I came into this episode thinking ‘The Talk’ referred to the ever so awkward discussion with one’s parents regarding the birds and the bees. I was surprised to read that Crosby and Jasmine would be having this ‘talk’ with Jabbar, since he’s only eight, but I recently read in a magazine that that’s not considered too early these days. Though I was surprised that they wouldn’t be teaching Jabbar about sex in this episode, I think they covered an issue that Crosby and Jasmine have been overlooking for four seasons now: Race. Despite the fact that they make Jasmine and Jabbar seem to be the disenfranchised party here, I like that they also focus on Crosby’s feelings about the matter. I would have moved the heart-to-heart in which Jasmine tells Crosby how she’s been affected by racism to before they sit Jabbar down, so that it doesn’t entirely overshadow the fact that Crosby feels excluded from the topic. I think it’s definitely important for Jasmine to open up to her husband about her past experiences, but I think she should have let Crosby be more involved and focus on the fact that Jabbar is just as much black as he is white. Though both parents relate to their respective halves of their son, neither of them know what it feels like to have dual heritages. This could also be a good way for Jabbar to bond with Victor, as a Hispanic boy who’s been adopted by a white family.
Once again, the theme of difficult discussion isn’t limited to just one family, as Adam and Christina originally decide to discourage Max from running for student council president, though Christina eventually changes her mind. I get that they’re busy, what with their dry erase board and digital calendars, but they really need to learn how to communicate! When they’re together everyone’s shouting at the same time and when they’re apart they’re undermining one another’s authority as parents. Though I side with Christina and think that they need to teach Max about defeat and disappointment, I think she definitely should have stated her case to Adam before letting him come home to find Max making campaign posters. Another issue that I felt wasn’t communicated well to the audience was Christina’s surgery date. Maybe I just wasn’t listening very well, but I was under the impression that they were moving Christina’s surgery forward, not back. That’s really my last complaint about this episode though.
Even though Christina’s battle with cancer would have a natural tendency to overpower other story lines in any series, it doesn’t always seem to be front page news on Parenthood. I loved that after seeing Julia struggle to bond with Victor for three weeks, we finally see him develop a stronger relationship with Joel. Though it seemed to be wrapped up so neatly in this episode, I really want to see more in weeks to come. Another character I hope appears more in the future is Ryan York, played by the incredible Matt Lauria, and not just because he starred in Friday Night Lights. Maybe it’s because I’m super hormonal, but when I re-watched the final season of The Wonder Years(starring Dan Lauria, no relation) this summer, I cried like a baby over the episode in which Wart comes home from Vietnam. While I’m not suggesting that a future episode feature Matt Lauria stripping down to his boxers (though what could it hurt?), I still think it would be even more heartbreaking to see Ryan break down emotionally rather than just talk about it with Zeke. Though IMDb only lists him as guest starring in this one episode so far, it looks as though we’ll see him again, attending Victor’s baseball game with the family. It would help if he could get close to Amber romantically (opposites attract?) but it might feel like the show is repeating itself after Haddie dated Alex while volunteering at the soup kitchen with Camille.
I still don’t have anything bad to say about this show. I can see why in past seasons it would seem pretty boring to some viewers, but again, it’s very relatable no matter who you are. I love that they use Max’s character for comedic relief without making fun of his difficulties, by highlighting his trouble understanding common euphemisms, like ‘too much on your plate.’ That’s something that could confuse any kid, but Max Burkholder pulls it off so well and with perfect timing.
What did you think of this week’s episode?