'Parenthood' Recap: Mayors, Marriage and Minivans
'Parenthood' Recap: Mayors, Marriage and Minivans
Eva Des Lauriers
Eva Des Lauriers
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Parenthood sure knows how to bring on the feels and this week's episode is no exception. Amber is considering an elopement with Ryan to eliminate wedding stress between herself and her mom. Kristina finds herself low in the polls before a big mayoral debate. Crosby is torn between his bachelor self of old and his minivan self of new. Joel and Julia are struggling to stay on the same page. And Camille and Zeek shop condos and question their future together. It's all just too much and not enough, as always with this show.

Canvassing for Kristina

The Bravermans are helpful, as always, and everyone is canvassing for Kristina's mayoral campaign. Many pens are given out, but even more doors are slammed. While prepping for the big debate coming up between herself and Bob Little, Heather encourages Kristina to talk about Max and why her platform is all about education. Kristina refuses to talk about Max and his Asperger's and stresses about the upcoming debate.

While canvassing together, Joel's cell phone is ringing non-stop with work calls. Julia is clearly frustrated, but Joel has to leave to attend to his work issues. The wedge is going in between them deeper and deeper and it's stressing me out. Julia decides to take her kids, Victor and Sydney, with her canvassing instead, and they end up at Sustainability Partner Ed's house.

Sydney and Victor run inside to play with the kids while Julia and Ed reminisce about being employed and the perks of not having to rely on their self-worth as parents. Their conversation is open, and free flowing, bordering on flirtatious. When the kids get hungry, Ed offers to cook dinner. While they are eating, Ed's wife comes home and is clearly confused and suspicious about the fact that Julia and her kids are eating dinner with her family. It's all very awkward and Julia dashes out with the kids.

When she arrives home, Joel has prepared a huge feast for the family. He confesses to Julia that he couldn't do anything without her and that he is incredibly grateful to and proud of her. It's so very sweet, but tensions are still high since Julia seems a bit smitten with Ed. To be continued.

Minivans and Corduroys

Now that they have two kids, Jasmine and Crosby agree it's time to get a new car. Jasmine suggests a minivan and Crosby is horrified since he equates minivans to vaginas. I get what they're trying to do, but it's pretty lazy of the Parenthood writers to go sexist with this joke. Either way, it's used again and again as Crosby protests all the way through trading his car in and signing on the dotted line for a minivan. 

In full protestation, he complains to Adam, who advises him to embrace the corduroys and minivans since it is pretty great. "You're a minivan man now. Slip on some corduroys and relax, man." I love relaxed Adam, I really do. Crosby continues to whine and ends up fully drunk in the afternoon with Ashes to Rome at the Luncheonette. He cannot drive so he asks Jasmine to pick him and the band up.

In true amazing wife form, she picks them all up, takes them to get greasy burgers and drives them home. The band yells drunkenly from the back, "You have the best wife!" and Crosby realizes getting a minivan doesn't change his life for the worse at all. He's been a grown-up for some time now, and he's damn lucky for it.

Zumba and Fire Pits

Zeek agrees to visit condos with Camille. They do a tour of a San Francisco condo that boasts a gym with spinning, Pilates and Zumba, a wine cellar and a fire pit. Zeek gives it the old college try, but ultimately cannot get into the condo spirit. He looks so hilarious and strange in the modern setting of the place that I don't blame him.

As a compromise, he builds Camille a fire pit in their backyard. While she is grateful he tried, it's clear that she cannot put up with his ways much longer. They both try very hard to please the other, but ultimately they are very different. She tells him that her art class is going to Italy for a month and that she'll be going alone. He is pretty dumbfounded. 

The Debate

Bob Little continuously cuts Kristina off during the debate. She is frustrated and her campaign manager is yelling at her from the sidelines to get it together. A question from a mother of a special needs child is posed to the panel that Kristina promptly jumps on. She finally reveals how much she has fought for Max in the school system and wants everyone to know that she will fight for their children just as hard if she is elected mayor. It's a great speech and so genuinely Kristina. 

The next morning, Max sees the paper and tells Kristina that she is a statistical anomaly since she won the debate! She went from seven% voter approval to winning the debate overall. She, Max and Adam are overjoyed and it's a very sweet moment for them. She might actually win this thing!

To Elope or Not to Elope?

Amber shows up at Sarah's, who greets her with mimosas and runny eggs as if they didn't get into a fight about her wedding the week before. Amber is uncomfortable, pretending like everything is okay since she knows her mom doesn't agree with her getting married. Sarah feels that she doesn't have to agree since she ultimately supports her. Amber storms out and complains to Ryan, who suggests they skip all the stress and just get married at the courthouse. Yeah, because excluding family from such a big event is always a great idea. 

Amber takes to this idea, though, and goes to Drew to ask him to be their witness at the courthouse. They are so natural together, I feel like they must be best friends in real life. Anyway, Drew refuses to exclude their mom and family like that and Amber has her second spectacular storm-out of the episode.

Meanwhile, Sarah confides in her mom, Camille, that she doesn't believe Amber should be getting married and doesn't know what to do. Camille reminds Sarah that she did the same thing with Seth when they got married, and Camille wishes she hadn't said anything since they lost Sarah for a few years after that. Sarah is not please that she has to choose between silent support or losing her daughter, but we all know she will make the right decision.

She shows up at Amber's door early in the morning to tell her she trusts her, supports her and wants to be a part of the wedding process together. They are sobbing, I'm sobbing and it's all so incredibly sweet. In the end, Amber and Ryan may break up, they may be too young, but that is pretty much the risk most people run when they get married. I'm so pleased to see them getting along again since the last time they fought like this, Amber almost died. Literally. (Season 2 car accident.)

Next week, we learn more about the ramifications of Camille dashing off to Italy and are promised more of Ray Ramano's Hank.

Parenthood airs on Thursdays at 10pm on NBC.

(Image courtesy of NBC)