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Moment of Goodness

Moment of Goodness: Adam Shows His Belief in Max, Parenthood “The Scale of Affection is Fluid” 

Moment of Goodness: Adam Shows His Belief in Max, Parenthood “The Scale of Affection is Fluid”
Photo Credit: Colleen Hayes/NBC
Photo Credit:  Joe Pugliese/NBC
Photo Credit: Joe Pugliese/NBC

This week’s episode of Parenthood offered what may be one of my favorite moments from the entire series. And it comes from Adam Braverman.

This is a guy who is certainly not without his faults. But even when he makes mistakes that hurt his family, it always comes from a good place. Throughout the series, he’s been slowly taking over the role of patriarch for the Braverman clan, giving advice to his sisters and younger brother, taking on a fatherly role for Drew, and being a stable force for his mother. He supported his wife through cancer, a run for mayor, and now, in running a new charter school.

But what is most endearing about Adam is his relationship with his son, Max. In the beginning of the series, Adam and Kristin learn that their son as Aspergers, and they struggled with the news. It makes for a whole new set of skills when it comes to parenting, and even though Adam hasn’t always made the best decisions (sometimes he just bribes Max with ice cream), the faith that he has in his son and the way he communicates with him is inspiring.

Photo Credit: Colleen Hayes/NBC
Photo Credit: Colleen Hayes/NBC

When Max told Adam in the last episode that he “liked a girl,” Adam was over the moon. Why? Because having Aspergers means that Max struggles with relationships, and Adam has the lingering worry that Max might end up alone. But now, to see that Max can have these kinds of feelings is encouraging.

Adam relishes the chance to talk with his son about girls and give advice. He tells Max to find a common ground with Dylan, which of course, Max takes a bit too literally. But Kristina is the protective mother and she’s worried that Max is going to end up with a broken heart. She begs Adam not to encourage Max, but when they try talking to him together, Adam can do only that. Max asks about his parents’ relationship and what their “scale of affection” is toward each other. The both say 5 out of 5, but then Adam chimes in that he was once “a two” and that he had to earn Kristina’s affection. With this story, Max is able to identify with his father. And the thing about Max is, he listens. Intently. Especially to everything that Adam tells him.

And this brings me to my moment of goodness. The moment that everyone quoted on Twitter. The moment that brought tears to my eyes. Kristina is upset that Adam has continued to encourage Max, who finds some self-help books he believes will help him win over Dylan. Adam agrees the books are problematic, but overall, he’s happy to see his son trying to develop a relationship, and he wants to be encouraging.

Kristina: I get that, okay. But this girl is not going to like him that way. Plain and simple.

Adam: Why? Why not?

Kristina: Because… Adam. Really?

Adam: Because Max is different? Because he’s difficult? I know he is but so are all the other kids at Chamber’s Academy. They’re a potpourri of freaks like Dylan said. So why not Max? I need to believe this is possible.

Despite the difficulties that Max may face, Adam wants to believe that his son can have a meaningful relationship. He’s encouraging, positive, and willing to help. He continues talking with Max about a way that Max can start a conversation with Dylan, starting with her interest in art and horses. Adam’s advice is sound, but the way that he talks to Max is even more important. He talks to him like an adult and a friend.

It’s been really rewarding to see the progression of Adam and Max’s relationship. From the pirate costume scene in season one when Adam is learning to accept Max’s condition, to now when Adam figures out how to talk with his son about the complicated topics.

The final season of Parenthood airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.

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