November 30, 2013

Party of Five 3.19, Point of No Return: Putting the “Party” in “Party of Five”

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 2:56 pm by Jenn

Not pictured: Julia, praying this isn't Owen's first memory

Not pictured: Julia, praying this isn’t Owen’s first memory

Summary: Owen’s birthday is coming up, so the Salingers spend part of their family dinner planning for the party. Claudia thinks they should all work together, but since everyone else hates each other right now, they decide to split up the tasks. Julia tells Sam that she’s decided to spend her summer backpacking around Europe, though it ruins their plans to hang out together for a few months. She invites him along. Claudia runs into Avery at a music store and learns that he has a son her age named Marcus. She offers to show him around San Francisco.

Bailey relays a message to Charlie and Grace that Grace’s parents are in town and want to have dinner. Charlie tells him that he’ll have to babysit Owen. Bailey needs to study, so he’s okay with having a reason to stay in for the night. Grace, however, doesn’t want to have dinner with her parents, who have spent her whole adult life disapproving of her decisions. Claudia goes to Avery’s house and meets Marcus (who prefers Marc). Claudia has less in common with him than she does with his father.

Owen accompanies Charlie and Grace on their dinner out with Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox, since Bailey is MIA. Of course, Owen chooses that night to be on his worst behavior. When they get home, Julia’s there (and why couldn’t she babysit?), and she tells Charlie about the Europe trip she and Ben are taking over the summer. He and Grace both object, not that Julia wants to listen to Grace about anything. Charlie calls Bailey and Callie’s apartment, but Callie tells him that Bailey’s out at a party and probably won’t be home for a while.

Bailey resurfaces the next morning at the restaurant, telling Charlie he just lost track of time at the party. Charlie advises him to see the situation as a wakeup call. Julia whines to Sam about Charlie and Grace, including Grace noting that it would be illegal for Sam and Julia to travel internationally before she turned 18. Ben casually remarks that “those people” would know a lot about the legal situation. Julia’s Something is Not Right Radar goes off.

Bailey interviews a clown named Coco, but he won’t accept the $80 that’s all Bailey can pay him. Callie wonders why Charlie didn’t give Bailey money, and Bailey admits that he did, but he spent it at the bar the night before. Julia mentions Sam’s comment to Sarah, who tries to give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s not racist. Julia can’t think of another explanation. She takes Owen’s cake over to the house, arriving just before Grace’s parents stop by. Grace thinks they’re there to criticize her once again, but they actually like Charlie and how happy he makes Grace. (Also, he has a nice house, so she’s not slumming it anymore.)

Unable to get a clown for $80, Bailey goes to Julia for money. She reminds him that she loaned him money and got him a job with Sam, so he’s out of chances with her. He apologizes and admits that she and Sarah were right when they accused him of partying too much. He’s not going to drink for a while. Julia agrees that she can get judgmental. Claudia goes by Avery’s house again and invites him and Marc to a concert. Marc isn’t interested.

Sam and Julia go shopping for their backpacking trip, and when she brings up his comment from earlier, he basically outs himself as a racist. (Except he’s not really, because he has black employees! He’s practically Martin Luther King, Jr.!) He notes that Julia locks her doors in certain districts, scoffing when she says it’s because they’re unsafe, not because mostly black people live there.) Sam says that if his jokes make Julia uncomfortable, he won’t make them in front of her anymore.

Armed with more of Julia’s money, Bailey debates hitting the liquor store. The next morning, he’s so hungover that he can’t shave without cutting himself. It’s the day of Owen’s birthday party, and Grace’s parents come over to help set up. Grace wants to kick them out, telling Charlie that they’re only being nice to him because they don’t all know each other that well yet. Sam also shows up for the party, to Julia’s surprise. The clown Bailey didn’t hire seems like a moot point, since Mr. Wilcox is enough entertainment for the kids. Mrs. Wilcox invites Charlie and Grace to join them on vacation that summer.

Grace is mad again, telling Charlie that she’s spent her whole life doing the opposite of what her parents like. Now she’s dating someone they like, and she thinks her parents feel she’s finally gotten in line. Charlie doesn’t see what’s wrong with letting them think they’ve “won.” Grace can’t come up with a reason but wants to be upset anyway. She runs into Bailey, who’s gotten a clown costume and is going to provide entertainment himself. Oh, and he’s drunk. He tells Grace that more people would like her if she weren’t so horrible.

Julia watches carefully as Sam chats with the Wilcoxes, but he doesn’t say anything racist. Bailey emerges in his clown costume, cracking up Charlie. As he leaves for work, Sam brags to Julia about how awesome he was to the Wilcoxes. Bailey brings out the cake, then promptly drops it. One of the kids starts crying, so Bailey yells at him. When Charlie tries to drag Bailey inside, Bailey shoves him into a bench. Claudia follows Bailey when he storms off, but he doesn’t want to listen to her “stupid, whiny voice.”

That night, the sober Salingers clean up after the party, and Charlie tries unsuccessfully to lighten the mood. Owen attempts to wake Bailey up to show off his new hat, but Bailey’s down for the count. Even after the big mess of the day, the Wilcoxes are still gracious and lovely to Charlie. Mr. Wilcox mentions that he’s done a lot of research into addiction and treatment because his sister’s an alcoholic. Charlie denies that Bailey has a problem; after all, he’s just a college kid.

Sarah arrives (having delayed coming to the party in an attempt to avoid Bailey) and Julia tells her about the party disaster. They go to talk to Bailey, but he’s taken off. Claudia goes back to Avery’s, where Marc is rude to her because her relationship with Avery is so good. She starts crying, and he’s all, “Oh, crap. Crying girl. What do I do?” He invites her in to hang out. Sam comes back to the house after work, and Julia surprises him by telling him she can’t be with someone who thinks racist jokes aren’t a big deal. He’s made her life better, but that doesn’t matter now that she knows how he really is.

Julia tells Sarah about the breakup, and they talk about how something awful in a person’s personality should make it easy to end things, but it’s not that simple. Charlie tells Grace that he gets what she was saying about her parents getting involved in things that aren’t their business. Grace admits that she thinks her father is right about Bailey having a problem.

Charlie continues to deny it; Bailey’s young and has bad judgment, but that’s how Charlie was at that age. Grace reminds him that Bailey got violent, which makes this very different. Julia chimes in that even when Charlie drank at Bailey’s age, he was still himself. Callie calls to let the Salingers know that Bailey hasn’t turned up at the apartment. Charlie’s sure that he’ll call as soon as he gets home.

Thoughts: Marcus Baltus? Poor kid.

Is Grace implying that her parents won’t like Charlie once they get to know him better?

Guys, next time, take Bailey’s keys.

Sarah’s pretty awesome to stay behind after the party and help clean up, especially since she didn’t technically come to the party.

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