Parenthood once again tugged at my heart strings last night. In this episode, Max, who has Aspergers goes on an overnight field trip with his class. His mother, Kristina, was going to chaperon, but he told her that he didn't want her to. The parents talk about it and decide to let him go. They later get a phone call that they need to come and pick up Max. They drive the 2-3 hours to pick him up and he won't tell them what happened. The teacher who waited with Max, also didn't know what happened.
While they are driving home, Max finally opens up by asking his parents why the other kids hate him. He finally tells them that one of the boys peed in his canteen and called him a freak. You can see the parents reactions during this scene and it is heart wrenching. Both parents are visibly upset, and the father is ready to take on this boy who harassed Max. Max tells his parents that he tries to understand his friends and you can hear how much he wants to belong, but just can't. He knows he is different and that he will never understand why they do what they do. He tells his parents that he is a freak. The mother takes off her seat belt and climbs into the back seat to hug him. Of course, Max tells her this is unsafe and that he doesn't want to be hugged, but she keeps hugging him. The father is on the verge of tears. This is how this storyline in this episode ended, and there were no previews about this storyline for next week.
All I can say is bravo for taking on the topic of bullying, Aspergers, and special needs in general. As a parent of a special needs child, I worry that my son will be bullied. He is in 7th grade right now, and so far things are going well. I worry more about him entering high school in another year. Parenthood is one of the few shows to take a realistic look at the life of a family with a child with special needs and so far they are doing a great job.