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Parenthood - Season 2 thread

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Greg_S_H, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I don't know how old the actress who plays Haddie is...but there does seem to be a huge age difference between the two. I agree completely.

    I would say that based solely on appearance's sake, age would be the biggest hindrance to their having a successful relationship than race, life experience, or economic status. His alcoholism, however, is another entire issue.
     
  2. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    I think he's older than her, but I don't think he's supposed to be that much older than her. My guess is that the character is 19 or 20, and Haddie's 16 or 17. I think they're handling it very carefully, since there is nothing overtly sexual about anything they're doing even though the mutual attraction is obvious. Haddie's a pretty lonely person when you get right down to it, and I think it's healthy for her to have a peer that appreciates her sense of humor and makes her happy. His personal life is a minefield, but he's handling the situation responsibly. The storyline definitely has the possibility of taking a very dark turn, for now I like it. (And in the scene where Haddie's turning all of the cans label out, she reminded me forcefully of Kristina.

    My favorite scene in the whole episode was in the kitchen with Adam trying to get Amber to change her mind about the meeting. While this extended family spends way more time with each other than I ever have with either branch of my family, they're still pretty self-contained within their units. I think Adam and Kristina have always sort of seen Amber as a fuck up, and the Steve storyline over the end of last season only confirmed that. The rest stop scene where Haddie forgives Amber sort of paved over the issue, but I never got the impression that Adam and Kristina changed their overall impression of Amber. In that scene, Adam got to see the Amber we all get to see. Adam isn't used to having a conversation like this with a teenager, because his own teenage daughter simply isn't built like this. Amber gets to the heart of the matter faster than he expected, completely turning the tables on him. Like Adam, Haddie is driven by a sense of responsibility. He can steamroll her because she's used to doing things she doesn't want to do when someone shows her it's the right thing to do. It also means that like Adam, Haddie bottles things up -- revealing how she feels only in a slow, careful trickle. Amber has a much more fragile facade. When he tries to steamroll her, he cracks it. He's never been a fuck up, so he's never had a glimpse into how it feels to be a fuck up. In that moment, Amber shows him. She reveals her shame, her self-consciousness, her fear, how much the opinions of those around her matter to her. And he loves her for it; how could he not? It's like breathing. And he gives her advice that Sarah can't, because Sarah's riddled with the same shame, self-consciousness, fear and lack of self-worth that her daughter is. If there is any justice in the world, Mae Whitman would win an Emmy for this scene alone.
     
  3. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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  4. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    I agree the math score is ridiculous, but I stand by my opinion that the reading or writing scores are plausible. Studies have proven that pre-testing and vocabulary work have minimal impact on SAT scores. College Board designs the SATs to make them virtually impossible to cram for. They didn't have the writing portion when I took the SATs, but I scored better than Amber on the reading and -- except for taking the PSATs -- never studied once. Likewise, I don't think I acquired hardly any of my vocabulary from my schooling, since it was the fad at the time not to formally teach grammar or English. I was a better reader than most of my classmates when I entered first grade, and I was a better reader than most of my classmates when I left first grade. My vocabulary was accumulated through osmosis by reading. Readers who love to read seek out more challenging material. And while Amber was not a good student traditionally, the show has shown her achieving success when she's applied herself.


    But while I firmly believe that those reading and writing scores are possible with Amber's background, I agree 100 percent that Amber would not be a good candidate for Berkeley or any competitive college for the reasons you mention. She's shown to be a very strong reader, which probably means she's a pretty decent writer. Since the English education in this country is so abysmal that most colleges and universities have expository writing courses to teach what freshman should have learned in high school, she's probably ahead of the curve when it comes to that. That doesn't make up for not having a secure formal education in math, biology, chemistry, physics, social studies, civics, or any of the other courses that provide a background for a student's success at a competitive college. Even more damning, she never developed successful study skills at the age when such development is possible. I was a smart student through high school who hardly ever had to study, and I suffered for it in college when it came time to step up. Haddie could plausibly be admitted to a top college or university. But if the show waves a magic wand for Amber to do the same, I'd be as disappointed as you are about the SATs. She would be an excellent candidate for a community college or less competitive state school that would provide a chance to firm up her academic record and maybe transfer some place more prestigious later.


    (Love the meat on the bones of this show. I don't think any other show on TV -- except maybe The Good Wife -- can inspire the kind of in-depth and substantive conversations you see here.)
     
  5. John Lloyd

    John Lloyd Stunt Coordinator

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    I cringed when everyone in the scene struggled to calculate her actual score. The should have known immediately that her score was very high.
     
  6. ScottH

    ScottH Producer

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    Completely agree here. This reminded me of something Susan on 'Desperate Housewives' would do. Which is NOT a good thing. I will say given Max's condition I suppose it makes it somewhat plausible.


    So when did they add writing to the SATs?
     
  7. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    About five years ago, Scott.

    My daughter (high school grad in '03) didn't have a writing test to take, but my son (HS grad in '07) did.
     
  8. DaveF

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  9. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    We missed ya, Dave!




    I think I understand what you mean when you say:



    But it seems like you take away as much from this show as the rest of us here. It's hard to think about not looking forward to something that we can feel so passionate about.
     
  10. Adam Lenhardt

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    I think the point of the cheating episode was not that Amber had to plagiarize her mom's high school work to do well in English, but that she so lacked the confidence in her own abilities that she thought she needed to. When she redid the essay herself for Mr. Cyr, he was very complementary of her work as well.


    You absolutely right about the math, though. Students who need tutoring don't score in the 95th percentile. And as you note this show made it clear, only a couple episodes ago, that Amber needs tutoring. That being said, having it turn out that she cheated would do more damage to the show than just accepting the lack of plausibility and moving on. Season one Amber would have cheated. It would undermine a lot of the character development we've seen to have current Amber cheat.


    Welcome back to the thread!
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I agree about the cheating. It would be such a setback for Amber's character that I don't want that to be the story. I do prefer to accept this odd twist. Mike - I can't explain it any better. But my wife, an ER fan, thinks I'm just weird. :)
     
  12. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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  13. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    This week, I'm kind of where y'all where last week. Not my favorite. There was some good stuff, like Amber with her granny, but I was turned off by the whole, "A prayer? WTF?" scene, and I didn't think the football scene was all that great.
     
  14. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Yeah. Pretty much a throwaway episode.


    But I actually loved the last few minutes when the four siblings were in the kitchen interacting and the two parents walked-in.


    "We must've done something right..."


    Further proof that the strength of the show is in the family relationships. The interaction of the main characters is excellent...making a "throwaway" episode like this one a treat to watch for those very reasons. But not too many plots got moved forward, that's for sure.
     
  15. Adam Lenhardt

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    I was actually pretty moved by the prayer storyline. It's been made clear that the Braverman religious lineage is composed of a confused mix of Catholics, Jews and Protestants that settled into a sort of comfortable agnosticism well before the four kids came along. Since prayer is not part of the family's Thanksgiving tradition nor part of any of the four nuclear families' tradition, it wasn't a surprise that they (not really knowing the context) gave Zeek some crap about it.


    What I liked was what it said about Crosby and Zeek. Crosby isn't any more religious than the rest of them, but he knows it's important to Jasmine's family and he's made a real effort to get behind that. The prayer was Crosby's way of extending a welcome to Renee, and was Zeek's way of both supporting Crosby and expressing his gratitude to Camille in a way that he was otherwise unequipped for.


    Like you, I really enjoyed the scene where Amber expressed her appreciation to Camille for all of the work she puts into the family gathering. Her and Drew are such decent kids, and because they grew up dirt poor with Sarah having essentially nothing, they appreciate things like the Thanksgiving dinner that the rest of the family takes for granted. At the same time, she stuck up for Zeek in a way that didn't make Camille immediately defensive. Amber grew up with a shitty father and watched him be a shitty husband to her mom. Having him as a bench mark, she appreciates Zeek and what he's striving to do with himself in a way that Camille -- with all of her baggage and built up resentment -- can't.

    It was a truth that many shows overlook, which is that a marriage is often about more than the two people bonded within it. Whatever the problems between Zeek and Camille induvidually, they both recognize their roles within the larger family as more important than that. They don't poison the waters for everyone else, and they share the pride of their joint accomplishment.
     
  16. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Was it because of his age or his race? I haven't seen a sympathetic character question an interracial relationship since Hollywood decided the best way to normalize interracial relationships was just to present them without any kind of comment, except for maybe by an unsympathetic redneck character. It would raise some questions: can Kristina be a good person and have such reservations? Why the double standard, with her being okay with a white man with a black woman, but not the other way around? Or, is she not that okay with Jasmine, either, but keeps it to herself? I really doubt if they'll explore these issues since there's a danger the audience will cast Kristina aside as a racist, but it's not unheard of for an open-minded woman to suddenly find she has to confront some prejudices she didn't know she had.
     
  17. Mike Frezon

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    I also accurately predicted, at home, that Adam would have a problem with Crosby carving the turkey.
     
  18. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    That's a really good point. If they did go there, I wonder if it might have an element of class - as in Kristina is jumping to the conclusion that this is a kid from the streets that isn't good enough for her daughter. But would she make that leap if she came across Haddie with a white boy? Or we could all be reading too much into Kristina being taken aback because Haddie has been hiding something. But I like the sound of "an open-minded woman... has to confront some prejudices she didn't know she had." That's great drama, and this show has no problem exploring the darker (albeit suburban) sides of the characters. I think this is exactly what Dave was talking about, citing the example of Adam in the grocery store.
     
  19. Qui-Gon John

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    I didn't take Kristina's reaction as racist. True, there may have been an element of that in there, but I thought it was more about just seeing Haddie kissing a guy as well as the fact that she kinda lied, because she didn't go there just to help with the food drive. Also earlier, she seemed to be getting along with Jasmine quite well. I guess we'll find out when she discusses it with Adam.
     
  20. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Ok. I'm caught up on this series now. :)


    The Thanksgiving was one of my favorites. My wife and I were laughing the whole way! And after the stress of recent episodes, it was good to have a break. Something light and fun. But it was also something of a reflection on the entire family: Every person was involved. Every character had at least a few minutes that touched on who they are and where they are.


    And it had several important moments: Gordon selling the company. Sarah breaking up with Gordon. Drew talking with Zeke. Hatti being found out by her mom on her true motives at the shelter.


    But it also had some moments that show why this show is so much better than most family shows that have come before. I believe Drew is a real teenager. He's not a gorgeous, musclebound 20-something trying play a normal teen. He's not inconceivably articulate, emotionally matured, or witty. Instead, he's sullen. He speaks in short, dismissive phrases. He's emotionally guarded. He avoids eye-contact. He's a real teenage boy, particularly one who's been deeply wounded and is very emotionally guarded.


    And the prayer. Most TV families pay some universalist lip-service to a christianish faith. And in a prayer it's either a impossibly well-written speech by as if written Sorkin; or it's a painfully contrived, intentionally embarassing affair. I don't know how regular, non-Christians pray when asked to pray, but Zeke's felt real. It was sincere. It said the things a person says at Thanksgiving. It touched on God, but didn't attempt to be embarrassingly mangled High Church, like in bad sitcom. And it was funny and beautiful watching all the non-churched Braverman's not following prayer rules :) and winking and smirking at each other, while Zeke and (I think) Renee, were eyes-closed and reverent.


    I was very impressed with this episode.
     

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