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Terri Mauro

Parenthood and That Magic Moment

By February 3, 2011

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Max BurkholderSpecial-Needs TV: Anybody catch Tuesday night's episode of Parenthood? I watched it on my DVR last night -- much more timely than usual, yay me! -- and was happy to see a Max story among the subplots. Zeke was determined to take Max on his traditional Grandpa-Grandson camping trip, and that certainly had "terrible idea" written all over it. I loved the way Adam used the word "successful" to define the desired outcome of the trip, real special-needs-parent-speak there. I loved that Kristina created a whole portfolio of things Zeke would need to know when taking a boy with Asperger syndrome camping, because that's exactly the sort of thing I would put together in that situation. I loved the way Adam and Kristina had to manufacture enthusiasm to get Max to go off with Grandpa when it was clear they weren't all that comfortable with the idea. The camping trip itself? Meh. We've seen Max meltdowns that were spectacularly more convincing and organic than this one -- like the one over the disrupted slumber party that opened Crosby's eyes (nice to see some follow-through on that here with Crosby warning his dad that this camping trip would not be so simple). I wish they'd cut scenes from Haddie's Teenage Angst Plotline and showed us more examples of Max and Zeke's battle of inflexibility leading up to the meltdown and Zeke's realization (again, 'cause didn't he get it once before?) that Max Is Different from His Other Grandchildren.

The resolution of the meltdown was pat, with Adam saying just the right thing on the phone to make everything okay, and yet ... I loved that, too, because haven't we all had a competent moment like that, when out of desperation or inspiration or creativity (or, in Adam's case, intoxication from a marijuana lollipop) we come up with just the right solution that strikes our kid just right and a problem just goes away. It doesn't happen that often, but when it does -- ah, it's magical, isn't it? I bought it, anyway. What did you think about the episode?

Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images

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