Episode 2.18 : Qualities and Difficulties

  • Parenthood
    • Episode Premiere : March 01, 2011
    • Distributor : NBC
    • Genre : Drama
    • Seasons : 2
    • Show Period : 2010 - 2015
    • Production Company: Imagine Entertainment, Universal Media Studios
    • Official Site :

Cast and Crew

The Story

Immediately after Adam's fight with Crosby, Adam and Kristina sit down with Max. Now that the cat's out of the bag, Max wants to know about autism - what is it? Adam starts off talking about disabilities, and Kristina corrects him, but their explanation isn't anything Max can really understand, and his lack of response triggers his parents' emotions. Asperger's is tough to deal with but they will, and no matter what happens they'll always love him. And no, no one else in the family has it, only Max. When Kristina starts crying, Max asks to go to his room and runs off. Adam tries to give Kristina some support, but she tells him to stop and dissolves in a puddle of sobs.

Full of energy despite being up all night, Sarah bounds into the kitchen to tell Camille she's been writing. When Camille offers to read the manuscript, Sarah backs off, claiming it's not ready yet, but Camille will be the first to know when it is. However, Sarah heads to Mr. Cyr's apartment, manuscript in hand. After sliding it under his door, she has a change of heart, and is desperately trying to retrieve it just as Mr. Cyr returns home. Their former flirtation is immediately rekindled, and Mr. Cyr promises he'd be delighted to read Sarah's writing and give her some feedback. Meanwhile, Crosby waits for Jasmine to leave class, hoping to talk to her. Furious, Jasmine refuses to give Crosby the time of day, pushes him off her car, and speeds away.

Adam and Kristina make an appointment with Dr. Pelikan to discuss telling Max about Asperger's. Although Dr. Pelikan doesn't mean to sound judgmental, he's surprised they used words like "disability" and "tough." Adam immediately gets hot under the collar when Pelikan advises them to be simple and upbeat, describing the positive aspects of Asperger's. When it comes out that Kristina cried, Adam starts losing control, assuming Pelikan is judging her for getting emotional. Pelikan assures them that while crying is natural, it implies that having Asperger's is something to mourn. He hands Adam and Kristina a script, which they should study and practice to try for a re-do with Max.

Later, at home, Adam's still steaming over the meeting with Dr. Pelikan. How can they feed Max a bunch of positive spin? Reading the script, Kristina wants to break it down: positive quality - determined; challenge - making friends. Max is exceptional at remembering things others can't; Adam nastily suggests that Max only remembers things other people don't care about, like the wingspan of flying cockroaches. Kristina wants to keep going with the script, but Adam thinks it's all a bunch of hooey - lies. For the first time in a while, they're not on the same page on what to do about their son.

Julia's making breakfast when Sydney asks if she's still going to have a sleepover at Jabbar's house, on the night Julia and Joel are supposed to have a date to celebrate their anniversary - for the first time since Sydney was born. Julia's not sure, so Joel sends Sydney off to get ready for school so they can discuss it. They don't want to cancel the sleepover or their date, because it would be like they're taking sides, and they don't want to take Crosby's side. He screwed up, big time. Julia picks up the phone to call Jasmine to cancel, but can't bring herself to do it.

Still in a deep funk, Kristina watches Max eat breakfast. She asks if he wants to talk, but of course, he doesn't, and neither does Adam. Later that morning, Crosby stops by Julia's to talk to her and Sarah about Jasmine. He's desperate to fix things with Jasmine, but has no idea what to do. When Adam stops by, he stares accusingly at Julia - what's Crosby doing there!? Adam turns on his heel and leaves, so Crosby chases him out the door, apologizing. Livid, Adam explains that he doesn't care how sorry Crosby is. Adam's busy trying to help his family, and Crosby's not even on his radar. He drives off, leaving Crosby on the brink of tears.

Sarah's tending bar during lunch when night manager Louis appears, taking shifts for the day manager Danny, who's just quit. Hoping to get ahead, Sarah convinces Louis that she deserves a shot at the job, and asks him to put in a good word for her with the owner. At work, Julia behaves awkwardly when Jasmine calls. Jasmine's hoping that Julia's not going to cancel Sydney and Jabbar's sleepover, which she and Jabbar and both looking forward to. Feeling terrible for Jasmine, Julia lets herself get talked into it. Meanwhile, Crosby returns to the houseboat, only to find that Jasmine has packed up all his stuff and dumped it in the middle of the floor. She's moved him out, and that's not a very good sign.

Zeek and Camille stop by Adam and Kristina's to talk. Sarah told them everything that happened with Crosby and Max. Maybe the fact that Max knows about his Asperger's is for the best; he had to find out sooner or later. Adam immediately gets angry, unable to believe that Zeek's trying to put a positive spin on Gaby's departure, which is all Crosby's fault. When Camille and Zeek suggest that Adam might want to try talking to Crosby, who needs him, Adam loses it, unable to believe this is the purpose of their visit. He reads his parents the riot act. Crosby's irresponsibility and selfishness is all their fault. Year after year, they bail him out. Adam doesn't care if Crosby didn't mean to hurt anyone - he did it, just like he always does. And to think Camille, of all people, sympathizes with Crosby? Unbelievable!

Crosby interrupts Jasmine's dance class, begging her to talk to him. She makes an excuse to her students and takes Crosby into the hall. How dare he come into her class and tell her what she has to do!? Jasmine is barely holding on and the sight of him makes her sick. Crosby's never, ever to come to her place of work again. Meanwhile, Adam's on dad duty, getting Max ready for school. When Max starts getting upset about which pair of sneakers to wear, a light bulb goes off in Adam's head. How about a father/son day of playing hooky? They could go to Galaxy Point Park and ride the Velocerator roller coaster all day, as many times as Max wants to! Unwilling to change his routine, Max doesn't think it's a good idea, but Adam plugs away until Max gets excited and caves.

Sarah interviews for the position of day manager with the owner of the bar, Shanahan. She's surprised to learn that as day manager, she'll make approximately less than she does as a bartender - no tips. Since the customers love Sarah, Shanahan advises her to keep bartending. Sarah thanks him politely and sadly takes herself out of the running. Kristina calls Adam, and isn't too happy to hear that he's at the amusement park with Max. They agreed that in this time of transition they'd stick with Max's routine. Feeling confident, Adam arrogantly insists he has everything under control.

Dressed to the nines for their anniversary date, Joel and Julia drop Sydney at Jasmine's apartment. Rather than rub their happiness in Jasmine's face, Julia claims they've just finished eight days of no sugar and they're celebrating at a raw food restaurant. But Jasmine knows happiness when she sees it, and can't help breaking down in tears. Joel immediately takes Sydney and Jabbar into the kitchen to order some pizza, so Julia can comfort Jasmine. They'll celebrate another night.Just as Adam and Max step onto the Velocerator, an announcement booms over the PA system. The Velocerator is broken and will be closed for the rest of the day. It's mere seconds before Max totally loses it. Screaming, "It's not fair!" he blindly runs off the roller coaster and into the crowd.

That night, Crosby ties on a major drunk, blasting music on the houseboat. When a neighbor stops by to ask him to turn it down, Crosby gets testy, ordering the guy off his boat. The man persists in his request for quiet, so Crosby shoves him and a fistfight ensues, with Crosby getting the worst of it. Hours later, Zeek bails Crosby out of jail. Broken and ashamed, Crosby tells his dad that he screwed up real bad. When Zeek pulls Crosby into a bear hug, the tears start flowing. Before bed, Adam apologizes to Kristina with tears in his eyes. All he wanted was to make one happy memory with Max and forget about all the hardship for once. The upside - Adam's finally ready to try Dr. Pelikan's script.

Sarah has just poured herself a glass of wine, and is heading outside for some stargazing, when she bumps smack into Mr. Cyr. After he calms her down, Cyr explains that he's finished reading her manuscript and is ready to deliver his criticism. Beyond nervous, Sarah prattles on until Cyr silences her to deliver three points. The first: what Sarah's written is not a story, but a play. The characters are fresh, the voices clear, and the dialogue is incredibly funny. Two and three: Sarah should type her next draft, and finish it. The play needs a second act. Mr. Cyr hands Sarah the manila envelope containing her manuscript and takes his leave, despite the heat between them. Over the moon, Sarah runs after him to thank him with tears in her eyes. It's a life-changing moment.

Adam and Kristina sit down with Max to try talking about Asperger's again, this time according to Dr. Pelikan's script. The reason Max has been working so hard with Gaby to learn to play with other kids, and getting occupational therapy to feel more comfortable with his body, is because of his Asperger's. What they didn't tell him before is that people with Asperger's have special qualities, like great passion for their favorite subject and incredible memories. Some of the things that come naturally to other kids - like reading social cues and staying calm - are more challenging to Max - but - Max is a rock star! Straining not to cry, Kristina explains that they're all going to learn about Asperger's - together. Unresponsive, Max asks if he can go play a game and runs off. Adam and Kristina bump fists, proud of the progress they've made.

Crosby hangs out on the houseboat with Jabbar, playing board games. Jabbar explains that his mom told him Crosby's working on the boat, and that's why he's staying there. How long is this work going to take? Crosby admits it will probably be a long time. When Jabbar asks what happened to his face, Crosby turns the question around. What does Jabbar think happened? Jabbar makes a correct assumption: "Punch, punch, punch." Over at Joel and Julia's, Joel sits next to Julia, vibrating with emotion. He takes her hand, and promises he'll never cheat on her. They've been through good and bad times, and they're going to go through everything together. It's clear that after eight years of marriage, these two are still as much in love with each other as when they said, "I do."






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