Episode PremiereMarch 02, 2010
Show Period2010 - now
Production CompanyImagine Entertainment, Universal Media Studios
Cast and Crew
- Peter Krause as Adam Braverman
- Craig T. Nelson as Zeek Braverman
- Bonnie Bedelia
- Tyree Brown
- Joy Bryant
- Lauren Graham as Sarah Braverman
- Mae Whitman as Amber
- Dax Shepard as Crosby Braverman
- Monica Potter as Kristina Braverman
- Erika Christensen as Julia Braverman-Graham
- Sam Jaeger
- Miles Heizer
- Sarah Ramos as Haddie Braverman
- Erinn Hayes as Racquel
- Xolo Mariduena
- Savannah Rae
- Max Burkholder
It's early in the morning when 41-year-old Adam Braverman leaves the Berkeley home he shares with wife Kristina, 15-year-old daughter Haddie and 8-year-old son Max. Finally, a moment for a work-out jog, which Adam obviously hasn't had in a long time. Wheezing, he picks up his cell when younger sister Sarah calls. Strapped for cash, single mom Sarah has decided to move back into their parents' home with her two kids, 13-year-old Drew and 16-year-old Amber. Sarah wants Adam's reassurance that she's doing the right thing, and there's a problem -- Amber has gone missing on moving day.
Sarah knocks on the door of Amber's boyfriend Damien, a shirtless and tattooed 19-year-old musician. Convinced that Berkeley is a living hell, Amber has hatched a plan to move in with Damien, who seems a little mystified by the whole thing. Amber claims that Sarah is ruining her life as her mother drags her to the car, explaining that they have no money and thus no choice. They're moving to Berkeley. Besides Sarah wants to give her kids a better life, more options, a chance to become upstanding citizens.
Adam has tried to resume jogging, but gets another call, this time from his hippie-ish yet domineering father Zeek. Within minutes, Zeek has Adam under the house snaking out a clogged pipe. Zeek's excited about Adam's son Max's little league game later that day. Adam thinks Zeek's zeal is making sensitive Max too nervous. Zeek scoffs; Adam was a sensitive kid too, but Zeek cured him of that. Adam's phone rings -- it's his wife Kristina. Max is refusing to put on his uniform and doesn't want to go to the game. In a hurry to get home, Adam yanks on the pipe snake, a pile of sewage dumps on his head and the recoil sends his head smashing into the pipe.
At home, Kristina advises Adam that Max is on a Lego binge, and then explains to daughter Haddie that men feel the need to express love through hitting balls, slapping butts and discussing meaningless stats. Adam thinks that if Max doesn't do these things, he'll grow up to be sad and alone. Haddie still doesn't understand why Max has to go to the game if he doesn't want to. Adam blackmails Max, promising a double scoop of ice cream after the game, and by double scoop he means triple scoop. Max acquiesces.
Adam calls his younger brother Crosby from the game -- where is he?! Even though he just got through make-up sex with his girlfriend Katie, Crosby promises to hurry. He opens the fridge, looking for coffee and is shocked to find a cryogenic thermos full of sperm. Meanwhile, Adam and Crosby's sister Julia has taken time off from her busy law career for a day at Fairyland with her husband Joel and 5-year-old daughter Sydney. The only problem is, her Blackberry won't stop ringing, and Sydney is starting to favor her father over her mother.
His team down by 7, coach Adam tries to pump Max up for his turn at the plate, batting off disparaging comments from the other kids. Max begs his father to let someone else hit; he's going to strike out and his teammates will hate him! Claiming it's all about having fun, Adam pushes Max to the plate, as Zeek starts yelling smack from the crowd. Kristina tells Zeek to simmer down as Crosby arrives, adding to Adam's tension. Suddenly, Max connects with a ball, and starts running for third base. Adam is thrilled, and urges Max to run to first, where he's tagged out. Emotional, Adam starts arguing the call with the umpire, who kicks him out of the game.
Late that afternoon, Sarah pulls up to her parents' house in her battered Chevette. Dinner with the whole family ensues. When Sarah asks Adam about attacking the umpire, Zeek congratulates his son for standing up for justice. Sydney interrupts, insisting that her father cut her food instead of her mother, who's sitting right next to her. Disappointed, Julia lays into Sarah, asking if she's found a job yet, even if she's only been home an hour. Luckily, mother Camille prods Zeek to play toastmaster, welcoming his "shining angel" Sarah home. Everyone cheers and toasts.
After dinner, Zeek tries to toughen Max up, shooting baskets in the driveway, as Joel watches Adam and Crosby play ping pong. Crosby dishes up a bombshell -- the sperm in Katie's freezer. Adam thinks it's unconscionable -- Katie needs to be confronted! Meanwhile, Haddie escorts Amber to the bedroom she'll share with brother Drew. Asking if Max is still wearing his pirate costume to school, Amber offers Haddie a cigarette. Haddie declines, but makes a shy offer -- does Amber want to come hang out with her and her friends? Full of irony, Amber thanks Haddie for her warm invitation.
The women hang out in the kitchen drinking wine. Julia mentions that she ran into Sarah's high school boyfriend Jim at Berkeley Coffee, resolving to set Sarah up with him. When Sarah protests, the other women agree; Sarah could really use a date. Suddenly the men rush in with Max, whose basketball game with Zeek has ended in a bloody nose. Zeek apologizes for elbowing Max in the face, and Kristina gives Adam the hairy eyeball. Where was he?! Explaining that he was right there, Adam runs after his father. He's got to lighten up with Max; Adam's not raising his son the way Zeek raised him. He doesn't want Max to feel that everything in life is a war. Zeek smiles, assuring his son that everything in life is indeed a war.
Sarah checks on her kids, who are none too pleased to be sharing a bedroom. Drew offers to move back to Fresno if there's not enough room for him; he's brought up the subject with his dad, Seth. Amber snipes -- now father and son can share a drug dealer. Sarah knows that Seth can't possibly take care of Drew, but promises to talk to him about it, then admonishes Amber not to smoke in the house.
Record producer Katie barges into the booth as Crosby engineers a recording session with an amazing choir. When they start bickering over minor seventh chords, Katie asks Crosby why he's so testy, and he admits it's the sperm in her fridge -- it's unconscionable! Katie claims she's not going to have this conversation again. She's 34 and ready to have a baby, Crosby's not. He's not mature enough. Besides, the sperm was very expensive, and belonged to an Ivy League Olympian. When Crosby snipes that her sperm will make a great father figure, Katie slams out of the booth, calling him an idiot. Crosby calls after her -- when is she ovulating? Friday.
At school in his pirate costume, Max fumes, unable to complete a simple art project. When one of the kids pokes fun, Max attacks in a fury, pushing the kid to the ground, and biting him. His bewildered teacher has to pull him away. It's not long before Kristina and Max are sitting in the principal's office with the school psychiatrist. Adam immediately defends Max -- someone must have taunted him! Maybe if they didn't let him wear the pirate costume to school, the other kids would be more accepting. When Kristina and Max start quibbling about the pirate costume, the principal interjects. It's time to send Max to an educational therapist to determine if Sullivan Elementary is the right school for him.
While Amber is out with Haddie and her friends, Sarah hangs out with her mom Camille in the garden, searching the classifieds for an apartment. She finds something affordable, but too small, and Camille doesn't like its location. She encourages Sarah to stay until she gets back on her feet. While poking around her father's workshop for a pair of scissors, Sarah runs across an open box of condoms in his desk. Hmmm. That's when the call comes in...
Zeek drives Sarah to the police station, where Haddie and Amber sit nervously in a barred holding cell. Kristina and Adam have already sussed the situation -- the girls weren't officially booked. Assuming it's Amber's fault, Sarah apologizes to a tight-lipped Kristina. Back at home, Amber appeals to her mother: it wasn't her weed. Sarah sarcastically feigns relief, telling Amber she's proud of her.
Amber couch surfs when Sarah enters, nervously getting ready for her date with Jim. She wants Amber to know that she's mad and embarrassed; it's going to be a long time before Amber can earn Sarah's trust back. Amber says okay, then persuades her mother to trade her flats for sexy heeled boots. Nervous and stumbling in her high heels, Sarah looks around the restaurant, not noticing Jim, who now looks a bit different than he did in high school, having lost his hair and gained 50 pounds. Sarah sits and makes awkward conversation. So, Julia ran into Jim at Berkeley Coffee? Does he work near there? When Jim admits he's a barista, Sarah excuses herself to make a phone call.
Julia is rushing to leave work when her cell rings. Sarah demands to know if Julia's choice of fat, bald barista Jim has anything to do with who she thinks Sarah really is? Julia claims she was just trying to help, but she won't anymore. Sarah hangs up angrily and returns to the table. Jim pulls out the ring he gave Sarah in high school, which she threw in his eye when she broke up with him. Not only is Jim a barista, he's a ping pong champion, repairs vintage trucks, and just had some poems accepted for publication by the New Yorker. Sarah puts on the ring and tears up. Jim's so nice and funny, and she married a tortured musician with a drug problem. She's a jerk, and not real good at the dating thing. Jim doesn't care; Sarah's more beautiful to him than ever.
It's not long before Sarah and Jim are ripping each other's clothes off on the couch in Zeek's office. Jim is nervous that they're going to get caught, and doesn't have any condoms. Sarah reminds him that they're 38, and rushes to Zeek's desk to plunder the box of condoms. Meanwhile, Crosby stops by Katie's to inform that he googled her sperm to find out that her donor isn't all that. Why didn't she discuss this with him first? Why not compromise and give Crosby some time to sort out his career? When Katie demands numbers, Crosby consents to father a child in three years. Moved to tears, Katie jumps in Crosby's arms, as the realization of what he's just committed to sinks in.
After rushing home from the office to tuck Sydney into bed, Julia sings a lullaby, but Sydney asks for daddy to sing instead. Giggling and pantsless, Jim and Sarah sneak into the kitchen for blackberry brandy and cookies. Drew turns on the lights and stands stunned for a minute before silently returning to his room. The next day, Crosby insists on meeting Adam for lunch. A legendary ex-girlfriend, flexible dancer Jasmine wants to "stop by" on an upcoming trip to town. It sounds promising, but is it okay to hook up when he's quasi-engaged? After all, if he and Katie are going to have a kid in three years, isn't marriage implied? Adam tells his brother he's an idiot. Is this how he wants to live his life?
Kristina waits for Adam on the street outside his office. She's talked to the educational therapist, who's concerned about Max. Adam claims he's been thinking it over and knows the solution: a tutor. Kristina knows that a tutor is not necessarily the answer to Asperger's, throwing Adam for a loop. Isn't Asperger's like autism? There's no way Adam is sending his son to special ed. Crying, Kristina lays down the law. There's something wrong with their baby. It's not just the pirate costume, or the fear of fire or the tantrums. When she begs Adam not to leave her alone with this, he grabs her for a big hug.
Adam drops off Max at school, just as another kid says hi. When Max ignores him, Adam explains that the other kid might think he's rude if he doesn't say hi back, but Max just doesn't get it. In this moment, Adam realizes that something is wrong with his son. On the way out, one of the other kids' dads stops Adam. There was a little league meeting last night, and it was decided that not only shouldn't Adam coach anymore, but he's barred from attending games. Oh, and the umpire is filing a lawsuit.
Adam returns home early when Crosby asks for an emergency meeting. Sarah shows up, worried that she can't find Drew, and demanding to know if Crosby really got engaged. Julia wanders in to pick up Sydney, who's coming back with Kristina. It's all okay, Sydney doesn't like Julia very much anyway. But she's a good lawyer and Joel's a good father, so Julia's just going to lower her expectations, as if Sydney's just some relative. Adam tries to prioritize the siblings' chaos, turning the focus to Drew. Sarah admits that Drew saw her half-naked with a stranger last night, just as her phone rings. It's Seth calling. Drew is in Fresno.
It's after dark, and Seth and Drew are waiting on the porch when Sarah drives up. Drew runs for the car without talking as Seth explains that he might have some tour dates coming up and now's not a good time. On the way home, Sarah stops at a gas station. After paying, she finds Drew standing in the pouring rain, crying. Sad along with her son, Sarah explains that he really deserves a good father, and it's all her fault for marrying his dad. For whatever it's worth, she's not going anywhere, and that will have to be enough.
Everyone except for Adam and Max watch Sydney's performance at a school recital. During the intermission, Zeek goes outside to find Adam watching Max play by himself on the slide. Max's refusing to go inside because of the candles outside the auditorium; he's scared of fire. Zeek think it's ridiculous. Max just has to go inside and he'll be fine, it's that simple. Adam knows it isn't simple, tearfully confessing that something's wrong with Max. He needs Zeek to help him.
After grabbing a coffee, Crosby is just shambling back to his houseboat when he's accosted by Jasmine, who introduces him to 5-year-old Jabbar -- surprise! Jabbar is Crosby's son. Late for family brunch, Crosby rushes over to Adam and Kristina's, and is just telling Adam the big news when Max interrupts. Aren't they going to the little league game today? Adam can't believe his ears. He thought Max was done with baseball, but Max insists that he can't desert his team. With the game set to start in ten minutes, the entire family rushes to the ballpark. Adam stands by the car, delighted to hear the crack of Max's bat connecting with a ball.