Episode 1.02 : Man Versus Possum

  • Parenthood
    • Episode Premiere : March 09, 2010
    • Distributor : NBC
    • Genre : Drama
    • Seasons : 1
    • Show Period : 2010 - 2015
    • Production Company: Imagine Entertainment, Universal Media Studios
    • Official Site :

Cast and Crew

The Story

Adam bolts awake in the middle of the night. Something is scurrying across the roof... it's back! Adam grabs a flashlight and a tennis racquet and rushes outside. A rogue possum leads Adam on a chase through the yard, but easily evades him by running into the bushes. The next morning, Crosby takes Jabbar out for pancakes, trying to bond with his newly discovered son, talking to him like an adult. Jabbar mainly looks confused, admitting that he likes waffles better than pancakes.

In a rush to get to an important meeting, Julia idles at the curb of Sycamore Elementary, waiting for her turn to drop Sydney at school. Out of nowhere, a hot woman (Raquel) zips ahead of her, then takes her sweet time dropping off daughter Harmony. Finally, Julia politely beeps her horn, but Raquel keeps right on chatting with the other moms. Meanwhile, Sarah tries to pump up Amber and Drew for their first day at their new high school. Somehow, her sunniness feels false, and the kids aren't buying it.

In a rush to get to an important meeting, Julia idles at the curb of Sycamore Elementary, waiting for her turn to drop Sydney at school. Out of nowhere, a hot woman (Raquel) zips ahead of her, then takes her sweet time dropping off daughter Harmony. Finally, Julia politely beeps her horn, but Raquel keeps right on chatting with the other moms. Meanwhile, Sarah tries to pump up Amber and Drew for their first day at their new high school. Somehow, her sunniness feels false, and the kids aren't buying it.

Scrambling to leave the house, Adam is upset to find Max dressed in his pirate costume, and wants him to change. Once the other kids brand him a freak, there's no going back. Kristina has already tried everything, but Max wouldn't budge. Maybe their friends the Lessings have some ideas, since their kid has Asperger's. Did Adam forget? They're supposed to meet the Lessings tonight. Adam reminds her that Max hasn't been diagnosed yet -- he's not the Lessings' kid.

When Jasmine arrives to pick up Jabbar, Crosby jokingly asks if she's sure that Jabbar is his -- she is. Thinking this is the end of their visit, Crosby invites Jasmine to stop by the next time she's in town. Surprise! Jasmine has actually moved back to town, and wouldn't it be great if Crosby developed a relationship with Jabbar? When Jasmine suggests that Crosby get started this weekend, he guiltily admits that he'll be out of town.

Zeek hovers as Sarah peruses the Internet, looking for bartending jobs. Zeek thinks that Sarah is setting her sights too low. She should be an advertising executive, after all the PR and design work she did for Seth's band. If he hadn't thrown his career down the toilet, Sarah would be huge now. Zeek finds an online listing for an assistant to a creative exec at Pantheon Design -- perfect! Sarah can't believe they're looking for a 38-year-old single mom who's been bartending for 10 years, but Zeek insists that all they want is a brilliant designer for cheap.

A cute guy has just taken notice of Amber in homeroom when she's pulled into the hallway by Principal Gomez. Unfortunately, Amber's transfer files from Fresno indicate that she doesn't have enough credits to qualify as a junior. Despite Amber's fervent protests, Principal Gomez insists she'll be more successful starting off as a sophomore.

At work, Adam googles Asperger's and is quickly overwhelmed by a ton of jarring information. Adam shifts to a less alarming topic: trapping and killing possums. Zeek stops by, pretending he needs a new pair of sneakers. Then he explains that he went on Chuck's List and found a job for Sarah at Pantheon Design, and he knows Adam has worked with them in the past. Can Adam put in a call on Sarah's behalf? Adam doesn't think it's a good idea, but caves to Zeek's pressure.

Julia rushes home to make cookies for Sydney's school fundraiser, surprised to find that Joel has already baked them from scratch with Raquel and her daughter Harmony. Julia dumps her store-bought roll of cookie dough in the trash, as Raquel prattles on about co-chairing with "Joelskis," the evils of preservatives in store-bought cookie dough, and her nascent Buddhism. When Julia excuses herself to say hello to Sydney, Raquel gets the message and packs up her daughter, but not before exchanging "I love yous" in Mandarin with Sydney.

Adam and Kristina cower on the Lessings couch, as Phil and his wife Suze inundate them with Asperger's info. When Adam points out that Max hasn't been diagnosed yet, Phil claims that denial is common, especially among men, and have they changed Max's diet yet? No wheat, no sugar, no gluten, etc., and they'll be needing a good behaviorist. Dr. Pelican is a miracle worker, the Bob Dylan of autism, but it's impossible to get an appointment. Adam jots down Pelican's number, determined to try.

While shopping for interview clothes, Sarah calls Julia for advice, admitting that she's lost her spin. Julia coaches Sarah: she needs to look the guy in the eye, and promise to blow his frigging mind. Meanwhile, Katie models sexy lingerie for Crosby, which she bought to wear on their weekend at a spa in Napa. Fighting temptation, Crosby informs Katie that he has to cancel. Katie fears that Crosby has been catting around, so when he explains he wants to support Adam through Max's Asperger's crisis, she melts. Crosby will be a great father one day...

Dinner at the Bravermans is chaotic, as Max plays with his pet cockroach, totally disinterested in his food. When Adam threatens to take away Max's TV privileges, Max freaks. Adam can't change the rules like that! Max gets an hour of TV after dinner. Frustrated, Haddie suggests that if Max tries his food, he could earn extra TV. After some haggling, Max is offered five minutes for every bite, so he takes a few quick bites, earning himself an extra hour. Adam tells Max that he has to sit at the table while the family finishes dinner, but he doesn't understand why. He earned his TV time, and that's that.

Once again, the rogue possum wakes Adam up in the middle of the night. He runs to the yard in his boxer shorts with flashlight and tennis rocket. Although he's unable to exterminate the varmint, he does find a baggie of marijuana in the bushes. The next morning over breakfast, Adam and Kristina confront Haddie. She better not be lying... is it hers? Haddie swears it's not, feels a little awkward interviewing with Edwin Chung at Pantheon Design, who admits he was in pre-school when Sarah started working. Nevertheless, Edwin loves Sarah's work. As long as the low starting salary is fine, and Sarah doesn't mind reporting to him, he's in her corner. Thrilled, Sarah admits she really wants the job.

Carrying her high heels, Julia runs across the playground for her scheduled 21 minutes with Sydney. Joel explains that Sydney is still in the car with Raquel and Harmony. Their Mandarin class ran late, and he came ahead to claim the table since there's a pretty big group coming. When Julia comments that Raquel is an insane driver, Joel defends her. Raquel may be "intense," but she's a great mother. This does nothing to reassure Julia, who runs off to play with Sydney in the 18 minutes she has left before having to rush back to work.

Adam drives across town to ask his father about the pot he found in the yard. Zeek hasn't smoked in years. And what's Adam doing weed whacking in the middle of the night? When Adam admits that he feels the possum is mocking him, Zeek suggests his problem is psychological. Luckily, Crosby calls Adam inside, admitting that he used Max's possible Asperger's to get out of the spa weekend. Disgusted, Adam tells Crosby to man up and take care of his responsibilities. Crosby counters with a helping hand -- he's got an in with Dr. Pelican, who just so happens to have a cancellation this afternoon.

Already late to see Pelican, Adam rushes home to rally the troops, and all hell breaks loose. Max doesn't want his TV time interrupted by going to the doctor, even if he is like Bob Dylan. Haddie has to yell to cut through the noise, to confess that the pot was indeed hers. She couldn't sleep last night, and knew she had to tell her parents. She's sorry she's not the perfect daughter. Stunned, Adam and Kristina remain silent.

Sarah's waiting to pick up the kids from school when Edwin calls with bad news. He fought for her, but his bosses won't hire anyone without a college degree. He asks Sarah to thank Adam... didn't she know? Adam was the one who brought her in. When Amber climbs in the car and asks her mom to please drive, Sarah lays into her for her bad attitude. Drew tries to stop the bickering, but Sarah presses on. All Amber does is complain and get her cousin arrested. Furious, Amber reiterates the pot wasn't hers -- Sarah just doesn't believer her! And now, Amber has to repeat the 10th grade! Amber slams out of the car, deciding to take the bus home.

After spending time with Max, Dr. Pelican has a talk with the Bravermans. Kristina cuts to the chase: does Max have Asperger's? Dr. Pelican admits that Max is very high functioning, but his behavior is consistent with Asperger's. Adam immediately resolves to tackles Max's behaviors one at a time, starting with the pirate costume. Pelican zeroes in on the big picture. There's no cure for Asperger's. Their job is to help Max uncover his gifts. Figure out how Max learns, so they can get him the support he needs. The first step is not to wrench Max out of his comfort zone, but to join him. When he's ready, Adam and Kristina will walk him out into the world.

Julia sits with the family at the Sycamore School fundraiser as an overly effusive Raquel introduces Joel, the auction MC. The first item up for bid -- a curbside parking spot for one year. Determined to buy it, Julia soon finds herself in a bidding war with Raquel. When Zeek grunts -- what's wrong with Raquel!? -- Julia comments that Raquel doesn't even work, not realizing that she's still holding the mike. Dead silence, crickets chirp. Julia stumbles, trying to make up for her gaffe, offering a whopping $1920 for the parking space in honor of the year women won the right to vote. Joel nervously bangs the gavel -- sold!

After the auction, the Braverman kids meet up in the parking lot. When Julia complains that she'll have to work months of overtime to pay for her parking space, Sarah comforts her. At least she has a job. Sarah lays into Adam for setting up her interview. Why did he call Pantheon without telling her?! Adam apologizes, then confesses his problems: Max has Asperger's and Haddie's hiding pot in the backyard. Sarah is relieved to realize that Amber was telling the truth about the pot; Crosby rolls a joint and lights it. Adam is stunned when Kristina takes a hit, as the conversation turns to Raquel -- is she trying to raw dog Joel?

Adam and Kristina watch Max play in the yard. Adam claims he should have known; Kristina was concerned about Max and he was always telling her it was fine. He admits he doesn't know how to deal with Asperger's; it's not something he can fix. Kristina chides Adam for not listening to everything Dr. Pelican said. Max is smart and beautiful. There's so much potential and so much hope. The plan is -- they have to start working.

Sarah meets with Principal Gomez. She knows Amber's Fresno grades suck, but Amber's really smart. She's just never gotten a break, and that's Sarah's fault. Sarah believes in her daughter, and she wants Gomez to believe in her too. Later, Gomez pulls Amber out of class to give her the good news. Crosby picks up Jabbar for a day of bonding, and Adam dons a pirate costume to play with Max in the backyard. Julia is delighted with the convenience of her new parking space, but all the other moms now hate her.






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