NBC's Parenthood is back for a third season, beginning with "I Don't Want to Do This Without You." Life is never boring for the Bravermans. Adam (Peter Krause) is discouraged by the job market, and is tempted by Crosby's (Dax Shepard) pitch to run a music studio together. But financial concerns make him hesitate. Sarah (Lauren Graham) is hurt when her daughter, Amber (Mae Whitman), moves into her own apartment, and only stops by Sarah's 40th birthday party. Luckily, Sarah reconnects with Mark (Jason Ritter, returning now that The Event is kaput), who makes her feel better. Julia (Erika Christensen) grows desperate for a baby. Alex (Michael B. Jordan) is arrested.
Adam is undergoing an incredibly relatable plot in today's economy. Out of work, almost out of savings, he begins to grow frustrated at the lack of career opportunities. He starts applying for terrible jobs, well below his skill level and pay grade, just to have some income coming in. But he is tempted by a dream. For most of us, this would never work out. Because this is television, often an escapist medium, Adam will probably accept Crosby's offer, and they will do well. Even as the rest of the music industry implodes. I don't know if Parenthood is making viewers feel better with the fantasy, or encouraging people to make irrational decisions. Let's hope nobody sues the series.
For Crosby, who has a steady income, it's also a risk. Being a homeowner now, and with a son, Jabbar (Tyree Brown) to take care of, can he really afford to go out on a limb? True, Crosby already works in the music industry, and may have enough contacts to make a serious go of things. But should he try when the payoff is so uncertain, and staying put guarantees much needed stability? His decision is a little tricky, although if the idea does fail, seeing Adam ruined may hurt Crosby far more than it hurts himself. Which might give him incentive to work even harder at the job.
Then again, Crosby is dating another woman he isn't serious about (Wilfred's Fiona Gubelmann), so maybe he hasn't grown up very much.
Julia has a dream of a different kind. Unable to conceive, she begins looking at other options. But like Adam, she finds her prospects bleaker than she would like. So she starts looking for an easy solution. One scheme she has is to ask to buy her coffee vendor's kid. It's an insane idea, as everyone, including her husband, Joel (Sam Jaeger), tells her. Yet, in true Julia fashion, she will not let go of it. Again, because this is television, it will probably work out for her, unlike it would in real life. This is both heartening and depressing at the same time.