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TV  |  Reviews

Parenthood Review: "The Ring" (Episode 5.08)

November 15, 2013  |  12:47pm
<i>Parenthood</i> Review: "The Ring" (Episode 5.08)

Parenthood remains one of the best shows on television that has never been nominated for a major Emmy. Maybe it never will be, either. It is one of those shows that has struggles along the way year after year, but always ends up producing quality content in the end. Week after week Twitter blows up with fans saying they cried, they laughed, they felt a part of the family.

This week was no different. The show even went ahead and began to mend one of the two storylines that have made this season drag on so far. While the campaign remains a burden—I’ll get to that later—Joel and Julia’s marital problems are turning around. The rift between the two strong characters seemed to be fabricated out of nowhere. Year after year they have been loyal and loving. They made it through a shaky plot where they adopted Victor and everything was on track for them to finally have the happiness they deserved.

This season, however, the show decided to tear these two apart, and it didn’t feel real until this episode. Julia is broken. The couple now has real things to fight about, and it comes off as an organic situation—unlike before. One of the more emotional scenes comes when Julia turns to a friend named Ed. She collapses in his arms and the two hug. It’s not romantic in any sense, but that idea might be somewhere in Julia’s head. She needs to be loved, and right now it isn’t happening with Joel. We’ve seen this before in this show, but it is painful to see such a strong couple go through this.

Another couple is heavily featured this season, but it isn’t one of the “parents” of the title. It is one of the children. Amber is an adult now, and we’ve seen her journey into a relationship with Ryan blossom over the past two seasons. Now that she is ready to wed, we get to see the early stages of a relationship, similar to Crosby and Jasmine’s. What is different though is Amber’s age. I won’t say that she is immature; however, I will say that it is a burden on the seriousness of their relationship. I understand where both sides are coming from, and the plot has become an intriguing aspect of the show because it produces raw and somewhat intimate moments.

We turn away from relationships—sort of—as Sarah pals around with Zeek. The daughter-father dynamic is something the show has shied away from since the early seasons. It was a nice story that offered some great moments to see how Zeek manages a day-to-day life without his loving wife. We also get to see Crosby deal with his son’s decision to follow in Jasmine’s footsteps and take ballet. While it is not a big deal for boys to want to dance, it still may be hard for certain fathers to accept it. Seeing this unfold was a nice touch for Crosby. I was tired of seeing the newborn stories. Does that make me a bad person?

One thing I hated—so I don’t want to spend time on it—is the campaign’s exploitation of Max’s Asperger’s. I’m glad that they don’t follow through. I couldn’t see Kristina doing it, and she bails on the press conference. This plot is growing tired, and it’s something that needs to end. I get that they’re trying to give Kristina something positive in her life, but this is turning into a huge deterrent from the better plots.

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