Monday, January 28, 2013

Left Field

Parenthood Season 4, Episode 2 – “Left Field” [Original air date: Sept. 18, 2012]

When playing a game it can sometimes be hard to tell if people are the ones playing the game or if the game is actually playing the people. Let’s face it: incorporating technology into our lives can be somewhat of a game, especially in today’s world with the amount of technology we use and consume on a daily basis. Do we control technology, or is technology controlling us? Sure, we use technology to help make our lives easier, but it may appear that some technology-savvy individuals rely so much on their devices and electronic reminders that life becomes rather fake. It’s arguable that those who are dependent on technology cut themselves short of true life experiences. Rather than getting genuine reality, we have come to accept phoniness and reproduction as being real. This episode of Parenthood is loaded with technology undertones, reminding viewers of both the pros and cons to our vast technology-saturated and completely mediated world.

Texting has practically replaced picking up the phone and calling; email is now the preferred mode of professional communication; we can have virtual online relationships with someone we’ve never actually met in real life. Technology is great, but also scary at the same time; it can become too much too fast if we do not watch ourselves. I would not be surprised if one day we have rehab for techies and Technology Anonymous meetings for tech-addicted individuals. Besides for the few exceptions though, nothing in life is truly bad if consumed in moderation. Still, technology seems to be taking over at such a speed, it is creating somewhat of a generation gap between users. As seen in Parenthood, when taking pictures we sometimes have our phones set to video; calendar applications make it nearly impossible to have business meetings without reminder-noises going off; we practically become slaves to phones, computers, and digital planners in our fast-paced environments.

Adam and Kristina are so scheduled – perhaps even anal regarding schedules – that a third party may become stressed out or even start hyperventilating by simply seeing Adam and Kristina’s phone calendars. (A time management tip: don’t be a slave to technology.) Viewers get a glimpse here of how easy it is to lose track of what is most important to you in life when you get so wrapped up in sticking to a schedule. (Another time management tip: accept the fact that interruptions will occur.) This “happy couple” argues when one of them is not as committed to the schedule as the other, as well as when situations do not go as planned. Like many couples out there, Adam and Kristina schedule “funky town,” a time when they can get a little more intimate with each other (Power to them!). Yet it might be nice, and healthy, to have a little unscheduled “funky town” once in a while, allowing yourself and your partner to be more sexually spontaneous.

Crosby and Jasmine show us what happens when your whole life is go-with-flow, never willing to commit. This “freestyle” mentality may appear to be more relaxed and less stressful, but it is obvious this is not always the case. Crosby and Jasmine do not entirely see eye-to-eye when it comes to scheduling. Each side of this duo is not always willing to give a little in order to please the other, and there is often miscommunication – i.e. who is picking Jabbar up from school? There is yet a third scheduling storyline taking place in this episode, as Joel and Julia show us another side of the scheduling equation: Sometimes what is scheduled needs to change thanks to unforeseen conflicts, family issues, and having/wanting to be there for the ones you love. Though it takes a few days away from the office and a lot of willpower, Julia is able to win over Victor’s trust, strengthening her and Victor’s relationship, as well as helping her and Joel’s marriage.

When necessary it’s important to take a leap of faith: Adam agrees with Kristina in letting Max get a dog, Crosby tries out the whole syncing digital calendars with Jasmine in an effort to foster better marital communication, Julia finds the inner discipline to keep her commitment and show Victor that in their family people keep the promises they make. Getting relationships to work is not easy, and Kristina’s cancer diagnosis reminds us to never take things for granted. Negative aspects of life can bring people together and make us stronger. It’s too bad we get so caught up in the “otherness” of life that we must lose, or learn we may lose, what we care about the most before we force ourselves to step back and reevaluate our priorities.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post! Your interpretation of technology in the show made it seem like Goldilocks and the Three Bears of scheduling: Adam and Kristina do it too much, Crosby and Jasmine not enough, and Joel and Julia just right. It was an interesting interpretation that I enjoyed!