Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Keep On Rowing

Parenthood Season 4, Episode 12 – “Keep On Rowing” [Original air date: Jan. 1, 2013]

It has been said a picture is worth a thousand words. How many words then would a scene from a television show be worth? Perhaps it depends on the scene. Kristina starts losing her hair in this episode thanks to her chemotherapy, a reality we all knew was coming, and one which many cancer patients are forced to face. Kristina makes a bold move and shaves her head once she starts losing her blonde locks. The scene where Kristina decides to shave her head is pure emotion, as it includes no spoken words. It is said that 93% of our communication is nonverbal, and anyone who watches this scene would have a hard time denying this fact. Happiness, sadness, reflection, empowerment, and anxiety are all expressed as Kristina shows us that bald is beautiful. This wasn’t the message which was first expressed, however: “Everywhere I went today everybody looked at me like I was a freak show,” Kristina told Adam. “I thought this whole thing would be so transforming and liberating and I would feel this sense of freedom.” Kristina and Adam fight throughout the first half of this episode with fighting which seemed almost too real to be scripted television.

I am lead to believe the relationship difficulties between Adam and Kristina is a very real portrayal of what families dealing with cancer must go through: not feeling beautiful, thinking people hate the fact that you look sick, and taking gestures which were intended to be kind the wrong way. Kristina’s apology to Adam seemed to be taken right out of a Hollywood movie, which helpless romantics (myself included) just melt over. It incorporated a rented limo, fancy hotel reservations, and nice clothes: “If you’ll have me, I would like to go on a date with you.” It’s refreshing to think that adults in committed relationships can still ask each other out on dates in cute teenage ways. Comic relief came when 27-year-old salesman Luke tried hitting on Kristina in the hotel lobby. Kristina pretended she was a 27-year-old successful businesswoman named Jennifer working in management. When Adam and Kristina do not make it to “Funky Town,” viewers see that showing you care and love can be expressed in other ways other than having sex; staying by each other’s side and accepting one another are attractive, powerful, and uplifting characters all romantics should learn to embody (Adam and Kristina’s storyline in this episode reminded me of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”).

It’s official: Hank and Sarah are good for each other, at least for the time being. The way they acted during their ‘ask me out on a date’ scene was the perfect combination of cute and uncomfortable, like teenagers coming clean about the fact that they have a crush on one another. That innocence continues after the date is planned through genuine conversation that almost appeared to be going in the wrong direction, but made its way back and practically warmed your heart. Like Adam and Kristina, it is refreshing how open Hank and Sarah are with one another: “People get jealous… that’s human nature.” The date moves from the restaurant to Hank’s place, and includes a bottle of red wine and a card game on the floor. The openness continues: “Eye contact is not one of my favorite things, but with you I find it hard not to look in your eyes.” It is at this point where Hank asks Sarah on a second date, as if the two had just met for the first time and they’re still in the ‘getting to know you’ stage (The interactions between Hank and Sarah seem to be right out of The Script’s “For the First Time”).

Can ‘behavior’ and ‘the person’ be separated, or are they a packaged deal? Joel and Julia have a serious conversation about Victor’s actions after he throws a metal baseball bat through a glass door, almost seriously injuring Sydney. Julia says, “You judge people by their actions.” She tells Joel she is not sure if they can continue to live this way. This all stemmed from victor getting an A on his most recent math exam and asking Julia if he can show it to his “real” mom. It appears Victor does not see Julia as his mother, and he does not understand what he cannot see his “real” mom, which he feels it is not fair. The ‘Victor situation’ which has been going on this whole season has stressed Julia out to the point where she has started to take her aggravation out on Sydney. Sydney is no perfect angel though, as it was her instigator attitude and nagging of Victor over his “real” mother possibly being in jail and not loving him which pushed Victors buttons and caused him to take his anger out in a whole new way. In the end, Julia still struggles. No matter what she tries it seems to not be completely effective, which is hard for a perfectionist like herself to accept. And yet, like many parents, she wants to do everything she can for her children, even if her children are not fully appreciative of her efforts.

Brotherly Advice: “This is family; when you married Jasmine you married her family. Now her problems are your problems whether you like it or not.” Jasmine’s mom is in a bind and needed money, so Adam told Crosby, “Do not rock the boat. This is family; it’s the right thing to do.” Even though I believe a line needs to be drawn somewhere so that family members do not just end up advantage of each other, I do agree with Adam that family is important and family members should always have each other’s backs. It turns out Renee’s situation is larger than Jasmine originally thought, and that in order to rectify the situation Renee must move in to the guest room at Jasmine and Crosby ‘s place (a.k.a. Crosby’s man cave). After some fighting, Jasmine telling Crosby to get over himself, and Crosby thinking he took the weak position which allowed Jasmine to take advantage of the situation, I predict this change may be a blessing in disguise.

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