If I were a crier, this episode of Parenthood would have gotten me good. Instead I just did my thing where my throat gets tight and I pretend I’ve had a sudden allergic reaction to french fries.
It was, of course, the Amber and Ryan stuff that really got me this week. Mae Whitman is such an expressive actress, full of this raw emotion, it’s hard not to feel everything that her character is feeling yourself. The whole situation was so sad and painful and difficult – I didn’t want her to stay with Ryan, yet you can’t hate him either. You can’t hate him for having PTSD and mental illness, but you also can’t say he was a good match for Amber.
There were so many great scenes. Amber sitting down with her uncles, her conversation with Sarah. Both of her very tense, very difficult conversations with Ryan. Prior to his conversation with Zeke, I wouldn’t have guessed that Ryan would be the one to end things, that he would re-enlist in the army and leave Amber. I thought he loved her too much. But as an end to their tumultuous love story, it made sense. This was a fantastic storyline for the show.
The other really heavy storyline this week was Julia and Joel’s. Honestly, watching this play out every week practically makes me nauseous. I guess because they’ve always seemed like the perfect couple, even though it’s TV I hate to see the relationship disintegrate. Jason Katims does such a good job of making marriages seem real, that it’s almost scary to watch one fall apart right before your eyes.
I was hoping that neither Joel or Julia would cheat. I wanted to see their marriage struggle over their changing roles, resentments, and attractions that were never acted upon. I still think that’s more interesting. But a single kiss, especially given that Ed and his wife separated, was not the end of the world. The timing – Julia kissing another man just as Joel decides to really try and work through their issues – made everything much harder. I hated watching this, but I think it’s amazing storytelling.
The rest of the episode was lighter, thank goodness. I enjoyed watching Kristina put on a brave face after losing the election – even though I didn’t really care about Bob Little or throwing eggs at his face. I liked Crosby’s advice to Drew, because it was just so not Drew. Sweet kid. And I liked Sarah’s awkward morning-after encounter with her handsome neighbor after they slept together.
Sigh. I assume Parenthood is on hiatus until January or so. I’ll miss it.