Episode 4.04 : The Talk

  • Parenthood
    • Episode Premiere : October 02, 2012
    • Distributor : NBC
    • Genre : Drama
    • Seasons : 4
    • Show Period : 2010 - 2015
    • Production Company: Imagine Entertainment, Universal Media Studios
    • Official Site :

Cast and Crew

The Story

It's the crack of dawn. Zeek has dragged Camille out of bed to listen to the sprinklers - something's wrong! Everything sounds fine to Camille, so when Zeek persists, she issues a warning: he needs a hobby. Julia and Joel stand in front of the TV in hopes of getting Victor to stop playing a video game and listen to them. Why not try sports? Joel used to play baseball, and Julia used to swim; but it's Victor's choice. Which sport does he want to try? When Victor chooses nothing, Joel grabs the game controller and gets serious: nothing is not an option. Victor can either pick a sport or learn to play the violin. Victor chooses baseball.

After more tests, Adam and Kristina sit down with Dr. Bedsloe to discuss her surgery date. Kristina wants to push her surgery three weeks because Max is running for student council president. Adam isn't happy with this plan - didn't Dr. Bedsloe say to do the surgery as soon as possible? Bedsloe cuts to the core, guessing correctly that Kristina is the kind of person who puts her family first and herself last. This year she only has one job: to focus on getting healthy. Nevertheless, Kristina chooses the later date.

At The Luncheonette, Jabbar hangs out in the control booth with Crosby while rap duo Dwayne and Dougie bust some rhymes. Their lyrics are slightly less than kid-friendly, so it's not long before Jabbar asks what "pimptacular" means. And then... "Daddy, what's a nigga?" Crosby yanks off Jabbar's headphones. The next morning Jasmine makes a face when Jabbar calls her waffles "pimptacular," so Crosby pulls her aside to relate what happened in the studio. He tried to tell Jabbar the N-word is terrible, like Voldemort in Harry Potter, but Crosby's not sure he handled it completely. Jasmine knows it's time for to have "the talk" with her son - she'll handle it.

Sarah is stunned to find Hank reading "The Hunger Games," which he explains he's only reading because it's his 11-year-old daughter Ruby's favorite book. She used to be easy to talk to, but now she's not; and Hank's getting desperate, since her mom will only let her visit once a month. Sarah wants more details, so Hank proposes a deal: he'll tell her about Ruby, if she tells him all about "The Hunger Games." Max returns home from school super-excited. He gathered 25 classmate signatures to be added to the election ballot, and now he needs to make posters for his presidential campaign. Kristina is incredibly proud Max actually gathered the signatures, but her face falls when she reads what the kids wrote.

After placing an emergency call to Adam, Zeek turns on the sprinklers and asks him to listen. Adam goes off; a heart attack, getting hit by lightning, these qualify as emergencies! Camille is disgusted to find Zeek trying to rope Adam into his sprinkler debacle. In Camille's opinion, Zeek is bored - that's what the problem is. She's been telling him to volunteer at the VA for weeks! Adam leaves in huff as Zeek insists, "They're gurgling!" Joel leads a terrified Victor across the field to his first practice with Yuri's Pizza Panthers. When Joel tells Coach Fulton Victor is having first-day jitters, Fulton asks, "You or him?"

That night before bed, Kristina shows Adam Max's list of signatures, which includes Seymour Butts and Ree Tard. Kids can be so mean! Adam decides the solution is asking Max not to run. Student Council is for the popular kids, and they're setting Max up for failure. It's going to end badly, and Max could regress. Kristina disagrees; Max made great progress asking for the signatures, and he shouldn't be punished for it. She knows he's going to freak out, but she caves to Adam's wishes. Kristina asks Adam about her surgery. He seemed unhappy that she decided to postpone. All Adam will say is, "It's your decision."

The next day, Max pets his new puppy Otis while his parents discuss how much change they've all experienced this year. Because of this, they think Max should wait until next year to run for president. Kristina acknowledges his efforts, offering to buy a ton of Skittles as a reward. But Max is stuck on bringing back the vending machine. His parents are assaulting his freedom, they're fascists, and he's going to report them to House Un-American Activities Commission!

Hank returns to the studio with Ruby, who's just bailed out of his plan to play mini-golf. It's no longer cool, nor is "The Hunger Games." Ruby starts texting as Hank throws up his hands. Down at the VA Center, Zeek tells the Volunteer Coordinator he's there only because Camille wants him out of the house. Although volunteers are needed to help with career counseling and financial planning, Zeek opts for stocking the refreshment table. Crosby approaches Jasmine about "the talk" she intends to have with Jabbar. Is she pulling rank because she's black? She is, and Crosby has to respect the fact that she has a different understanding of things because she is black. Besides, when Jabbar gets hassled by cops for driving while black, pointing out that he's half white won't help much.

A young vet named Ryan approaches Zeek at the VA to complain about the coffee, and they hit it off. Ryan came in to meet with a VA career counselor, but two tours as an Army irrigation specialist isn't helping him find a decent job. A light bulb goes off in Zeek's noggin - irrigation specialist? Does that mean Ryan knows something about sprinklers? Back at the baseball field, Joel is just getting friendly with the other dads when Victor takes his first at bat. After hitting nothing but air, Victor gets frustrated and tosses the bat. When the coach scolds him, he yells, "Screw this and screw you!" Joel takes Victor by the arm, telling him not to quit. Angry and frustrated, Victor insists he's not going back, and Joel can't make him do it because he's not his real dad.

Hank was hoping Ruby would want to accompany him on a sea otter shoot, but she doesn't. Hank doesn't want Ruby staying at the studio alone, so Sarah agrees to watch her. Across town at The Luncheonette, Crosby tells Adam about Jasmine's plans for the talk with Jabbar. It's not fair! When Kristina calls, Adam abandons Crosby. Kristina reports what Max's teacher said about running for student council president: they made the right decision in not letting him run. Nevertheless Kristina still can't accept the real reason they're telling Max no: her breast cancer. Adam promises they'll talk when he gets home.

Sarah is trying and failing to set up a shoot as Ruby texts like a teenager. Sarah struggles a little harder, ultimately persuading Ruby to help. Then she starts talking about how much Hank talks about Ruby. Slowly, Ruby opens up. She's been invited to an epic pool party today, and it sucks not being there. Sarah can relate; she knows this is why Hank is trying so hard to plan fun stuff. What's worse for Ruby is that her friends keep texting to ask what she's doing. She can't tell them she's playing with sea otters! With a twinkle in her eye, Sarah suggests Ruby tell her friends she's at a photo shoot with Justin Bieber...

Crosby and Jasmine sit down with Jabbar to have "the talk." Jasmine starts by defining the word "nigger," and goes on to explain slavery. When Jasmine was Jabbar's age, her mom gave her the same talk, and she said that the world was a much better place than when she was a little girl. And now the world is even better. Jasmine's mom used to dream about the day when there would be a black president, and now there is one! Crosby stays quiet, even when Jasmine asks if he has anything to add. The next day, he congratulates Jasmine on a good job. He's feeling a little irrelevant, and he hates thinking Jabbar's going to have experiences he can't relate to. Jasmine points out that Jabbar is a boy, so there will be plenty of stuff that she can't relate to either.

Hank and Ruby have a great time, photoshopping Justin Bieber into a photograph of Ruby. When she asks if Hank will make her skirt a little shorter, both Sarah and Hank yell, "No!" It's a little bit of a moment. Across town, Victor tells Joel he doesn't want to talk about what happened at baseball practice, so Joel decides to do all the talking. He's incredibly proud of Victor for being brave, trying something he's never done before. Joel has been so excited about Victor becoming part of the family that he sometimes forgets Victor is the new kid in the neighborhood, and that's tough. Joel is still figuring out how to be Victor's dad. And if Victor decides to give baseball another try, Joel would love to help out.

Adam returns home to find Max making campaign posters; Kristina said he could run for president. Adam's all fired up when he finds Kristina having a quiet moment with Nora. Kristina admits she made this decision without him, but she thinks it will be great. Adam changes lanes: he wants Kristina to move her surgery date back. He's too scared to wait. Kristina breaks into tears, apologizing for what she's done to their family. Adam refuses to accept her apology, so Kristina agrees to move her surgery back to the original date.

Finally, Zeek has found someone who hears what he hears in the sprinkler system! Ryan makes a quick diagnosis, so Zeek offers a compliment. The VA should have people lining up to hire him. Ryan wonders if it's for the best; being back on native soil is weird. Zeek assures Ryan that, eventually, he'll find a new normal. Ryan doesn't seem too sure. Hank and Sarah are prepping for a shoot when he gets a text from Ruby, who is back to thinking Hank is awesome. While looking for a gel, Sarah stumbles across an old, but beautiful photojournalistic print of Hank's. She asks why they're not doing that kind of work, then guesses Hank stopped traveling when Ruby was born. Seth said he would stop touring when Amber was born, but he didn't...

Hank returns to the VA to talk to the Volunteer Coordinator. He's up for arranging cookies and making coffee, but he's got a lot more to offer. Joel is quietly overjoyed when Victor asks him to play a game of catch. When Julia drives up, Joel gives her a gigantic smile. Adam watches Max and Kristina talking and making posters, worry etched in his face. When Max compliments his mother, telling her that she's a good campaign manager, Kristina's smile brings Adam back to the present moment, and how much he loves his wife. Adam grabs a pen and joins the fun.

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