gonna do? It’s nearly 2AM as I’m writing this.
[3] Who is still THE WORST, in case you were wondering. Although, in fairness, she’s a little less THE WORST this week. But only a little.
[4] But not in Max: “It’s not Harvard or Yale, but Cornell’s not bad.”

*If I had to wager, I’d say that one of the cliffhangers going into season four is going to be whether Joel and Julia actually end up adopting Zoe’s baby. The seeds of doubt began blooming here via little hints such as Zoe wanting Julia to give the baby her grandfather’s watch and then freaking out after Julia takes her to a birthing class which, frankly, was an idea that was doomed from the start. Then, there was the gigantic red flag when Zoe confesses, “It hurts. It hurts more than I thought it was going to hurt. But it is what it is, right?” before telling Julia not to worry even as she herself is barely keeping things together. This will likely not end well.
*Lauren Graham was on the back burner again, but as usual she played the hell out of the material she was given, this time dealing with the realization that the parents of Drew’s girlfriend, Amy, seem to know more about her own son’s future than she does. Kind of puzzling that an actress as talented as Graham has been shifted into the background as much as she has been in 2012 so far. Hoping that gets fixed sometime in the final four episodes.
*I realize that Cornell’s an Ivy League school, but since when is Berkeley a fallback? Maybe that’s just me, but as both Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall and The AV Club’s Todd VanDerWerff pointed out in their reviews, it’s likely that Haddie’s going to end up at Berkeley for logistical reasons unless Ramos is leaving the show for some reason. It’s highly doubtful that they’re going to send her across country away from the entire family to put her on an island like that. Just doesn’t seem like something Parenthood would do.
*Ramos did play Haddie’s understandable (and understanding) frustration with Max’s situation impressively.
*Zeek buys an RV as a result of his being diagnosed with a potentially serious heart condition. Really… that’s basically the entirety of the storyline. And it’s about as interesting as that sentence makes it sound, which is to say not very.
*Really looks like the show’s headed towards a Bob Little/Amber hookup pretty soon. After Amber is tasked with helping to run the show at a campaign fundraiser, Little notices her managing the drunken host of the event in impressive fashion and is clearly taken with her. She then stays late to help Kristina and, after Kristina takes her leave, she and Little are the last two members of the campaign to leave the event. Little invites her to dinner but she declines… this time. I’ve already voiced my concern that this has the potential to turn into another “Amber screws up her job” storyline. Prove me wrong, Parenthood.
*An observation on the three 2012 episodes: It’s entirely possible that the show has fixed its yelling problem. It’s kind of been a running joke over the show’s run that Parenthood’s never better than when two or more of its characters are yelling at each other and, while that hasn’t been COMPLETELY absent from these last three episodes, it’s not been nearly as prevalent as it has in the past and the show’s been on a great run despite that. That’s a very good sign.
*Camille: “I didn’t say a word.” Kind of sums up her entire existence on this show right there.
*”That’s not weird. That’s stupid.”
*”Guys… that’s nasty. That’s gross.”
*”The thing about helping people with no money is that you have to be really good at seducing people with money.”
*”My dad said if I pretend not to be bored, I can get ice cream on the way home!”
*Episode below via Hulu as usual.


Written by jeremylikestv

February 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm

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