For “Parenthood” fans, it might feel like the Julia Braverman (Erika Christensen) and Joel Graham (Sam Jaeger) will-they-won’t-they-get-back-together saga has been going on for ages. However, thanks to the introduction of Julia’s ex-beau, Chris Jeffries (“Graceland” actor Coby Ryan McLaughlin), things might finally be coming to a boiling point.
It’s finally time for Julia to make a choice: Should she choose Joel, the father of her children, or Chris, her doting ex-flame?
Zap2it‘s Jean Bentley and Casey Rackham teamed up together (and against each other) to delve into the “Parenthood” debate and defend the man they each think should make it to the end.
Casey Rackham: OK, Jean. Let’s get straight to it: Are you Team Chris or Team Joel?
Jean Bentley: Team Joel, baby! He’s a nice guy, but not a pushover, incredibly cute, and he’s good with his hands. He can fix anything in the house, and doesn’t mind sacrificing his own career in the name of his family. (Though, as a feminist, it’s kind of offensive that he gets praised for being a stay-at-home dad and for women it’s just kind of expected or normal.) But still, he’s proven that he’s a devoted, loving man. Who WOULDN’T love Joel?
CR: Well, uh, me. Well, no — let me clarify: I love Joel. When Julia cheated on him with Roy from “The Office,” I was like, “Julia, you are SO dumb.” (Once a Roy, always a Roy, amiright?). But, if we’re talking about who should be with Julia right now … well, then I’m TOTALLY Team Chris. I know it’s basically sacrilege to fawn over someone who isn’t Joel, but Chris has some great attributes. He is handsome. He can wear suspenders without looking creepy. He knows when someone needs a cute care package (which is always). He can keep up with Julia and her craziness. Her kids love him (and if Sydney likes someone, shouldn’t we keep that person around?).
CR: Listen, I never thought I’d leave Team Joel. I feel like I’ve betrayed myself. BUT, when you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it. Julia just isn’t in love with Joel and his cleft chin anymore.
JB: I don’t know — obviously Chris is very cute and he and Julia have a past, but she and Joel have a family.
CR: Ugh, I get that. Those scenes where they had to tell Victor and Sydney they were separating were THE WORST. I mean, I think Sydney is awful, and all I wanted to do was hug her. But, unfortunately, stuff like this happens in the real world. And what do people love about “Parenthood” so much? The fact that it mirrors real life. Not every marriage is going to last — that’s just real life. Joel is a sweetheart and a wonderful dad, but he’s just not meant to be with Julia anymore.
JB: Well we can agree on one thing — Sydney is a monster.
JB: But I’m not sure that Joel and Julia aren’t meant to be together anymore. When Julia made eye contact with Joel as she spoke to Sydney about the future, it was clear that as heartbroken as they both are about the situation, there’s still something there. They clearly still love each other (though maybe that love is different than it was before) and they both love their children. If it was really time for them to split, I think Julia would’ve told Sydney so.
CR: That’s a valid point. Nothing is official until documents are signed. BUT I don’t see this relationship fixing itself. And if they do patch it up, it’s going to need repairs, like, once a week, and that’s just not a life I want to see either of them live. It’s tough for me because I was honestly Team Joel right up until the most recent episode, “The Scale of Affection.” Joel turned into a hateful person and basically slut-shamed Julia. Sure, standing behind a fence as he watched his kids play basketball with his replacement must have been gut-wrenching, but it was going to happen eventually. And seeing how he reacted to that situation was a total turn off. He turned into a Joel that I had never seen before. A Joel that I no longer wanted to be my imaginary husband.
JB: Listen, slut-shaming is not acceptable and not something anyone could ever defend. Joel was definitely wrong there. But I think his totally inappropriate reaction is just more evidence that he and Julia still belong together. There are still incredibly intense feelings there. Here’s the thing — I feel like although their marriage has been on the rocks for a little while now, they haven’t actually made the effort to work on it together. First Julia had Roy from “The Office,” then Joel had Penny from “Lost,” then they stopped living together. But have they gone to counseling? Has either of them — at the same time — assessed the situation and said “OK, let’s actually try to make this work”? I don’t think they have, and I think they owe it to each other to do that before Chris can be a real option.
JB: Also, if they do that, I don’t think Chris will be an option anymore. JOEL & JULIA 4EVER.
CR: OK, Joel and Julia totally haven’t done everything they can to fix their marriage, but I just don’t even know if Julia wants to do that. Joel might want back in the marriage, but I think she’s checked out from their relationship. Ever since Joel decided to leave — yes, let’s all remember that he was the one who decided to move out — Julia has had time to mourn and move on. He had a totally valid reason for leaving, but, the point is, he left, which made room for Julia to find someone else.
JB: Listen, if Julia’s going to actually move on, it better be with a man who could even approach Joel’s level. But I just don’t think it’s time to do that yet. I think all we can do is wait and hope she makes the right decision.
CR: In the end, I think we can both agree that, no matter what happens with Julia and Joel (or Chris), we will always have Adam and Kristina.
JB: UNLESS SHE DIES (but that is for another post).
CR: Oh My God, Jean. Don’t even do that to me right now. My heart can’t take it.
Who do you think Julia should end up with? Is either man the right person for her?
“Parenthood” airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.