‘Parenthood’: A Holiday Tearjerker Wrapped in a Sentimental Bow

by | December 12, 2012 at 8:39 AM | Parenthood, Recap

"Parenthood" (Photo by: Neil Jacobs/NBC)

The fall finale of “Parenthood,”  “What to my Wondering Eyes,” was a sentimental tearjerker of a present thanks to Kristina’s illness, a sad but necessary break up, a potential future baby Braverman and a visit from Santa. Also, someone wears an elf costume and has sex, possibly at the same time.

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The Highlights:

Kristina’s Video Will Make You Feel All The Feelings: When Kristina (Monica Potter) can’t stop coughing, Adam (Peter Krause) insists on taking her to the E.R. on Christmas Eve. At the hospital, Kristina loses consciousness. She has gone into septic shock. The doctors take her to the ICU. The nurse gives him a doomsday scenario about how antibiotics don’t always work to create suspense, although there is no way that the show would be cruel enough to kill her on Christmas. When she wakes up, she feels awful and tells Adam she wants to make sure the kids get to see a file that is on her computer. Adam promises she will be home by Christmas. He finds a video on her laptop. She has left final words for all of her children in case she does not survive. It’s impossible to make it through the part where she laments that she will never get to see Nora grow up without crying.

The Official Family Photo Comes Back to Bite Sarah: The best callback in the show’s history: Sarah (Lauren Graham) has to deal with Mark being a part of the official Braverman family photo which is on all of the family Christmas cards. Camille (Bonnie Bedelia), who instituted the no participation in family photos before marriage rule, gently gives her an “I told you so” look.

Amber Proves that Sometimes the Apple Does Fall Far From the Tree: Ryan (Matt Lauria) has not told Amber (Mae Whitman) that he went AWOL on Joel’s (Sam Jaeger)  construction job. After learning about it, she gently tells him that he needs to clear the air and gives him her car keys. He returns home hours later, drunk. He has also dented her car. Oh, hell no. My imaginary romance with Ryan is over. He accuses Amber of trying to change him, then when she uses the word crazy to describe his behavior he gets emo about how, yes, he’s too crazy to socialize with the Bravermans and she needs to accept him instead of trying to fix him. It’s the classic male, “It’s not my behavior that’s the problem, it’s your rational response to my bad behavior that is to blame.” Then he storms off.  Ryan shows up at the Braverman Manse on Christmas morning to apologize, claiming he was afraid of the awesomeness of the Bravermans because his family is not close knit. He acknowledges that nobody should never treat her the way that he did. She says she loves him, but because she saw her mom get dragged down by Seth, she will not put herself through that. They need time apart. Yes! I am the Ramber shipper, but I like to see a strong young woman who won’t stand for being mistreated. It’s increasingly rare on television.

A Christmas Miracle — of Science: Adam prays to God not to take his wife away.  Kristina wakes up much better on Christmas morning. It’s more of the antibiotics doing their job than an actual Christmas miracle, but it is still very moving. She will be fine in a couple of days. The rest of the family comes to visit, in violation of hospital rules, which is more miraculous. But the true miracle is that Haddie, who was snowed in, is able to get a flight. It’s not “Miracle on 34th Street” but it’s definitely worthy of Festivus.

The Lowlights:

Sarah Lives Down to Mark’s Expectations: Hank (Ray Romano), who has previously worked expensive weddings, is for some reason photographing kids’ visits to Santa, a job usually filled by a minimum wage employee. For even less logical reasons, Sarah is dressed as an elf. But she looks adorable. Newly dumped Sarah is fighting with everyone, while Hank is uncharacteristically soothing things over. Hank claims that the job pays his rent for a year. How? He promises Sarah that afterward they’ll get drunk, which worked so well for them last week. Sarah perks up because she loves dysfunctional men who use alcohol as a crutch. Sure enough, they have a great time drinking in the mall bar then they have sex. So much for wanting to work things out with Mark. Hank wants to chalk it up to alcohol, assuming Sarah’s on the rebound. On Christmas, he drops by the house with a gift and says he wants it to be more. So Sarah, unlike Amber, has learned nothing from her relationship with Seth. Bah, humbug.

Crosby Thinks the World Needs More of His Bad Hair Genes: Babysitting Nora convinces Crosby  (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) that they need to have another baby. Let’s see… they fight constantly. Crosby already is the second child in the house. And this show has already done two storylines about Bravermans having more children.  This is a terrible idea.

Yes, Sydney and Victor, There is a Santa Claus: Victor tells Sydney that Santa isn’t real. No way precocious, in the gifted program, bad seed Sydney still believes in Santa. She’s too old and sophisticated. Julia (Erika Christensen) claims to have believed until she was 11, which is not possible unless Julia spent her entire childhood locked in a closet with only ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to entertain her. Actually, that would explain a lot.  At the hospital, Victor happens upon a Santa who he believes is the real deal because he knows Victor has new sneakers. His shoes are so white that they would be visible from the moon, but Victor has lost the common sense that he acquired from his life on the mean streets.