DIANNE BUTLER OUT OF THE BOX
OATMEAL is what they call porridge in fairytales, the controlling lawyer Braverman sister starts to tell her husband and daughter over breakfast, when thwack, a bird commits suicide against the window.
‘‘ I think it’s stunned,’’ Joel (Sam Jaeger) says hollowly, conscious of their hovering six-year-old but also no doubt thinking to himself, lucky bird, no more enervating small talk for you.
Julia nonetheless goes ahead and orders her husband to keep the ‘‘ stunned’’ bird in a shoe box while they — she — prime themselves for the death talk with their daughter, and figure out whether to include ‘‘ heaven’’ in that conversation, or what Joel describes as the made-up stuff.
Food at Julia’s brother Adam’s place, too, tonight and also an atmosphere that suggests a small animal has died violently right in front of everyone.
Adam has invited Haddie’s new boyfriend, Alex, to dinner, and they’re discussing AA. Or ‘‘ the program’’, as Alex refers to it. You might’ve thought, here are Adam and Kristina, hip liberal types, living in Berkeley in California, they’d be down with the lingo, but they’re like, um, program?
Watch the birdie: Sam Jaeger
They aren’t even cool enough to just go with it, not even after Alex — who, Max the Asperger’s kid has repeatedly pointed out, is black — has submitted to a humiliating dinner table census about his life so far.
I wish the bird had ploughed into the side of their house. I’m almost certain they would’ve packed Alex a food parcel to take home.
If the scene was meant to make us hate Haddie’s uppity parents, it works a treat.
But I much prefer this to ‘‘ mum and dad are my best friends’’, which seems to be the only television alternative.
Everyone’s very polite, this isn’t Shameless here, but there’s a slight undertow. For a change. Parenthood Channel 7, 9.30pm