Something felt off in last night's episode of Parenthood, and it wasn't the fact that every Sarah-Amber-Hank scene felt like it was ripped right out of Stars Hollow, CT. No, Thursday's weirdness was all because of who was missing from the episode — specifically, the kids. Typically, a Parenthood episode features at least one scene of a screaming Sydney or an adorable Jabbar, but last night, both children were missing from action. Sure, there was Max, and that promise of Haddie (!) returning next week, but mostly, Thursday's Parenthood was all about the grownups.
That wouldn't be so bad if it hadn't felt like years since we'd last caught a glimpse of Jabbar or had more than two minutes with Victor. It's disappointing, because Parenthood's kids are an integral part of the show; just imagine how little we'd care about them now if we hadn't gotten as much time to watch Amber and Drew grow up each episode, for instance. Yet it looks like the series is now choosing to ignore most of the kids, along with a few once-important adults. These characters are being relegated them to a line per episode or a face in an iPhone photo, and it's frustrating to watch.
Unfortunately, Parenthood has a history of forgetting about certain characters. Remember that time Haddie went off to college, never to return? She's on the list of the seven people Parenthood neglects the most — read on to see who else makes the cut.
We probably wouldn’t hate Sydney so much if we actually got to know her. Well… it’s a theory, at least. There’s no question that Sydney is one of the most annoying kids on TV, but that might be because all we ever see her doing is whining to her parents or screaming at her brother. If Parenthood gave her something bigger to do, perhaps she wouldn’t seem like the worst child ever — or at least we’d be a bit more forgiving of her tantrums if we saw the calmer side of her personality every once in awhile.
Zeek and Camille were the two most neglected characters in all of Parenthood for the show’s first few seasons, but last year, the couple finally got some real material. Still, the should-we-or-should-we-not-move debate has gotten tiresome, and we miss the days where the grandparents had some real character development. Remember when Camille discovered her love for art and traveled to Italy? She was a lot more interesting back then, and her storyline enabled Zeek’s, as well. Writers, give Camille something to do again, because neither of the Braverman grandparents deserve to be ignored.
Not too long ago, Crosby was one of the main characters on Parenthood, a husband/father/studio exec whose life made for just as interesting material as his siblings. Yet this season, he’s been given nothing to do, and an episode featuring him in more than one scene is cause for celebration. Don’t believe me? His biggest plot-line so far has revolved around mold. Think about that.
Victor had plenty of screen-time during the first half of this season, but recently, he’s been MIA. You’d think that after all the scenes devoted to dealing with the kid getting held back in school, there’d be a bit of follow-up, but so far, nothing. Xolo Mariduena is a talented actor, and it’s a shame that Parenthood chose to sideline his character after spending so much time with him earlier in the year.
To be fair, Jabbar was never one of the series’ central characters, but that doesn’t mean it’s cool that he’s been relegated to saying “cool, daddy!” and bringing plates in from the kitchen. Even watching another one of Crosby’s “is my son a man or not” debate over Jabbar’s dance lessons would be more interesting than this.
Jabbar’s struggles, however, are nothing compared to his mom’s. Jasmine used to be one of the most interesting characters on Parenthood, but now she’s nonexistent. Every few episodes, we get a scene of her chastising Crosby for yelling at his parents/babying the band/staying out too late/etc., but it’s a far cry from the times when her personality, career, and own family life took center stage.
Remember when Haddie was a central part of Parenthood, with relationships, issues, and screen-time all her own? Neither do we — that’s how long it feels since the Cornell student showed her face in an episode. Just the other week, the mere mention of her name elicited glee from fans who’d swore the writers had forgotten she existed.
Thankfully, this seems not to be the case any longer, as the promos for next week’s episode promise to bring Haddie back in a big way. Welcome back, Haddie, and please, book a flight out to Berkeley every once in awhile, okay?
And The Ones That Made It Out
Congratulations Drew, Julia, Joel, and Zeek (somewhat): you’ve made it out. Once neglected by the Parenthood writers, you’ve managed to score story-lines and screen-time of your own. It’s been a pleasure watching your characters grow — now just let some of your family members do the same, okay?