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S05.E17: Limbo 2014.03.13

Jasmine and Crosby butt heads over how to raise Aida; news about Joel troubles Julia; Kristina and Adam intervene when Max interrupts Sarah and Hank's work flow.

 

 

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What goes through my head every time I think of Kristina: 

She is being a terrible mother. Max was being rude and selfish and no, the world does not need to bend to him, he needs to learn how to survive and thrive in the world. It was not his day, Sarah and Hank have a deadline, and they're the ones who rented the printer! I could not believe Kristina's response. I admit that I know next to nothing about kids with Aspberger's, but this cannot be the best way to parent one of them. He's a spoiled brat. At least Adam was being mature about it, until he got defensive about his parenting skills. 

Otherwise: great stuff with Julia and Crosby, Julia and Joel on the phone, and Zeek and Joel. 

 

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Kristina was definitely out of line; I wanted to throttle her. She didn't even try to find out from Sarah exactly what happened; she just accepted Max's story. That's a terrible idea for any parent.

Good gosh, these Bravermans and their passive aggression. (Not to mention the active aggression of the baptism dinner. But that was actually kind of awesome.)

I love Hank. Hank is better than all the Bravermans.

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I'm actually really interested to see where they are going with this Kristina/Adam/Max storyline.  Because up until this season, I thought that the things that Kristina did to fight for Max were in his best interest.  But then there was the thing with yearbook, and now with Sarah, where Kristina seems to be always defending him  and assuming that people are wronging Max, when, in fact, Max is in the wrong.   And she's doing him no favors by always defending his right to get whatever he wants whenever he wants it.    Although, with Sarah, you can see why they would assume she was wrong.  She usually is!    It seems like they are going for a more nuanced portrayal of special needs parenting than I think you would usually see on TV.  

I loved Amber and Drew hanging out.  It was really fun.    And I always love a Braverman family dinner. 

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It feels obvious to me that Sarah's response was the right one. True that she didn't stay after dropping off Max to discuss the matter, but he'd already proved at Hank's shop and presumably throughout the drive that he wasn't interested in understanding her point of view, and when Kristina called after him to get him to stay and explain, he (as usual) ignored her and stomped away. So I'm also curious to see how this plays out, and whether the show stays on Adam and Kristina's side or not.

Dave Rose would have really enjoyed being a PhD candidate in Education, I think.

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As you can tell, Parenthood this season hasn't been must watch TV for me, it's there when I have time for it, and I got caught up with another episode last night.

Sort of at a loss how to feel about this episode.  I agree with someone up thread that I like Hank better than the Bravermans, at least right now.  The whole Adam/Kristina/Max/Sarah thing ... ugh.  I don't generally like anything Sarah is doing at any time, but I had to be on her side on this one.  I am struggling with how to put my thought on that whole thing and using PC language, so maybe I should hold off a bit.  But suffice it to say I have seen Kristina lose her cool with her son, why can't Sarah in the middle of an overwhelming time.  Geesh. 

I do NOT understand the draw with Drew and Natalie.  OMG.  Seriously?  Poor Drew, thinking he has to settle.

Amber?  What is up with her corrupting her brother?  And going to the Braverman home stoned?  And Sarah not noticing it? 

Actually felt something for Joel this episode.  Happy he went to the Baptism.  This is what is so hard about being an in-law with a break-up.  You have made their family YOUR family for years and then all of a sudden, they are no longer family.  It's just severed.  It causes awkward moments.  It sucks.  I have lived it.

Oh well, not one of my fave episodes, but I did certainly get the whole "Limbo" reference, so if that is what they were trying to do, then they got the point across.

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Okay, so ...huh.  Interesting episode. It's brought out a rant in me, I'm afraid, so here goes:  I went ahead and bought the fifth season on Amazon Prime because I really thought the show had hit such a good stride in season four and I didn't want to wait the extra month for it to be free on Prime.  Well, so far this season has been all about "fools rush in" for me, because whereas it's no great monetary loss, it also certainly hasn't been worth the money I spent thus far.  

 

But this episode sort of crystallized why I feel a bit like I've been punked by this series this season.  I know Jason Katims has a son with autism/Asbergers (a designation on the autism spectrum that I could swear I'd read was being removed from the Autism spectrum diagnosis possibilities and I keep wondering if they will deal wit that on the show...apparently not).  So many of the stories involving Max and the often-abrasive Kristina have made me truly feel the plight of people who discover that their child is on the Autism spectrum and how that changes every hope, dream and vision you had for the life you had hoped your child would lead.  That it is exceptionally painful and difficult.  The series has done good work with that, and then has gone to town blowing it to smithereens this season, but particularly in this episode 

 

In this season I've really felt like the series has become too much about how the world needs accommodate whatever is going on with Max -- and the series seems to believe this is a fully justified position -- vs. the job of raising Max to learn how to function in the world successfully, rather than expecting the world to shape itself around what is likely to freak Max out.  Sure, I get that Kristina would resent that Sarah, as Max's aunt, would have so little understanding of what was going on with Max and so little patience with it.  What I didn't understand that at no point did Kristina see that Sarah had a valid freaking point, let alone offer to compensate her for renting an expensive printer for another week to further convince Max that he didn't need to develop coping skills for the world, the world would develop the necessary coping skills for him.  Sarah's point was a good one, Max has to learn how to cope and deal.  She put it poorly, that's for sure, she's known about Max's autism for too damned long to try and treat it like a normal "You have to set limits" situation, but that does't remove the fact that....Max needed to apologize and he does need to learn how to cope.  

 

Then there is the positively bizarre story of Julia and Joel's difficulties.  They have two children, one of whom they adopted a scant year ago, and neither of them has been able to gut the hell up and have an actual discussion about what is wrong between them, let alone trying to fix it.  That both tried to pretend that it was because Ed kissed Julia after she allowed their friendship to become too much a pseudo-spousal, confidante and emotional intimacy.  This is particularly outrageous because in the first damned season, Joel had done almost the exact same thing.  So that both trying to pretend this was the thing that destroyed the linchpin in their marriage is not only ludicrous to watch, it's impossible to believe that either of these forthright characters have taken this long to even approach the damned subject.  That it took Ed of all people to get Julia to understand that a) that was a piece in their Jenga tower, but the tower itself was built by them and b) Zeke having to shame Joel into not acting like he should grow feathers and cluck for the sake of his children and every adult relationship he possesses is just flabbergasting to me.  

 

Julia has always treated Joel like he was a little beneath her.  She's always treated what he did for a living as if it was not worth her notice and certainly none of her respect.  They haven't had a marriage of equals, pretty much ever, at least not in Julia's eyes.  It's an absolute gender-swap on real relationship dynamics from times past and present.  Julia makes Joel feel devalued in everything he did and does.  But Joel has also demonstrated a stunning lack of understanding that Julia exhibited a lot of signs of clinical depression and a near nervous breakdown.  That choosing to run so fully away has been a betrayal in his own right and certainly shirking his responsibilities to his children.  He's punishing Julia for a dynamic he helped create and it certainly reduced the character from Superman to schmuck in my eyes handily enough. 

Joel slipping into the church at the end of the episode didn't make my heart melt, but there was some steam involved because, again, he's a grown man and he shouldn't have needed anyone to tell him to start showing the hell up for the sake of the children he swears he loves.  Fine, dump Julia, although I'm sure they will have them repair their relationship because this series is positively cowardly about allowing anyone to try and navigate parenthood unless actively paired up and heaven forfend that it even attempt to show how people who couldn't make a marital relationship work figure out how to work together for the sake of their child or children.  I still haven't forgiven the show for the Jasmine and Crosby stuff.  I really thought they were going to show two people who couldn't make it work as partners navigating parenthood in the aftermath of that. 

 

Also, Sydney is such a spoiled child, it isn't as if he can lay claim to having done that spectacular a job with her formative years either.  

 

Sorry, had to get that all off of my chest.  

 

As for Hank, I like the characters place within the ensemble, but  dread the rather inevitable "Sarah goes back to this guy....despite the fact that she will likely never have an emotionally fulfilling relationship with him and it's mostly because Jason Katims has started treating the "Max has Aspbergers" story line as the premise of the series and nearly all characters as being part of his wish fulfillment for the world he wants his son to inhabit."  I get it, I really do because we all love our kids to the extent that we'd build a full universe for them.  However, putting Hank down as a "maybe on the spectrum" and then gearing up to clearly reward him with a woman he can barely go a full day without insulting and demeaning because he clearly isn't fully responsible for his emotionally insensitive behaviors is taking it all beyond the pale.  Poor Lauren Graham seems destined to play characters who are the bone-to-be-won in a male-centered dogfight.  I want Hank to stick around, but the mere fact that Sarah got involved with a guy who was borderline verbally abusive to her and has grossly spent the season suggesting that there's no way she could have gotten a job based on her talents in anything other than bed is horrifying to me.  

 

I just want Sarah Braverman to be single and if Hank experiences emotional growth, bully for him, but a woman isn't a door prize for achieving emotional growth and I'm really a little grossed out by how often the series has gone to that well with Crosby, Zeke, just about anyone Amber has even spoken to, now the stand-in for grown-Max, Hank it's all just not working for me and whereas Ray Romano has done good work in this role it doesn't negate the fact that Hank's character is -- more often than not -- a jerk to Sarah.  

 

I don't know why my frustrations reached such a pitch with this episode, but it did.  Maybe it's because everything that makes these characters a little annoying -- while usually being lovable -- was on display, but without the lovable aspects.  Sarah had the high ground until she was poking Adam in the chest and trying to pretend she was being playful while completely disregarding Max's actual autism as a factor in his behavior.  Kristina being validated at the end of the episode was a little sickening.  I love that Camille finally called a halt to always being the person to sacrifice her emotional needs or worth, but I hate with a blinding passion how she has gone about it and never more so than in this episode, where she wanted credit for always being the family matriarch, happy to do and do for her family, but for some reason not acknowledging that moving into a condo means she's putting an end to this part of her life.  I don't begrudge her that.  Her children are grown, every last one of them and she is more than entitled to decide that it is her turn, but that means taking what comes with that.   That she's declaring that everyone needs emotional autonomy from her, or at least far more than they've demonstrated, and that she's through being the family doormat and last in line for everything is splendid.  Yay, Camille embraces her individual emotional rights to have needs, wants, desires and dreams.  

 

But then she gets into some grandmother pissing contest for hosting an event that has no meaning in their belief structure and again, lost any high ground her "I matter too" stance has gained for her.  You want a different identity than matriarch? Goody! But then have one and stop trying to get credit for being super Nana.  

 

Yup, this was a frustrating episode and the only thing I genuinely liked about it was that Amber and Drew were hilarious -- even if both were wasted as a way of coping with their emotional difficulties which is a GIANT RED FLAG for the children of an addict and yet Sarah apparently had no clue.  

 

I'm sure I will watch the remainder of these episodes, since I rather foolishly purchased them, but right now I just wish to never see these characters again.  I really, really don't want to see the moment that Hank doubtless wins over Sarah, despite the fact that he's essentially spent several episodes expressing his jealousy by more or less stating that Sarah only got a job because she slept with someone.  I mean...oh man, I do not want to see that validated as a reasonable thing to say to a woman you allegedly care about, by making her go back to him.  

 

ETA: I apologize for the novel-length post.  I'm just so horrified on so many levels.  

Edited by stillshimpy.
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Stillshimpy - in a word, Yup.  Pretty much agree with your post, especially the issues on Max, Sarah, and Joel/Julia.

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Kristina and Adam couldn't hear Sarah shouting over Max's shouting and their own shouting.  That family does nothing but shout at each other.   I can't believe I am actually on Sarah's side about something!  (I'm going to have to mark this momentous occasion on my calendar.)  She was right to escort Max home, rather than put up with that horrible behavior in the shop. 

 

Speaking of the shop, these last two episodes were another example of how special Sarah is supposed to be, with the latest being that she insisted on having the photo shoot at the beach.  Wow, how innovative!  I'm sure NOBODY but our special Sarah has ever thought about shooting beach pictures at an actual beach!

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