June 29, 2013

Party of Five 2.13, Poor Substitutes: Parenting is Hard, You Guys

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 2:50 pm by Jenn

This is Bailey's meddling face

This is Bailey’s meddling face

Summary: Julia is pretending not to be jealous that Justin’s British friend Allison, who he met in England over the summer, is coming to visit. He insists that they’re just friends, and she’s only staying with him while she checks out a college. A woman asks Sarah if she’s the daughter of an acquaintance, since they look and sound alike. Sarah wonders if the acquaintance could be her birth mother. Charlie wants to send Owen to preschool in the mornings, but he’ll have to be potty-trained first.

Claudia shadows Kirsten for a school assignment; she chose Kirsten because she respects her future profession. Claudia uses the opportunity to try to dig into Kirsten’s personal life. She regrets it when they run into a guy who’s definitely seeing Kirsten. (So I guess Charlie and Kirsten stopped sleeping together.) Allison hangs out with Justin and Julia, making Julia feel like a fifth wheel until the girls start bonding over the things Justin does that drive them crazy. Now Justin’s the fifth wheel.

At the Salingers’, Sarah asks Bailey about the kids’ resemblances to their parents. She wonders if she gets her singing voice from her birth mother. Bailey gets her to admit that she wants to look for her mother. Mrs. Reeves isn’t thrilled with this admission but provides Sarah with her name. Meanwhile, Charlie tries to bribe Owen into becoming potty-trained, and Claudia interrogates Kirsten about her dating life. Charlie continues to be completely ineffectual as a parent.

Justin goes shopping with Julia and Allison, who are now great friends. Justin admits that she didn’t think she would like Allison. Kirsten races over to the Salingers’, since Claudia called to tell her that Owen was in an accident. It’s probably just a coincidence that Claudia made the call just as Kirsten was supposed to go on a date. Kirsten calls her on it and tells her not to interfere in her personal life.

Bailey and Sarah look through phone books, and Sarah finally finds her mother, Robin Merrin. They wonder what she’s doing, and Bailey accidentally makes Sarah panic by suggesting that Robin has other kids. Sarah worries that Robin won’t want to meet her or have anything to do with her. After all, Robin didn’t want her when she was born. Sarah decides to hold on to the information she has and wait to make contact.

Justin ditches Julia and Allison, so the girls hang out at the Salingers’ alone. It soon becomes clear that Allison is no threat to Julia and Justin’s relationship, or at least not in the way Julia expected: Allison would rather date Julia than Justin. When she realizes that Julia doesn’t return her affections, Allison gets flustered and leaves.

Charlie takes Owen to the preschool for an interview, but he cuts it short when Owen has an accident. At home, Bailey secretly tries to call Robin. Justin, Julia, and Allison go to a movie, and he’s completely oblivious to the fact that the girls are awkward around each other. Charlie’s mad at Owen, which is ridiculous, and critiques his drawing skills, which is even more ridiculous. Claudia catches him yelling at the poor kid and reminds him that Owen’s just a baby.

Bailey finds Robin on the set of a detergent commercial she’s starring in. He tells her he’s a friend of her daughter’s, and she doesn’t respond. Claudia tells Kirsten that Charlie yelled at Owen, but Kirsten doesn’t want to get involved. Claudia thinks Kirsten could help if she were around. Kirsten says she cares too much, and she’s working on caring less, but Claudia isn’t making that easy.

Bailey bugs Robin some more, telling her that Sarah just wants to meet her, but isn’t mad about being given up. Robin says she placed Sarah for adoption because she was at a good point in her career and getting pregnant was bad timing. He tries to show her pictures of Sarah, but Robin refuses to look at them. She doesn’t want any kind of relationship with her daughter. She encourages Bailey to tell Sarah that she’s dead.

Justin, Julia, and Allison go to a club, but it appears Allison only wanted to go there so they wouldn’t have to talk. And also so she can make out with a random guy. She starts to go home with him, so Julia and Justin try to stop her. Julia asks if Allison is trying to spite her. The guy really wants to go off with Allison, so Julia attempts to stop him by announcing that Allison doesn’t like guys. It works, but Allison runs off.

Julia runs after her, but Allison is upset because she feels abnormal for liking girls. She wishes she could force herself to like guys, and be able to talk to her parents about her sexuality. She knows it’s not Julia’s fault that she doesn’t return Allison’s feelings, but she feels alone. Allison just wishes someone would say they love her. Julia proves to be very bad at comforting sad people.

Claudia finds Charlie looking at Bailey, Julia, and Claudia’s artwork on the walls of the house. He wonders why their parents never put up his pictures. Once he showed their father a picture he drew of a skyscraper, but their father told him how it needed to be changed. Now Charlie’s trying to get Owen to live up to the same expectations their father had for him.

Claudia says their father was never like that with her, so Charlie thinks it’s because he was the firstborn, and their parents learned later not to push so hard. Owen was their dad’s last child, but he’s Charlie’s first. He wants to put Owen’s drawing on the wall so Owen knows Charlie loves him and doesn’t expect too much of him.

Claudia got an A on the paper she wrote about Kirsten’s job, so she wants to celebrate with her subject. Kirsten gently tells her that she has a date. Claudia’s stunned when said date turns up with his daughter. Julia drives Allison to the airport, wondering why she would want to come to school 500 miles from home. She thinks the school and Julia are both appealing because they’re far away from Allison’s life. That makes them safe. She encourages Allison not to run away.

Kirsten goes to the Salingers’ to see Claudia, who thinks Kirsten’s trying to replace the family. Kirsten says she could never replace them, but she’s trying to move on with her life. Claudia needs to move on, too, and accept new people in Charlie’s life. Kirsten promises to always be there when Claudia needs her. Claudia wonders if they’re “kind of breaking up.”

Sarah tells Bailey that she realized that the last four digits of Robin’s phone number spell “Sara.” She thinks that means something. Bailey thinks she wants it to mean something it doesn’t. Sarah also saw someone the other day who looked a lot like her, then realized it was her own reflection. She’s looking for Robin even when she isn’t doing it consciously. She’s decided to just call her.

Bailey admits that he contacted Robin, but she isn’t Sarah’s mother. Sarah pretends to be glad that she didn’t get her hopes up, but she’s really upset. Charlie lets Owen sleep in his bed, so if Bailey’s in the attic, that means their room is empty and Claudia’s sleeping in a tent for no reason. But whatever.

Thoughts: There are two guest stars in this episode who are now famous for other things. Robin is played by a pre-Everybody Loves Raymond Patricia Heaton, and Allison is played by Poppy Montgomery (Without a Trace, Unforgettable), who’s actually Australian.

I’m more concerned with the fact that Owen never talks than with him not being potty-trained. Also, isn’t he only one and a half? No kid that age is potty-trained. No kid that age can draw anything recognizable. Most kids that age don’t draw at all. Shut up, Charlie.

Not that Kirsten isn’t right to be a little annoyed with Claudia, but as a psych student, she should recognize that Claudia, having lost both her parents, might be sensitive to loss and big changes in her life.

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