June 9, 2013

Party of Five 2.9, The Wedding: Run Away, Little Boy

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:11 pm by Jenn

This is exactly what I want my wedding day to look like

This is exactly what I want my wedding day to look like

Summary: The Salinger house is all set up for Charlie and Kirsten’s wedding. Charlie doesn’t look the least bit excited. Kirsten is already in her dress but is crying in the bedroom because her sister isn’t able to come to the wedding. Also, her parents are running late. Kirsten worries that something else will happen, since bad things always occur in threes. Charlie gives her the third piece: He wants to postpone the wedding six months.

He’s feeling anxious and trapped, and something in him says that getting married right now is a bad idea. “I’m not ready for the rest of my life to start today,” he says. Kirsten thinks that Charlie’s just tired and hungover from his bachelor party, and that he just needs a little time to get himself together. And by “a little time,” she means half an hour. When Charlie hesitates again, she tells him that he just has to meet her at the altar and make a promise.

The other Salingers take care of reception arrangements as Ross, Sarah, and Will arrive. Sarah and Bailey both think Will’s outfit is ridiculous for a wedding. Ellie and Gene finally make it to the house, so Kirsten decides it’s time for pictures. Julia goes to retrieve Charlie, who is clean-shaven for the first time in the series. She notices that he’s nervous but doesn’t think it’s a big deal.

As the pictures start, Justin arrives to drop off a present from his mom. He doesn’t think Julia still wants him there, since she invited him before they broke up. Then he decides to stay so he doesn’t have to be at home with his father. During the picture-taking, Charlie grows more and more anxious until he finally runs off.

Kirsten follows him and he tries to tell her again that he’s not ready to get married. She thinks he’s just nervous and is having the same feelings everyone has before getting married. He just needs to go downstairs and say, “I do.” Charlie can’t do it – it means he’ll live in his parents’ house and take care of his brothers and sisters and work at the restaurant for the rest of his life. He’ll never be able to make another decision for himself.

Kirsten takes this to mean that he doesn’t want to be with her. Charlie corrects that he just needs time to think about everything. Kirsten points out that there are a bunch of people waiting for a wedding. He needs to take a deep breath and follow through. Again, he says no.

The bride and groom announce that the wedding’s off, so of course everyone wants to know what happened, especially Gene. Charlie doesn’t want to talk to anyone. Bailey takes over as resident mature adult, saying he’ll explain things to the minister and pay everyone. He notes bitterly that this is the first time in a while that he’s had to clean up a mess Charlie made.

Ellie is sure that Charlie will come around; he’s clearly not thinking rationally. Meanwhile, Kirsten breaks down. Julia confides in Justin that she’s trying to figure out how to convince Charlie to change his mind. He offers to be her sounding board, as if they’re friends again. She declines the offer but asks him to stay with her. Bailey tries to negotiate the caterer’s payment but just winds up with a bunch of shrimp. Ellie’s in denial that the whole thing is over.

Julia finally figures out what to say to Charlie, but it’s basically just begging him not to call off the wedding. She tells him no one understands what he’s doing. He knows that he’s being horrible to Kirsten, and he doesn’t want to hurt her. Defeated, Julia grabs a bottle of champagne and goes off to drink it with Justin.

Kirsten tries to talk herself into going along with Charlie’s idea to just postpone for a few months. Ellie tells her that if she wants to get married today, she should. She needs to tell Charlie that this is his only chance. Kirsten worries that he’ll say no. “He’s already said no,” Ellie reminds her.

In the basement, Julia and Justin get on the road to Drunkville. He notes that they had their first kiss in the basement when they were kids. They reenact the historic moment, though she remembers it happening somewhere else. Bailey tells Sarah that men in his family always make the same mistake: They walk away from the best thing in their life. He knows that someday, Charlie will regret his decision, but it’ll be too late.

Kirsten takes Ellie’s advice and tells Charlie that they’re either getting married today or they’re breaking up. She knows that if they wait six months, they’ll just replay today. She leaves to give him time to think, but this allows him to run away. Sarah blathers to Will about uncertainty and relationships and decisions and some other crap, which confuses him, since they’ve only been together for three weeks.

Bailey gives Julia the news about Charlie, but she can’t really process it since she’s drunk. Justin grabs another bottle of champagne and they go up to Julia’s room. Kirsten redoes her makeup, making Claudia think that Charlie will come back. She really wants them to be together. Kirsten admits that she doesn’t think he’ll be back.

Bailey asks Will straight out if he loves Sarah. Will doesn’t really know what to say, since, again, they’ve been dating for less than a month. Bailey thinks he himself loves her, so he needs to know where Will stands. Upstairs, a super-drunk Julia and Justin start making out. She asks if he has protection, but it doesn’t look like he makes a move to actually get a condom out of his wallet.

Downstairs, Kirsten tells everyone that the wedding’s really off. Just then, Charlie returns and pulls Kirsten away to tell her he’s changed his mind and wants to get married. If it’s a choice between the wedding and breaking up, he’ll go through with the wedding.

Will pulls Bailey and Sarah into Bailey’s room so they can figure out who wants to be with who. Sarah feels like the guys are competing for her. Bailey says that Will and Sarah care about each other, and he also cares about Will, and also really cares about Sarah. Now everyone’s more confused than before. Julia suddenly sobers up when she realizes that she and Justin just had sex. Claudia knocks on the door to tell her that Charlie’s there and the wedding’s back on.

The ceremony is about to begin but this time the bride isn’t ready. Charlie finds her in her regular clothes, and she tells him that she doesn’t know what else she can give him if he’s not sure he wants to marry her. Charlie promises that he’s sure, but Kirsten knows he’s not. He begs her to marry him. She tells him she’s afraid that one day he’ll come home and say he doesn’t want to be with her anymore. She can’t take the chance that he’ll keep his word not to leave her.

The wedding is called off again, and this time everyone actually leaves. Will tells Bailey that Sarah broke up with him. He could be mad that his girlfriend and best friend want to be together, but he’d rather let it go and keep his best friend. Plus, he thinks Bailey and Sarah are meant to be together. Then Will punches Bailey in the stomach, apologizing for having to do such a guy thing.

Julia isn’t that happy that her first time having sex was at a failed wedding after getting drunk. She wishes she’d been able to look at Justin afterward and know that she wanted to be with him. It would be nice if they were at least still friends. Bailey tells Sarah that when they were together before, it was too soon; when she was with Will, it was too late. Maybe now, the timing is right. They kiss, so I guess that means the timing is right.

That night, Ellie and Gene help Kirsten move her things out of the Salingers’ house. She tells Charlie she’ll be with them in Chicago for a while, then gives him back her engagement ring. They exchange “I love you”s, but she hopes that feeling goes away soon.

Claudia’s really confused about the breakup since she’s sure Charlie loves Kirsten. She decides to save the top of the wedding cake, as per tradition, in hopes that they’ll change their minds again. Bailey goes to talk to Charlie, who thinks he’s in for a lecture. Instead, Bailey promises that he’s on Charlie’s side.

Thoughts: Trivia: Julia’s allergic to shrimp.

No one seems to have any problem with Charlie seeing Kirsten in her wedding dress before the ceremony. I mean, obviously it winds up not mattering, but still.

Why does everyone hang around after the wedding’s cancelled? Go home! There’s no more party! Take some shrimp and get out!

Thanks for showing up for two scenes, Ross.

I remember being so bummed about this episode when it first aired. It’s nice to know that (SPOILER!) Charlie and Kirsten end up getting married in season 6.


  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I thought Paula Devicq did a great job in this episode. It’s been 20+ years since I’ve seen this episode, but I can still see her face crumpling as she tells Charlie she’s leaving him “and these children that I love” and my heart breaks all over again.

  2. Nick Rivers said,

    Just found it online and watched it again — Charlie and Bailey at the end broke me too, what a great ending.

    Also, if I had a nickel for every time Julia said “God, Charlie” in the series…

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