January 5, 2013
Party of Five 1.1, Pilot: Respect My Authoritah!
Summary: Bailey, Julia, Claudia, and Owen Salinger are at a used-car lot, where Bailey buys a Jeep, though he knows a station wagon would be more practical. On the way home, they pull up next to some girls in a red convertible and Bailey tries to flirt. Then he stalls out and the Jeep rolls backwards. At their impossibly gorgeous house, Claudia practices the violin and studies at the same time. Their brother Charlie comes home, having slept at a friend’s house the night before, and is surprised that Bailey didn’t get a station wagon. He gives Bailey football tickets for his birthday.
The nanny suddenly announces that she can’t work for the family anymore, so the siblings will have to look after their baby brother by themselves. No one can watch him the next day, though, since Bailey has school and Charlie finally got a house-painting job. Also, something got shut off because they didn’t pay a bill. Julia takes a test and eye-flirts with some guy who has horrible hair, letting him copy her answers. After class, they make awkward chitchat and he asks her out. He wants to go to the Golden Gate Bridge in the middle of the night. He asks what her parents would say, then remembers that her parents died in a car accident recently.
Claudia meets up with Ross Werkman, her violin teacher, who wants her to enter a competition. It would require her to take an extra lesson a week. Claudia admits that she wants to try out for a school production of The Crucible. Charlie’s supposed to meet someone about a business deal, but the guy is three hours late and Charlie’s ticked. Bailey and Claudia deal with a plumber, who tells them they need $600 worth of work done. Bailey goes to write a check and realizes one is gone, leaving him with a $35 balance.
The Salingers (minus Julia) go to their eponymous restaurant and chat with Joe, who’s their version of Nat. Charlie announces that the family will be dealing with money a month at a time from now on. He thinks he should get to make the rules since he’s the kids’ legal guardian. Bailey argues that it’s only on paper, and Claudia says it’s just because someone had to be. Charlie says the kids have spent almost all their money, so from now on, he gets to decide how it’s spent.
After dinner, Julia shows up at the house and shows Bailey the leather jacket she bought for her date with Bad Hair Guy, P.K. She doesn’t think missing dinner was a big deal; going to their late father’s restaurant once a week doesn’t make them family. Bailey reminds her that they’re supposed to check in once a week. The next day, he uses a pay phone to try to hire a new nanny but learns that going through an agency is expensive. Claudia decides to pawn her violin, first taking out the picture of her mother that she keeps in the case.
Bailey interviews a potential nanny under the watchful eye of the family’s “moody” bulldog, Thurber. Let’s just say it’s not a good fit. Julia and P.K. go to a club, but she isn’t enjoying herself even before Charlie catches her. He exerts exactly no authority over her and she doesn’t bother pretending he can. As Charlie and Doug (who Julia says she dated, though it’s not clear if it’s true or not) get in a fight, Julia takes P.K. to the house, makes awkward small talk, then blurts out completely unromantically, “You wanna kiss me?” Of course he does!
Charlie interrupts the date by calling a family conference. He admits that he, Doug, and some other guy were going to buy a co-op and flip it, but the third guy took their money and ran. Charlie’s out $12,000. Bailey accuses him of wanting control of the family’s account so he could spend it all. Now the kids have to wait four months for the next check from their parents’ estate, and they only have $2,500 to use toward the mortgage, the plumber, and a new nanny. Julia suggests asking for an advance, but Bailey wants them to seem like they know what they’re doing and act like a normal family. Otherwise they could be split up.
Julia storms off, but Bailey’s willing to pretend that Charlie’s in charge of the family. Claudia’s just upset that their parents aren’t there. Bailey’s the one who comforts her because Charlie’s actually a robot. The next day, that robot tells his brothers and sisters he’ll be spending more time at the house and taking more responsibility. Only Thurber cares. Charlie also wants their parents’ room, which Julia had taken for herself. For the first time, he exerts some authority. Even though the house is huge, there aren’t enough bedrooms for everyone, so Claudia will be living in a tent in the dining room.
The next potential nanny seems all right but quickly leaves when she sees how the siblings live. (Apparently a tent in the dining room is as bad as child abuse.) Julia finds P.K. at a restaurant/pool hall/bar/something, but he’s no longer interested. He makes it clear that they’re not dating. Cue REM’s “Everybody Hurts.” (No, seriously.) At home, Bailey takes care of Owen and jokingly threatens to sell him off to slave traders.
When Julia gets home, her siblings tell her that she’s better off without P.K. Charlie just wants to know what happened to their rule about not going out on school nights. Julia tells him to go to Hell. Charlie continues trying to be an authority figure by telling Claudia to go to bed way before her bedtime. Bailey tells him a piece of paper doesn’t make him a parent. Charlie replies that if they don’t let him take responsibility for the family, they’ll be split up.
Bailey tells him they don’t need his rules and says he should get a job. Charlie says he’s working on construction opportunities. Bailey thinks he’s holding out for something that could provide a career in construction rather than something that will bring them money right away. After Charlie storms out, Bailey tells Claudia to go to bed and she obeys. Next Bailey tries to talk to Julia, who asks him to say something to make her feel better. He reminds her that P.K. made a gun rack in shop class, so they’re clearly not compatible. Julia doesn’t think Bailey understands how she feels, and she’d just like to have a parent around who can tell her what to do.
Claudia tells Ross she pawned her violin; she wants to use her lesson money to take care of Owen. Ross offers to take her on as a scholarship student so she can keep playing. He tells her she has a rare talent like her mother did. Claudia laments that the lessons keep her from doing the same things other kids get to do. Instead of thinking about what she’s missing, Ross wants her to think of what she has that others are missing.
Potential nanny #3, Kirsten Bennett, is so pretty that Bailey can’t speak around her. He doesn’t even care if she’s a good candidate. Claudia rescues her pawned violin, puts back the picture of her mother, and plays at a bus stop, getting a round of applause from other San Franciscans. When she gets home, she learns that Bailey hired Kirsten without checking her qualifications or background (which are appropriate and clean, respectively). He’s also going to let her drive his Jeep to her grad school classes, which allows him to pay her $75 less a week.
At the restaurant, Charlie asks Joe to borrow $3,000, possibly in exchange for some renovations. Joe accepts, but he’ll be taking the money out of Charlie’s paycheck – he needs to work in the restaurant’s bar. Julia and Bailey meet up at a playground and he admits that he was rejected by a girl the year before and went to their father for advice. He can’t remember said advice, though. (Great story, Bailey.) He notes that Julia isn’t the only one who doesn’t have someone to guide her.
Julia wonders why they never talk about their parents. Bailey doesn’t know, but thinks talking might help. There’s a lot he’s not sure of, so he tries to hold on to the things he’s sure of, such as weekly family dinners. He thinks they matter to their parents. Later, Bailey and Claudia go to the restaurant and learn that Charlie’s working there. They’ve each made some money and think they might make it. Julia shows up to make the party of five (get it?) complete.
Thoughts: Remember when everybody wanted to be closer to free? Good times.
Even for 11 or 12, Lacey Chabert was TINY.
Neve Campbell recently guest-starred on Grey’s Anatomy, and she looks exactly the same as she did when this show aired (which – get ready to feel old – was almost 20 years ago). Actually, Matthew Fox looks mostly the same. And Scott Wolf has always had a baby face. So I guess no one on this show ever aged.