January 19, 2013
Party of Five 1.3, Good Sports: 24-Hour Party People
Summary: Bailey and Will get ready for a football game with their horrible team. (Claudia even dreads game days because she hates it when Bailey cries.) It doesn’t help that Will, the star player (I guess that’s on a sliding scale), has a groin injury and can’t play. The other Salingers make excuses to skip the game. At school, Julia tries to talk to Nina and Abby; they’re looking for a place to party that night. Julia offers her house.
Bailey gives Kirsten a sneaker cleaner from the store where he works. I guess that’s the most romantic present he could think of. He invites her to the game, but she’s busy, probably going out with a guy who’s over the age of 18. After Bailey leaves, Charlie tries to ask Kirsten out again. She notes that people are suddenly very interested in her social schedule. She already has tickets to a Liz Phair concert and will be attending with a lawyer named George. They had their first date the night Charlie bailed on her. (Oops!) Charlie kicks himself for being noble.
The football team (the Possums – hee) gets a pep talk from the coach, who tells them to play their best even if the cheerleaders fall asleep and their families leave early. The players are not sufficiently pepped. Meanwhile, the popular kids show up at the Salingers’, where Julia has to tell Claudia to stop practicing her violin so they can “hang out.” Charlie meets George and is again overshadowed since Charlie does construction but George once served in the Peace Corps and helped build a village in Cameroon. Charlie doesn’t even know where that is.
The Possums play well while the popular kids drink and smoke. (Way to be a responsible adult, Charlie.) Nina and Abby want to fix Julia up with a guy named Porter. After the game, Bailey sees one of his teammates getting beaten up by players from the opposing team. Something is thrown that goes through the window of the coach’s truck. When questioned, Bailey says he didn’t see anything.
The next morning, Bailey tells his siblings about the game as Charlie complains that Julia’s friends ate all their food. The principal calls to summon Charlie and Bailey to her office to talk about the “incident” after the game. Various teachers recognize Charlie, who had a reputation as a troublemaker when he was in high school. Julia, Abby, and Nina tan on the football field and plan another party at the Salingers’ that night.
Charlie defends Bailey, saying that if he claims he didn’t see anything, he’s telling the truth. Bailey says the students from the other school, Havenhurst, started the fight anyway. He also thinks students should stand up for themselves. Principal Stickley rants about all of the problems the football players caused the night before, accusing Bailey of protecting his teammates. The coach announces that Bailey will be suspended if he doesn’t tell who broke the window.
At home, Charlie complains to Kirsten about the situation as she makes him share his apple. She knows someone who can help Charlie decide if there’s a legal angle to pursue: her new lawyer boyfriend! Julia buys food for the party and Claudia slams her for hosting without asking the rest of them if they’re okay with it. Julia says she’ll understand wanting to be popular when she’s older. Charlie goes to George’s fancy law firm and learns that he’s not actually a lawyer – he’s a paralegal.
The popular kids arrive for the party, which isn’t actually a party – Nina and Abby have just brought guys over to make out with. Bailey tells Will and the beaten-up teammate that he’s being pressured to give up the name of the window-breaker. They think he should call the coach’s bluff because the coach wouldn’t sacrifice him when he didn’t do anything. They’re a team, so they should stick together. But when Bailey goes to the locker room for the next practice, the coach enforces his suspension.
Kirsten uses the Salingers’ kitchen to cook for George, who she’ll be going to Napa with that weekend. Unless he has to work on one of his many cases, of course. Charlie asks if she’s ever been to George’s firm, then questions her on the details of his background and job. He announces that George isn’t a lawyer but probably said he was so Kirsten would date him. She heads off to find out for herself.
Bailey bugs the beaten-up teammate about coming clean so Bailey can get off of suspension. The teammate claims he would cover for Bailey if their situations were reversed. Bailey replies that he would never put himself in this position. The teammate refuses to confess and screw himself over. Bailey shoves him against a wall and calls him a coward. The teammate warns that the other players won’t like Bailey very much if he rats one of them out.
Julia gives Claudia a haircut before they head out for a family dinner. The siblings are surprised when a bunch of popular kids show up for another party. Bailey tells Julia to throw everyone out. Nina tells Julia she would be really embarrassed if that happened, so Julia lets them all stay. Charlie doesn’t do anything about the party when he gets home, because he sucks. Claudia orders Julia to kick everyone out, but Julia says they’re her friends. Claudia says her friends wouldn’t treat her like this. Julia replies that she can’t kick them out because they’ll think she’s a loser.
Bailey and Charlie end up in the basement, the only quiet place in the house, and Bailey confides that he’s about to get kicked off the football team. Charlie advises him to think about his future; this will end up on his permanent record and hurt his chances to get a football scholarship. He wants Bailey to man up because no one’s going to save him. Charlie can’t be his father (because he sucks at being an authority figure), and Bailey can’t just do whatever he thinks feels right.
The next day, Bailey starts to tell his coach who broke the window, then says he can’t. He doesn’t think it’s right that he’s being asked to turn in a teammate who didn’t do anything wrong. If the coach wants Bailey to stay out of trouble by betraying his friends, Bailey doesn’t feel like he can stay on the team.
Kirsten shows up for work unhappy, having learned that Charlie was telling the truth about George. Obviously she can’t be in a relationship with someone she doesn’t trust, so they’re over. She doesn’t believe Charlie when he says he’s sorry it didn’t work out. Charlie swears he’s not happy that he has a chance with Kirsten now. Kirsten replies that she thinks he cares about himself, not her. She won’t give him a chance to defend herself, saying Charlie’s no better than George.
Julia tells Nina and Abby that they need to find another party spot, which they don’t like to hear. Bailey visits Charlie at the restaurant to announce that he’s off the team. Even though he stuck to his principles, he feels bad, mostly because Charlie doesn’t support his decision. He says that his actions aren’t Charlie’s responsibility. Except they kind of are, since Charlie is his guardian, but whatever, he’s going to suck even if Bailey saves a burning building full of orphans and kittens.
Julia spends some time with Claudia, helping her tune her violin because apparently Julia has perfect pitch. Nina brings over a lava lamp to replace Bailey’s, which was broken at the party. She appreciates that Julia stood up to them, since they weren’t really being attentive. She invites Julia to get coffee, but Julia instead invites her to come in and listen to Claudia practice.
Kirsten complains to Bailey about how men suck, except him, since Bailey is awesome and selfless and principled and brave and the person we should all aspire to be like. So now Bailey’s all, “Yeah, I made the right decision.” Shut up, Bailey.
Thoughts: The coach is played by Stephen Root. It’s weird seeing him in a non-comedic role.
The whole Bailey plot is dumb. The teammate didn’t do anything wrong. Bailey wouldn’t be ratting him out, he’d be ratting out the players from the other school. And the window-breaking was accidental anyway. Yeah, yeah, principles and all that, but the actual guilty parties aren’t being held accountable. If the student can guilt Bailey into keeping quiet by talking about being a team and all that, Bailey should guilt him into confessing to protect a teammage. Also, I can’t believe I’m siding with Charlie on something.
Best sight gag of the episode: On a poster that says “Go Possums,” someone wrote “Away” after “Go.”
Aww, the guy Abby brings over to make out with has Travis’ haircut.
There are way too many high-waisted jeans in this episode.
Nice plaid overalls over a tie-dyed shirt, Abby. I guess Cher’s makeover didn’t stick.