March 8, 2014
Summary: School’s out for the day, and Charlie’s picking up Claudia and her horrible hat. She’d rather wait and see if Reed will give her a ride, but Charlie makes her get in the truck. He decides to tell her about his cancer before he tells Bailey and Julia. Except he doesn’t use the word “cancer,” and he downplays the nature of the treatments he’ll be having. Then he wants to go for ice cream. Charlie next summons Bailey to the house and reveals that he has cancer. Claudia watches from her bedroom window and sees how upset Bailey is.
Over at Julia and Griffin’s, they have to say goodbye to all their furniture since they can’t afford their apartment anymore. Charlie goes for a walk with Kirsten, telling her about his breakup with Nina. His first oncologist appointment is the next day, and Kirsten asks to go with him. Claudia goes to a hospital and looks through pamphlets about Hodgkin’s to find out what the survival rates are. She’s surprised to learn that the disease is more serious than Charlie led on.
At the house, Charlie and Julia both have news for each other. Julia needs to borrow some kitchen things since she and Griffin had to return all of theirs. Oh, didn’t she tell him? They’re in really bad financial trouble. Charlie invites them to move in, but Julia thinks they need to deal with things on their own. He doesn’t tell her about his health. Bailey tells Sarah, though, and she offers to help out however she can, even though Bailey points out that she and Charlie aren’t close. He thinks they should handle everything as a family.
Claudia confronts Charlie over not being completely honest about his condition. He assures her that he’s not going to die, but she doesn’t know what to believe anymore. In the middle of the night, Bailey wants to call Charlie to offer comfort, though he isn’t sure what to say. Annie tells him just to say that he loves Charlie and will be there for him. Bailey notes that he has no frame of reference for the situation, but Annie reminds him that being in recovery has some things in common with battling cancer.
Claudia wants to make sure Charlie’s ready for his first appointment, having read up on everything Charlie will experience. She thinks it’s better to know as much as possible about what’s going to happen. When Charlie leaves the house, he finds Bailey washing his truck as a show of support. He also wants to go to the doctor with Charlie. Charlie would rather he wait until he needs more help, but Bailey wants to do whatever he can right now to be there for him. He gives Charlie some AA speak about dealing with what’s in front of him each minute.
Julia finds Claudia outside her apartment, and Claud advises her to move back home. She thinks Charlie told her about Griffin and Julia’s money problems, which Claudia has no idea about. They talk vaguely for a minute, each thinking they’re talking about the same thing, until Claudia mentions treatments. She thinks Julia’s confused because Charlie downplayed his condition to her, too. Only then does she notice that all the furniture is gone.
Kirsten, Claudia, and Bailey all go to Charlie’s appointment with him, trying to help him down a ton of contrast fluid for tests. Bailey and Kirsten are hovering, but Claudia stays to the side, upset. Charlie isn’t sure she should even be there. Bailey wonders where Julia is, and Charlie admits that he didn’t tell her he was sick. Claudia reveals that she did – she didn’t know that it was a secret. Now Charlie’s upset that Julia didn’t come to the appointment. He snaps at Bailey for being Mr. AA and asks everyone to back off a little.
Later that day, Sarah comes by the house with banana bread and tells Charlie to let her know if there’s anything she can do for him. For the first time, he appreciates the way someone’s trying to help him. While Griffin packs up their things, Julia reads up on Hodgkin’s. She thinks they need to move into the house. Claudia checks on Charlie, who clearly wants to be alone. Read the room, Claud. He yells at her for her method of “helping,” which is just making him worse. She keeps reminding him that he’s sick, and he needs her to back off.
Charlie goes out to run an errand, then changes course to go confront Julia for not contacting him after she found out he was sick. She’s equally upset that she had to hear the news from Claudia. She feels like he didn’t expect her to stop worrying about her own life long enough to worry about his. Charlie blasts her for having a problem with the way he’s dealing with his health issues, telling her to get over herself.
At home, Charlie complains to Bailey about Julia, but things don’t get any better because Bailey’s still on his AA bent. Charlie would prefer if Bailey would act like Sarah – say he doesn’t know what to say, bring something to eat, and shut up. Bailey tries to argue that he gets what Charlie’s going through, but Charlie disagrees. Alcoholism isn’t a disease like cancer is.
Charlie winds up at the restaurant, calling Kirsten to come talk to him. He complains about how all his siblings are acting, and how everyone’s version of “help” is actually helpful. He feels like Kirsten is the only one he can talk to about what he’s going through. Kirsten doesn’t want to be that “only one” because there could come a time when she says or does the wrong thing and Charlie chases her away, too. He tells her he can only worry about himself right now, not how Kirsten reacts to him. She tells him he has to think of others or he’ll end up with no support at all.
Bailey blasts Sarah for…being nice to Charlie? Really, that was wrong of her? Shut up, Bailey. He mocks that she must have done it to make herself feel good, or to make herself look better than him. Shut up some more, Bailey. Instead of fighting with him, Sarah offers to be his punching bag, if it’ll help him feel better. Ha ha, Bailey, Sarah doesn’t have to make herself look better than you – she IS better than you.
Charlie meets with his doctor, who tells him his condition isn’t as good as they’d hoped, but not as bad as she’d feared. She’s surprised that he’s there alone. Julia and Griffin check out the Salingers’ toolshed, which she thinks is a better choice for them than the attic, since it’ll feel more like their own place. They head over to the main house, where Bailey and Claudia are supportive of their decision to move back in.
Everyone’s mad at Charlie, but Bailey understands now that he’s acting the way he is because he’s scared. They need to put up with him because he’s always put up with them. The siblings agree to take whatever Charlie gives, and only complain to each other, never to him. Charlie comes home, and now everyone’s super-sensitive to what he needs. But now Charlie wants to be open with them, apologizing for the way he acted before. From now on, he’s going to tell them what’s going on and what he needs. He starts with the basics: “I have cancer.”
Thoughts: I totally understand Claudia’s anger over Charlie not being honest. I mean, her parents are dead. If she could handle hearing that, she can handle hearing that Charlie’s sick.
Bailey washing the truth was really sweet. He couldn’t think of anything else to do, and at that moment there wasn’t anything Charlie needed, but it was something Charlie wouldn’t have thought about doing.
I wonder how much of that “contrast fluid” (probably really Tang) Matthew Fox had to drink.
Sarah did the exact right thing: Don’t hover, don’t overthink, don’t advise, just offer to be there and ask what you can do to help.
March 4, 2014
Summary: Every small town has a big, creepy house that’s either rumored to be haunted or inhabited by scary people. Sweet Valley’s big, creepy house is the Mercandy mansion. The woman who lives there is known as old lady Mercandy; everyone thinks she’s a witch and keeps her husband in the attic. Since Halloween is approaching the kids of Sweet Valley are even more spooked than usual by the mansion.
One day the twins see a girl about their age arriving at the house. Then a little while later, a girl named Nora Mercandy turns up at their school. She explains that “old lady Mercandy” is her grandmother, and she’s living with her grandparents now because her mother recently died. Her father died when she was a baby. Just keep that in mind. This girl is an honest-to-God orphan.
Anyway, everyone at Sweet Valley Middle School is freaked out by Nora because she lives with creepy people. Elizabeth is pretty much the only nice one, as usual, and agrees to show her around. Of course, Nora’s a perfectly nice girl, but the other middle schoolers brand her a witch. Elizabeth and Amy are the only people who treat her normally. Elizabeth even offers to loan her clothes for gym class, since the Mercandys are pretty poor and Nora can’t afford them.
The next day, though, Elizabeth has to stay home from school sick. She asks Jessica (who was out sick the day before) to take the clothes to Nora, but Jessica forgets. Since the other Unicorns are basically spearheading Operation: Make Nora Feel Totally Unwelcome, Jess just ignores the girl.
In gym, Lila and Nora are matched up to play tennis. Lila wants to place a bet, since she thinks she’s better at tennis than Nora is, so she puts up an expensive pen. Nora wins and Lila hands over the pen. But later, Lila lies to their teacher that Nora stole the pen, getting her in trouble with the principal. Lila also swaps out a math quiz for Nora’s so she’ll get a good grade and Nora won’t.
Once Elizabeth is back in school, she tells Nora that the other kids are being jerks because they’re afraid of her grandparents. Nora thinks that if the kids meet her grandmother, they’ll calm down. Elizabeth asks Jessica to spread the word that Nora’s throwing a little get-together, and the popular kids decide they might as well give it a shot. But Nora’s grandfather scares them all away when he comes outside walking stiffly and saying, “Nor…Nor…Nor…”
Now the popular kids want revenge on Nora – they think she planned the whole thing and was trying to scare them. They start in with some mind games, making Nora think they want to befriend her and that she’s invited to Lila’s Halloween party. But it’s just a way to get her out of her house so some guys can TP it. When Nora finds out, she runs home and Elizabeth follows her. Jessica panics because her sister’s going into a possibly haunted house, so she goes as well.
Everyone ends up entering the house, and they see a bunch of posters on the attic walls of a magician named Marvelous Marvin. He’s Nora’s grandfather, and he was once majorly talented. Nora explains that he had a stroke a few years ago, which explains his strange walking and inability to say her name. Nora’s grandmother is super-nice to all the bratty kids who came into her house uninvited and offers to put on a little magic show. Nora does some tricks and wins everyone over.
Thoughts: This book mostly makes me glad that I never have to be a middle-school girl again. They are vicious.
Isn’t Elizabeth a little old to dress as a clown for Halloween?
In the end, no one apologizes to Nora for the way they treated her. Of course. Jerks.
Also, Ned and Alice don’t seem to care if their kids help spread rumors about innocent old people. Of course, again.
March 2, 2014
Summary: Someone stops by the After Dark looking for Valerie, but David gets suspicious when he won’t explain who he is or why he’s there. Fortunately, he’s not sketchy – he’s Tom, a friend of Valerie’s from Buffalo. On campus there’s a big job fair, which Tracy and Brandon are featuring on the news. They run into Kelly, who tells them she’s just browsing; she plans to get her master’s after graduation. Brandon reveals that he applied for a prestigious fellowship called the Dreyer. Kelly seems concerned. It turns out Mark has also applied for the Dreyer. Oh, no, conflict!
At the Peach Pit, Donna tries to talk to her father about her future after college, and also spend some time with him, since she hasn’t seen him since Christmas. She tells Dr. Martin and David that she’s trying to stay away from the job fair. David tells Donna that a friend of Valerie’s is visiting, probably surprised that she actually has friends. Dr. Martin learns that his receptionist has called in sick and asks Donna to fill in for her for the day.
Clare finds Steve working out at the beach, reminding him that she got him a job interview at a sportswear company. For once, the two of them aren’t fighting. Valerie tells Brandon that she’s invited Tom to stay at the house while he’s in town (but he’ll be staying on the couch). A man from Minnesota finds Brandon, wanting to talk to him about job opportunities. Tracy notes that Valerie considers Tom more than a friend; Val admits that he was her first. Speaking of Tom, when Val calls home to check on him, he tells her he has a surprise for her. It looks like a videotape.
Donna does the receptionist thing, offering some advice for a patient with stomach problems. Dr. Martin asks her to just take messages, not have conversations with the patients. Mark tells Brandon that he’s applying for the Dreyer, offering condolences since he doesn’t think they’ll give fellowships to two people from the same state. Now they’re competing. Later, Mark tells Kelly that he talked to Brandon, but she’s still not thrilled. She thinks Brandon’s at a disadvantage because he doesn’t know as much about the process as Mark, but Mark thinks he’s the underdog, I guess because Brandon’s so great.
Valerie and Tom catch up; he reveals that he got fired from his job and is picking up construction work whenever he can. Hey, it’s like the whole episode has a theme of people looking for jobs! They run into Kelly and Mark, and Val warns Tom not to be fooled by Kelly’s friendliness. Steve goes to his job interview with a woman named Dana who wants coffee and a cigarette while they talk. (So professional.)
Donna gives Dr. Martin a message from a patient, Mrs. Coatsley, mentioning that the woman thinks Dr. Martin’s mad at her. Dr. Martin still doesn’t seem to care about his patients’ personal lives, which is out of character for him. David calls and Donna laments that she’s getting chastised a lot by her father. Steve and Dana move the interview to a café, and when it’s over, she invites him to lounge since she’s done with interviews for the day. Really, though, she just wants to hang out with him. And by “hang out,” I mean “take to bed, which would definitely help him get the job.”
At a mixer for Dreyer applicants, Tracy notices that Brandon’s less confident about the fellowship now that he knows Mark is applying as well. She thinks Brandon should have a leg up on Mark since he was CU’s president. Kelly wishes she’d known earlier that both guys were applying. Brandon tells her to stay out of it. (In a nice way, though.) Mark knows the people in charge of making decisions, but he’s nice enough to make some introductions for Brandon’s benefit, saying he wants to keep the playing field level.
Donna apologizes to Dr. Martin for not being as helpful as he would have liked, but her father feels bad that he made her give up a whole day to work for him. He also didn’t want her to get in a long conversation with Mrs. Coatsley because she only talks about her cats. Donna says that Mrs. Coatsley thinks Dr. Martin is mad at her because she started smoking again. He doesn’t remember her telling him that.
Dr. Martin panics and tells Donna to get Mrs. Coatsley on the phone – the combination of smoking and the medication he just prescribed her could kill her. Dr. Martin wonders if Mrs. Coatsley mentioned taking up smoking again but he wasn’t paying enough attention to hear her. Fortunately, Donna gets the patient on the phone and confirms that she hasn’t taken the new medication yet, so everything’s fine.
After the mixer, Mark and Brandon talk civilly, and Mark even shares a secret to acing the interview. He says they could both get the fellowship. Kelly and Tracy are pleased that their boyfriends are getting along, and that they seem to be happy for their exes’ new relationships. David praises Donna for being so talkative; if she hadn’t chatted with Mrs. Coatsley, she wouldn’t have known about the possible medication disaster. Donna thinks her father should work fewer hours so he’s not as stressed and has more time to listen.
At the Peach Pit, Steve tells Clare that his interview went well – so well that Dana wants to nail him. When he said no, she told him she won’t recommend him for the job. Clare doesn’t believe him, accusing him of lying to cover up the fact that he had a bad interview. Steve shoots back that maybe he should sleep with Dana to get back at Clare.
Mark tells Kelly again that, despite what he said to Brandon earlier, he doesn’t think the Dreyer will go to two people from the same state. Kelly slams Mark for leading Brandon to believe differently, calling him arrogant. Mark complains that there’s a lot of pressure on him because he’s always been expected to get the Dreyer. If Brandon doesn’t get it, his life will still be fine, but Mark has a lot riding on it.
Tom’s surprise for Valerie is a video of them getting ready to go to prom together. They reminisce, but things take a sudden turn when Valerie sees her father on the tape. She has that flashback we’ve seen before of trying to get into the bathroom where her father killed himself. Val tells Tom that he’s the only person who knows what really happened. Tom promises not to tell anyone.
Brandon goes to his Dreyer interview, where he’s asked to talk about his essay topic, the 1987 Minnesota Twins. He explains that the team was his role model when he was a kid because they taught him how to overcome adversity and work as a team. Next Brandon thinks he’s going to get the question Mark told him to prepare for, but instead he’s tasked to compare and contrast John Calvin and Ezekiel the prophet.
Steve meets with Dana again, telling her he’s ready to take her up on her sex offer. First they’ll start at the Condor’s Nest. (Aha! That’s the name of the student union/coffee shop. Good to know.) At the beach apartment, Kelly waits impatiently for news from Mark or Brandon about the Dreyer fellowship. She’s worried that if one gets it and the other doesn’t, things won’t turn out well. Dr. Martin calls Donna to tell her he’s cutting back his hours, as she’d advised. He tells her not to worry about working after college – whoever hires her will be lucky to have her.
At the Condor’s Nest, Steve flirts with Dana, getting her to invite him to bed again. It turns out Clare and Dana’s boss have been sitting nearby, listening to the whole conversation. Dana’s in a lot of trouble. Steve, however, is out of the doghouse with Clare, and he forgives her for not believing him. The Dreyer candidates await their results; Brandon’s nervous but Mark is calm. One of the fellowships goes to a girl from Oregon, and the other goes to…Brandon. I mean, of course. Now Mark has a sad.
At the Peach Pit, the gang celebrates Brandon’s success with a cake. (It’s actually a birthday cake for someone named Bobby; Nat had to improvise. Sorry, Bobby, you’ll have to have pie for your birthday.) Kelly doesn’t know where Mark is. Valerie wants David to let Tom manage the After Dark, but David doesn’t think that’s a good idea.
Kelly runs into Mark outside, and he blames her for his failure because she distracted him by getting him to think about Brandon. He wants to have sex, but Kelly refuses. She’s glad she hasn’t slept with him yet. She tells him he lost the scholarship because he got too arrogant. Mark replies that until she’s ready to sleep with him, she should keep her distance. Kelly’s totally fine with giving up the family money and prestige she could have gotten if she’d stuck with him. Adios, Mark.
Thoughts: Valerie has a cell phone! She’s so cutting edge.
As I think I’ve said before, Donna should definitely have a job where she works with people. She’s really good at making polite, friendly conversation.
Wow, Dana’s hair is really high. It must be full of secrets.
If my interviewer started hitting on me, I’d start looking for hidden cameras.
I hate to admit it, but Brandon’s Twins essay actually sounds good.
Dana: “I have to warn you, it might be an oral.” Steve: (double take). I can’t believe Aaron Spelling okayed that.
‘Bye, Mark! I never liked you!
March 1, 2014
Summary: Charlie’s up late working on wedding stuff, or so he tells Julia. She admits that she’s nervous about the ceremony. He points out that she’s already married, so it’s not really that big of a deal. Julia asks him to give her away, and of course he agrees. The next day, Charlie and Nina go to a bookstore so he can research a nice quote for a speech at the ceremony. While Nina’s in another section, Charlie looks at a book on cancer therapy.
Bailey hasn’t told his family about his new relationship with Annie yet, but he wants to bring her to the wedding. However, Annie knows she won’t be able to attend without Natalie wanting to come. Griffin’s already fed up with his deal with Howard, so he gives him back the remainder of the money he borrowed. Howard wants interest, too. Nina wants to go away with Charlie that weekend, but he decides it’s time to tell her about his cancer. She’s very positive, assuring him that he’ll recover.
Julia takes Griffin to the museum after hours to show him a painting that describes how she feels about him. But he’s Griffin, so I don’t think he gets it. Then it’s their wedding day, and Griffin tells Julia that he has to go to the garage before the ceremony. He claims he just needs to make sure Reed closed up properly the day before. Meanwhile, Sarah gets ready for the wedding, telling Bailey for the first time that Elliot’s coming as her date. Bailey’s angry, but Sarah says Julia okayed it.
Prep is underway at the Salingers’, and everyone’s very excited. Griffin is still absent, but Ross is there. Claudia wants to get everything on video. Bailey brings both Annie and Natalie, to everyone’s surprise. They’re even more surprised to learn that Annie is 26 and divorced. Charlie disapproves. He takes a call from his doctor but continues to put off all medical-related conversations until the next week. Nina remains optimistic and unconcerned.
Griffin meets with Howard, who’s still controlling him like a puppet. Griffin doesn’t want to do anything that could land him in trouble because he doesn’t want Julia involved. Howard tells him it’s too late, and when Griffin refuses again, Howard punches him. Over at the house, the festivities begin, but the groom is still a no-show. Claudia worries that Griffin’s gotten into an accident. Bailey tells her not to be negative, but she replies, “Have you met our family?” Julia gets a telegram from Joe, even though it’s the ’90s.
Annie discovers that Natalie got into the wedding cake. Julia pretends it’s not a big deal, and Charlie goes into solution mode, saying they can get another cake. But when he goes to make a phone call, he feels sick and has to sit down. Nina finds him and tells him he just needs to delegate some responsibilities! And drink some coffee! And sing a song and dance a jig and pet some kitties! He’ll be fine! Bailey sees Sarah and Elliot being romantic together and gets jealous, since Sarah doesn’t have to deal with a bratty seven-year-old.
Griffin finally arrives, blaming the bruise Howard left him on a belligerent customer. Natalie says she feels bad, which Annie interprets as guilty, but she actually feels nauseous. Julia confronts Griffin, saying she doesn’t believe his story. He’s an hour late, and the incident he described wouldn’t have taken that long. He admits that he’s having some problems with someone he borrowed money from.
Claudia interrupts to ask what she should tell the impatient guests. Then she runs off to find out why Natalie’s yelling. Well, Claud, it’s because she locked herself in the bathroom. As Bailey’s trying to find a tool to free Natalie, Sarah comments that she has a bit of a knack for drawing attention to herself. “You don’t see it, do you?” she says. Ross tries to distract/calm Natalie with the song “High Hopes.” The guests join in as Claudia films everything.
Charlie slips off by himself, and when Nina finds him, she remarks that she guesses the coffee didn’t work. He angrily tells her that he doesn’t have a hangover, he has cancer. He doesn’t think she gets that, or she gets it so much that she’s trying to cover up her fear. Charlie suspects that she’s in denial. Nina encourages him to tell his family that he’s sick today, but Charlie doesn’t want to ruin the wedding. Which…is already ruined, but it’s a good thought.
Julia and Griffin are still discussing his money problems, which she’s shocked to hear have been going on for a couple months. He says he was protecting her, but that doesn’t make her feel better. Griffin thinks she should have trusted him. He complains that Julia always expects him to screw things up. If Howard hadn’t punched him, Griffin would have gotten away with handling everything alone and Julia never would have found out.
Instead of dumping Griffin right then and there for bragging that he would have been able to keep her in the dark about their finances, Julia tells him that since they’re married, they need to be in everything together. She’s been happy for months and he’s been miserable, so “it doesn’t count.” She doesn’t get how they can go down and recite vows in front of everyone when the first time around meant nothing.
Meanwhile, Nina tries to rally Charlie, who has realized that she’s not going to stick around while he’s going through treatment. She asks for some time to get used to things, and to wait and see what happens. He tells her that he needs a decision now – he wouldn’t be able to handle her leaving in the middle of his treatment. Charlie says that there are things you do for people you like, and things you do for people you love. If Nina can’t deal, she needs to leave now.
Another cake arrives while firefighters try to free Natalie from the bathroom. Ross is still singing, this time “Climb Every Mountain” from The Sound of Music. The firefighters take the door off to get Natalie out. Charlie’s like, “This isn’t even the worst thing I’m dealing with right now.” Claudia retrieves Julia and Griffin, and the ceremony finally begins. Charlie tells Julia that he hopes this is everything she wanted. Griffin and Julia skip their personal vows and go for the traditional ones. Not that it really matters, since he’s already broken the “for richer or for poorer” part.
After the festivities are over, Bailey asks Julia about the vows, but she doesn’t explain. He apologizes for Natalie’s behavior, but not for bringing her without asking, which is really the problem. At this point I don’t think Julia really cares, though. She knows Bailey likes Annie, but she doesn’t get their relationship. He notes that Julia and Griffin aren’t the most conventional couple either, but they work. Charlie sees Nina out, asking her why she’s able to nurse birds back to health but can’t handle sticking around for a human in need. “They’re just birds, Charlie,” she tells him.
Griffin promises Julia that things will change, but they might have to make some sacrifices, such as moving out of their nice apartment. Julia knows that she’ll need to get a paying job. Griffin worries that they won’t make it, which is possibly the smartest thing he’s ever said. Julia thinks they will, since they love each other, but he points out that all failed couples start out in love. She refuses to let them become a statistic. Things are bad now, but they can be optimistic about the future. They just need to decide that they’ll make it. They stand at their altar, holding hands, and when she asks if he believes they’ll make it, he says, “I do.”
Thoughts: Hey, Annie, just because Natalie wants to go to a wedding doesn’t mean she gets to go. Get a sitter.
Julia being excited to see Ross is adorable. I don’t know why, it just is.
I like Julia’s dress. It’s nice enough for a fancy occasion, but not so much that it would have been ridiculously expensive for a second wedding.
Hilariously, while Ross is singing, you can hear Natalie in the background, begging for a different song.
There’s, like, an entire orchestra at the wedding. How much money did Charlie spend on this thing?
February 25, 2014
Summary: In the aftermath of Tom and Nicole’s kiss, Isabella wants to keep Jason from finding out. Danny, however, is Mr. Ethics and thinks his best friend should know that his fiancée kissed another guy. He also wonders if Isabella would have been able to keep from kissing Tom if she’d been in Nicole’s position. (Remember, Isabella used to have a crush on Tom.) I’m not sure what that has to do with anything, but whatever, Danny’s in a bad mood.
Jessica overhears them talking about the kiss and how Elizabeth saw it, so she heads back to their room. Tom is already there, wanting to explain things to Elizabeth. She wonders if Liz would have kissed Todd if they’d been in Tom and Nicole’s positions. There’s an awful lot of “what if”ing going on. Elizabeth only wishes she could kiss Todd right now and make Tom jealous. All in good time, my dear. Jess wants everyone to shut up about the kiss so Jason and Nicole can get married. That’s our Jessica – she doesn’t care if the bride and groom are happy, as long as they have a wedding.
Danny and Isabella try to spark up some romance between Jason and Nicole, though Isabella doesn’t think Danny’s romantic enough to be able to inspire it in others. Jason’s still into spending more time with his friends than his fiancée anyway. Danny decides that the best course of action is to convince Jason to end the engagement, but without it looking like Danny’s trying to influence the decision. His ideas are all stupid, and even though Jason isn’t that bright, he’s at least bright enough not to listen to Danny.
Meanwhile, Liz is unable to handle being single for five seconds, so when she runs into Todd and Gin-Yung, she immediately latches on to her ex. Poor Gin-Yung. Todd and Liz spend the day together when the ship stops at an island called Juma. Tom hangs out with Nicole, and when Liz sees them, Todd can tell that she’s not over Tom. He’s also still interested in Gin-Yung, so he knows he and Elizabeth shouldn’t try to get things started again.
But then Nicole asks Tom to kiss her again, so she can know if there’s really anything there, and also because Elizabeth is being mean to him, so he deserves something nice. Liz sees them smooching and kisses Todd in retaliation. Gin-Yung sees that, and runs off. She encounters Noah, who’s lost Alex to Leonardo, and the two of them decide to hang out. So at this point, half the couples who came on the cruise together are with someone else.
Isabella and Danny argue about the second Tom/Nicole kiss – literally everyone knows about the two kisses except Jason. Isabella still doesn’t think it’s a big deal. Danny wants to tell Jason, who happens to show up just as they’re talking about him. He thinks Nicole is acting weird because she has cold feet about the wedding. So what better solution than to speed things up and get married tonight? Danny panics and tells him that the ring is gone. Why, it must have been stolen!
Jessica is desperate to find the mystery man who saved her when she fell overboard, but she’s going about it in a very weird way. She still has his button, so she pulls a kind of Cinderella by breaking into people’s rooms and trying to find the shirt it goes with. So okay, it’s a Cinderella if Prince Charming were a criminal.
A steward catches her in the middle of a search and offers to keep quiet for a bribe, but Jessica’s too dumb to understand that she can just pay him off. During a dance that night (because of course there’s a dance), the ship’s captain finds Jessica and demands Jason’s ring. He knows from the steward that Jess has been breaking into people’s rooms, and since the ring was reported stolen, Jessica must have taken it. Oops!
Remember how the last book ended with a cliffhanger, with someone arriving in a helicopter and Lila thinking it was Tisiano? It wasn’t. It was his brother, Leonardo. He thinks Lila’s being disrespectful to Tisiano’s memory by going on a cruise so soon after his death. (Fair enough.) Lila decides he’s right and she needs to end things with Bruce. They start spending time apart, but then there’s some weirdness with a glass fish they both want to buy. He buys it and gives it to her, saying it’s like a pre-engagement present, but she tells him she can’t be with him.
In case you care about Alex (doubtful), she and Noah are starting to realize that they might not be as compatible as they thought. She’s still very concerned about being seen as her high school self, and he’s concerned that she’s a narcissist. While they’re on the outs, Alex meets Leonardo and they hit it off. He’s a real smooth talker. He happens to have a modeling agency, and he thinks she could do well in Milan. Um…what? Suddenly Alex has a new life goal.
Hateful Bryan is stuck on an island, but the good news is it’s the same place where Denise and Winston are stuck. They decide that they can take a boat to Juma, then wait for the cruise ship to make a stop there. But Bryan is a wimp and won’t get in a small boat. Juma has an airport, so Winston and Denise agree to take a boat there, then…send a helicopter for Bryan? Because that’s reasonable? Anyway, while they’re on their way to Juma, Bryan gets pickpocketed. He’s stuck in a foreign country with no money. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
Bryan meets a guy named Jean who works as a fisherman while preparing to apply to college in Miami. Jean agrees to help Bryan learn to swim if Bryan will help him fish and write his college application essay. In addition, Bryan gets a place to stay and free food. Unfortunately, he may have to stay there forever, because Winston and Denise are on the wrong island. There’s no airport, and the ship isn’t going to be making a stop there. Denise and Winston eventually take another boat to the right island, but the engine dies. Then Winston drops his paddle in the water. Winston, you had one job.
Rich is still into Nina, who realizes that he’s a horrible bore. She’d rather be with Bryan. Let that sink in. She’d rather be with Bryan.
Thoughts: “The only adults in sight were gorgeously weathered Captain Avedon and his uniformed crew.” First of all, “gorgeously weathered”? Second of all, college students are adults. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.
“She dreamed of the day when Tom would pick up his morning paper and see that she’d won the Nobel Prize – on that day he’d finally understand the magnitude of his mistake. ‘Elizabeth,’ he would whisper as Nicole or her successor looked on through a mist of tears.” I assume she would be getting this Nobel Prize in the field of drama queenery?
“Do you know it’s impossible to say ‘toy boat’ five times fast without getting tongue-tied? Go ahead, try it.” Guys, Winston is my dad.
The ship shows the movie A Night to Remember, which is about the Titanic. Holy crap!
The ship also has a mini-golf course, but wouldn’t that be difficult? Wouldn’t your ball roll all over the place if the water were choppy?
A snorkeling guide has the motto “We’ll teach you how to snorkel even if you’re a New York’l.” I’m embarrassed that I laughed at that.
February 23, 2014
Summary: Yay, it’s Christmas! Steve, David, Donna, Clare, Brandon, and Tracy discuss gifts at the Peach Pit. As Kelly arrives, Donna comes up with the idea of the gang drawing names and only giving one gift. They have a $50 cap, and donate the money they would have spent on their other friends. Steve and Nat have each other, Clare and Donna have each other, Brandon and Tracy have each other, and David and Joan have each other. This means Kelly and Valerie are stuck with each other.
Valerie and Tracy go to the mall together to buy gifts for the exchange. (Tracy has Brandon.) Valerie thinks she should just get kitty litter for Kelly. (Huh?) They give money to the Holiday Help Fund and chat with a volunteer playing the xylophone. David asks Mel to meet him at the After Dark so he can ask for advice on dealing with Donna’s mother. Mel suggests that the Martins come to dinner the next night, since David and Donna are already coming over. The Holiday Help Fund woman advises Valerie to sideline her grudge for the holidays.
David and Donna are pleased with their plans to get Felice to warm up to David. Donna tells him not to take it personally, and that her mother’s feelings toward David don’t affect how Donna feels about him. Brandon and Steve are also at the mall, and Steve thinks the gift exchange is a good way for Brandon to “make a move” on Tracy. In other words, he should get her lingerie and then sleep with her.
Kelly’s had no luck finding a present for Valerie, so her Christmas isn’t going so well. Donna has more bad news: Her father called and said he’s coming to L.A. for Christmas. Kelly’s actually happy about that because it’ll give her a chance to yell at him. Steve tells Clare that he got Nat a Wolfgang Puck cookbook, which she thinks might offend him. Chancellor Arnold invites Steve and his mother to a Christmas party, and he’s definitely interested in meeting the famous Samantha Sanders.
Kelly goes to a restaurant to meet her father, but instead is seated with a woman named Joy. Kelly thinks Joy is Bill’s girlfriend, but she’s way off: Joy is also Bill’s daughter. That’s right, Kelly has a half-sister she didn’t know about. The next morning, Kelly shares this news with Donna, lamenting that her father has a whole new family she never knew about. She didn’t stick around to talk to Joy. Donna points out that Kelly and Joy could find common ground, and Joy could give some insight into Bill. Kelly realizes that she’ll have to tell Jackie about Bill’s secret life.
At the Peach Pit, Valerie tells Clare that she got Kelly a really nice present. Clare tries to avoid telling her that Kelly probably isn’t going to do the same for her. Brandon thinks it would be easier to bring peace to the Middle East than to Kelly and Valerie. Val tries to return the sweater; when the store won’t take it back, she donates it to the Holiday Help Fund. Chancellor Arnold is anxious to meet Samantha, but when she shows up at the party, he doesn’t know what to say to her.
Kelly goes to see Jackie, telling her first that Bill’s coming to L.A., then that she has a sister close to her age. Jackie admits that she knew. Apparently she never wanted Kelly to know. Kelly thinks it’s because Jackie wanted her to hate Bill for leaving them; she didn’t want Kelly to know that he had a reason to leave. Jackie tells her that she doesn’t have to have anything to do with Joy. Now, though, Kelly doesn’t want anyone telling her she can’t hang out with her sister.
Clare tries to get her father to warm up to Steve’s mother by inviting Samantha to lead the party in singing carols. Kelly meets with Joy again, learning that Bill told Joy all about Kelly. He was around when Joy was a kid, but now his presence in her life is more like his presence in Kelly’s. The last time Bill ditched Kelly, he was going to be with Joy’s mother while she recovered from surgery, but that was the last time Joy saw him. The sisters don’t expect him to actually join them for Christmas.
Clare’s carol scheme is a success, though Steve and Clare think it might have been too successful. Now there seems to be a physical attraction between Chancellor Arnold and Samantha. As the party winds down, the parents head off to get dinner together. Steve and Clare are grossed out. This is why you don’t Parent Trap people, kids.
The Martins and Silvers get together for dinner, but it starts off badly when Felice makes a remark about Mel serving the kids champagne before prom. Further snide comments involve Jackie’s “quaint” decorating taste and the fact that Mel is Jewish. When Felice mentions how glad she is that Jackie and Mel worked out their marriage problems, they tell her that they’re divorced but living together. Donna and David realize that this wasn’t a good idea after all.
Kelly and Joy go shopping, but Kelly still hasn’t found anything for Valerie. The sisters learn that their father has been giving them the same presents for years. Joy admits that she was always jealous of Kelly; she thought Bill was never around because he was always with her. Kelly says that she was jealous of Joy when they first met, for the same reason. They wonder if he has a bunch of other families he visits whenever he disappears.
At the Walshes’ house, Brandon tells Valerie that Kelly called and was talking really fast about sisters and sisterhood. He thinks this means that she found something really nice for Valerie. Valerie realizes that she’s going to look bad if she doesn’t get something nice for Kelly, too. She returns to the mall to buy another sweater, but they’re all sold out. The Holiday Help Fund woman still has the one Val donated; she was going to take it in to the real donation spot tonight, even though it’s Christmas Eve. (Her husband always works that night.) Val decides not to take the sweater back, and the woman gives her an already-wrapped gift in exchange.
Brandon drives Tracy to her dorm, and the two of them admit that they had trouble buying presents for each other. Felice goes to the beach apartment to see Donna, who skipped Christmas Eve dinner with her parents. Felice apologizes for what happened at the other dinner, and Donna tells her to apologize to Jackie and Mel instead. She suggests that Felice try to win David over with money, like she did with Ray. Felice says that David’s mental-health problems mean he’s not good for Donna. Donna thinks Felice has a bigger problem with David’s religion.
On Christmas morning, the gang gathers at the Walshes’ house to open presents (though Donna gets more than the others since it’s also her birthday). Steve gives Nat the Puck cookbook, and Nat gives Steve a thesaurus. (Ha!) David gives Joan handkerchiefs, and she gives him Monkees reunion tickets. Brandon gives Tracy earrings, then gets the most cop-out gift you can give someone: a pen. Clare gets tickets to an art exhibit from Donna, and gives her a fashion book.
That leaves Kelly and Valerie. Valerie gets a journal, and Kelly says that if she’d found a second one, she would have gotten it for herself. She’s in luck, because Valerie’s gift is the same journal. The gang is amazed that the two of them are getting along for once. They all go to the After Dark, where Valerie’s hosting a Christmas brunch with a performance by Clarence Fountain and the Blind Boys of Alabama. Chancellor Arnold and Samantha show up, which means she’s delayed her trip home to hang out with her new buddy. Clare and Steve realize that they could end up step-siblings.
Felice apologizes to David, asking him to help her smooth things over with Donna. He agrees to talk to Donna about sitting with her parents during brunch. Donna reminds him that it’s her birthday, so she can do whatever she wants. David plays the “do it for me” card. Bill is a no-show, as expected, but Kelly and Joy have each other to hang out with. Joy might also move to L.A. for school in the fall. Jackie goes over to meet her daughter’s sister, and though Kelly’s cold at first, Joy is polite. Kelly decides to let go of her hostility.
Thoughts: Of course her name is Joy. It’s Christmas.
The gang spends $50 on each other? I’m friends with the wrong people.
The way the show reminds us that Chancellor Arnold hangs out with dignitaries is to have his party be full of extras in various cultural outfits.
Clare’s tinsel-draping technique makes me cringe. Don’t clump it all together like that! It’s not a garland!
I hope Erin enjoyed Christmas without her family. I don’t know where she is, but she doesn’t show up in this episode at all.
February 22, 2014
Summary: Claudia helps Charlie pick out what to wear to Julia and Griffin’s wedding. He has an Armani suit but doesn’t want to wear it since Kathleen gave it to him. He doesn’t feel right about it since she was basically his sugar mama. Claudia makes him change his mind, so Charlie tries it on and realizes that he’s lost a ton of weight. I’M SURE HE’S FINE, THOUGH. Bailey finds Sarah cooking in their kitchen, but the food isn’t for him – it’s for a guy named Elliot. She asks Bailey to clear out of the apartment so they can have a date.
Julia and Charlie talk about past weddings they’ve attended while making plans for Julia and Griffin’s. The groom isn’t participating because he’s just found out that a new bike shop has opened three blocks from his. Charlie wants to use a caterer instead of getting the food from the restaurant; he’s dealing with a lot of stuff right now and doesn’t have the time. Griffin leaves to go check out his new competition. They’re undercutting Griffin’s prices and predict that he’ll be out of business soon.
Bailey tries to study in his bedroom while Sarah and Elliot have their date. Then he walks in on Elliot in the bathroom, which can’t be awkward at all. Bailey decides to leave, like Sarah wanted him to in the first place. Since the theme of the week is meeting your ex’s new love interest, Charlie has dinner with Kirsten and her husband Paul. It’s uncomfortable, and not just because their restaurant table is barely big enough for just one person. Paul invites Charlie to play racquetball with him.
Bailey goes down to the laundry room to study (yeah, I’m sure it’s nice and quiet there), but Annie’s there doing…you know, laundry. He tries to ignore her but gets a little distracted at the sight of her girly things. Julia’s frustrated with Griffin for not taking an active interest in their wedding. Bailey tries to return to his apartment, but Sarah and Elliot are making out, so he just studies in the hallway.
Charlie and Paul play racquetball, trying to one-up each other with how much they love Nina and Kirsten, respectively, and the romantic things they’ve done. Charlie says that he misses Nina (who’s out of town) so much that he hasn’t eaten since she left. Then he passes out. Paul is appropriately concerned and calls an ambulance. BUT I’M SURE EVERYTHING’S OKAY. Since Paul’s a doctor, he’s able to talk to Charlie’s ER doctor about his condition. Charlie’s annoyed and sends him away. But after he leaves, the doctor finds something concerning under Charlie’s arm.
Sarah gets ready for another date with Elliot, and since new sheets and candles are involved, Bailey should probably be a little more interested than he is. A wedding planner meets with the Salingers at their house; Kirsten and Paul are also there, having recently been invited to the wedding. Since there are too many guests to fit in the house, Paul suggests that they have it in the backyard. Kirsten adds that they could have it at night to make it more special.
Don’t get too happy about the upcoming nuptials, because Charlie’s doctor’s on the phone. He’s fine, right? RIGHT? He’s called back in for an appointment, but he tells everyone he’s fine. Even though Griffin isn’t there, the wedding planner wants to walk through the ceremony. Bailey encounters Sarah getting fancy for her date and finds a strip of condoms. Now he gets what’s going on. Sarah scrambles to explain her decision to have sex even though she and Elliot haven’t been together that long.
Reed makes a brief appearance, working with Griffin, who then gets a visit from his unhappy wife. He totally forgot that they were supposed to meet with the wedding planner. He tells her he’s been swamped with customers, so Julia yells at him to hire someone. Griffin doesn’t want to leave the garage in anyone else’s hands. She reminds him that when they first got married, she didn’t even want a fancy wedding, but now she’s excited and wants it. Griffin promises that everything will be awesome.
Charlie meets with his doctor, telling her that EVERYTHING IS GREAT. She informs him that everything is not, in fact, great: He has cancer. Charlie points out that he had blood tests weeks ago and they all came back fine. Apparently Hodgkin’s doesn’t show up in blood tests. Charlie doesn’t know what to say. The doctor assures him that there are very effective treatments, and he could go into remission in just months. She would like to start his treatments within the week. Charlie says it’s not a good time, then leaves.
Bailey and Sarah’s apartment is all done up for a romantic evening, but apparently Bailey didn’t realize that Sarah planned to swipe her V card tonight. He plans to study at the library and camp out there for the night. (If only he had family with a house nearby.) Griffin tracks down Howard, his investor, and asks for more money. Howard doesn’t want Griffin to keep coming back and asking for more, so he agrees to give him $15,000.
Bailey studies at the coffeehouse, appropriately reaching the chapter in Moby Dick entitled “The Pequod Meets the Virgin.” Annie finds him there and questions why she hasn’t seen him at AA meetings recently. He tells her he’s been going to a different location (probably to avoid her). Bailey’s interested in the fact that she went to a bunch of places he’d mentioned liking so she could track him down. He thinks it’s significant that Annie was worried.
Bailey continues that he’s been thinking a lot about Annie. He gets not going out to seek a new relationship in your first year of sobriety, but what’s wrong with seeing someone you already know? Wouldn’t it be worse to walk away from someone who helps you stay sober? Annie doesn’t seem to have an argument for that.
Julia and Griffin have another meeting with the wedding planner, and he actually shows up for this one, even though he’s late. Charlie comes home and watches them from outside. Fed up with the planner trying to talk Julia and Griffin into and out of certain things, he fires her. Then he goes upstairs, looks at himself in the mirror, and cries. When Julia comes up after him, he splashes water on his face and acts like things are fine.
Bailey ends up in Annie’s bed, so at least he doesn’t have to spend the night at the library. They try to figure out what to tell Natalie, who will see them together in the morning. Annie’s okay with saying that they’re dating. Howard stops by the garage and seems optimistic about the way the business is going. He asks Griffin to help him out with a bank account he needs for under-the-table profits at a club he runs. Griffin is reluctant, so Howard threatens to withdraw his investment. But he shouldn’t have to, because he and Griffin are pals, right? RIGHT, GRIFFIN?
Kirsten goes by the Salingers’ house to tell Charlie that she doesn’t think she and Paul should come to the wedding. He starts crying and tells her he has cancer. His chances of recovery are 75%, but he’s not sure if that’s especially good. Kirsten comforts him, then realizes that he hasn’t told his family or Nina yet. Charlie wants to wait until after the wedding.
Julia and Griffin go shopping for their registry; she teaches him about price ranges and how sometimes you have to return things if you didn’t get a full set of china. Griffin asks an employee if they can return gifts for money. Uh-oh. Bailey returns to his apartment, telling Sarah he slept at a friend’s place. Sarah, however, spent the night alone. She changed her mind about sex at the last minute, deciding that her life has undergone enough changes recently. Meanwhile, Nina returns from her trip, and Charlie immediately takes her to bed.
Thoughts: Paul is played by Tim DeKay from White Collar.
Elliot is played by Christopher Gorham, who’s from another USA show, Covert Affairs.
Griffin’s like, “Wedding cake? I like ice cream cake.” This reminds me of Britney Spears’ How I Met Your Mother character asking if Barney wants Fudgie the Whale or Cookie Puss for their wedding.
Sarah, you don’t have to talk about your sex life with your ex. In fact, I would encourage you to talk about your sex life with anyone but your ex. Don’t you have any female friends?
I would say that Griffin should have seen Howard’s change in attitude coming, because anyone who invests in a 19-year-old high school dropout’s struggling business is either stupid or up to something, but…it’s Griffin. We all know he’s not the brightest.
Owen status: unknown. And he was doing so well, too.
February 18, 2014
Summary: The twins love their new ballet class, even though their teacher, Madame Andre, doesn’t care much for Jessica. This is because Jessica was a bit of a diva on her first day, though since then she’s gotten in line and has proven to be one of the best dancers in the class. Elizabeth thinks that Madame Andre doesn’t pay enough attention to Jessica because she’s right next to Amy in class, and Amy sucks, so the teacher doesn’t have a chance to see how great Jess is. You’d think that would just make Jessica look better, though.
The twins decide to help Amy improve, instead of just finding Jess a new place to dance. But Jessica bails for a Unicorn meeting, so Elizabeth works with Amy on her own. In the next class, Madame Andre notices her improvement and is grateful to Elizabeth for being such a good friend and helping her. Jess hates this – Elizabeth is already Madame Andre’s favorite, and now she looks even better. The twins fight and stop talking.
The class will soon be performing a scene from Coppelia for a recital, and there’s a big solo role that everyone wants. The day of the audition, Madame Andre changes the time and calls everyone to tell them. Elizabeth is out, so Jessica thinks she’ll finally have her chance to outshine her sister. She does have a bit of a conscience, so she leaves a note telling Liz about the time change, but she doesn’t think Elizabeth will find it in time. She’s wrong, Liz makes the audition, and she gets the solo. Now Jess is even more ticked.
Elizabeth practices her butt off while Jessica mopes over losing out on the solo. Alice tells her to suck it up, and tells Liz that Jessica needs boundaries and to not always get what she wants, like, when between this and SVH did she lose her parenting skills? Then the doll used as Coppelia disappears, and Elizabeth wonders if Jessica stole it so the class wouldn’t be able to do the performance. Amy volunteers to be the doll so she doesn’t embarrass herself (or anyone else) on stage.
As the next few days pass, Elizabeth realizes that Jessica is a much better dancer than she is. She doesn’t understand why Madame Andre would choose her for the solo over Jess. She decides to let Jessica have the solo (the exact opposite of what Alice told her to do), so she plans to pretend to hurt her ankle right before the recital so Jessica will have to take her place. I guess there are no understudies in this universe. Amy also makes a last-minute role change: She tells Elizabeth to play the doll so she can still be on stage for the recital, even if she’s not dancing.
Jessica does the solo, and of course she’s magnificent, stunning, an inspiration, etc. Madame Andre gushes to the Wakefields afterward, and Ned and Alice inform her that Jess did the solo, not Liz. Madame Andre realizes the error of her ways – of course Jessica is the better twin! She just didn’t think Jess took dancing that seriously. Amy doesn’t embarrass herself or anyone else, and after the recital, she admits that she took the doll. No one cares.
Thoughts: “I really shouldn’t feel so angry toward her.” Elizabeth, your sister is a psychopath. You should absolutely be mad at her.
The book keeps mentioning the dancers doing fouettés, but there’s no way 12-year-olds in a beginner class are doing those turns. They wouldn’t even be dancing en pointe yet.
Wouldn’t another dance school in the area have a doll they could use as Coppelia?
I really don’t think Elizabeth needed to lie to get Jessica to take her place. It’s not like Jess would have said no.
February 16, 2014
Summary: Steve and Brandon meet with Chancellor Arnold to discuss the trouble Steve’s facing over stealing Brandon’s paper. They’ll next have to go before a tribunal to get Steve’s verdict and punishment, which could be expulsion. The chancellor notes that if Steve pled guilty, he would only face punishment from the chancellor, and it could be as minor as academic probation. Steve’s smart enough to opt for that. Brandon, however, wants to prove that he didn’t give Steve the paper, so he’ll have to attend a hearing with the student conduct committee.
Steve doesn’t get why Brandon doesn’t accept the same deal he did. Professor Randall is going to be gunning for him. Brandon doesn’t care to hear Steve’s opinions right now. Steve reminds him that they’re best friends, but Brandon disagrees. David and Donna go for a bike ride, since they’re all happy and back together. He wants to take her to see the Goo Goo Dolls that night. Donna’s having dinner with her parents, so she invites him to come along before they go to the concert. They give exposition that the gang is throwing a surprise birthday party for Mark.
This is too bad, because Mark is currently telling Kelly that he doesn’t want to do anything for his birthday. Brandon joins them, telling them that his hearing is the next day. Kelly wishes him luck, kissing him on the cheek, and Mark wonders what that’s all about. Steve talks things over with Clare, telling her that Brandon doesn’t want him to testify on his behalf. Unfortunately, this means that Professor Randall can call Steve to testify against Brandon.
I guess David never actually gave Valerie the money to help her keep the After Dark afloat, because she’s still having money problems. Donna intercepts a phone call from Valerie and tells David that she doesn’t think he should invest in the club. David hasn’t made up his mind yet. Brandon meets with Tracy to go over CUTV stuff, but she wants details on his hearing. She doesn’t get why Professor Randall won’t drop the charges now that Steve’s pleading guilty. Brandon declines to tell her about the whole Lucinda thing.
Professor Randall encounters Brandon at the student union and mocks him for studying since he’s just going to get expelled. Brandon doesn’t want to engage in childish banter, which disappoints Professor Randall. Brandon swears that he didn’t sleep with Lucinda while she and Randall were married. Randall advises him to mention that at the hearing. David meets the Martins for dinner; as is typical of them, Felice is critical while Dr. Martin is friendly and supportive. Also, Felice doesn’t know that Donna and David are back together. She doesn’t take the news well, so Donna storms out.
The next day, Brandon’s hearing convenes, and Steve is the first witness called to testify. He unsuccessfully tries to plead illness to be excused. Randall thinks that Brandon gave Steve his paper to bail him out of trouble, since Brandon has a history of helping Steve out. Steve says he stole the paper, and now the guys’ friendship is in trouble. He thinks that should make it clear that Brandon wasn’t involved in the plagiarism.
Donna goes to see Dr. Martin, asking for his advice about getting back together with David. He thinks that since David’s doing well, there’s no reason for them to keep their distance from each other. In fact, Donna’s relationship with him might be the reason he’s doing so well. Donna worries that they’ll stay together, get married, and have children with David’s problems. Dr. Martin tries to ease her fears, adding that she’s old enough not to worry about what Felice thinks.
Valerie visits David to see where he stands on their business deal. David hedges, and Valerie guesses that Donna’s trying to influence his decision. She tells him they’re alike (eh?), and he should go after what he wants. He replies that things have changed; he wasn’t stable when he made the offer, and now he’s thinking about it more clearly. Valerie says that if he’s going to back out of the deal, he needs to say so now. Kelly makes plans with Mark for his birthday, though of course none of that stuff is going to happen.
Randall calls Brandon to the stand, and though Chancellor Arnold says that Brandon’s allowed to decline, he wants to testify. Randall asks if this is the first time Brandon and Steve have cheated. Brandon uses the old “when did you stop beating your wife?” response, mostly to rub it in that Randall and Lucinda are divorced. Randall calls out Brandon and Steve for passing a test (dubbed the Columbus Day Massacre) that everyone else in the class failed. Steve had failed the previous few quizzes, so it looks suspicious.
Brandon sticks to his assertion that he never gave Steve permission to cheat off of him. He wonders why Randall didn’t bring this issue up years ago. Randall says that he wasn’t aware then that Brandon and Steve were close. Brandon accuses him of doctoring his ledger to make it look like he and Steve cheated in the past. This only makes him look bad to the chancellor.
Everyone else gathers at Mark and David’s house to wait for Mark to show up for his surprise party. Donna asks David if he talked to Valerie, and he tells her that “she was pretty understanding.” Before he can elaborate, Mark and Kelly arrive. She’s pretending she left their concert tickets there. When everyone surprises him, Mark pretends to be happy. After the hearing, Brandon fills Nat in on the details at the Peach Pit. Nat thinks he should go to Mark’s party and delay moping until he has something to mope over.
Donna sees David and Valerie talking and complains to Kelly that Val keeps bugging David. Then she overhears Valerie calling David her partner. David says that he still hasn’t made up his mind. Kelly declares it time for presents, though Mark doesn’t want any attention. Brandon shows up and Kelly hurries over to find out what happened at the hearing. Valerie comments to Mark that Kelly should be paying more attention to him.
Brandon tells his friends what happened at the hearing just as Steve and Clare arrive. Steve decides not to bother suffering through the evening with his ex-best friend. Also suffering: Mark, who just wants to watch kung-fu movies. He complains to Kelly that everyone would rather hang out with Brandon than him. He hates surprise parties, and this one is especially bad. He also thinks Brandon’s the reason he and Kelly haven’t had sex yet. Apparently Mark’s hatred of birthdays stems from his parents always throwing him huge parties, but I’m not sure what the problem is here.
Clare pulls Brandon aside to tell him to work things out with Steve. She thinks he should cut Steve some slack since he stood up for him at the hearing. Brandon points out that Steve got him into this mess in the first place. After Brandon leaves, Donna informs Clare that Randall proved that this isn’t the first time Steve has cheated off of Brandon. Clare rushes home to confront Steve, who claimed that this was the first instance of cheating. Steve tells her that Randall’s wrong – he failed all the quizzes AND the Columbus Day Massacre.
Brandon takes Tracy home, telling her about his relationship with Lucinda. He thinks the trouble he’s in will affect the fellowship he applied for. Tracy tries to cheer him up, since lots of successful people failed before they took off. Felice visits Donna at the beach apartment to sort of apologize, though really she just wants her daughter to rethink a relationship where she’s taking care of someone who’s wounded. She needs to think more about relationships that will last. Donna says that’s exactly what she’s thinking about.
Brandon addresses the tribunal, announcing that he has no defense, but he doesn’t think Randall has proven anything. He challenges Randall to admit to his personal vendetta, revealing that he did have an affair with Lucinda. He swears that he had no involvement in what Steve did, but if the tribunal thinks otherwise, he’s ready to accept his punishment. Randall decides he has everything sewn up and waives his closing statement.
Steve and Clare arrive, and Chancellor Arnold allows Steve to add on to his previous testimony. Steve announces that he failed the Columbus Day Massacre, and in fact has a copy of the test. (He got a 17%. You suck, Steve.) He also has copies of his previous failed quizzes. Chancellor Arnold immediately dismisses the charges against Brandon and warns that Randall will have to face a hearing of his own for manufacturing evidence.
The gang (plus Tracy and Mark, minus Valerie) gathers at the Peach Pit to celebrate Brandon’s awesomeness, or whatever. Brandon apologizes for making Mark’s birthday kind of crappy, then thanks Steve for helping him out. The girls laugh over the fact that the guys just hug and eat together, and everything’s okay. Brandon wonders why Randall didn’t think that Steve might come forward with his grades. Steve points out that he probably didn’t think someone with grades that low would admit to them, but “Steve Sanders has no shame.”
David disappears, and Donna finds him over at the After Dark. She knows he wants to invest in the club, and that it could lead him back to his own music career. He doesn’t want to do it if it comes with a high price, meaning losing her. Donna admits that she doesn’t like the idea of David and Valerie working together. David promises that he only wants Donna, so there’s nothing for her to worry about. She gives him her blessing to invest in the club.
Thoughts: How is Chancellor Arnold “punishing” Steve not a conflict of interest? Steve’s sleeping with his daughter!
Trivia: Muntz’s first name is Morton. No wonder he goes by his last name.
I like the way Mark thinks. What else can we blame on Brandon? Global warming? My dry skin this whole winter? The near-death of that deer a few episodes ago?
February 15, 2014
Summary: Bailey puts up a swing set at the apartment building, apparently just for Natalie. Annie thanks him with a kiss. Natalie informs Bailey that she’s having a sleepover at someone else’s house the next night so Annie can cook him dinner. So I guess they’re dating now. There’s more kissing. Sarah’s not happy about it (but really, Sarah isn’t happy about much right now).
Nina helps Charlie do some cleaning at the restaurant and mentions that her grandparents brought her there when she was a kid. She wonders if their paths crossed before they actually met. They get stuck in a storeroom together and decide to take advantage of the situation with some kissing. The Salinger men are making out (heh) like bandits today.
At school, Claudia and Reed start to talk about literature, something they apparently do after school every day, but he has to cut the conversation short to go to a job interview. Since the restaurant is currently closed for renovations, the Salingers’ family dinner (which now includes Griffin and Nina) takes place at a sushi restaurant. Claudia realizes that Reed can work at the Salingers’ restaurant. Bailey wants to bring a date to the reopening – and not Sarah.
Griffin thinks Charlie hates him, so he addresses that with Julia after dinner. Julia’s either oblivious or trying to avoid the topic. She thinks the guys have a lot in common and would get along really well if they spent more time together. Elsewhere, Charlie complains to Nina that Griffin’s a loser. She tells him to lighten up. They’re outside a hotel, and as they’re kissing, Charlie thinks he sees Kirsten coming outside.
Sarah questions Bailey’s plans for the next night, and he says he has to do schoolwork. She’s on her way out, also for schoolwork, though she’s pretty dressed up to go study. Charlie’s possible sighting of Kirsten has him flustered, so he talks to Claudia about it, prefacing it with assurances that things with Nina are super-awesome. He wonders if this means he’s not completely ready to move on with another woman.
Bailey and Annie go to an AA meeting together, then split up so she can go get Natalie and he can talk to his sponsor, John. Bailey tells John that he’s doing great as he approaches six months sober. He mentions that he’s dating someone, and she’s giving him a new reason to want to stay sober. John tells him that AA cautions against people dating in their first year of sobriety. Relationship problems are wonderful excuses for slipping. Bailey’s sure that won’t happen to him.
On the street outside the Salingers’ house, Charlie spots Kirsten again, and it turns out she’s real. She’s moving back to San Francisco. Charlie asks her to have dinner so they can catch up. Bailey and Annie meet up at their building and he tells her that John doesn’t think they should be dating right now. Bailey wants them to just be friends for now. They can still have dinner together, though.
Speaking of having dinner with “just friends,” Charlie tells Nina about meeting up with Kirsten. Nina’s hesitant to give her blessing for them to dine together since Kirsten is his one who got away. He says he just wants closure. Griffin shows up to hang out with his brother-in-law, which isn’t going to make Charlie’s life any easier right now. He notices an old jukebox and offers to fix it. Doesn’t Griffin have a job with actual paying customers?
Yes, he does, and Claudia’s gotten Reed a job working at the garage. Reed asks about a hypothetical situation where a guy wants to ask out a girl his friends think he’s nuts for liking. Of course, Claudia thinks he’s the guy and she’s the girl. Methinks she’s wrong about one of those things. Julia and Griffin are also at the garage, and Julia thinks Claudia’s going to get hurt. Methinks she’s right about that.
Bailey and Annie have dinner together, then clean up in awkward silence. He suggests that they hang out a little longer, but she decides to take advantage of her night alone without Natalie by spending time on her own. Charlie and Kirsten also have dinner together, and there’s also awkwardness there. In the middle of a conversation about apartment hunting, she blurts out that she got married two months ago. Charlie’s life, “Don’t worry, everything’s awesome here.”
Claudia buys a present for Reed, which Julia thinks is really pathetic. She reminds her sister that Reed’s a senior and will never go for a freshman. Claudia points out that Sam was a lot older than Julia and they dated. Also, she really thinks Reed likes her. Bailey and Annie leave AA during a rainstorm, so she offers him a ride home. But her windshield wipers don’t work, so they have to wait for the rain to stop. By the way, Bailey’s turned on by wet skin.
Charlie talks to Julia about Kirsten’s marriage, admitting that he’s not sure how he feels about the fact that she’s moved on so far. She tells him to get over it since he doesn’t have her as a fallback option. Claudia takes Reed his present, but he’s down because he tried to ask out the girl he likes, and she rejected him. Claudia’s like, “Did I black out and forget that happened?” Then she realizes that he was talking about another girl.
Even though they’re supposedly just friends, Bailey still wants Annie to go to the restaurant reopening with him. She says it’ll feel like a date, even though he invited Natalie, too. Annie berates herself for being 26 and unable to sleep because she keeps thinking about Bailey. She wants them to have a relationship. Bailey admits that he does, too, just not now. Annie says it’s worse for her not to be with him than it is for her to avoid alcohol.
Griffin is still attempting to be helpful at the restaurant. Charlie tells him that he accidentally got rid of the jukebox. Griffin blows up at him for not caring about anyone else. If Julia’s happy with him, Charlie needs to be happy for her. But Charlie’s always so miserable that he can’t be happy for anyone else. And that’s how Griffin got banned from the Salingers’ Christmas celebration.
Annie avoids Bailey, who asks Sarah to the restaurant reopening. (Wow, at the last minute? She should feel really special.) She thinks the reopening is just for family and close friends. Bailey tries to convince her that they’re close friends, which she thinks is ridiculous. Charlie goes to see Kirsten so they can get closure for their closure. He’s truly happy for her, which must mean that he’s happy with Nina. They exchange “I love you”s, but TOTALLY NOT LIKE THAT.
Claudia mopes in her room, lighting candles and listening to “Crying.” Yep, she’s a teenager, all right. Julia’s nice enough not to say she told her so. She says Claudia will get over it, but Claudia doesn’t want to get over Reed. She admires how deeply he feels things, as evidenced by how sad he was when his crush rejected him.
At the restaurant, Charlie takes Nina back to their storeroom of loooooove so he can tell her how happy he is with her. And it’s definitely not a coincidence that he only realized that after Kirsten became unavailable. There’s another exchange of “I love you”s. Griffin’s not happy to have to go to the restaurant, but now Charlie’s in a good mood and wants to make nice. In fact, he wants to throw Julia and Griffin a real wedding.
Everyone toasts to the wedding and the reopening and happiness and blah. Now they’re a party of seven instead of a party of five. Claudia notices that the restaurant is now called Salingers’ instead of Salinger’s, which is actually a mistake, since Charlie wanted the name to indicate that it’s his, not the whole family’s. But whatever, he’s happy, so we shouldn’t rock the boat.
Thoughts: Annie worries me. Shouldn’t she have recognized earlier that she and Bailey shouldn’t be dating right now? I question her judgment and ability to control herself.
What’s with Kirsten and quick, short engagements?
Kirsten: “My husband’s a pediatric neurosurgeon.” Charlie: “My girlfriend works with birds.” Aw, nice try, Charlie.
Sarah’s just “cruising the chatrooms.” She also teaches Bailey what LOL and ROFL mean. Sarah’s a trailblazer.
Griffin should have taken the jukebox to the garage. The restaurant isn’t a jukebox kind of place.
Charlie just renovated the restaurant – how can he afford a wedding? Also…ahem…spoiler…he’s going to want to keep that money for medical expenses…