April 28, 2010 · 2:55 am
“Perchance to Dream”
April 27th, 2010
Last week, Parenthood was given a second season, and I was pleased: yes, I have at times voiced my intense frustration with some of the show’s tonal inconsistencies, but in doing so I admit that they seem like a show working itself out more than a show which has no chance of ever reconciling its various parts. Rather, it’s a show that very clearly doesn’t want to know what it is yet, a show which wants to embrace the slack that we cut freshman series by trying out as many things as possible. The result is occasionally a show that makes me want to tear my hair out, but it’s also occasionally a show that really resonates emotionally, and there has always been moments which make you think that maybe these crazy Bravermans might just make it after all.
“Perchance to Dream,” easily the most consistent episode of the show thus far, feels perfectly timed to make me excited to see where this show goes in its second season. The show has, to this point, felt like one where the characters are sort of adrift in a sea of uncertainty, as changes and challenges to their family force them to react and respond accordingly. However, this week’s episode dials down the drama and creates “slice of life” scenarios which the show plays for some humour but ultimately uses to draw out some meaningful character moments that feel like they’re building towards something more than a saccharine conclusion. It finally feels like we’re seeing something out of Act Two rather than Act One, and showing characters capable of being self-aware and who share relationships with other characters which don’t have clear hierarchies that lead to formulaic storylines.
Dare we dream that Parenthood might some day become the dramatic powerhouse that is Jason Katims’ other show, Friday Night Lights? Well, no, but I do think we’re to the point where the idea doesn’t seem like a hilariously improbable notion.
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Filed under Parenthood
Tagged as Adam Braverman, Amber, Bra, College, Dance, Dax Shepard, Drama, Drew, E.T., Episode 9, Erika Christensen, Friday Night Lights, Haddie, Jabbar, Jasmine, Jason Katims, Julia, Kristina, Max, Monica Potter, NBC, Perchance to Dream, Peter Krause, Sarah, Season 1, Sydney, Television, TV
April 8, 2010 · 1:20 am
“The Big ‘O'”
April 6th, 2010
I am well aware that Parenthood is not a perfect show, oscillating between moments of quiet complication and moments of tidy resolution without really earning the latter, but here I am reviewing it despite being a day “late.”
Part of that is due to the show’s ratings success: settling in at a solid demo rating that actually saw the show best both ABC’s highly-promoted V and CBS’ hit The Good Wife (which skews old), all signs point to the show receiving a second season, which means that any time I invest now will help me chart the show’s growth in the future.
However, most of it is due to the fact that as the show goes along, it continues to become more confident: it isn’t necessarily that much more consistent, but its inconsistencies are sort of moving around. Criticizing the show is in many ways like trying to hit a moving target: it isn’t that a single story is causing all of the show’s problems, but rather there’s always one story that just doesn’t quite add up, or which feels like it’s unfolding in a fashion too beholden to the unavoidable clichés the show’s premise creates. But because that’s never the same story, with the same characters, there’s always something new to talk about both good (in that past problem stories manage to pull off something quite subtle) and bad (in that some other stories take a wrong turn).
“The Big ‘O'” is certainly one of the stronger hours of the series, managing two fairly “big” moments in the show’s serialized narrative in a nice subtle fashion while going a tad bit off the rails with some of the other developments – next week, I’m sure, things will switch all over again, but let’s stick to what we’ve got for now.
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Filed under Parenthood
Tagged as Amber, Asperger's, Braverman, Camille, Crosby, Episode 6, Erika Christensen, Friday Night Lights, Jabbar, Jason Katims, Jason Ritter, Joel, Kristina, Lauren Graham, Max, Minka Kelly, Monica Potter, Mr. Cyr, NBC, Peter Krause, Racquel, Ratings, Sarah, Season 1, The Big "O", Zeke