'Parenthood' season finale review: A marriage, a proposal, an adoption, and a very expensive torn napkin...

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Image Credit: Chris Haston/NBC

Parenthood wrapped up its season with some moving moments, some hasty moments, some frustrating moments — in short, the show behaved the way families do, with a striking simulacrum of the pace and unexpected rhythms of parenthood. Plus “crazy bastard Billy,” Crosby’s best man imported from Friday Night Lights.

The show dispatched with two relationships that another series could easily have spent a half hour on: Jasmine and Crosby dropped their marriage news on Doctor Joe and Moody Cellist Girl during brief, wordless montages that were over before the opening credits, ruthlessly cutting loose these carefully set up subplots, never to be seen again. (Although I wonder low long it’s going to take Jasmine, once she starts hauling her laundry over to the Braverman house and has to referee fights between Crosby and Adam, to recall that long shot we saw of the big beautiful house Doctor Joe had for the two of them, and realize she made a mistake for her and Jabbar?)

Alright, I’m going to go with the show and put aside my feelings for what characters should have done and concentrate on what they did. Candidate and semi-predator Bob Little tried to get Kristina to forgive him for pushing himself on Amber — the guy is a convincing politician in the Bill Clinton mode, isn’t he, needing to be loved and forgiven by everyone even after he’s behaved creepily? It made Amber’s sincere attempt to meet with him, sever the personal and maintain the professional relationship all the more poignant. Terrific acting by Mae Whitman, as always.

The Crosby-Adam tussle in the Zeek Braverman living room was aces. Was that a bowl of guacamole that got poured over one combatant’s head? I hope so. I lodge my complaint loudly and strongly that the flip-flop of having Adam tear up a$2 million napkin/handshake agreement as a gesture of brotherly solidarity was a ridiculous, unnecessary turn of events. Consider that Crosby had already moved on from the Luncheonette — he made a quick remark, post-napkin-tearing, about how he was already thinking of working elsewhere. Plus he’d have been riding high within his industry for having had the vision to turn a fading relic into a hot property. Plus: Each guy would have been a millionaire. I know that doesn’t go very far these days, given the tax rate at which each would be paying and in Adam’s case the ongoing care of Max and college tuition for Haddie, but still — this would have opened up a very ripe new subplot for next season. (If there is a next season.) Adam would no longer be in the position of settling for a crappy job offered by any ditsy Internet billionaire; he could pick and choose for a while. And during that time, be a house-husband while Kristina continued to work. Good stuff… but instead, he and we are now saddled with another season (if there is another season) of Adam watching Crosby twiddle control-board knobs while cool bands look at him as if he’s a fossil.

The wedding was nice, though. Loved seeing Derek Phillips tranferring his noble-slob Billy Riggins from FNL to a slobbery-drunk Billy here. I didn’t think we really needed to have Drew lose his virginity in the midst of the nuptials (and I would not pop into my mouth any of those candied-almond party favors Drew and his girlfriend had at their feet as they rolled around on the bed), but, hey, Drew is clearly his father’s son: no impulse control; no respect for tradition; he’s a horny teen; hope he used protection; God bless.

Zoe was hauled back to Julia and Joel’s doorstep to deliver the line, “Julia, you changed my life,” and to convince me that this story line ultimately had more to do with Julia’s sense of entitlement than I really wanted to acknowledge from a series I enjoy. As for the couple sudden new adoption, all I can say is, good luck explaining her new big brother Victor to Sydney, Julia!

I must confess to a little exasperation with Sarah: She wants to be a free spirit, but also a new mom again. She wants to be joined at the hip with Mark, but she wants him to spread his wings and take his tufted face to Ireland and all the places he wants to explore before settling into, whaddaya call it, parenthood. But of course we’re always supposed to be a tad exasperated with Sarah; she, too, has little impulse control, says the first idea that pops into her head. The season’s cliff-hanger was Mark’s sudden appearance at the wedding to propose to Sarah. Her mouth agape, we were on to Julia and the adoption.

This has been a rocky, uneven, but overall excellent Parenthood season. As I said last week, I admire the way showrunner Jason Katims has managed to sustain so many family mini-dramas within the Braverman clan. I’m really curious to see how the Sarah-Mark, Crosby-Jasmine, and Adam-Kristina subplots shake down over another season. That is, if there is another season. I certainly hope there is.

I’d be interested to know what subplots you found satisfying or unsatisfying this season.

Twitter: @kentucker

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