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'Parenthood' recap: Clean bill of health

Season 5 | Ep. 16 | “The Enchanting Mr. Knight” | Aired March 6, 2014

When episode 16 of Parenthood opens with Sarah and the hot Dr. Carl in bed, it’s fair to say that (at least in my mind) the rest of the show will be pretty insignificant. Sarah agrees to push back her Surf Sport deadline and join Carl on his trip to Africa at which point I pause my TV to add a few things to my new Pinterest board called “Sarah and Carl’s Wedding.” Of course, not everyone is as happy about this as I am. Im looking at you, Hank. Sarah tells her old flame and coworker (yeah, it’s complicated) that she’ll be gone due to a “personal matter” and (of course) Hank presses her to tell him what it is. Sarah reacts with an understandably defensive, “I don’t have to tell you about a personal matter because our relationship is professional” as I cheer and cross Hank off the guest list.

But I should’ve used pencil because within minutes, Sarah’s nephew Max reveals to Hank that her “personal matter” is really a romantic getaway with Carl, and Hank calls an emergency meeting with Dr. Pelikan (whom I’ve just realized looks freakishly similar to Mr. Rogers — anybody else see that resemblance?). Dr. Pelikan counsels Hank to be honest with Sarah, so he runs straight to her apartment, interrupts her packing, and convinces her that she’s falling into her old habit of putting a man before herself. Way to go, Hank. Way to crush dreams (mine, not Sarah’s). The next morning she tells Carl she can’t go to Africa because of the “year of Sarah” – her reminder not to get distracted from taking time for herself. Smart? Certainly. But I still find myself muttering, “totally worth the distraction” as I sadly delete my Pinterest board.

Meanwhile, it’s Green Week at Sydney’s elementary school, and it looks like the two leaders of the Sustainability Committee are not sustainable around each other. When Ed Brooks (David Denman) tries to offer an olive branch to Julia, she immediately shuts down and tells him that they can’t be friends, which seems like something that might have been wise to say about four months ago. Sydney breaks up their awkward moment by throwing a classic Sydney-tantrum in front of her entire class because she doesn’t want to stay at her dad’s apartment that night. Julia refuses to give in to her whining and sets a firm boundary by telling her that she absolutely has to go to Joel’s house and that she’s grounded for disrespecting her in public. Just kidding. Of course she didn’t. She did what she always does and immediately gives in and tells Sydney that she can totally choose mom over dad in this marital separation. For those of you keeping score: Sydney – 1,875. Julia – 0.

After school, Julia tells Joel about their daughter’s tantrum and that she agreed to let Sydney stay at home instead of with him. He’s furious (but quietly furious, as usual) and reminds her that their therapist said it was vital to be firm during this time of transition. “But she threw a tantrum in front of her class!” says Julia. Joel tells her, through clinched teeth, “I’ve told her ‘No’ in front of her class for eight years.” Ah! So now we know who the bad cop is! He then tells Julia to leave and that he’ll deal with Sydney. Thank goodness somebody will.

With the kids at their father’s, the most annoying point in this love triangle, Ed, shows up at Julia’s house to again offer support, but Julia tells him that her separation is his fault and that she wishes she’d never met him. Ed responds with, “If you really want your marriage back, you’re going to have to dig a little deeper.” Ouch. The next night, like a moth to a flame, Julia goes to Ed’s house to apologize and tell him that she realizes shes responsible for the demise of her marriage, not him. (coughJoelcough) Because she’s apparently not worried about getting incinerated by that flame, she brings him dinner, which he of course asks her to share with him and which she of course agrees to. Because, you know, “it’s just dinner.” (shaking my head)

That’s two relationships on the path to destruction, so we have to have a happy moment, right? Right?! Time to get out the Braverman box of Kleenex. It’s been a year since Kristina first got cancer, and she’s visually terrified at her check-up. The ball of fire personality we’ve seen over the past few months is replaced with very real and raw emotions that are heart wrenching in their subtlety. Dr. Bedsloe (Kurt Fuller) tells her things look well, but he’ll let her know in a couple of days, which if you’ve ever been in that situation, is the same thing as eternity.

The next day she and Adam meet with Max’s new English teacher, Mr. Knight (Zachary Knighton), and the old Kristina is back and ready to give him all sorts of hell for taking Max’s chair away.  Mr. Knight is a young, energetic PhD candidate and explains that sitting in chairs is “antiquated” and that half of Max’s energy has been wasted trying to sit still (makes sense). He goes on to tell them that Max is a brilliant kid, making Mr. Knight their new favorite person in the whole world!  When Kristina tells him that they are thinking of starting a charter school for kids with Asperger’s and other challenges, Mr. Knight is pessimistic. Mr. Knight is no longer their new favorite person in the whole world.

Back to that happy moment I promised: Kristina gets a clean bill of health (for the next six months at least), and she and Adam share an embrace and some sweet words. At least I think that’s what happens. I can’t see the television through the flood of my tears. Empowered by the promise of the future and confident in their abilities and vision for the charter school, they go to Mr. Knight and ask him to run it. He invites them in for coffee, and a new adventure begins.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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