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I was not expecting Parenthood to take Amber and Ryan the direction that it went last night, but I am so glad that it did. The moment Amber realized Ryan had just drove her car home drunk, I actually yelled “Seth!” out loud to my TV. Everything about the scene, and the subsequent one later on Christmas morning, was so real and painful. On a lesser series, Amber would have accepted Ryan’s apology for the sake of Christmas, and he would go and drink egg nog with Zeke. Fortunately, the writers here actually gave Amber real, earned agency. I wish I grew up with a character as strong and wonderful as her because her speech to Ryan about seeing her mom get dragged down by her dad was as important as it was heartbreaking.

Read more: Parenthood: This Week’s Chuckle, Cry and Cringe

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