TV Recap: Parenthood, “Nipple Confusion” (5.3)



10/10/13, 10PM, NBC

As per the title, we start off with Crosby watching Jasmine using what is probably the most insidious torture device ever imagined for the modern mother, the breast pump.  While baby Aida isn’t screaming as much in this episode as she was in the last two eps, she is still depriving Jasmine of much needed sleep and Crosby is still trying to connect with Aida on a paternal level.  Compared to the last 2 episodes, the Crosby corner of the family is definitely in the backseat as we see Jasmine try to have a relaxing bath and failing and Crosby showing Zeek the different kind of rubber nipples to use for the bottles as they sit in an old 1965 Pontiac GTO that Zeek just bought.  I’m pretty sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.  By the end of the ep, Aida has finally stopped crying and has latched onto Crosby, both literally and symbolically.

The real plotlines of the night comes with an actual intertwining between Adam and Kristina’s mayoral campaign plotline and Sarah’s budding photography career.  With Adam wanting to cut back on rapidly escalating campaign costs that are coming out of their own pocket for the time being and Sarah wanting an actual human client instead of dogs and landscapes, she offers to take Kristina’s campaign photo for $50.  While she and Adam shake on it, Kristina at first puts the kibosh on it since she wants to go with an actual professional and not a family member with a flighty reputation, as Hank points out in a rare bit of insight that I’m so glad has been actually brought up in the show.  Thus Sarah ambushes Kristina with a not too great portfolio, but with actual conviction that wins Kristina over.  As Sarah does her first ever photo shoot with Kristina with help from Max, who between them is the more developed photographer, Kristina calls out Adam for budgeting behind her back and for casting aspersions on her go for broke endeavour while she said nothing (other than he was nuts) about him and Crosby going into business together running The Luncheonette.  After some trial and error, Sarah actually takes a good picture of Kristina and shocker of all shockers, Hank actually compliments Sarah’s photography.  And upon seeing a picture of her with a full head of hair (something whose significance cannot be overstated), Kristina realizes that maybe her enthusiasm of a clean bill of health might’ve been an overreaction.  But Adam has finally come around and gives her the credit cards so that they can continue on with her campaign sans green juice.

Over at Casa de Graham, Julia and Joel meet with Victor’s teacher (the same teacher Max had 2 years ago, actually), and find out that Victor is far behind on his reading level and unless if it dramatically improves within a month, he would have to retake the 4th grade.  And after another chat with Ed, Julia thinks that Victor should indeed be held back a year while Joel thinks they just need to keep reading with him and tutoring him to get him to the same level as everyone else.  Both sides argue that either scenario could shatter what little self-confidence Victor has.  And the question of “Who the Hell is Ed?” actually send Joel out of the room for a walk.  Between last weeks ep and this week’s one, it’s becoming clear that Ed is going to be the wrinkle in Julia and Joel’s marriage and not the more obvious Peet.

After that, we have two smaller plotlines.  Drew deals with a lacrosse playing roommate who kicks him out of the dorm room for sex, as well as takes his sheets, Drew gets some payback in the form of Ryan kicking down the door and using some light intimidation to get said roomie to behave and not walk all over Drew.  While up to this point I was more or less indifferent towards Ryan joining the Braverman clan, with this act, I can now officially declare “Welcome to the Family.”

But the other plotline that is fast becoming my favorite plotline of the season is Zeek and Camille.  After last week’s heartfelt monologue from Camille, Zeek reacts buy purchasing the previously mentioned 65 Pontiac GTO (aka. his penis) with an engine that’ll take 6 to 8 months (by his estimation), to fix.  This obviously pisses off Camille, since to her, this shows that Zeek won’t even do her the decency of having a conversation about it.  This leads to my favorite scene of the episode as Zeek sits with Camille in the yard and reminds her of the lifetime of memories they’ve had together with their four children and confirms what was already apparent in last week’s “More what?”  That the house and the life they had together was all that he ever wanted and that he’s already living their Act 3.  And while Camille has loved every single moment of their lives together, she wants to see the world, paint things other than the backyard and brag about her grandkids as they’re boating down the Seine.  And knowing Zeek’s back-story as a Vietnam vet, his response of “I’ve seen other places. I didn’t care for them.” rings particularly poignant.  As someone who just saw their parents sell the family business and home and take an early retirement, I can once again confirm the emotional accuracy and honesty of first the kids and now the parents themselves moving away from the home they spent decades building.  And while it’s going to be a gutpunch to see this beautiful home be sold and leave the series, the process of 3 generations saying goodbye to it is probably going to be some of the best stuff the series has done.

The Roundup

  • Best line of the night:  “I don’t feel good about working with family.  I don’t that’s a good idea.”; “Is that why you went into business with your brother Crosby and hired my daughter to work the front desk?” ; “All right, point taken.”
  • @TeamParenthood Tweet of the Night: I went to the wrong uni, I needed co-ed bathrooms. #Parenthood
  • Stray Observations:  I’m not sure if the roomie had an actual name other than “Bro”, but because of George Carlin, I’m pretty sure his name is Todd.
  • If the car isn’t Zeek’s penis, then maybe it’s his attempt at getting on Counting Cars.
  • The “Next Week on Parenthood” credit bumper brings up the fact that Ryan’s family won’t be coming to the wedding.  I’m still more curious as to why Kristina’s family, who may I remind you again didn’t come out to see her as she was battling breast cancer, still hasn’t been brought up.  If Heather is going through Adam’s past with a fine toothcomb, then certainly Kristina’s background isn’t off limits as well.
[notification type=star]70/100~GOOD. The real plotlines of the night comes with an actual intertwining between Adam and Kristina’s mayoral campaign plotline and Sarah’s budding photography career. [/notification]

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Film geek, podcaster and newly minted IATSE member from Regina, Saskatchewan. I met Don McKellar once, and he told me that Quentin Tarantino is exactly like me.