Monday, March 4, 2013


Parenthood Season 4, Episode 7 – “Together” [Original air date: Nov. 13, 2012]

As much as we sometimes want to forget about our pasts and only focus on our futures, every now and then bits of the past come back and collide with the present day. In this episode of Parenthood the time Ryan spent serving in Afghanistan is affecting his drive to find employment, as well as his ability to be open about his feelings in his new relationship with Amber. Victor’s past living arrangements appear to be holding him back from finding new friends and gaining social acceptance among his peers. Drew’s breakup with Amy earlier this season still has Drew in shambles, and his mom’s decision to have them move in with her fiancé, as well as Drew’s aunt being diagnosed with cancer, has only propelled Drew farther out of his comfort zone.

Frustration seems to be a main theme here, especially in regards to Kristina’s feelings about her cancer situation. No one really knows how to respond or react towards Kristina, so everyone wants to help or live in solidarity with her. However, the insistence on assisting is only making things harder and more overwhelming for the very person everyone seems to be trying to keep claim. How do people really deal with cancer, anyways? Cancer affects so many people, yet we all tend to feel some kind of aggravation, paranoia, and/or vulnerability. Kristina’s phone conversation with Adam really hits the head on the nail: “I feel like a prisoner in own home… I don’t like being taken care of… I feel helpless.” Kristina says she wishes things could just be normal again, but what exactly is normal? We don’t always get to choose what frustration or goodness or hardships get thrown our way. How we deal with it all is really a testament to our character. I can’t help but think of lyrics from Martina McBride’s song “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” when watching Kristina’s and Adam’s storyline unfold on screen: “
The doctor just confirmed her fears; Her husband held it in and held her tight; Cancer don’t discriminate or care if you’re just 38 with three kids who need you in their lives; He said, ‘I know that you’re afraid and I am, too. But you’ll never be alone, I promise you.’

This episode really speaks to the heart about not letting the handicaps society places on us keep us feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with life; life is too short not live everyday to the fullest. The writers of Parenthood tend to intertwine situations and ideas people face on a daily basis into the show. For example, in this episode viewers see the difficulty of searching for a job, the agony of feeling marginalized and excluded, and the awkwardness of romantic relationships and how they can wilt and die just as fast as they bud and blossom. In the end it is often the little things in life that mean the most or have the greatest impact. As humans we tend to take risks, want to try new things, and have the drive to learn more about ourselves and others. Watching Victor and Miguel speak Spanish while playing basketball inspires Julia to try and learn Spanish. Kristina is starting chemotherapy treatment in an effort to overcome the cancer which has infected her body. Ryan and Amber take their relationship to the next level, getting physical for the first time, but hint at the fact that sex changes everything. Zeek and Amy find out information they didn’t know earlier, which causes them to rethink the relationships they have with others. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to making it through life. Parenthood makes it clear that cookie cutter life expectations are a characteristic found more often in fairytales than reality.

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