Exclusive Parenthood Video: Max Is Dealt a Heartbreaking Setback in His Run For President

Max will once again be confronted with just how cruel kids can be in this Tuesday’s installment of Parenthood (NBC, 10/9c) when his bid for student body president hits an unfortunate snag.

Having gone way outside his comfort zone, Max boasts to his mother in the following exclusive first look clip that he received the 25 signatures needed in order to secure his spot on the ballot. But when a proud Kristina takes a look at the list, her heartbreaking reaction confirms that something is amiss.

RELATED | Monica Potter Shares the Shocking Story Behind Parenthood‘s Devastating Twist

Press PLAY below to watch the emotional sequence, and then hit the comments with your thoughts.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Gerald says:

    I hate Max, so I’m kind of happy…. No offense to the people that like the character.

    • dave says:

      its nice that you like max like many others but the point is that the show is a dram and heartbreaking because people clearly wrote not nice things instead of signatures. the character is very realistic. i deal with kids who have aspergers on a daily basis

    • tvgeek says:

      @ Gerald…. I hope your not a teacher… or anyone that has to be around children ever. Max is realistic and seeing the family deal with real issues is amazing. To wish bullying on even a character of a tv show is sad. This show tells stories no other show goes near.

      • blaster freak says:

        @tvgeek, I hope YOU’RE (which is the correct spelling) not a teacher. Especially an english teacher. Moreover, Gerald didn’t wish bullying on Max. Way to project.

        • rowan77 says:

          Actually he said he’s kinda of happy about the scene we just saw, so yes, Gerald was giving his stamp of approval on the bullying of a child on the autism scale. Granted it is just a TV character, but I wonder if Gerald, upon disliking a real kid (with Aspergers or not) would endorse the bullying of that child as well.

      • Ananda says:

        So True!!!!

    • Larry says:

      Gerald,the reason you hate Max is because you don’t understand Aspergers.I relate to him because I have it.

  2. Ashley says:

    I think that the boy who plays Max is an amazing actor. I love the character and I am always rooting for him. :)

  3. tp says:

    The kid that plays Max is an amazing actor. I often forget that he’s just playing a part and doesn’t actually have aspergers. For me Christina is the one that grates my nerves when it comes to Max. I know he has to be treated a certain way but to me she’s way over the top.

  4. Lee Ann says:

    Max is an amazing actor, so is Christina. And yes, she is way over the top to accommodate him when he is being difficult, but that’s what us moms do, which makes it realistic.

  5. LH says:

    I love watching this show with my daughters, because it deals with these kinds of issues, and opens up SO many great conversations.

  6. Doogie says:

    Max is a good actor, but I think they make him too cliched and over-the-top. I have known Asperger’s kids before, and I have never known any as uncaring, selfish, unpleasant, or dare I say, “far gone” as Max. It seems like the writers have turned him into a robot, when really he would be getting better with social skills and how to make friends, that is, as he gets older and the more that he’s around other kids at school. It seems like he was more normal during Season 1. Plus, if he was smart enough to go to a regular school, wouldn’t he be smart enough to realize that kids wrote mean things on his ballot for student council? What, he just looks at the mean things and doesn’t realize they’re mean?

    • rowan77 says:

      There are many levels on the autism scale and even within the diagnosis of Aspergers. Max happens to not understand the emotional needs of others. He also cannot read faces, nor does he get proper social behavior. That’s why he’s had so much behavioral therapy and went to a special school before being mainstreamed again. According to many parents of children on the autism scale, the portrayal of what Max and the Bravermans go through is very accurate.

    • Julie says:

      Before you comment on Aspie kids that you have casually observed- think again. Very common for kids on the ASD to not be able to interpret other people’s emotions which is why it is do hard to mainstream them. I don’t think he’s over the top at all and I speak for my child on the ASD and as a RN care manager for kids with PDD and ASD. What’s PDD you say? ASD? Spend more time researching it vs spouting off about it.

  7. AJ says:

    As a mother of a child on the spectrum, the portrayal of both a child with Aspergers and their families is extremely realistic. It’s very refreshing to see a story whereby a child with autism is not made to appear like they have super powers.

  8. Patti says:

    Poor kid. That just breaks my heart.

  9. Cruciatus says:

    I do have a cousin with Asperger’s so I know that a lot of times the parents have to put in the effort to train the child to understand social norms and mores. My problem with the character of Max is that his parents never seem to say “enough of that Max” or “You can’t do this because blah blah blah.” In last week’s episode Christina yelled at Adam for leaving her while Max yelled at her for 45 minutes. She SHOULD have said “this is not OK Max and you will be punished if you continue this.” There are reprimands that work. And how about that diner scene from the first episode this season? The TV parents let this kid get away with murder and it drives me crazy. When they had Gaby they were at least acknowledging the problem, but now it seems like “Hey, Max does whatever he wants and we just take it.” No! You can set limits with Asperger’s children too! Yes, it probably takes more effort, but in the end I think everyone would be happier. At this point, the actor portrays Max so well that I hate Max and hope he fails at life because his parents refuse to set any boundaries whatsoever. Please note this is my opinion about a TV character and not how I feel about real people in real life!

  10. tp says:

    What I mean about the mom being over the top comes from the first episode. Max was yelling and being very uncooperative, When the behavioral aide was there Max was much better. I couldn’t believe Kristina yelled at the people at the next table while Max completely ruined their dining experience. I felt so bad for Haddie because it was supposed to be for her. It’s like the parents just let his diagnosis be an excuse for his behavior.

  11. lev says:

    As a mom to an autistic son, the video just breaks my heart. Though I am glad that Max is a character on this show as it raises awareness of kids with special needs. I just wish the parents would address it better rather than letting him get away with everything.

  12. Doogie says:

    I agree. The softness of the parents may be a reason why Max appears to be so mean, angry, emotionless, and in fast-motion-speed both with talking and movement all of the time. The parents never say, “Okay Max, you can’t only talk about the things you want to at 100 mph,” or “Okay Max, you have to think about other peoples’ need sometimes too,” or “Okay Max, you can’t obsess about the school vending machines non-stop for three days straight!” I worked with a few Asperger’s kids at a summer camp, and none of them were as mean and unpleasant as Max because I’m sure they had parents who disciplined and set boundaries. They were mostly just socially awkward, but they weren’t emotionless, didn’t interrupt, and didn’t talk for 100 mph about things that only they cared about. I also think about the episode when Amber was in the hospital, and Max was angrily raving about not going to get pancakes and saying things like how he didn’t care if Amber died because he was starving and wanted his pancakes NOW. I think that was more from his parents letting him always get his way, rather than his Asperger’s completely controlling his brain. Another example is the episode when he calls Kristina the B-word simply for turning off his video game. I think that was also because he was so used to always getting his way. I’d also think that by now he would be understanding expressions and figures of speech (although I can understand him still not reading faces), instead of still asking about what each one meant like he was still a little kid. He’s heard them from family enough and been around his peers at school enough. I’m also surprised that he’s able to be friends with his cousins, or that he was able to be friends with that kid in the wheelchair, with his personality. If the parents actually disciplined him, he could be a pleasant kid and learn how to gain “common sense manners,” AND learn what not to say to people, AND control his disorder a little better. I just can’t believe how out of touch he is becoming with each episode, when he should be getting better as he’s getting older. At least in the first two seasons there were scenes of him playing with his cousins during family barbecues and other gatherings. Now, I couldn’t see him doing that with the “it’s all about me” way his personality has become.

  13. Kim R says:

    I just discovered Parenthood in August & have now caught up to the current season. I actually looked up the young actor who plays Max to see if he had Aspergers because he plays it so realistically. He truly deserves a reward and the writers on the show are fantastic. Max is so frustrating but at the same time so heart breaking. I can’t imagine why the first commenter would say they hated him. It should only inspire empathy and compassion on parent and child alike who live with the challenges of Aspergers every day. My two cents. :)

  14. jrmj says:

    I have a child with Aspergers and I’m of two minds about the Max character this season. First, I give the actor and the show so much credit with spreading awareness. Watching this show has been so helpful to us as a family. Often, the situations they deal with (with Max and Aspergers) are incredibly right on. Very realistic. However, I have to agree with some of the posters who mentioned that he’s being allowed to get away with way too much this season. The scene at the diner comes to mind! We’ve had many a “scene” like that with our Aspie, but the way they shot Haddie down and coddled Max rubbed me the wrong way. Bring back Gabby! Overall, they do an awesome job with that storyline. Max Burkholder deserves an Emmy! The video above breaks my heart, because I’m so worried we’ll deal with similar things when our son is a teen :(

  15. Rain says:

    After the diner scene this season I’ve decided to fast forward the Max scenes. I agree the actor does a great job but I can’t stand the character and how much he’s allowed to get away with. As a lot of posters have already said, he needs to be given boundaries and they need to be enforced. If they can’t bring back Gaby (which I really wish they would) they need to get another person to come in and help with Max.

    • Gudrun Grace says:

      So on. It’s a show not a documentary. I’m thinking about not watching anymore. I had a difficult teen who is still difficult. I just as soon not relieve those terrible times. I applaud the writers for the awareness factors. I get angry at this character, but his mother is even worse. Always crying! Maybe she’ll croak along with the insipid dad! If they are both dead then Max can still carry on about the vending machine.