October 19, 2013
Party of Five 3.13, Christmas: From Now On Our Troubles Will Be Out of Sight
Summary: Claudia organizes a nativity scene, telling Owen the story of Jesus’ birth. She and Julia find some of Kirsten’s things, which Charlie’s packing up to send to Chicago. They think he’s moving too quickly and not letting himself feel sad about the breakup. Charlie disagrees – he needs to move on. Jake makes a surprise appearance at the house with a bunch of presents, but only Claudia is happy to see him.
Charlie leaves for work, and the girls tell Jake that they don’t have a Christmas tree because they need Charlie’s truck to get one, and he’s never around. Bailey and Charlie have both been grumpy lately, so Julia and Claudia aren’t really in the Christmas spirit. Jake convinces them to go out and get a tree with him. At his place, Bailey stocks up on beer and prepares to ignore his family, Sarah, and Callie over the holidays.
Stuart brings Claudia a huge present because he’s still in love with her. She’s still clueless about that. The present is a very nice wooden music stand, and it’s enough to smack Claudia out of her denial that Stuart likes her as anything more than a friend. Julia encourages her to buy him an impersonal gift to send the message that she’s not interested.
Jake goes to the restaurant and calls Charlie out for trying to stay busy to distract himself from his breakup. He wants Charlie to spend more time with his sisters, since it’s Christmas. Charlie wants to make a new start so he doesn’t have to keep paying for his old mistakes. Jake can relate, but he also knows that Charlie’s new start won’t be enough.
Coach Russ finds Bailey working out at the gym at 7 p.m. on his Christmas break. He’s concerned that Bailey doesn’t have a place to go to the holidays. Since Bailey doesn’t want to go home, Russ invites him over to his house on the next day. Over at the Salingers’, Jake spends some time with the rest of the family; they invite him to stay longer. He tries to read Owen The Night Before Christmas but has trouble with the words. The next morning, Julia sees him having trouble picking up and reading his watch.
At Coach Russ’, he makes dollhouse furniture for his daughter, and he and Bailey talk about their families. Julia and Claudia talk about Jake’s problems, which Julia pretends aren’t a big deal. She picks out a lame present (some kind of party favor) for Claudia to give to Stuart. At the restaurant, Charlie helps serve a meal to the homeless, meeting a guy named Pete who’s pleased to be treated with respect for once. Charlie doesn’t think it’s a big deal since everyone deserves that. Pete admits that he served time for dealing drugs, and now he can’t get a job. Charlie thinks he deserves a second chance.
Claudia gives Stuart his present, and he’s thrilled because he collects them. Coach Russ learns that his daughter can’t make it out for Christmas because of a snowstorm, so now he and Bailey are both alone for the holidays. Bailey’s all, “I’ll be your kid! Let’s go to a hockey game, New Dad!” Charlie gives Pete some clothes and helps him look through the want ads for a new job. Julia gives Jake a clock that speaks the time and offers to take him to a doctor. He tells her that he has a degenerative problem and is going blind. He asks her not to tell anyone.
Julia goes straight to Bailey’s place and tells him what Jake told her. She blasts him for avoiding the family, especially since she’s been the one trying to run the house. He tells her he’s busy and won’t be home for Christmas. Julia insists that he cancel his plans and come spend time with his family. Charlie learns that Pete has schizophrenia and hasn’t been taking his medication. When Pete arrives to get some more help from Charlie, he says that he hid the clothes Charlie gave him because they make him “too conspicuous.”
Stuart hand-delivers Claudia a flowery thank-you note, and she finally decides that it’s time to break it to him that she just wants to be friends. He blasts her for leading him on. Bailey breaks up his and Russ’s Sad Lonely Guy Extravaganza before it can turn into the Sad Lonely Guy Christmas Eve Extravaganza.
The Salingers have Chinese food, and Julia puts up a stocking for Jake. The family invites him to spend Christmas with them every year. Charlie mopes upstairs by himself, but Claudia wants him to come downstairs and set up the lights, which is always his job. If he doesn’t do it, it’ll be like saying he isn’t there.
Speaking of not there, Jake tries to leave in the middle of the night, but Charlie catches him. Jake insists that he’s not running away – he didn’t plan on staying so long, and he has to go home for a doctor’s appointment. Specifically, he has to have chemotherapy. Charlie wants to help, because that’s his thing this week. Jake doesn’t want to stick around and make his grandchildren watch him die. He tells Charlie that he loves all of the Salingers, then leaves.
In the morning, Claudia opens her present from Jake, a necklace that belonged to his mother. Charlie has to tell her that Jake left during the night, but instead of telling her the truth, he says that Jake went to see his daughter. Claudia’s upset since the family has done so much for him. Bailey brings Coach Russ over for the day, so now Jake’s having a Sad Lonely Guy Christmas and Russ is the Salingers’ honorary grandpa.
Stuart comes by and apologizes for getting mad at Claudia. Since he’s Jewish, he has no plans for the day, and he’s never had a big family Christmas, so Claudia invites him to stay. Julia compliments Bailey for inviting Russ over, but he says he had to. He won’t accept Julia calling him a good guy. She tells him that if he’s going to beat himself up for the bad stuff he does, he should cut himself from slack for doing nice things. Bailey just wants a drink.
Claudia’s feeling down and tells Charlie that it doesn’t really feel like Christmas in the house. She thinks he’s moping because he doesn’t like what his life has become. He promises that he likes taking care of her, even if it’s not enough to make him feel fulfilled. Marrying Kirsten would have made him feel like he’s getting more out of life. At this point, he just wants something small that feels like his own.
Julia and Russ put together dinner, and when the family sits down, they decide someone should say grace. No one says anything, so Owen sings out, “Pa-rum-pum-pum.” Grace stops by with some bread for Charlie, who thinks it’s a great present, even though she says it’s just “something small.” Later that night, Bailey calls Sarah while Charlie spends time with Grace. Ben plays “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on the piano, and Claudia and Julia sing along while they clean up the kitchen.
Thoughts: Claudia, DO NOT take relationship advice from Julia.
Grace and Charlie might not have much chemistry, but man, she sure is a good influence on him. Remember when he was kicking homeless people out of the restaurant?
I’m not sure if it’s the way she’s wearing her hair, but Lacey Chabert suddenly looks more grown up.
First Artie, now Stuart – what’s with Jewish guys liking Claudia?