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.
Before we dive into the Chuckle, Cringe and Cry of “Together,” I need to take a moment to address how sexy Amber and Ryan’s scenes were before they got all serious. (I’m not really sure what to make of Amber and Ryan and Zeek and that whole veteran storyline just yet, quite possibly because this subject is extremely new to me, so if you’ve got any insight, let me know in the comments.) I know I always talk about how Parenthood is good at addressing sensitive topics that other series usually don’t touch, but between Hank and Sarah, Amber and Ryan and even a little bit of Drew and Amy, the writers have also proven that they know how to write all kinds of sexual tension. And clearly a little Holt goes a long way, am I right? Gross, sorry.