February 26, 2013

Party of Five 1.11, Private Lives: Everyone’s a Failure

Posted in TV tagged , , at 9:40 pm by Jenn

"So you say your sister isn't in her tent. ...Is this a crank call?"

“So you say your sister isn’t in her tent. …Is this a crank call?”

Summary: Bailey wakes up in the middle of the night to the sounds of what seems to be an intruder. He looks for a weapon, deciding on a knife instead of a rolling pin, which is probably a good call. But it doesn’t matter since the “intruder” is Charlie, who forgot his key. Bailey wonders why he’s coming home so late, but Charlie won’t explain himself.

The next day, the younger Salingers fight over the phone while Charlie looks after Owen (the new nanny, Bill, has jury duty). Later, Julia goes to work and giggles with a coworker over how cute their boss, Morgan, is. Stage 18 is having some money problems, so Julia suggests that they pay bands’ travel expenses so they can earn a reputation for introducing new groups to San Francisco. Morgan’s thinking of something sexier that will make people come in every week. Then he totally flirts with Julia.

Bailey’s blasting music and dancing around the messy house when Mrs. Gideon, their social worker, makes a surprise visit. At Stage 18, Morgan announces to the staff that he wants to use them as a draw, so they’ll be wearing skimpier uniforms. This is what Julia’s wearing when she goes home and encounters Mrs. Gideon. She rushes to change clothes and we see that the outfit is something a dominatrix might wear.

Bailey tries to call Charlie at work, but he’s not there. He then goes to get Claudia from her tent, but she’s not there, even though it’s 10 p.m. Bailey lies that she’s out with Charlie. When Charlie gets home half an hour later, the siblings realize they haven’t seen Claudia since that afternoon and have no idea where she is. They wind up calling the police, but they’re bad at describing her and don’t know what she was wearing.

The siblings spend the night tearing up the house looking for any clues to Claudia’s whereabouts, and Bailey gets distracted by a withdrawal slip showing that Charlie took $400 out of their account. Charlie doesn’t want to talk about it. They break into Claudia’s diary, but it’s not helpful. Bailey’s stuck on Charlie’s recent secretive activities, but Julia tells him to give Charlie his privacy. (Ironic for someone who just read her sister’s diary.)

The phone rings and the siblings run downstairs to answer it. Instead, they find Claudia eating breakfast in the kitchen. She was at a sleepover and claims she told everyone where she was going. She blasts them for not listening and not thinking to call her friend because they don’t know any of her friends’ names.

Julia goes to work in her spiffy new outfit and gets treated like a stripper. She’s not the only one, so all the waitresses tell Morgan they object to the new uniforms. He fires them. Bailey follows Charlie downtown and bugs him about keeping secrets and taking money out of the account. He thinks Charlie’s using drugs. Charlie still won’t explain himself. Meanwhile, Mrs. Gideon leaves a message on the Salingers’ answering machine alerting them to a follow-appointment the next afternoon.

When Charlie gets home late that night, Bailey and Julia tell him about the appointment. Bailey has filled Julia in on Charlie’s activities, and she also wants to know what he’s been doing. Charlie finally spills that he’s been taking an architecture class at Berkeley. Julia and Bailey are supportive and wonder why he didn’t tell them. Charlie doesn’t have a reason, because he is a grumpy child this week.

Bailey and Julia quiz Claudia on her friends and teachers, both so they can know more about her and so they can answer any questions Mrs. Gideon might have. Then they quiz her about her crush, Artie. Claudia announces that they have a date that afternoon. Charlie proves his knowledge in class, then learns of a field trip on Friday and a 48-hour project he can’t get an extension on.

Meanwhile, Julia and Bailey learn that Bill has been chosen for a murder trial and will have to be sequestered. So Bailey hunts down Kirsten and asks her for help. Julia goes to Stage 18 to get her last paycheck, and Morgan tells her a bunch of the fired waitresses changed their minds and were rehired. Julia refuses to follow suit, and Morgan’s so distraught over the thought of losing her that he agrees to let her wear something else.

Bailey tells Charlie that Kirsten’s coming back, and Charlie casually tries to find out if she’s still mad at him. He’s mad himself when he learns that Bailey told her he’s back in school. Charlie announces that he’s dropping out because he has other responsibilities. Bailey thinks he’s quitting because it’s too much work. Charlie blasts him for blabbing his secret to everyone; if he hadn’t, Charlie could drop out without anyone knowing. Now they’ll add this to his list of failures.

Artie shows up for his date with Claudia, but first he has to survive Julia and Bailey’s parenting imitation. The two of them also chaperone the date, making sure they’ll be home before Mrs. Gideon shows up. Artie decides to bail since he’s not having fun.

Kirsten arrives at the house and looks after Owen while the others meet with Mrs. Gideon, acting all Stepford. Mrs. Gideon calls them on their “theater.” Other sins come to light: The family has had four nannies in nine months; Julia doesn’t work at the burger place where she claims to work; the siblings filed a police report when they couldn’t find Claudia. Bailey swears that he’s on top of things, but he’s secretly failing math and chemistry.

After Mrs. Gideon leaves, Charlie lays into the others, saying that no one’s telling the truth and no one trusts anyone else. Bailey notes that Charlie’s included in that. Claudia’s worried that they’ll be under constant surveillance. Julia decides the situation calls for her to quit working at Stage 18. But that doesn’t mean she and Morgan can’t see each other outside of a professional setting.

Back at home, Charlie questions Bailey about his academic problems, asking why they both feel like they have to fail in private. He suggests getting Bailey a tutor; they can afford one if they cook more. He doesn’t want Bailey to use his responsibilities as an excuse not to succeed. Bailey says the same goes for Charlie.

Claudia pays Mrs. Gideon a visit, asking if she’s thinking of splitting up the Salingers. Mrs. Gideon firmly says no; she just wants to help. She doesn’t want Claudia to see her as the enemy, but Claudia says she does. She wants Mrs. Gideon to just ask her what she wants. Mrs. Gideon reminds her of her disappearance. Claudia says she only focuses on the things the Salingers do wrong and overlooks what they do right. They got through the past nine months, and nothing can get harder than that. Mrs. Gideon is the only reason they might not make it.

The rest of the siblings are at home, where Charlie mentions that he can give Julia a ride to the library a couple days a week on his way to Berkeley. Bailey’s proud. They realize they’ve misplaced Claudia again, but she returns and tells them she was with Mrs. Gideon. Mrs. Gideon has some suggestions for making their lives easier, and she’ll leave them alone for six months. Just then, Owen takes his first steps, so at least one Salinger isn’t a complete failure.

Thoughts: Random appearance of the week: Nicole Sullivan as one of Julia’s fellow waitresses.

Why do the Salingers have so many rolling pins?

’90s music alert: Live’s “I Alone.”

The police officer asks for the name of Claudia’s dentist “for purposes of identification.” That made me shudder.

The Salingers should have called Ross when they couldn’t find Claudia. I bet he knew where she was.

$400 will get you tuition and textbooks for one class at Berkeley. Who knew?

Bill says he was picked to serve, and Bailey thinks he means he was drafted. Yes, Bailey, many men were drafted in 1994 for the war the U.S. was fighting with no one.

Poor Morgan has no idea he’s flirting with jailbait. Wait, did I just say “poor Morgan”? Ick.

Claudia tells Mrs. Gideon that Bailey chaperoned her class trip to the planetarium. Aww, she got to go after all!


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