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TV Review: Parenthood Begins Season Two a Little Lighter

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This past Tuesday, NBC’s Parenthood returned for a second season. A surprise hit after a rocky start, the show has already received a 22-episode order, making this season a full one for the charming family drama. Season one ended with some heavy issues, and while those things have not gone away, the season premiere avoids being too depressing or melodramatic.

The funniest moment in this week’s episode came when young Sydney (Savannah Paige Rae) asked her parents, Julia (Erika Christensen) and Joel (Sam Jaeger), if she came out of a vagina, and if they did, too. She became obsessed with the whole concept of where babies came from. I thought it was just an amusing couple of scenes as the couple awkwardly tried to explain things to their daughter, but the plot then developed into Julia’s desire for another child, and Joel’s reaction against the idea. It’s writing like this that elevates Parenthood above other shows in the way they manage to seamlessly intertwine the comedy and the drama.

The most moving scenes came from Hattie (Sarah Ramos), who seems to be leaving behind the rebellious phase she went through last season. After knocking the mirror off her parents’ minivan while her mother, Kristina (Monica Potter), was trying to teach her to drive, Hattie really stepped up and handled the situation with her mother in a surprisingly mature way. A few minutes later, she stepped up and helped out her brother, Max (Max Burkholder), who was upset that his cousin wasn’t able to attend a sleepover. Hattie is certainly going to be an interesting character, already showing depth, and I hope that despite the very large cast, the show continues to follow her when she inevitably goes off to college.

Speaking of the missing cousin, Crosby (Dax Shepard) is having a tough time being all the way across the country from his son, Jabbar (Tyree Brown), and girlfriend, Jasmine (Joy Bryant). I’m sure this will be milked for awhile, but Jasmine and Jabbar have to move back to town soon. Jabbar was in almost the entire first season, and this year has been upgraded to series regular. Jasmine also remains in the theme song, so I’m assuming that means they will end up back with Crosby. But that resolution can’t come soon enough for me.

Resolution is the key for the elders in the family. Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) is showing plenty of humbleness as he tries to make things right with his wife, Camille (Bonnie Bedelia). It seemed to me that he was back to living with her, but it wasn’t completely clear. Their separation was one of the darkest paths explored last year, and I’m glad to see that bitterness will not be the reigning emotion between them.

Perhaps the most anticipated plot this year will be coming from Adam’s (Peter Krause) office. We met his boss (Billy Baldwin) this week, and it was revealed that his company is in trouble. Adam’s sister, Sarah (Lauren Graham), is plenty creative, but has been striking out on the job front. A match made in heaven? It seems so. Making the story more juicy is Sarah’s attraction to Adam’s boss, and a love triangle will soon develop as Sarah also falls for a forklift operator (Kevin Alejandro, True Blood) at the company.

Because there are 15 starring roles in this show, a couple of the characters weren’t even in this episode. That means plenty more will be coming up! I urge everyone to check out Parenthood, airing Tuesday nights at 10pm on NBC.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • http://www.svmoms.com Jill

    Along with “Modern Family” and “House”, this show is right up in my favorite category. Man, it hits home on so many levels: blended families, sassy teens, aging parents going through marriage difficulties, inquisitive children. I think the actors were casted SPOT ON! I love and want more from EACH and every character.

    Oh, and I also love the fact that this takes place in Berkeley!

    So what are your thoughts on a Baldwin joining the show?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jeromewetzeltv/ Jerome Wetzel

    I don’t know. I liked him on Gossip Girl last year. I need to see more of his interactions with Graham to see if I want more of him, but not impressed yet.