Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What to My Wondering Eyes

Parenthood Season 4, Episode 11 – “What to My Wondering Eyes” [Original air date: Dec. 11, 2012]

Its Christmas time at the Braverman house, but instead of just giving viewers an episode of Santa and gingerbread cookies, Parenthood also brought drama, life reflection, and some really great acting to our television screens.

While Victor and Sydney are snooping for their Christmas gifts, like many kids do leading up to December 25, Victor announces to his sister that Santa isn’t real. Julia and Joel are not sure how to respond. Julia takes the ‘Peter Pan mentality’ when she says, “I want her to have that magical feeling as long as possible.” Joel takes a more realistic approach when he proclaims, “You can’t be innocent forever.” Later in the episode it was Grandpa to the rescue! Zeek steps in when Victor and Max express not believing in Santa. He talks from ‘personal experience,’ and sums up the episode well when he says, “Santa is real, Christmas is magic, Christmas brings miracles.” Victor may still have been skeptical of Santa’s existence after Zeek’s talk, but he believed enough to believe Santa knew what he got for Christmas when the family visits Kristina in the hospital and Santa is there. Seeing is believing, but Victor’s experience proves you don’t have to see it all to truly believe.

Kristina’s white blood cells are down and her immune system is not responding. The doctors at the hospital are not very reassuring to Adam: “We’re going to give her the best care we can, but unfortunately there are no guarantees.” The mother-daughter relationship has long been viewed as a force to be reckoned with, and Hollywood has used this storyline for decades. The father-son relationship however is often placed on the back burner due to society’s view on what it means to be a man. The moment shared between Adam and Zeek at the hospital when Zeek tells Adam, “You need to take cvare of yourself, son,” and Adam breaks down in front of Zeek proclaiming he misses Zeek and needs him now more than ever, is truly a touching moment.

Since Sarah and Mark’s split, Hank and Sarah have rekindled some of their past feelings, some of which Sarah has been trying not to acknowledge. The two of them have a face-off to see which of them are more pathetic; Sarah wins. “I feel good because of you,” Sarah says to Hank, over a poorly made cocktail at the bar at the mall. “I’m not happy. I’m never going to be happy, and I’ve accepted that. But I’m almost happy,” Hank tells Sarah. Hollywood and the media seem to have crafted a sex and hookup mentality for those in their twenties, but the reality is, many people in their thirties have yet to settled down and many people on their forties are divorced and looking to start new. Hank and Sarah end up sleeping together, which is fine, but it makes me question if it is too much too fast. Until this episode, I would not have considered myself a member of the Hank fan club, but Hank is growing on me. I’m still not completely sold on the budding relationship between him and Sarah.

The fight between Amber and Ryan after Ryan comes back drunk from the bar shows some great acting skills from both Matt Lauria and Mae Whitman. However, the award for best acting in this particular episode may have to go to Monica Potter for her portrayal of Kristina. The video Kristina left to her children in the event something happened to her, not allowing her to make it through her battled with breast cancer, was some of the most touching, genuine, and heartfelt moments in Parenthood this season: “I may not always be with you the way that I want to be, but I will never leave your side. I will always be with you.” If anyone doubted Kristina’s love for her children, or Adam’s love for his wife, this scene definitely proved took those doubts away. Perhaps admitting this will make me sound vulnerable, but I could not help but cry while watching this scene.

How many chances should one allow a significant other until it is time to throw in the towel and move on? Baseball fans tend to believe in the ‘three strikes, you’re out’ concept. After Ryan’s drunk episode, Amber is not fully feeling their relationship anymore. It is apparent Amber has bit her tongue in the past and kept things to herself. She has forgiven Ryan’s faults and looked for the positives in their relationship. This time around things might be different. While Ryan may have apologized for feeling ashamed and embarrassed, and he made it clear he wants to fix things, Amber is not ready to just jump back in, and rightfully so. It’ll be interesting to see where the writers of Parenthood take Amber’s and Ryan’s relationship. If Amber and Ryan have taught us anything, it is the importance of open communication. Amber tries to do the right thing when she suggests Ryan should talk to Joel and not let this construction job fiasco go any further than it already has. But as many of us learn in life, even doing the right things doesn’t always work out in our favor.

Jasmine reminds us how short life actually is when thinking about all that Kristina is going through, which makes her realize she would like to have another baby. If Parenthood is picked up for a fifth season (which NBC would be crazy to not give this series another season!), the storyline of Crosby and Jasmine having another baby definitely has the potential to take center stage the way Kristina’s cancer storyline did during season four. Haddie showing up at the hospital at the end of this episode was rather cliché, but it fits the mold of what television/movie goers look for and expect in dramas like Parenthood. Still, “What to My Wondering Eyes” this could be seen as the perfect Parenthood episode, as it included everything one could ask for in a holiday episode (and more). Any good Christmas themed show should make you realize the importance of family, and Parenthood did just that.

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