In this episode of Parenthood,
the struggle is real. Kristina is struggling to raise the funds necessary to continue her mayoral campaign. Adam is struggling to ask for money from his colleagues for Kristina's campaign. Amber and Ryan are in full wedding planning mode, but Sarah is still struggling to get on board with their decision to get married. Amber is struggling with her mom's concerns. Julia is struggling with her role as a stay-at-home mom, especially while Victor is still struggling to read. And Drew is struggling to get in to Joni Mitchell. The struggle may be real, but so is the love and support of those wonderful Bravermans who continue to help each other out with love, support and humor.
From Friendzone to Funzone
Drew and Natalie are bonding over music in his dorm room when she says if he likes the next song they are soul mates. She plays a Joni Mitchell song, which Drew pretends to like because he likes Natalie. She says it's official, they are now best friends. Drew is disheartened and determined to win her over by becoming a Joni Mitchell fanboy.
Drew seeks out his uncles for advice. While listening to a Joni Mitchell album, Adam advises him that he has a very short window of time "between the friendzone and the funzone" so he has to act fast. Crosby advises Drew to commit to his newfound love for Joni Mitchell to be convincing.
Drew tries to be convincing, but ultimately admits to Natalie that he lied about loving Joni Mitchell to impress her because he likes her. Cue awkward silence when she does not reciprocate her feelings but instead says, "now I know." At least he made a friend!
"I don't think you should give up."
Kristina isn't getting the donations that she needs to keep her campaign afloat, so Heather, her campaign manager, encourages Adam to ask his colleagues. Adam is reluctant, but ultimately agrees to meet with a former Luncheonette client, rapper Mr. Ray. He goes to his house prepared, but then they get distracted by discussing business and the potential future of The Luncheonette. Mr. Ray encourages Adam to start his own label, an idea he takes to Crosby who is less than enthused due to the amount of work and lack of initial income.
Meanwhile, Kristina and Heather meet with a wealthy developer in an attempt to get a large donation from him. While he ends up writing Kristina a check for twenty thousand dollars, she feels uncomfortable taking it because she does not believe in his development project for Berkeley. She ultimately decides not to take the money, even if it is at the cost of her campaign. Max tells her that he thinks she should still run and, in what is a very sweet Parenthood moment, he gives her a $20 donation of his own money. Every time Kristina cries, I cry. It's a thing.
Buoyed by Kristina's nobel choice, Adam approaches Mr. Ray again and this time asks for the money. Mr. Ray has a child in the schools so he is convinced by Kristina's educational platform and donates $20K to the campaign. In what is a long time coming moment, Adam sticks a sign endorsing Kristina on Mr. Ray's front lawn and it finally seems that he is 100% on board with her campaign.
"Where's the elbow grease?"
In an attempt to punish Sydney and Victor for constantly fighting, Julia takes them to Grandpa Zeke for a dose of hard work. He puts them straight to work on cleaning and assembling old car parts for the car he purchased in last week's episode. Victor takes to the task with surprising skill and ultimately, enthusiasm. Zeke has him read aloud from the instruction manual and realizes how far behind Victor really is in his reading.
He shares his concerns with Julia who expresses that she is out of ideas and feeling very alone. In a very sweet supportive moment, Zeke realizes Victor's skill with the car parts and convinces Victor to help him with the car even after he has fulfilled his punishment time. This is a great opportunity for Victor to not only bond with his grandfather, but to learn to read in an environment where he already feels successful. A very pure Parenthood moment.
"If only we could leave the past behind us."
Amber and Ryan are in full wedding planning mode and bring Sarah to the lakeside where they want to get married. Despite her best efforts to put on a good face, it is clear by her hilariously snarky comments that Sarah is less than thrilled at the thought of them getting married there.
Ryan also reveals that his family won't be coming to the wedding, but does not reveal why. Amber attempts to explain to Sarah later that Ryan's relationship with his family is complicated. It becomes clear that Amber doesn't really know why he has issues. She tries to ask Ryan about it, but other than admitting his father is actually dead (how did Amber not know this already?), he is unwilling to discuss it.
Sarah tries to convince Amber that she and Ryan should get married at her grandparent's house, which results in a sort-of-fight mostly heart-to-heart between them. Sarah finally expresses her real (and valid) concerns about their engagement including Ryan's instability over the past year and sharing from her own experiences getting married so young. Amber becomes upset and refuses to believe she and Ryan have the same issues and Sarah and her father did. In the end, Amber decides to get married by the lake and hopes Sarah comes. Ouch.
All in all, this was a bit of a expositional episode of Parenthood to me, which I understand needs to happen. I'm hoping for a bit more sibling interaction in the next few; I especially love it when the sisters get together. Next week promises a bit more drama what with an impending fight between Julia and Joel, and Ryan revealing to Sarah his dark past.