What’s that sound you hear? It’s the chorus of a nation sniffling as Parenthood began its fifth season last night. It has been several months since the show was on the air — eight, to be exact— and that’s about how much time has passed on the show as well. The precise time gap is not quite clear, but it was enough for well more than half of the family to get new haircuts. Allow me to catch you up with the new hairstyles and accompanying plotlines:
- Joel has matched new career ambition with a contempo haircut, reminiscent of the look that Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig has been sporting. Joel’s hair is on the shorter side, and it’s more carefully groomed, but the general shape is the same.
- While waiting for her boyfriend who is deployed in Afghanistan, Amber has grown out her rich brown hair so it’s now shoulder-length and not even remotely hipster. Everyone knows you look worse over Skype, so I presume Amber was attempting to maximize her looks for that medium.
- Like sister like brother, apparently, because Berkeley student Drew’s hair is much longer too. Perhaps he’s just trying to fit in with the hippies, but it looks like overgrown Bieber hair circa 2011.
- Adam’s hair is less floppy, increasing his attractiveness, without clear correlation to his story line.
- Crosby is celebrating the birth of his daughter with shorter hair.
- Victor cemented his Braverman status by following suit and going shorter as well.
- Still unemployed but no longer by choice, Julia is fighting her stay-at-home mom ennui with longer, messier hair. It’s not really a new style, but it did somehow change her general look. That counts, right?
While everyone looks nice, the clear haircut MVP is Kristina Braverman. She has always had great mom hair — long enough to be tied back, styled but not stylized. Last season she lost all of it as she went through chemotherapy. She’s in remission now, and so her hair has grown to slightly-longer-than-bob length. She’s going with a side part and natural waves. In true Parenthood fashion, it’s practical and stylish and makes perfect sense for the character.
I fear that the characters with the most noticeable hair adjustments are the ones who will be making us weep this season. Given that it was the season premiere, there was not a sob-inducing moment. Nonetheless, I can feel the drama and attendant emotions coming on. Let us prepare for the crises that await and those already afoot.
Prepare the tissues, because you’ll be furious and sad
The impending fights between Joel and Julia. I’m officially worried about this marriage. Joel is embarking on a two-year construction with architect Pete, played by Penny from Lost (Sonya Walger). Joel didn’t mention that Pete was a woman until Julia actually met her, and that can’t be a good sign. Meanwhile, Julia is trying to go back to work at a big law firm, but her abrupt departure is preventing her from finding a new job. This couple made it through the adoption of their son with far too few fights, and it appears their marital bliss is about to run out. Can we collectively survive a cheating plotline? I’m already upset.
Prepare the tissues, because you’ll be overwhelmed with happiness
The inevitable reunion of Sarah and Hank. Thank you based Parenthood writers for immediately bringing back Ray Romano’s Hank character. He showed up right after the theme song. How did we get so lucky? Sarah doesn’t know that he’s back in the Bay Area, but obviously she will soon since he is mentoring her nephew, Max. Even if Hank turns out to be another passing boyfriend for Sarah, we are ensured at least one arc that involves both of them. While almost anyone would be better than Mr. Cyr (no offense to Jason Ritter), Hank is a gift on this show.
Cry Moment of the Week runner-up
Adam and Crosby’s late-night car ride. Adam and Crosby’s brotherhood has blossomed into one of the most compelling relationships. Last night, Crosby turns to Adam, looking for reassurances that parenting his newborn daughter will get easier, and that he’d feel more connected to her. There was no sappy music playing in the background, but this struck me as the most emotionally honest moment of the night. (I’m not a parent, though, so what do I know?)
Cry Moment of the Week kill shot
Ryan proposes to Amber. Last season, Amber wisely broke up with Ryan when his drinking was out of control, yet they reunited at the end of the season. In the final scene from last night’s premiere, Ryan returns to Berkeley after serving a second tour in the Army. They meet again in a school gymnasium last night with a Joshua Radin soundtrack. As soon as the song came on, it was clear the writers intended to break us down. I don’t like Ryan, though, so initially I was annoyed that the climax was wasted on this character, who I doubt will make it to the end of the season. However, there was a quick shot of Amber hugging Ryan in which we got to see her chipped nail polish. It was a small touch, but entirely perfect, reminding us of this show’s impressive attention to detail. Even if a plot is far-fetched or borderline absurd, the characters remain consistent. In turn, I am consistently obsessed with Amber and invested in her happiness, so I succumbed. I was happy for Amber and my eyes welled up.
Based on the groundwork laid in this episode, we’ve got a journey ahead of us. Each week, my pod partner David Jacoby will be recapping the tears we shed as we pray that Joel and Julia quickly smooth things over, along with any other heart-wrenching drama. Hopefully the Joshua Radin will be kept to a minimum.