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Is 'Parenthood' making the grade this season?

As Parenthood nears the end of its final semester, let’s take a look at the main members of Team Braverman to see if they’re making the grade—and if not, what they might be able to do to improve before their final report card is distributed on January 29.

Drew: Despite not having much of his own storyline this season, Drew has shown great maturity and responsibility in the way he’s been Amber’s rock in her time of uncertainty. Thinking ahead and taking steps to ensure the security of not only his future, but his family’s as well, puts him at the top of the class.

Amber: Poor Amber has been a bit of a mess this season. From the hard time she had accepting her pregnancy, to her confusing feelings about her relationship with Ryan (and ultimately having to sever the ties), to trying to get back on the dating horse (and the cold, harsh reality of rejection), to trying to keep The Luncheonette alive—she’s been all over the place. It’s understandable that she’s in limbo in all areas of her life, but she needs to focus on herself and the baby, as well as refocus on her ambition (I’ve always believed she could be a huge influence in the success of The Luncheonette—she never gets enough credit or opportunities to show what she can do).

Haddie: MIA, as usual.
GRADE: Incomplete

Max: Max is a tough one to grade. On the one hand, his out-of-control behavior has been unacceptable and should earn him a big red FAIL; but on the other hand, it’s been motivated by love, and I’m a sucker for love. Keeping his difficulties with social boundaries in mind, as well as his last-minute efforts to redeem himself for his actions, Max is navigating the waters the best he knows how.

Kristina and Adam: (Getting out my red pen) Where do I start? There are countless reasons why Chambers Academy cannot and will not succeed, but let’s just start with the fact that its headmistress does not have an education degree, not to mention a degree in special education. The kitchen help (a.k.a. Adam) is letting the kids wield sharp objects, and the discipline system is nonexistent. While I admire Kristina’s ambition and the initiative she’s always taken, this project seems to be too big (and unbelievable)—even for her. Plus, let’s not forget that The Luncheonette needs Adam, but he’s too busy making casein- and gluten-free lunches to notice.
GRADE: D (for Disappointment)

Crosby: Much like with Amber, this season has been a tough one for Crosby. Seeing Zeek as breakable for the first time hasn’t been easy; his dad has always been indestructible in his eyes. Pair that with the realization that his dream (The Luncheonette) is failing, as well as the pressure to provide for his family, and he’s forgiven for all the childish freak-outs he’s had. Having said that, Crosby needs to get his act together—soon. With the help of a refreshingly positive Jasmine, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he buckles down and gets his head back in the game—for himself and for the good of his family.

Sarah: Sarah is almost impossible for me to grade fairly and without bias: She’s my favorite, no matter what she does. However, this season I’ve been disappointed. Not with Sarah (never with Sarah!), but with the fact that she hasn’t had much to do other than break up fights between Hank and Ruby, and tinker around on the computer in the photography studio. Am I happy she’s found a stable relationship? Of course! If Sarah is happy, then I’m happy! But the problem is, I don’t buy it. Hank is a sweet guy, no question, but the baggage he comes with is monumental—and the luggage tag reads, “Ruby.” I want a relationship for Sarah that is uplifting, positive, and not so much work and worry. You know, like the one she could’ve had with Dr. Hank (I will never let that disappointment go).
GRADE: A- (the minus is only because I question her judgment)

Julia: As a former member of Team Julia, this season her behavior has made me seriously reconsider my contract. Moving on with Chris as quickly and as seriously as she did seemed aggressive, even though I’m still a firm believer that Joel made the bigger mistake last season when he completely and abruptly shut her out. Let’s face it: The Joel/Julia debate isn’t black and white, and when Julia started to try to make sense of all the gray areas, she improved her grade drastically.

Joel: Coming in as the most improved student in the class is Joel, who did a complete turnaround this season and once again became the Joel we knew and loved from years past. His unwavering fight for his family has been a relief to watch, and it looks like his perseverance might be paying off. Joel has been a lesson in the importance of forgiveness this season, and—as always—a lesson in what the perfect amount of scruff is on a man’s face.

Camille: Mostly worrisome and nagging this season (which, I admit, is with good reason), Camille hasn’t given me much else to grade her on. Plus, I’m still furious with her for making Zeek sell the house—just to move into a smaller version of it minus the fabulous backyard.

Zeek: If I give Zeek anything but the highest grade on this report card, you have permission to strip me of my teaching degree. Our leader has shown all the emotions this season: fear, anger, humor, stubbornness, and, as usual, a fierce devotion to his family. (However, I can’t forget the end of episode 9, when he tells Drew that he let him down. Ouch.) From his heartfelt, tender moments with Amber, to the firm yet loving marriage advice he gave Joel, Zeek has continued to prove why he’s the manager of Team B, and one whose loss will be powerful (if it happens, which, I hate to say, looks like it will).

Which characters do you think have made the grade so far in season 6 … and who’s in danger of failing?

Parenthood returns on NBC January 8 at 10/9C.

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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