A new 'Parenthood' returns tonight: Is Crosby really that bad, as a father, as a man?

Parenthood returns with a new episode tonight, and among the show’s many wonderfully emotional, intricate subplots, the Crosby-is-a-bad-dude one fascinates me, and perhaps you.

All season long, the series has been setting up Dax Shepard’s Crosby as a kind-hearted good soul who’s also a shameless slacker who’ll avoid adult responsibility at any opportunity. Crosby tends to want to be more of a best buddy to cute little Jabbar than a disciplinarian father; his resistance to laying down the law about even so elementary a task as asking the boy to clean his room forced Joy Bryant’s Jasmine to assume the role of tough-parent, which she understandably resented.

Then there was Crosby’s awfully bad idea to sleep with Minka Kelly’s Gaby, thus upending not only his relationship with Jasmine, but also leaving Adam and Kristina without an aide to help with Max.

As with the best TV shows, every character has his or her reasons for the way he or she behaves, and Crosby’s not-so-great role model has been his father. Zeek, alternately a ’60s hang-loose relic and a Great Santini-ish hard-ass, was obviously a man whose parenting style was something to avoid emulating at all costs. Adam did it by becoming a careful, orderly, calm fellow (in contrast to his wild-man father); Crosby opted out of the whole commitment thing altogether, until he met Jasmine and learned of the existence of his son.

Still, is it possible to forgive Crosby for his adventure with Gaby? Have the producers rendered him irredeemable? I get the sense that tonight’s episode is going to try and bring Crosby and Jasmine closer to reconciliation; let’s see if we can buy it.

Parenthood has had a tough time of it in the ratings this season as The Good Wife has surged ahead of it. There’s no question it’s a very good series — so good at what it does, in fact, that I suspect many people stopped watching Parenthood because its emotions were so raw, so realistic, that it fell victim to the great philistine excuse of our time: The I-don’t-want-to-watch-anything-that-makes-me-depressed/uncomfortable/think.

It would be disingenuous of me not to admit that I haven’t covered Parenthood every week because, like much of the rest of the country, I think The Good Wife is both excellent and has become part of the national pop-culture conversation: It’s one of the few network dramas I want to watch in real time. Parenthood, I always catch up with, and admire some things tremendously (the way it’s dealt with the subject of autism; the performances of Peter Krause and Lauren Graham in particular) and fret over other aspects of the show (why were we asked to invest in weeks of John Corbett as Mopey Absent Father when we knew he’d be leaving the show? Why can’t the writers get a fix on Bonnie Bedelia’s character?)

That said, I hope there continues to be a place on NBC’s schedule for Parenthood to continue to thrive.

What do you think of the character of Crosby, and of Parenthood in general?

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (219 total) Add your comment
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  • Derek

    I too love Parenthood, and I too ALWAYS choose to watch The Good Wife live and catch up on Parenthood later. But I do think it is a great show with a wonderful cast. It does have its flaws. For instance, why does everyone always talk over each other? I can understand that happening from time to time, as it does in real life. But every time? Seriously?

    Anyway, the thing I love most about it is the relationship between Amber and Sarah. I would love to see more of that. Also, I agree that Camille’s character could use a little umph.

    As far as Crosby goes, Shepard plays him so well, and I almost would rather see him get together with Lyla … I mean, Minka Kelly’s character … than his fiance. I thought their chemistry was excellent. Still, I think he’ll make the right choice in the end.

    • Mr. Holloway

      I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: this is the best family drama on TV right now. Putting it on at 10 p.m. makes no sense.

      If we’re fortunate enough to get a third season, it NEEDS to be moved to either 8 or 9 p.m.

      • Miss Marin

        Derek- I agree with you in that the talking over each other can be hard to watch! It stresses me out, but, as Ken pointed out, this show makes us feel real-life emotions. I do feel Sarah’s frustration when she’s trying to get a word in and can’t! =)
        This is one of the only shows, especially a drama, that my boyfriend and I can agree on. Without giving you TMI, I’ll just tell you that that says a lot!
        I agree with Mr. Holloway; this deserves a better time slot, but if nothing else, a third season (if not more!).

      • Swampthing

        A M E N !!! This is an incredibly well-written and well-acted show. Why do we keep on losing shows like this when there’s so much DRECK elsewhere??

      • Caryn

        Thank you thank you thank you Mr. Holloway. This show is incredible. I hate that I feel I’m the only one watching it! I’m glad to see people responding to the article Ken wrote and praising it as much as I do. This show is definitely real-and despite that-I CONTINUE to watch weekly!

      • Nicole

        I love the 10 pm time. I’ve got a little boy with autism and bu=y the time I get him and my daughter settled, have a chance to settle in I can actually watch it. There are a couple shows I like on at 8 and I can never see them AND thanks SO MUCH for the show!!!!!! Love it!

      • Jen

        The show is about family, but it is not a “family show.” I think putting it on at an early hour wouldn’t be a smart move. I love the show, but I’d never let my children watch it! It is geared towards adults.

      • Mr. Holloway

        @ Jen

        I somewhat disagree. When I say “family show”, I mean just that…a show that the whole family can watch together. It appears like you take “family show” to mean “kids show.”

        Now, I’m with you in that it probably wouldn’t be my first choice of show for kids to watch by themselves. However, I feel like this is a show I would’ve absolutely watched together with my mom while I was growing up. (Then again, my mom wasn’t super-strict abou the stuff I couldn’t watch.)

        At the very least, “Parenthood” is no more inappropriate for kids than stuff like “Glee” or “The Vampire Diaries”, which are both on at 8. Hell, I’d feel more awkward explaining Petra Nemcova’s outfit on “Dancing with the Stars” last night to my theoretical kids than I would watching “Parenthood.”

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      • Old Hippie

        Crosby is an immature, self centered JERK. Jazmine and her mother are control freaks. Gaby is hot and has experience working with kids (Like Crosby)who are developlly challenged. A match made in heaven? This is an outstanding show and needs to be left at 10:00. Teenagers yes, but not for kids. The writing and acting are some of the best ever on TV.

    • Frookie

      lol I come from a large family and everyone is always talking at the same time and we are loud and funny we all hear everything everyone is saying. I find that part of the show like real life actually.

      • Leo

        Frookie me too. I admit some nights I’m not ready to watch it because its too close to home, especially when there is tension in my family of origin (and I’m the one raising a special needs child)

      • SandyBeach56

        I didn’t grow up in a big family but if I could have I would have choose this one.True meaning of family know matter how dysfunctional.

    • V

      You can tell in the talking-over-each-other scenes the actors are ad-libbing their dialog. I think it’s a nice way to try and put some realness to the scenes, even if its a bit transparent.

    • Drewgo

      Ha Ha Ha… I always call her Lyla too….Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose :-)

    • AD

      I LOVE that everyone talks over each other; it sounds like real life. How many conversation do you have, really, where everyone’s speech ends at the end of a sentence and things don’t overlap.

  • Tracy

    I think they’re giving Crosby too hard of a time.

    • Miss M

      I totally agree with Tracy! I think Jasmine and her mother were always trying to force their ways (church, the wedding plans, etc) on Crosby and he was totally justified for blowing up at Jasmine. Tucker, you have it all wrong! I hope Jasmine is out of his life for good, but Jabbar isn’t. I love Crosby!

    • allie

      I totally agree!!! Jasmine is a control freak and I would have backed out of marraige to her also. Now the indiscretion with Gabby is all on Crosby, but I don’t think it’s fair to blame his and Jasmine’s problems all on him. She is a total b***h!

      • Heather

        Jasmine is not a b***ch! At times I have wanted her to take it easy on Crosby, but that is Crosby’s M.O. He is so charming and seems like he is a kid still figuring this whole parenthood and relationship thing out, so everyone wants to take it easy on him. But in the end, Jasmine needs to make the tough decisions and discipline Jabar. Crosby wants to make decisions, but has not shown that he will make wise decisions. I loved when Adam went off on Crosby because that is what he needs, a reality check. Adam said something along the lines of “I am not even thinking about you! You are not even on my radar! I’m worried about taking care of my family!” Adam makes the tough decisions, and he never bails when the going gets tough. Crosby could learn a lot from him. Instead of talking to Jasmine about her controlling ways and trying to work it out, he stupidly says he doesn’t know if he can marry someone like her. Wrong method! I hope Jasmine gives him another chance. Crosby could teach her how to relax and go with the flow a bit more.

        I love this show! I’m sure most of us can see ourselves in these characters and that makes it great.

    • Bleep.

      I’d rather Crosby take a runner and never be heard from again. Dax Sheppard is just awful and every time I see him on-screen I want someone to punch him in the throat.

      • fireflyfan

        While he has grown on me, I do hate how he is a constant mouth-breather. Have you seen him once where his mouth isn’t hanging open?

      • Steve

        LOL, oh thats hilarious, mouth-breather. Ahhhh. Excellent!

    • chase

      OK, I just started watching. Pretty interesting show. I do think Crosby so far has taken a beating, FYI, family is always first. Blood is Thicker Than Water. His sisters’ were butt heads…

    • Badlands

      I never take the side of the cheating partner, but I’ve also never understood how someone could keep the EXISTANCE OF A CHILD a secret and than take any kind of moral highground. That Jasmine was so easily forgiven for that was boggling.

      • Michael

        What Badlands said. I hope Crosby and Jasmine work it out, I really do, because when they are good, they are really good. But his indescretion with Lyla – I mean, Gaby – is no worse than keeping a man’s child a secret for five years. It’s not a tit for tat kind of thing, but rather, if Crosby can find a way to look past this egregious insult, surely Jasmine can find a way to do the same. And if she doesn’t then, he should go for Gaby. As she said, she really liked him, and she would also, I think, be a moderating force in his life, like she is with the kids that he works with. Jasmine is a mother, sure, but Gaby would make a better mother figure to him – which he kinda needs. So, for the record: Hope it works out with Jasmine, but hey, a guy has got options.

    • Laurel

      I totally agree !
      I was happy when Crosby moved on.
      Jasmine didn’t want anything to do with Crosby. She kept telling his to get lost. So hey whatever…
      Jasime derserves a reality check after keeping Jabar from his father for 5 years.

    • chris

      I agree with Laurel. I was happy to see Crosby move on. Jamsine was being a jerk and then MINKA KELLY was flirting with him. C’MON thats a no brainer. Put Jasmine in the rearview mirror.

    • Carla

      I agree that Jasmine and her family are way too hard on Crosby, especially since little-miss-perfect chose to keep Jabaar a secret from his father for 5 years, and lied to her family about Crosby not wanting to be involved! Maybe Jasmine should move on, and let Crosby do the same. I love this show, and the character interaction; they do talk over each other and if Max is in a scene, you really have to pay attention and think. The show packs a real emotional wallop, also-I got very invested in Haddie’s standoff with her parents over Alex.

  • Amy

    Love Phood!

    • Steve

      Actually its spelled, Fa’ad and played by the delightful Peter Sarafinowicz on the short lived, ‘Running Wilde”. And, I too Loved Fa’ad.

      • Radclyffe

        I’m pretty sure Amy meant P-hood, as in Parenthood!

      • Steve

        *sigh*

  • mia

    Oh, please don’t reconcile. I do not, I repeat, do NOT like Jasmine. She is a shrew! Gabby seemed lovely and they seemed to connect so much more. He only tried to be with Jasmine because of the son. Please please get her off the show!!

  • macbath

    How can it be an “awfully bad idea” to sleep with Minka Kelly’s character? I really can’t blame the man for that.

  • J King

    Parenthood is one of the best family dramas on TV – wait, it’s the ONLY family drama on TV. There are so many characters that some get lost in the shuffle, such as Bonnie Bedelia’s Camille and Sarah’s son. But the show has tremendous heart. As for Crosby, I have felt for a while that he and Jasmine were mismatched. It’s too bad that they have to deal with each other because of Jabbar. Crosby doesn’t think before he acts or talks, but he has good intentions. What makes the show work is that none of them are perfect – just like real people!

    • Katie

      Blue Bloods and Brothers & Sisters are family dramas as well.

      • crispy

        Someone needs to put Brothers & Sisters out of its misery.

      • Erin

        Completely agree, Brothers & Sister has been going downhill, this season especially.

      • Michael

        I love Brother’s and Sisters, but yeah, I’d like to see them wrap it up and end it in a nice way, instead of trying to hang on, and get cancelled, leaving fans with an unfinished show.

        If they hadn’t before, they jumped the shark when they killed Robert off. We have solved all of Williams Walkers mysteries – $50 million in water rights was something he was supposed to keep from his family? Whatever. It pushes the willing suspension of disbelief. Love all the actors, love the show, but, please don’t need to be shown the door.

    • Elizabeth

      You forgot about “No Ordinary Family”

      • Foxer

        Ick, that dreck! No Ordinary Family is wasting one of the best casts on television with the most boring scripts imaginable.

      • Lucka

        You’ve hit the ball out the park! Irnceidlbe!

  • Vivi

    I really like “Parenthood” and I will be one happy lil’ female if NBC does the right thing and renew the show for a 3rd season. I mean, if it can stick with “Chuck” through thick and thin (and I love that show, too), I’m pretty sure there is room for “Parenthood”. Please, make this happen. It will finally allow me to forgive the channel for ruthlessly canceling “SouthLAnd”. Even though that show is surging on TNT. But I digress.
    Anywho, back to PH. I, for one, am disappointed in Crosby. He was my favorite character on the show until he decided to sleep with Gaby. So, after every little fight and argument, he’s just gonna sleep with the first lady that has a twinkle in her eyes for him? That’s so sad. But before I completely dismiss Crosby, let me watch tonight’s episode and get a better assessment.
    Oh and Ken Tucker, you can recap both “Parenthood” and “The Good Wife”.

    • Katie

      I agree, it’s disappointing behavior. But very realistic. Most men with the personality of Crosby wouldn’t make a total 180 from being irresponsible and childish and never have a slip-up again.

      • DebbieG

        I agree. But he is redeemable. I’m not sure that he would be a good catch for anyone at this stage.

  • Kevin

    Parenthood has only four episodes left until the season finale April 19th. Hoping that NBC renewed this melodrama for season three and the only thing left is that we still going to find out whether Minka Kelly stint on Parenthood is over because she’s planning her new gig on ABC’s reboot of Charlie’s Angels.

    • Sina

      I also hope NBC renews this show but without Lauren Graham. She’s the worst thing about this show. THE WORST!! I have to FF her. Or they can backburn her

      • blue

        I have to agree about Lauren Graham. I loved her on Gilmore Girls, but she is just not good at the ad-libbing that is required on this show. I find most of her scenes painful to watch.

      • Radclyffe

        I LOVE Laura Graham on this show. I never watched Gilmore Girls, but now I want to get the DVDs of that show because of how great Laura is on Parenthood.

      • terry

        I love watching lauren graham on parenthood, she is slightly different from her days on gilmour girls.I love this show.

    • tnsmoke

      Parenthood has been top rated per the stats of people TiVo and using another DVR. NBC will renew it. It needs a new night. Everyone I know complains there’s nothing on tv on the weekends. Run it twice, once during the week and a repeat on Saturday or Sunday.

      • SandyBeach56

        I agree with tnsmoke they do it with NCIS and Law & Order SVU.
        Jasmine needs to go,Mina is great I cant remember the name of the show she played in about Alaska. I think she belongs with Crosby,after all Jasmine did keep Jamal from him for how many years…So let her move on .Exit Stage Left

  • AlyssaG

    I actually never bought Jasmine and Crosby in the first place. I just don’t think a man would be so forgiving of his ex keeping a son from him. I realize she had her reasons, but it’s not like he’s an abuser of some sort. I would think it would take years for a man in Crosby’s position to forgive the ex. Their pairing feels very unearned.

    • DebbieG

      I agree. Did Jasmine see more potential in Crosby than he actually had; or was she slumming. Having said that;I really like Crosby. He is like some people I know in real life. I hope that they keep this show. I love PH. As for people talking over each other…isn’t that how creative and loving hyper-active familys communicate?

    • Angel

      The whole reason she did keep him from Jabar is the whole situation that is going on. Crosby needs to grow up.

      • Kiz

        I agree he needs to grow up, absolutely! But she had no right to keep Jabbar from him. None. He was not a dead beat. I will never justify his behavior towards her but I think some of it is a lot resentment towards her.

  • xfoley8

    My wife likes this show, but I just can’t get into it. It’s just 45 minutes of characters yelling at each other most of the time. I think they’re going for a ‘realistic’ Robert Altman thing with the overlapping dialogue/screaming matches, but it wears me out really fast. It’s true that arguments occur in family life, and some of the storylines can be compelling, but the ‘drama’ here is bombastic and overdone- too many scenery-chewing, “Look Ma, I deserve an Emmy for my emotional intensity!” moments- more the writers/director’s fault than the actors (for the most part).

    • crispy

      I have noticed the overlapping dialogue… but honestly, I find it more realistic than anything else on TV. That’s how real people talk! You don’t wait for the other person to finish reading their line before speaking.

      • candi

        Brothers and Sisters does this too. It gets wearing after a while though.

      • allie

        I don’t know what kind of family you grew up in, but my family was never like that! We weren’t allowed to talk over one another. It’s irritating and no one actually gets to make their point!

      • crispy

        Sadly, we can’t all be your perfect, WASPy family.

      • Pamela

        I never noticed they talk over each other; it just seemed normal to me. I like the drama aspect of the show, especially Amber’s speech to her dad, which more than explained her attitude and sulking and additionally moved the story forward. I still feel this way, despite going through sheer hell with my own extended family right now – you would think I wouldn’t want any more drama. It goes to show families are not all the same.

    • Badlands

      Yeah, I’m going to co-sign this. I really enjoy, “Parenthood” but I never mind too much when it skips a week or two.

  • ST

    I’m probably one of the few that has no desire to watch “The Good Wife” (and never had). I typically watch Parenthood in real time b/c I love the show. It has such heart and is so real, I feel like I know the characters. Plus, I love Lauren Graham & Peter Krause. Honestly, I didn’t even like Dax Sheppard before this show (wasn’t sure what my girl K-Bell ever saw in him). Now that I’ve seen him in action though, I think he has great depth. Yes, he has a lot of growing up to do and I don’t give his sleeping with Minka Kelly’s character a pass. However, I do think they have better chemistry than he and Jasmine ever had, especially of late. Jasmine has been a shrew on the show lately, not taking Crosby’s opinion on their wedding into account, constantly taking the lead when she doesn’t like Crosby’s parenting skills and undermining Crosby in front of Jabar. I feel like she hasn’t admitted to any of this so it’s all on Crosby’s shoulders for cheating. Was it wrong? Yes, absolutely but she did play a part in it. If they reconcile, I hope it’s because she saw the part she played in disrespecting Crosby in the relationship. I don’t feel her actions warranted Crosby to cheat but she did play her part. Plus, they hinted at Crosby and Minka’s character having a connection last season so I don’t feel like this was completely random on his part. Stupid yes, but I don’t think he’s the worst character on the show. I really hope this show sticks around.

    • Ash

      I am not really into legal dramas and all I’ve ever realyl picked up rom Good Wife promos is that it’s a legal drama. I don’t watch and have no desire to. I am sure it’s good but I would rather watch Parenthood.

      • Tanya

        One part of the show is a legal drama, but it’s not really like anything else on TV right now, and the legal shenanigans are only a very small part of a very complex, adult show.

        I think the worst part is — Good Wife and Parenthood are competing for much of the same audience — intelligent, mature audiences who love complex, realistic characters and intricate relationships.

    • LaCat

      Can’t/won’t watch The Good Wife. Tried a few episodes and I can’t get past how poorly the writers portray working in a law firm and how their cases are handled in court. Total Hollywood BS. Ugh.
      I love, love Parenthood.

    • Jane Burns

      I totally agree!!!!

    • pat

      Last season? You mean last week. Even though it has been a long season, Gaby and Crosby didn’t meet until the first episode of this season.
      I agree that Jasmine has been controlling of late, I think that was to move the story forward But I agree that if they reconcile, there must be some discussion of the issues he brought up and the them dealing with it, or it won’t seem real.

  • crispy

    Jasmine was being kind of a betch.

    • Sabrina

      Kind of??

  • parkR

    Ultimately it is Crosby’s own fault for the recent decisions that he has made. And maybe it’s b/c I am still single, but there are plenty of people who contributed to his dimise. Papa Braverman was already mentioned, but Adam is using him as the ultimate scapegoat while he and his wife were denying that their son has aspbergers. And of course there is Jasmine, she did after all didn’t tell him that he had a son until about a year ago, so no slack in his lack of parenting skills, not to mention no sympathy in his hesitations during the wedding planning? Maybe they are going to the movie route where he gets in trouble w/ the mob (I think) and leaves, leaving the grandparents in charge of Jabbar

  • girlie

    He was doing something with music, right? I admit, I watch The Good Wife first and then On Demand Parenthood. I haven’t seen Crosby work lately. Does he still have a job?

  • conor

    glad to see u write an article on one of the best scripted/acted shows on basic TV, i too adore The Good Wife, so i think Tuesdays at 10 is my favorite TV hour of the week!! i want both shows to do well and go on for years (once the scripts stay as good and entertaining!) thanks for covering ParentHood, put it on the map!

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