Jump to content

S05.E19: Fraud Alert 2014.03.27

I watched this show religiously up until this last season. I would get all anxious if I heard any rumours that it might be cancelled, and tried to get as many folks as I could to watch it, too. But today, scrolling through the forums here (i love this site so much~more than TWoP~yeah, I said it!), I came upon this one, for Parenthood. I realized I missed it this week, Not only did I miss it, but I didn't miss it. I didn't just forget to look for it, or to watch it, I forgot to care to look for it. So I popped in here to see if there even was a new episode, and see that there was. Turns out, I still don't care. 

Here's why, for me, this show is dead. I am really sick of the writers ramming their ideas about how Autism impacts all and what should be done down my effing throat. I am a sympathetic, intelligent adult. I understand that those with special needs have special needs. If the show put that out there, and left it at that, I'd be fine with it. But instead, I get an endless stream of rhetoric ostensibly teaching me how to change everything about the world, right now, to accommodate those with  Autism. Further, I am to recognize that those with Autism are somehow the only children with special needs who aren't seen as special enough, by the education system, by their families, by their peers. It feels like some sort of call to arms, for all those impacted by Autism. (And given the sheer number of 'diagnoses' on the spectrum these days, that would be a substantial army indeed). I feel lectured to, week after week, and the bottom line is, I simply don't agree with their point of view. In fact, their approach to parenting offends  me. Their disregard for teachers, aids, counsellors, and behaiour therapists is appalling, and implies a hole in available resources that simply doesn't exist, at least where I live. Autism is the diagnosis au jour here, and there is no end to the programs and specialists available to people. Schools here have been addressing nothing but Autism for years. So the idea that Max's needs are not just going unmet at school, but in fact the school is being detrimental to his development, is laughable.

I guess for me, the focus of the show has changed from 'here are some siblings trying to raise their kids'' to 'here's a kid with Autism and his family changing the world to accommodate only him'. I liked the first show;  the second, not so much.

If all that weren't reason enough to stop watching, the Joel personality transplant storyline just shows how weak, pointless, and utterly inane the writing has become.

Edited by JustAlison.
2

Share Post


Link to post

Amen to all of the Max hate. LET'S ALL GATHER IN A CIRCLE AND MAKE FUN OF THE CRIPPLE!!!!!!!

What astonishes me is that now having autism/Aspergers is something to be proud of and to brag on and for parents to hope their kid has. Think about that for a minute. Think about how repulsive and sick that is. It's like hoping your kid will be born blind or deaf or born having a second fully functional dong growing out of their forehead. "Look at how fucked up my kid is!!! Look at how special he is!!!"

It's become this competition among parents to one up each other over how fucked up their kids are emotionally and mentally, much like it's a thing on the Internet to one up everyone else with your enraged foaming at the mouth level faux outrage over whatever new atrocity has occurred this week.

2

Share Post


Link to post
LET'S ALL GATHER IN A CIRCLE AND MAKE FUN OF THE CRIPPLE!!!!!!!

It's one thing to feel Max is coddled or spoiled (he definitely can be), but...let's calm down the rhetoric. That's a bit much. 

4

Share Post


Link to post
Schools here have been addressing nothing but Autism for years. So the idea that Max's needs are not just going unmet at school, but in fact the school is being detrimental to his development, is laughable.

I've never understood why Max's school is portrayed as having no clue about autism, as though they've never heard of it before and as though Max would be the ONLY child in that school that is on the spectrum.

There was that other autistic kid, the one with the parents that Adam and Kristina always make fun of because they bothered to change their kid's diet, etc.  Where does that kid go to school?

0

Share Post


Link to post

Their disregard for teachers, aids, counsellors, and behaiour therapists is appalling

This struck a chord. I was totally on the side of the teacher who kept sending Max to the library for being disruptive. I teach Freshman English at a university, and this semester I have a student who is eerily similar to Max. I have not received any paperwork from our Disability Services office, so I don't know if he's registered with them or even has a formal diagnosis, but BOY does he ever tick the Aspberger's boxes: he's highly intelligent, arrogant, self-centered, prone to inappropriate reactions and outbursts, oblivious to nonverbal cues, and rude as hell to me and his classmates on a daily basis. When I see how much his behaviors (e.g. interrupting and moving around during lectures, laughing loudly at inappropriate times, refusing to cooperate with small group activities) irritate his classmates and distract me from offering everyone the best possible learning experience, I wonder how in the world we would get anything done if his symptoms were as severe as Max's and if the students were flaky middle schoolers instead of reasonably mature young adults. Teaching is a balancing act. I need to help that special student succeed, but I also have a huge responsibility to be fair to the large group. Adam & Kristina need to stop insulting teachers who are doing their damndest to educate all the students in their care. 

5

Share Post


Link to post

Slightly off-topic weigh-in:  I don't think anyone is bashing a kid with special needs.  The bottom line is that kids with special needs (that don't have very, very rich families) do end up either in mainstream society or a drift between institutions.   Those who can function with mainstream society, do for awhile at least.  Those that can't (at least in the US) frequently end up stuck in myriad of social bureaucracies that frequently leave them frustrated, alone and ill-prepared.  If they are lucky, they get a good case-worker who will help them to obtain either employment, occupational therapy, vocational therapy and/or some sort of government benefit.  

In my experience, most kids aren't half that lucky.  I worked for many years as a street outreach worker then as pubilc defense attorney (pile on your jokes now.)  I get angry at the fictional Adam and Kristina because they are broadcast to a world of people.  90% (I'm guessing here) of people with special needs don't have wealthy parents who can fit their children with emotional pillows for life.  A lot of kids with all sorts of issues end up washing out of high school and college and just end up ill-prepared to deal with street. What I'd love to see broadcast is a way that these parents prepare their child for life without pillows.  How is going to learn to navigate bureaucracy?  How is he going to learn ask other people for help?  Etc. 

.

What I'd like to see on this show, and doubt I ever will, is an episode where Adam and Kristina realize Max has to live in society and they don't let him come home when everything sucks. 


This struck a chord. I was totally on the side of the teacher who kept sending Max to the library for being disruptive. I teach Freshman English at a university, and this semester I have a student who is eerily similar to Max. I have not received any paperwork from our Disability Services office, so I don't know if he's registered with them or even has a formal diagnosis, but BOY does he ever tick the Aspberger's boxes: he's highly intelligent, arrogant, self-centered, prone to inappropriate reactions and outbursts, oblivious to nonverbal cues, and rude as hell to me and his classmates on a daily basis. When I see how much his behaviors (e.g. interrupting and moving around during lectures, laughing loudly at inappropriate times, refusing to cooperate with small group activities) irritate his classmates and distract me from offering everyone the best possible learning experience, I wonder how in the world we would get anything done if his symptoms were as severe as Max's and if the students were flaky middle schoolers instead of reasonably mature young adults. Teaching is a balancing act. I need to help that special student succeed, but I also have a huge responsibility to be fair to the large group. Adam & Kristina need to stop insulting teachers who are doing their damndest to educate all the students in their care. 

And also everything Portia just said. 

2

Share Post


Link to post

 

Amen to all of the Max hate. LET'S ALL GATHER IN A CIRCLE AND MAKE FUN OF THE CRIPPLE!!!!!!!

errr...no. Not what I was going for at all

I actually liked the character of Max, and thought Hattie balanced his parents' need to over-sympathize with him quite nicely. Then they wrote her out, and started writing in this new, Autism enhanced version of Max. It's like the show is not about the Bravermans at all anymore. They seem to simply serve as a vehicle for an endless public service announcement for Autism, or rather their ideas about Autism.

Years ago, there was a show called Life Goes On. This show's writers could learn a lot about how to realistically write a family dealing with a developmental delay from that show. 

Edited by JustAlison.
2

Share Post


Link to post

 

Years ago, there was a show called Life Goes On. This show's writers could learn a lot about how to realistically write a family dealing with a developmental delay from that show.

Ah, Corky, Becca, Becca's giant red glasses, Arnold the Semi-Wonder Dog, and, most of all, TYLER (and his mullet!)!  Loved that show.  It was one of the first shows I remember in which there were cool yet still slightly embarrassing parents (Patti Lupone!) who gave their children good advice (as opposed to canned-laugh sitcom advice).  Brenda and Jim Walsh could only wish they were as wonderful as the Thatchers. 

I'm constantly annoyed that Kristina and Adam seem most concerned when Max's Aspergers gets in the way of his having a social life/being popular when we really don't see any efforts being made by Kristina and Adam to help Max with socialization.  Kristina and Adam running interference with him, and "smoothing the waters" in Max's wake is not a solution, and obviously they have to realize that they won't always be able/around to do that.  There's more at stake than just Kristina and Adam coming to terms with Max's never being the BMOC.  He has to be prepared to live independently and support himself -- things I believe persons with Aspergers can do -- and little is being done in that regard.

Edited by annlaw78.
3

Share Post


Link to post

 

Those who can function with mainstream society, do for awhile at least.  Those that can't (at least in the US) frequently end up stuck in myriad of social bureaucracies that frequently leave them frustrated, alone and ill-prepared.

Or, more disturbing, in prison.  I believe I read somewhere that the largest public mental health institutions reside in Riker's Island, LA County Jail and some other large prison.  A friend has an adult child with some challenges and there is literally nowhere for them to go.  

I feel like, the way they're portraying Max, this is the end game. We've seen Max (in the beginning of the series) smash an aquarium at school: what if the casualties included other children instead of just fish?  Despite the show telling us that he's improved enough (from his time at Footpath, the special school that Adam and Kristina Bravermaned him into) to be mainstreamed (first to the same elementary school that Syndey and Jabbar go to and then to unspecified middle school that he's at now), it's certainly not showing us that.  

If he'll shove Sarah out of the way over a perceived slight, what's to stop him from shoving a classmate? A kid an at arcade who's playing the game he wants to play? An unrelated adult? Nora (when she exists in the Braverman universe, which is a separate issue)? Not everyone is likely to accept being chastised the same way that Sarah did.  Hell, consider the reaction of someone who's child is shoved by Max and looks at Adam and Kristina, with a small business, a kid at Cornell, enough money to fund a vanity run for mayor and decides: Hey, that's my kid's college fund? 

And all the time wasted when we could be watching ACTUAL PARENTING: Either by Adam and Kristina to Max (or a much younger child when they probably thought they were done with that, or a kid away at college on the other side of the country which has its own challenges) or Joel and Julia to Victor and Sydney or - Hey! Whatever happened to Jabbar and Aida - how's Crosby adjusting to an infant? Could Zeke and Camille still have a role in their adult children's lives? Something, anything, besides The Autism Show.

Edited to add: I feel like The Autism Show would ALSO be an interesting watch, and WAS, back in Season 1 when MAx was first diagnosed and Adam and Kristina were grappling with how to respond and talking to Dr. Pelican and Noel's parents (even or especially when they were making mean comparisons - not nice, but REAL, with drama and something interesting to watch and think about) and hiring Gabby and Kristina's jealously that Max responded to her instead of Kristina... Maybe I just am sad that this used to be a better show.

Edited by Eeksquire.
4

Share Post


Link to post

I'm actually starting to come around to the idea that Max is just very, very, very, very mildly autistic, but once he saw how his parents revolved their entire life around him and made him an extra special snowfwake fwower, he decided to milk that as far as he could , and let's be honest autistic behavior that he supposedly exhibits is indistinguishable from spoiled brattiness.

1

Share Post


Link to post

I loved when Mr. Cyr ran into Amber and in talking about Sarah, Amber is gushing about how Sarah has "a job" and "an apartment."  Wow, just what most parents say about their adult child, yet here we have the adult child saying this about their parent.  How proud Amber must be that her mother finally "grew up" to get a job and her own place.

 

And yes, feel like beating a dead horse over Joel and Julia and Joel's apparent refusal to go to marriage counseling and blaming everything on Julia's emotional affair because Joel appeared to give no support whatsoever to the problems Julia was having with Victor, and his convenient memory lapse of the Rachel kiss from S1.

 

Also Joel had "no idea" of the cost of the meal after seeing the menu?  And also confused as to why the credit card place would call over the expense in the first place for a meal purchase at a relatively local restaurant.  I guarantee my husband and I go could out to Ruth's Chris Steak House for an expensive meal and there's be no fraud call.  That only happens when we forget to tell our credit card we're going out of town (and make a big purchase), or they see a purchase from an entity that's already on their fraud list.  Unrealistic plot hammer.

1

Share Post


Link to post
Also Joel had "no idea" of the cost of the meal after seeing the menu?  And also confused as to why the credit card place would call over the expense in the first place for a meal purchase at a relatively local restaurant.  I guarantee my husband and I go could out to Ruth's Chris Steak House for an expensive meal and there's be no fraud call.  That only happens when we forget to tell our credit card we're going out of town (and make a big purchase), or they see a purchase from an entity that's already on their fraud list.  Unrealistic plot hammer.

 

I've got dinged by the fraud alert people three times.    Once at a drugstore I regularly shop at.  And twice at a Whole Foods I go to semi-regularly.  

0

Share Post


Link to post

I realized watching this episode why I've always hated Mark and thought the whole thing with him and Sarah was so weird - he's written SO much like Drew.

 

I'm not sure my quote function is working correctly, but so much this!! Mark and Drew's speech patterns are identical and always have been, and I've never been able to warm up to Mark because of it. Do they have the same writer? I don't know, but it is creepy.

0

Share Post


Link to post

I find Max to be frequently insufferable, but I like that about the character. I like the show's willingness not to sugarcoat him or his condition -- or his parents' tendencies to spoil him. I've worked with autism networks and have seen what the parents go through firsthand, and it's heartbreaking because so many big victories are so small -- eye contact, a brief allowance of contact, etc. My understanding is that with the character of Max, writer/producer Katims is drawing on his own experiences as the parent of an Aspie child, and I would definitely say that I've never seen anything on TV that paints Aspergers or autism with quite such a raw, real brush. Yet while I agree that Max is difficult to love, it makes me love Adam and especially Kristina more when they try so hard to do the right thing for him.

 

One thing that's interesting is that it would be so easy for the writers to make Max lovable and to make Kristina lovable. But they don't take the easy route, and I respect that. What feels real to me about "Parenthood" is the fact that Kristina can be so protective of her family that she often overreacts in an unlikable way -- as with her reaction to Sarah (who I thought was actually completely in the right over the printer issue with Max), or to poor Amber back during the whole Haddie/triangle. But then her kindness and willingness to speak up make me love her anyway.

While I thought Adam and Kristina were wrong in the scene with the Principal, what's interesting is that in the scenes of Max disrupting trips, classes, to me it's pretty fairly presented that nobody wins, that the students are exasperated, the teachers frustrated, that there is no right answer. But then in the meeting the administrators were barely shown defending themselves. I keep wishing, as with the History teacher scenario earlier this year, that the meeting had showed the teacher and principal better equipped to defend themselves, that they had for instance, quietly referred to a list of past incidents, to the amount of time and manpower the incidents involved, etc. (I remember wishing that with the history teacher, after the first dozen (out of 20-plus) times, had taped Max's outbursts with a hidden camera and played them for Adam and Kristina, not in an effort to shame them, but to show how very disruptive he can be, and how he absolutely stops the class in its tracks).

 

I empathized with the principal in those scenarios -- but not here, not with the outright bullying of Max, nor with the school's lack of willingness to address it (especially when Max named the bully, who evidently admitted and laughed about his actions). Feeding a special-needs kid urine and not addressing it -- especially with two of the loudest, most involved parents in the school, one of whom was a high-profile political candidate? For PR reasons alone, they would have called in the parents and kid in question and addressed it.

 

I don't agree with those who feel that Max is a bully. I think he can be obnoxious, but bullying is something accomplished with the intent to humiliate, scare, shame, and intimidate, and I totally felt for Max here. I just wish in the aftermath that his parents had addressed the fact that he had obviously regressed (however temporarily) after the incident, and that (among themselves, and with the school) that they need to quietly agree to work more on his social skills to minimize the chances of a repeat incident in the future.

 

Where I feel the show is less successful with its unlikable characters, for me, is on Joel's total about-face this season, which just feels false to me. I don't understand the character's actions -- they don't feel like what ultimate family-man Joel would do. And I normally love the actor, but this season he plays every single scene with this undercurrent of icy rage that is really off-putting.

 

Hanahope: I loved when Mr. Cyr ran into Amber and in talking about Sarah, Amber is gushing about how Sarah has "a job" and "an apartment."  Wow, just what most parents say about their adult child, yet here we have the adult child saying this about their parent.  How proud Amber must be that her mother finally "grew up" to get a job and her own place.

 

I loved this, and great point. I love Lauren Graham, who does make me see the vast insecurity beneath so many of Sarah's actions, but I still can't stand Sarah (or what the writers have done with her). It was really sad to me how desperately Amber was overplaying how "great" her Mom was doing because of those simple grownup strides she had made. Speaking of which -- I remain really puzzled by Amber, who never revisits the possibility of returning to school, who is boozing and getting high pretty constantly, and who lately doesn't appear even to be working at the Luncheonette anymore. In a show that gets so many small details right, the large ones about both Sarah and Amber and how they are existing without seeming to actually support themselves just feel very fake and TV-ish to me.

 

Lastly, since I am one of the few, the proud, who liked Mark Cyr and felt incredibly sorry for him last season, I was glad he got his own happy ending, and that he was able to give the news to Sarah with just a tiny bit of polite satisfaction.

1

Share Post


Link to post

My husband and I started watching this show on Netflix a while ago. Just got up to this episode. Wow, haha, I love reading how almost everyone agrees with us about Kristina & Max. Unfortunately it's kind of gotten to the point where we can't stand this show because of those two. I hate Max, but I feel like he is somewhat the way he is because of Kristina. They are very similar - can't apologize for anything and refuse to take no for an answer.

 

I can't believe Sarah had to apologize in this episode. Do the writers realize how they are writing A&K&M? I mean, they ALWAYS get what they want and literally the parents never say no to Max. It's insane. I honestly can't comprehend if the writers think the parents are being good parents or bad parents because you get moments where a character does say the truth - like Sarah about them never saying no to Max.

 

Beyond that, Kristina is just a pure ASSHOLE. Like at the baptism dinner (can't remember if that was in this episode), when she called Drew and Amber out on being stoned and smiled that little snotty smirk of hers like oh she's so great and they are so awful. Sarah was calling them out on their PARENTING SKILLS (which I think she was right about) and Kristina goes and insults Sarah's kids and acts like she's better than them because they use marijuana (did we forget she did too?) Also, the cancer lady she later become friends with - Kristina made fun of her before too. She always does this. Sometimes I honestly don't think Max has autism either but is an asshole just like his mom. I seriously think Max is going to end up like…murdering someone or something. What's the worst end game for a kid who literally has never been said no to? There's so much more I could say, but a lot of you have said it! Thanks for commiserating haha.

Edited by BrittaBot.
2

Share Post


Link to post

There is an Audi commercial that I absolutely despise, in which a young boy is contemplating jumping into a swimming pool in front of a lifeguard.  The boy has been eating, and the sign clearly says that swimmers have to wait an hour after eating before entering the pool.  There is rather a funny interlude in which the boy imagines all kinds of extreme reactions for breaking the rules, but in the end, he ignores the lifeguard's warning and jumps into the pool.  The commercial probably wouldn't bother me if the boy's mother hadn't visibly expressed her approval for the boy's actions.  The commercial ends with "The world is full of rules.  Be the exception." 

 

For me, this illustrates part of the reason why the Max Bravermans of the world think they can do whatever the hell they want to do, whenever they want to do it.  We all know that some rules are stupid, and I'm not talking about those.  I'm in education, and see so many kids in so many classrooms act as if the rules do not apply to them, including basic common courtesy rules, such as listening quietly while others are talking.  Teachers have to bend over backwards in order to get them to turn in simple homework assignments; heaven forbid they might actually do any studying on their own!   There are so many Adams and Kristinas out there who constantly make excuses for their lazy children, and blaming the teacher in the process.  I always want to ask them how they expect their children to ever earn a living, or will they demand that their parents buy them new cars and sponge off them for the rest of their lives?  Max may be able to earn a living in the future  with his photography skills, but he has a long way to go before he can deal with the public without falling apart, and those skills are up to his parents to provide and MODEL.  (I'm looking at you, Kristina.) 

3

Share Post


Link to post

Yes, Julia didn’t give Joel the respect at his job. However, Joel supposedly had his own business and bid on this construction deal with Pete and her company. He’s NOT employed by them in an employer employee relationship.   Now all of a sudden she’s his boss. Plus, look how many times the Bravermans have barged into each others work lives. 

Joel, in return, didn’t notice that Julia was basically having a breakdown. She didn’t really quit by choice. It was going to be quit or get fired.  She’s a high achiever and didn’t know how to handle Victor, who isn’t. She’s never been a stay at home Mom. He should have realized Julia was struggling.  

Joel ran when the going got tough and didn’t even say why. Really, you are supposedly leaving your wife because she made a male friend and a kiss happened. What about the play date Mom who was  interested in Joel in season 1?

Max was diagnosed in season 1 at age 9. He behaves a lot worse now than then.    

Edited by mythoughtis.
0

Share Post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now