Okay, I want to start by saying that I have just caught up on season 2 of Parenthood and therefore I have just discovered the amazing couple that is Alex and Haddie. These two have quickly become one of my favorite young couples on TV. The dialogue given to them is so incredibly realistic, the actors have such natural chemistry, and their story has been so effortless and beautiful. This is not a couple that is trying to be anything. They just are.
I’m currently re-watching all of the episodes that include development for this relationship because I find it incredibly fascinating. I’m going to go back to something I said earlier; these two are just incredibly natural together. Their characters are different in some pretty significant ways, but despite that, they fit together effortlessly. There is absolutely nothing forced about them. Their dynamic is refreshing and wonderful to watch.
Alex is introduced to the show in episode 207 “Seven Names”. His introduction is subtle but significant. It isn’t as though the show is shoving a new character in our faces and saying, “this is Haddie’s new love interest,” that isn’t the case at all. The interaction between Haddie and Alex clearly includes some potential romantic undertones, but it isn’t over the top. They don’t get off on the best foot, but again, it isn’t over the top. He isn’t horrible to her, he’s just not confident that she’s someone he should bother getting to know. He’s seen people like her come and go, and he doesn’t see the point in getting attached. She on the other hand is enthusiastic and interested in knowing him. His reaction throws her. But she confronts him right away and clears the air. They don’t drag out some underhanded feud. They talk clearly and honestly and come to an understanding. And upon coming to that understanding, it is easy to see that Alex is impressed and intrigued by Haddie.
After hashing out their issues, the two quickly become friends. They get along well and make each other smile. It’s seams like such a simple thing. Making each other smile. But it is so rare to see a relationship develop so simply, to see characters enjoy one another and make each other laugh. It’s so simple but it’s so important. And this is the real basis of who these character are to each other. Because they make each other happy, and that is the bottom line.
Naturally, Haddie falls for Alex. And why wouldn’t she? He’s sweet and funny. He’s kind and hard working. They have fun together, they talk together. It would be impossible for her not to fall for him. And because she’s falling for him, she starts to see the whole world a little differently. I’m not saying she changes who she is for him, because she doesn’t, and if she did then they wouldn’t be the couple that they are. She starts to see meaning in other things, things outside of school and soccer. She starts to feel good about helping people and making a difference. She feels good about herself, and she recognized that this is a direct result of her interaction with Alex.
Haddie isn’t the type of girl who beats around the bush. She isn’t good at hiding things, not for long at least. When she lies to her parents, she always ends up telling them the truth with in a day. And when she wants something, she goes for it. She makes up her mind and she goes for it. So she goes for it with Alex. She kisses him and the moment is sweet and innocent and beautiful. But he breaks it.
Haddie is also a disciplined person. Not because her parents were overly structured or anything. But she herself is a disciplined person. She has the ability to think things through and keep her emotions in check when a situation calls for it. So after the awkward kiss with Alex, Haddie pushes her emotions aside and confronts the problem. Haddie doesn’t run from problems, and I think that’s something she and Alex have in common. She apologizes for kissing him and tells him she hopes that they can continue to work together. She does this without stuttering or looking away. She does this with her head held high and her eyes steady. And maybe that’s why Alex decides to be honest with her. He could have agreed, he could have swept everything under the rug. But he doesn’t. Because he knows that even though she’s 16, she can handle the truth.
Alex clearly and unquestionably tells Haddie that he likes her and he is attracted to her. But despite this, he cannot pursue anything romantic with her. Haddie looks thrown at first, because she was expecting him to sweep things under the rug. She didn’t expect him to tell her that he liked her. And then Alex looks her in the eye and tells her why he can’t be with her. He is a recovering alcoholic and it isn’t a good idea for him to be in a relationship at this point in his life. He is being so honest with her, so incredibly open, and she doesn’t know how to respond. So she makes light of things. She jokes with him, she smiles, and they laugh. Because that’s what they do. They are honest with each other and they make each other smile. And it’s exactly how he needs her to respond. The awkwardness melts away and they’re just two people who like each other and make each other happy.
Can we talk about how disgustingly adorable these two are when they’re trying to push down their feelings for each other? Because they have literally admitted to liking each other. They know they have feelings for each other, they know these feelings are reciprocated. But they can’t be together. And they can’t stay away from each other. She calls him and pretends not to know when she’s working again, just so she can talk to him. But she isn’t the only one who’s nervous, he is too. The balance that they have with each other is just so wonderful. Then, he starts fixing the cans so that the labels face the right way. Because she does that. And he calls her to play scrabble with him. Scrabble. And they are insanely happy for every second of that scrabble game because they’re together. They aren’t kissing, or touching or anything. They’re just together and that makes them happy.
So finally they kiss. It isn’t drawn out for more than an episode, and it shouldn’t be. Because it would be unrealistic for them to continue to spend so much time together and have nothing happen. When clearly, something is happening. So it’s dark, and quiet, and Alex just kisses her. And it’s like he’s been thinking about it for a while and in that moment decides to take a chance. They don’t look back after that. They don’t pretend that they can just be friends. They don’t pretend that they can put things off. Because they both know it’s too late for that.
The next phase of their relationship is a rocky one. It is incredibly rocky and tiring to watch. But it’s important because it didn’t break them. I want to start by saying that Alex is such a good guy. He’s made mistakes, he has a colorful past, but who is he in the present, is an incredibly good guy. He looks Haddie’s father in the eye, shakes his hand and accepts an intimidating invitation to their house for dinner. He shows Haddie’s parents so much respect throughout everything. He respects the fact that they don’t want him and Haddie to be together. Even when Haddie moves out of her house, he refuses to see her without their permission. He talks to her father honestly and clearly. He is one hundred percent open about his past and his intentions. And it’s impossible not to like him.
Haddie’s actions when she is told she can’t see Alex anymore, are both understandable and childish. It’s an odd combination, but she is driven so fully by her desperation that it takes her a while to see clearly. And she truly is desperate and heartbroken. Because Alex made her happy, and he was a good guy and he was nice to her. She can’t understand how he can be all of those things and yet her parents won’t allow her to see him. So she lashes out. And she lies, and she does things she normally wouldn’t do. Haddie has been the good daughter her whole life. She has gotten good grades, played soccer, and done as she was told. And Alex is a good guy, the kind of guy her parents would want for her. So she is utterly confused when they tell her that she got it wrong.
When Haddie lies to both her parents and to Alex, a very clear line is drawn in Alex and Haddie’s relationship. He tells her with complete certainty that he will not be with someone who lies to him. Honesty is huge for him. And he will not go behind her parents back or hide their relationship, because that isn’t the person he is. He’s angry at her, but he’s also frustrated with the situation. So when Amber calls him on Haddie’s behalf, the bridge is gapped. Amber helps him realize that Haddie was trying to protect him. And he’s able to let go of the anger towards her and just be frustrated with the situation. When he talks to Haddie later, his voice is so gentle and so sincere. He misses her, and he wants to be with her. But he won’t be with her until things with her parents are resolved. Even though that kills her, it also makes her fall for him even harder. Because he really is a good guy.
Haddie’s actions are extreme, but they aren’t solely about Alex. It isn’t as if she’s moving out of her house and lashing out because of a boy. It isn’t just about the boy. It’s about her frustration. It’s about the fact that she feels she’s being treated unfairly. Because she has been the perfect daughter for years, and that doesn’t seem to matter to her parents. So when she finally sees Alex again, face to face, she realizes some things. She cares about him, and he cares about her. But he truly isn’t budging until she fixes things with her parents. The situation she put herself in is keeping her away from the boy she likes and her parents. So she’s left with nothing. This pushes her to fix things with her parents. And because she finally accepted their decision, they reconsidered. She budged for them and they budged for her. It’s clear that they had been having second thoughts on their ruling for a while, but they couldn’t give in because it would have shown her that she could always get her way. They held out and waited for her to accept their rules. And when that finally happened they let her be with Alex.
The next big issue in Alex and Haddie’s relationship is sex. He’s a nineteen year old boy and she’s a sixteen year old girl. They’re attracted to each other, and more than that, they’re falling in love. Everyone sees it. And while this worries Haddie’s parents, it’s something they know they can’t control. When the time comes for prom, these thoughts of sex are brought to the forefront of everyone’s mind. Haddie isn’t planning on having sex, but it’s on her mind. And when she gets to prom, and dances with Alex, and when he looks at her the way he does… she can’t help but want to be with him. And when she asks Alex if he’s though about it, his answer only makes her want to be with him more. Because he tells her he won’t rush her, and that he isn’t going anywhere. That’s all she needed to hear, whether she knew it or not.
So Alex and Haddie have sex. She’s young, and her parents wanted her to wait, and she hadn’t planned on having sex with him… but she did. And she’s happy. She’s happy and in love. There is a series of shots, with Alex and Haddie in bed. The way they are with each other is beautiful. They’re so tender and so loving. It isn’t just sex, it’s love. And this brings me to something I find really interesting. We never see Haddie and Alex say “I love you” to each other on screen. We never see them say those words. But it is beyond clear that they love each other. The people around them see it. In 2.22 Alex tells Adam, “I love your daughter, I will always respect her.” I think it’s interesting that the show never chose to have them tell each other “I love you” on screen. Those 3 words usually matter, they usually signify a change in the relationship. But that isn’t the case for Alex and Haddie. Because they’ve had love for each other for so long, maybe longer than they’re aware of. But it’s always been there. And just like every other aspect of their relationship, this next phase in their relationship is so natural.
I really do love these two, and I think the 3 page essay I just wrote proves that. I stan the hell out of this shows dialogue. The way the characters talk over each other and the actors stutter and fumble their words. The imperfections of the show make it so beautiful. And this relationship is just another beautiful aspect of this show. I truly can’t wait to see what’s next for them.