‘Parenthood’: Are We Supposed to Feel Sorry for Julia?

No seriously. Are we?

Last night’s episode of Parenthood put Julia’s marriage through the ringer when Joel moved out of the house he shared with Julia and their two children. Things were looking even worse at a marriage counselling session where Julia was hoping this rough path would lead to a reconciliation while Joel was unsure about the fate of his marriage. The episode ended with Julia taking the kids to her parents’ house and finally coming clean about the state of the marriage.

Now I propose the question again: are we supposed to side with Julia and feel sorry that her marriage is crumbling around her?

I’m having a hard time being on Team Julia for this. The situation she’s found herself in sucks, but I don’t really feel bad for her character. I’m definitely on Joel’s side.  It’s no secret that Julia is my least favourite Braverman when it comes to story plots and character traits. You would think it would’ve been Crosby, but the reformed bachelor has changed his way and has become a family man. As for Julia, she’s been the same person since season one. Sure she no longer is the bread winner in the family, but her actions to situations are ones that she probably would’ve made if she was still a lawyer.

The action is question was her kiss with Ed. Yes, Ed initiated it, but you can’t fault the man for thinking there was an inkling of a chance with Julia. She wasn’t necessarily leading him on, but her friendly/caring nature was confused as affection and Ed took the bait that Julia wasn’t trying to throw out. Once the kiss took place, she should’ve immediately told Joel. Joel had already expressed concern about her relationship with Ed and this massive event would be something you needed to get in front of before it was running you over like a mack truck. But no, classic Julia assessed the situation and didn’t think that Joel needed to know because “nothing happened” and by that she means Ed kissed her. Ed initiated it. She stopped it before it could turn into anything.

Julia finally admitted the kiss days (or weeks) after Joel asked her if anything had happened. The fact that she was utterly shocked that Joel blew up like that was appalling. In his mind, you cheated and YOU LIED! You betrayed your marriage and more importantly his trust. But this is classic Julia. She always made decisions regarding their marriage without consulting Joel. Case in point, she decided to not let Victor get held back even though the possibility of him getting crushed under the weight of school work was there. Joel knew it would happen, but naturally Julia thought she knew best.

Julia quit her job without even talking to Joel. She was their only source of income. If Julia wanted to quit, don’t you think telling Joel about it so he could find a job so your family would be financially stable? Joel was able to find work and the hours were starting to become long ones. Instead of being supportive of the huge development project that Joel landed, Julia was more concerned with him coming home to help with the kids because she was overwhelmed. Um… Joel was a stay-at-home dad with Sydney for all those years and he took care of both Victor and Sydney when Victor first arrived and both were being difficult and not fitting well. How was he able to do it and you can’t. You got Sydney and Victor who are finally living life as brother and sister. Tantrum-free. Door slamming-free. Argument-free. I just don’t get it.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m totally cool with Jason Katims sending Julia and Joel in divorce. Sure it may reduce Sam Jaeger’s airtime, but I think it might be great for the story. There’s been too many happy endings on this show and it could definitely shake things up if Joel and Julia get divorced or at the very least separated. Maybe it will force Julia to take a look at herself and come to realize that Joel’s current feelings about her a justified and true.

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