PARENTHOOD: Date Night - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote


October 6, 2010 by  

Adam Braverman and I live very different lives, but I found myself sympathizing with his life this week. Though I am not a husband or father, my journey as a first year teacher has been accompanied by a host of unplanned distractions and commitments. Unfortunately, one of the consequences of grading papers and attending parent/teacher conferences is less time to watch and critique the shows I love most.

Unfortunately, many fans of PARENTHOOD have chosen other avenues on Tuesday nights, as the show’s ratings have suffered in its second season. Casual viewers have been sampling ABC’s new drama DETROIT 187 and jumping on THE GOOD WIFE bandwagon, leaving a void among supporters of Team Braverman.

“Date Night” attracted an audience of 5.162 million viewers, down over 30% from the season premiere. I am not ready to start asking GIVE ME MY REMOTE readers to shoot air rockets at NBC headquarters for a “Save the Show” campaign, but the trends are not good.

Last night’s PARENTHOOD was a return to form, balancing the joy & humor of family life with the rough edges of teenage angst and false expectations. I enjoyed the episode’s direction, though this show could use a moratorium on screaming and incoherent bickering.

Last season, I described PARENTHOOD as a show that simply made me FEEL. The special attention paid to the word, “feel,” was a nod to the cast and crew’s dedication to authenticity. The Bravermans’ sophomore efforts have been solid, but I am concerned about the enhanced emphasis on Sarah’s personal life, and Lauren Graham’s performance.

In a nod to Crosby’s dependence on the washing machines of his parents and siblings, here is the laundry list of things I love about this program: Adam and Kristina’s unflinching commitment to their children and to one another, Julia and Joel’s new recipe for the single income household, Crosby’s willingness to embrace adult responsibilities while retaining his childlike charm, and Haddie’s role as the symbol of the modern, self-involved, ultimately redeemable American teenager. Oh, and as an insufferable supporter of all things FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, Minka Kelly’s knowing head tilts and soft-spoken words of wisdom are always welcome, even if she is dating a New York Yankee!

I understand the dynamic that Sarah Braverman is supposed to play in this show. She is the oldest daughter, but is overshadowed by her siblings’ accomplishments. Sarah wants the best for her kids, but falls on her face as a mother despite her intentions. Unable to reconcile her low self-esteem with her current residence under Mom and Dad’s roof, Sarah acts out like the rebellious teenager she once was.

Unfortunately, Lauren Graham is sucking the life out of a sympathetic character. I am not an expert on body language or reading dialogue, but my best guess is that we are supposed to be rooting for Sarah. Instead, I am tempted to fast forward through her scenes. This season, that would mean missing the entire show, as Ms. Graham has been injected into virtually every story arc on PARENTHOOD. Adam’s job offer to Sarah was sufficient fodder for a workplace storyline. Why, then, were two different love interests brought in to woo the show’s least substantial female? Sarah’s credibility is dependent on winning small victories, not fraternizing with each of her coworkers. If Crosby can grow up, so can his older sister. Was Graham’s character on GILMORE GIRLS this difficult to like?

My anti-Lauren Graham rant is complete. We may now return to our previously scheduled celebration of the magic of the Bravermans. Let’s get the conversation going, shall we?

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode? Were you surprised by Haddie’s victory in the election? How close did you think Crosby came to damaging his relationship with Jasmine’s mother? Will Sarah Braverman date all of her coworkers by the end of the season (in tribute to Lauren Graham & Peter Krause’s offscreen relationship)? Would the show benefit from a change in time slot or night?

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Filed under #1 featured, Parenthood


2 Responses to “PARENTHOOD: Date Night”

  1. Randi on October 7th, 2010 12:06 am

    I totally disagree with you on this one, Erik. I could be Gilmore Girls biased but I adore all things Lauren Graham. I think she’s absolutely perfect in her role and I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing it as well. If Maura Tierney had actually been in it, I think it would have been awkward and less than ideal. I also like the fact that Sarah Braverman still does not understand boundaries and doesn’t realize that cavorting with coworkers isn’t a good idea. If the kiss that was hinted at in the previews happens, I can’t wait to see the fireworks fly.

    I know you have not enjoyed the Sarah & Amber story lines in the past but these have honestly been some of my favorite stories. I think it could be my experiences with a less than functional family but I really think that they are true and honest characters. I was a lot like Amber when I was younger.

    I do love all of the other characters. I really love this show. My television would not be the same without it. I wait all week for Tuesday and Parenthood is a big part of that.

  2. Kris on October 7th, 2010 4:29 pm

    I completely agree with Randi. Parenthood is one of the few shows I love to watch.