Parenthood Season 4 Review “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” Conflict (Without) Resolution

Parenthood Season 4 Episode 9 You Can't Always Get What You Want (6)
Although Season 4 of Parenthood has been great, I’ve grown frustrated with several conflicts that appear to have no resolution in sight. Let’s start first with what was great about this week’s episode . . .

Amber and Ryan
I love these two together. Amber has matured tremendously this season and watching her in a healthy relationship has been one of the best parts of this season. The couple is not without their problems but they’ve allowed Amber to learn what it is like to love and care about someone in a healthy way. I could probably do without watching them share old gum. Ick.

Like Amber, Crosby continues to demonstrate growth and maturity this season. He exuded a remarkable amount of restraint in dealing with his new Luncheonette neighbor, portrayed by Pamela Adlon. Adlon has a habit of portraying really annoying, sometimes quirky characters and I wasn’t all that thrilled by her addition to the show. I was happy when she finally stopped appearing on Louie and I think I’ll be even more thrilled when she’s gone from Parenthood. With no resolution to the zoning complaint this week, it looks like she’ll be back for a few more episodes. Let’s hope this goes by quickly.

I appreciate that the Parenthood writers allowed viewers to see that more challenges awaited Max after he became student council president. That kid is nothing if not consistent. He bumped heads with his peers this week as they dared to delay his vending machine dream for a school dance.

Dealing with the prospect of her own mortality because of her breast cancer, Kristina saw the dance as an opportunity to witness an important milestone in Max’s life. The story allowed us to see the progress Adam has made with his son. He’s gotten much better and communicating with his son and demanding his respect.

And yes, the waterworks began as soon as Max came down in his adorable, “Presidential” blue dress shirt. The sight of Kristina teaching Max how to dance as Adam looked on brought the on the ugly cry. This has been such a touching story and I really need Kristina to pull through.

And for the problems that seem to have no end in sight . . .

Julia and Joel
Julia has been in a cycle of struggles this season. Watching her family balance Victor and Sydney’s needs was great to watch. Watching Julia adjust to no longer being an attorney? Not so much. Julia left her demanding legal career so that she could dedicate her time to her kids and to a lesser extent, to give Joel a well-deserved opportunity to throw himself fully into his own career.

Julia, however, could benefit by learning from Joel’s example as the stay-at-home parent. Unlike pasta-making Julia, Joel was actively involved in his kids activities, their school and built strong relationships with teachers and other parents. Julia seems to only want to do this when Joel returns home from work, which is not ideal for him and not the best use of her time.

It was no surprise that Julia’s frustration led to an argument between the two. Although Julia apologized, she still made it more about her and her lack of fulfillment. Kudos to Joel for taking the high road and choosing to respond with compassion, rather than just telling Julia how selfish she was acting. We never get enough Joel on the show, so more Joel is always a good thing but Julia’s got to get a grip – soon. I can’t believe Julia accused Joel of bailing!

Sarah and Mark’s relationship has not been the same since they reconciled at Crosby’s wedding. They should have agreed to just be friends and it was crazy for Sarah to move in with Mark before figuring out if the two really had a future together.

To make matters worse, Sarah has clearly taken a liking to Hank. Her shaky relationship with Mark became even more strained this week as she chose to cancel a trip with her fiance in order to take a last-minute job with Hank. Mark had every right to be upset. I wish Sarah would just put the poor sap out of his misery.

I’m also not a fan of Drew trying to manipulate Mark when it suits his desire to get laid.

What did you think of this week’s episode of Parenthood? Sound off below!