March 31, 2013
Party of Five 1.18, Who Cares?: Bailey Do-Right and the Girl Who Couldn’t Be Helped
Summary: Claudia babbles about her 12th birthday, which she thinks should be a big deal because it’s her last as a kid. Julia ignores her and Bailey packs to go to L.A. and find Jill***. Charlie refuses to let Bailey go, but we all know how much authority Charlie has. Claudia worries that Bailey won’t be back in two days for her birthday. Bailey doesn’t think he’s tried everything yet to help Jill. He wants to let her know he cares about her no matter what happens.
Suddenly Bailey’s in L.A., where he easily finds Jill. She doesn’t exactly through him a welcome party. Julia and Nina go to the coffeehouse, where Julia’s musician friend Danny is performing. He tells her everyone loves the song they did together, and he wants them to write some more. Charlie’s business partner Gwen brings by their first check and the news that a buyer wants eight pieces by the first of the month.
Claudia and Artie think her family wants her to stay out of the shed because her birthday present’s there. Apparently they haven’t been informed that Charlie’s using it as a workshop. Danny comes by to try to get a decision out of Julia; he wants to know right away if she wants to write more songs with him. Julia thinks he’s acting weird. Later, Julia shares the news with Charlie that Danny is HIV positive. She notes that he’s doing better than she expected, and his diagnosis seems to have revitalized him.
Claudia pops in to try to guess what Charlie and Julia are planning for her birthday – she thinks it’s either a trip to the zoo or a day on a sailboat. They don’t tell her that they haven’t figured anything out. But I’m sure they’ll get right on it, since Charlie doesn’t have eight pieces of furniture to make and Julia isn’t going to immediately get to working with Danny.
Bailey continues stalking Jill, promising that if they start over, things will be totally different. He won’t judge her or mistrust her. He mentions that he loves her, so now she’s interested. She says she loves him, too, and agrees to go home with him. They leave the next day after she convinces him to take the scenic route.
Julia has stayed up all night writing, and she turns to Charlie for inspiration since she’s not getting anywhere. Charlie is no help with poetic language. The two of them realize they didn’t get anything for Claudia for her birthday. (At least they got a party planner, though I don’t know how they can afford one.) Charlie writes a check and sends Julia to buy something, telling her to avoid Claudia until that night, since she’ll be expecting a present this morning.
The party planner shows up and asks Claudia what she wants to do for her party. Claudia notes that that means she’s really planning her own party. That night, on their way to visit Hearst Castle, Bailey and Jill are pulled over. Jill starts fake crying and tells the cop that their brother just died in a skin-diving accident. “I hope the shark burns in Hell!” she screams. Unfortunately, the cop doesn’t buy it, though he says “the shark was a nice touch.”
Julia and Charlie get Claudia a cake, but her name is misspelled. Artie thinks she should be disappointed that she only got one present, even though it’s a nice camera. Charlie leaves early to go work with Gwen, and Julia ducks out to work with Danny. Danny doesn’t see much in her attempts at lyrics, telling her she’s not listening to the music well enough. Then he makes her miss a call from Justin and tells her she can’t go to bed, even though it’s midnight on a school night.
Bailey and Jill get a hotel room for the night, and the next morning Bailey calls Charlie to tell him his trip was successful. Jill hears him saying he’ll “deal with it” when they get home. She wants to spend another day on the road, and Bailey can’t argue with delaying a return to their real lives. Meanwhile, Kirsten returns home from an out-of-town trip and hears Claudia firing the party planner. Jill and Bailey go to a diner for dinner; he’s eager to get home but she still wants to find fun things to do. She orders wine and Bailey soon realizes that she’s not any better than she was before.
Kirsten tells Charlie that there are no places open for them to hold Claudia’s birthday party, other than the Salingers’ restaurant, of course. Kirsten blasts him for not starting the planning sooner. Charlie tells her his father was never around for his birthday since he was always working. No one ever said he was selfish or a bad father because he wanted to make a good life for his children.
Danny has a recording session, but Julia’s lyrics aren’t ready, so it’s all instrumental. She tells him she has other aspects of her life that are important. Danny doesn’t care. He wants to get songs together, record a demo, and go to L.A. to get a contract. Julia reminds him that she’s 15. She thinks he’s acting like her songs will save his life. She would do anything to help him, but this is too hard. Danny tells her to go do one of her more important things.
Bailey and Jill return to the hotel and he confronts her for drinking, saying it’s like she’s trying to make him mad. She doesn’t think anything will be different when they get home. She compares him to Dudley Do-Right – he always wants to be the hero and rescue the girl who can’t take care of herself. Bailey yells at her to shut up, then calls an end to the argument for the night. When he wakes up in the morning, Jill’s gone.
Danny goes to the Salingers’ to apologize to Julia, who easily forgives him. He confides that he wonders what people will say about him after he dies. He wants people to miss him. If he can make some good songs, he has a better chance of people missing him. He just needs help. If he had to work on the music himself, he would fail, and when he died, no one would care. But Danny knows it isn’t up to Julia and he shouldn’t have acted like it was.
Bailey finally returns home, telling Charlie that Jill split, just as Charlie predicted. He’s realized that there’s nothing he can do to fix things. He tried to help, but he just made things worse. Charlie tells him it’s not his fault. Claudia tries to ignore Bailey, mad that he missed her birthday, and he tells her Jill’s situation wasn’t more important, just more urgent. He got her a palm-tree charm for the bracelet she gets a new charm for every year.
Julia and Danny meet at the coffeehouse and listen to one of his recordings, which she managed to get played on a college station. They dance to it and she reminds him that he wrote the song all by himself. He writes beautiful music, “and when it stops, everyone’s going to miss it.” Claudia has a big birthday party at the restaurant, this time with a cake Julia made. Charlie tells Claudia he’ll have to leave early, but once he’s done with this job, they’ll do something special together.
Julia and Charlie try to cheer Bailey up, but he’s starting to lose faith in his ability to help people. They’re happy he remembered to get her a charm. Charlie advises him to find people who want help and just help them. Later, Artie and Kirsten (who are not good with cameras) attempt to take a blurry family picture.
Thoughts: Isn’t 12 a little old for the zoo? I say this as a 30-year-old who would go to the zoo right now if you asked me, but I’m not having a birthday party there.
Bailey says a couple of tourists thought he was Tom Cruise, and I scoff. But later, when he puts on sunglasses, I can see it.
“I hope the shark burns in Hell!” Jill, why can’t you be like this all the time?
’90s music alert: Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough.”