"Parenthood" is back and there are new family members, new faces, and a sad goodbye to a college-bound Braverman. It's the show's fourth year with this crazy, loving family and we sure are glad to have a Season 4 with them.
Last season, we left Joel and Julia crushed after an adoption went awry when the mother
decided to keep the baby. But no worries because they were able to adopt a foster child: eight-
year old, Victor! Julia and Joel try their best to make Victor feel welcome, but he seems to be
missing the Braverman, "I-love-my-family" gene. Things only seem to get worse when Kristina
asks Julia if Victor knows about Max's missing lizard. What a confrontation. Julia wants
to help him feel trusted but all she seems to be feeling is guilt for not yet falling in love with her
Joining the cast is comedian Ray Romano -- and he couldn't be far from "Everybody Loves Raymond." He plays Hank, a photographer that tries Sarah out as his assistant. After lying that she has photography experience and doing horribly on her first day, Hank has no choice but to fire her. Since Hank was hired to take the Braverman family portrait, both he and Sarah have a chance to see each other again. Hank observes the family, meets Mark (who found a loophole in the Bravermans'"No Girlfriends or Boyfriends or Fiances In Family Portraits" rule), and forms a liking to the family. While going through proofs the next day, Hank decides that Sarah is good for "shmoozing" and could use her help with the clients. He's cynical, he's sarcastic, and I couldn't love his character more. It's nice to have some dark dramedy on this show and Romano is a superb addition.
Crosby and Jasmine find Jabar praying to God and confront Jasmine's mother about it. Finding
quickly that they don't have a solid belief system themselves, Crosby is on the search to find
more about his family's spiritual side. This subplot could have used more exploration, but perhaps this was just an introduction. There is still plenty of time to show how the Bravermans view spirituality and God.
The saddest part of this episode followed the Cornell-bound Haddie. Kristina and Adam try to create the perfect last week for her, but everything turns into a disaster: Everyone yells at the restaurant and Max shows no emotion about Haddie's departure and destroys her room looking for his lizard. Haddie finally yells, "None of this week has been for me!" and storms out the door, screaming that she won't be going to the going away party her grandparents planned for her. A lot of 18-year olds can relate to her mixed emotions: anger that she doesn't have enough time,
sadness that she's leaving her family, and anxiety about a new place. But being the good girl that she is, Haddie shows up at the party realizing that even if her family is insane, "They are kind of irreplaceable."
In the last scene, Adam and Kristina say goodbye to their daughter at the airport as she finally heads to the security checkpoint. But as she walked further from them, a crying Haddie headed back out of security and into her parents' arms, truly sad that she is leaving. Those goodbye scenes are always a tearjerker.
"Parenthood" promises a whole season worth of drama and with this episode's new family
member -- and new friend? -- I feel like they're going to keep their promise all season long.
"Parenthood" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
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