Parenthood “Family Portrait” Review

Parenthood Season 4 Premiere Family Portrait (5)

The fourth season of Parenthood kicked off this week with “Family Portrait.” The episode opened with Sarah undergoing intense questioning by her parents as to the status of her ring-less engagement to Mark and her ongoing job search. Although Sarah was unhappy about Mark’s exclusion from the portrait, things appeared to be taking a positive turn when she got a job with the Braverman family photographer Hank (portrayed by Ray Romano). Hank’s prickly disposition and willingness to hire, fire and then re-hire Sarah had all the makings of both a personal and professional emotional roller-coaster.

Kudos to Mark for standing up for himself and getting Camille to relax the portrait policy. Unfortunately, the tension between Sarah and Hank may ultimately prove Camille right if Mark doesn’t last. I guess if it doesn’t work out, the Braverman’s can take Hank up on his offer to photoshop Mark out of the picture.

Adam and Kristina were bracing themselves for Haddie’s departure to Cornell, thus marking the transition of Sarah Ramos (Haddie) to recurring status. Although I understand it is designed to give a realistic effect, I have grown so exhausted of the family conversations in which Haddie, Max, Adam and Kristina all talk over each other. What I will miss, however, are the personal conversations between smaller subsets of the family. Private conversations like the one between Haddie and Max are among my favorite moments on Parenthood. Haddie may be gone but I suspect her absence will continue to have a significant effect on her family, especially Max.

In their effort to make Victor feel comfortable, Julia and Joel gave him free reign over their home without any real parental discipline. Always a voice of reason, Joel decided that the days of Victor camping out on the couch watching television and eating cheese straight from a can were over. It was time for Victor to be embraced as a family and not treated as a guest.

Of course the more things changed for some Bravermans, the more they stayed the same for others. Enter Amber. Once again, Amber’s impulsive personal decisions created problems for her professionally. She exchanged last season’s politician for a singer at the Lunch Box. Unsurprisingly, Amber slept with Nick way too soon and subsequently discovered that he had a girlfriend. Feeling protective of Amber, Adam kicked Nick and his pals out. I really hope that there will be more development for Amber this season.

I like Mae Whitman a lot as an actress but I’m beginning to absolutely hate the character she portrays. Hopefully Amber’s appeal to her uncle not to fight her battles is a sign of growth that will continue this season.

Things did not look much better for the love life of Sarah’s other child either. Drew’s girlfriend returned from camp – after delaying her return several days. Drew appeared much happier about Amy’s return than she was. This will not end well.

Parenthood got off to a pretty great start. My favorite scene in the premiere episode was the exchange between Hank and Max. A close second was the sweet conversation between Jabbar and Crosby as the two gazed at the stars. It is nice to see the newlyweds still enjoying family life. What did you think? Sound off below!