Wednesday, October 05, 2011


When I get into a show, I get into a show. It can be a bit of a problem. (see: Mickey Mouse Club, LOST, Friday Night Lights.) One of my favorite things about following a show is the pay-off you get when something happens between the characters and you can only fully appreciate the moment because you know everything that has come before it.

NBC's Parenthood is currently in its third season and it had one of those moments last night. (Fair warning this contains spoilers about the show.) I started watching it because I liked the movie a lot (trivia: a friend of mine in Orlando lives down the street from the house the movie filmed at) and it had a lot of the same behind-the-scenes folks as Friday Night Lights. I've been particularly pumped when FNL actors show up on Parenthood. Lyla as Max's behavioral aide? Score! Vince playing the role of Haddie's boyfriend? Go Lions! I miss having a team to cheer for like I did on FNL, but Parenthood is appointment television for me.

Michael B. Jordan, the actor who plays Haddie's boyfriend Alex is awesome. His arrival onto the show during its second season caused trouble for Haddie's family because her parents didn't want them dating. He was older than her, had dropped out of school and was recovering from problems with alcohol. Parents were understandably concerned. But Alex has cleaned things up and long story short, they work things out and he even plays basketball with Haddie's little brother and the rest of the family. In the beginning of this third season, he gets into some trouble with the law and Haddie's dad helps him out. However, shortly after that Alex decides that he and Haddie should call things off. Haddie doesn't respond well to the news and here's what happens when he takes her home and runs into her mom:

This is hands down one of my favorite scenes ever on this show. Several things about it get to me:

- The use of doors. Doors are instrumental to this scene. You see Alex and Haddie come in through the front door, hear Haddie slam her bedroom door, see Alex leave through the front door and see Haddie and her mom talk through the previously mentioned slammed door.

- Alex and this mom have come so far in their relationship. She tells him he's now like family. I don't think that Monica Potter, the actress who plays Haddie's mom, gets the credit she deserves for playing this role. She owns it. This mom is such a control freak, but she manages to somehow make the character likable and, I think, relatable. She just wants what is best for her kids. In this scene, things that are out of her control unravel before her eyes and she has to not be as pushy as she normally is. I don't think you can appreciate how she handles those interactions with her daughter and Alex without knowing how those kinds of things have previously played out. I love the look of restrained panic on her face, the way she pats the back of Alex's head when they hug, how she takes a deep breath once he has left and how instead of giving into her temptation to open Haddie's door, she gives her daughter some space by simply saying, "I love you."

- I love Alex's acknowledgment that he feels lucky to have gotten to know a good mom after losing his own a long time ago. I know these characters are not real, but my heart goes out to Alex when you see his response to Haddie's mom speaking into his hurt, validating him and telling him they love him. (Michael B. Jordan's agent needs to start his campaign for a best guest star Emmy or something.) Not only is he losing his girlfriend, he's losing the closest thing he has had to a family in a long time. He has been forgiven of his past and is loved by these people. And that's a lot to take in. As I get ready to go to bed, my prayer is that I would be as overwhelmed with the forgiveness and love my Creator has for me.

I don't know where this story line will lead to next, but if it includes more scenes like this one, it looks like my Tuesday night plans won't be changing anytime soon.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


I've gotten into the habit of watching the 6:30 national news at night. NBC's Brian Williams is my anchor of choice. One of my least favorite things about watching the news, though, is hearing about the unemployment rate, especially because I am part of that percentage of people they talk about. While I am in this in between period, I have picked up some habits like spending too much time on Facebook and eating more junk food than I normally do and should. But some good ones have also developed. I get the proper amount of rest. I do some sort of exercise 4 or 5 days a week. I also make more of an attempt to take note of things, superficial or not, that bring me joy. Some of those things of late have been:

- A former student of mine now volunteers with the Youth Group at his church in college. One Saturday morning I woke up to a text message from him with the following picture:

As I scrolled down I read the attached caption: "middle school lock in. need i say more." Getting that text was especially sweet since I lead a few lock-ins with that student when he was a middle schooler.

- Re-reading some of my favorite books (Ender's Game, Harry Potter) and discovering some really good new ones (The Wednesday Wars, The Help, Room).

- Mat Kearney's latest album came out over the summer. I got a copy the day it came out, but waited to listen to it when I had a short road trip a few days later. Track 2 instantly became my favorite song. It is one of the few songs right now that can almost always lift my mood.

- Hearing my Dad say he was proud of me for being one of two final candidates for a job (even though I ended up not getting the job).

- Seeing the excitement on the faces of the team members of the Tampa Bay Rays when they won their Wild Card spot and overcame their nine game deficit. That was such good television.

- Getting Vanilla Coke from a fountain (courtesy of the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine).

- Visiting my elementary school and the secretaries in the office remembering me!

- Remembering my high school fight song when I went to a game and heard the band play it.

- Auditioning for Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Didn't make it pass the written test, but got a free shirt.

- My cousin Josh telling me he got engaged.

- Exploring the woods of a nearby Tampa park with great music playing in my ears. The soundtrack was music I'd heard on the show Friday Night Lights: "Remember Me as a Time of Day" by Explosions in the Sky, "Deus Ex Machina" by If These Trees Could Talk, "Stokkseyri" by Jonsi and Alex and "Devil Knows Your Dead" by Delta Spirit.

- Speaking of Friday Night Lights, I literally stood up and cheered when Kyle Chandler won the Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama for his work in that show:

In the words of Entertainment Weekly: "Clear eyes. Full hearts. Didn't lose."