March 22, 2014
Party of Five 4.11, S’Wunnerful Life: More Like It’s a Not-So-Wonderful Lie
Summary: Charlie’s back at the doctor’s, and learns that his white blood cell count isn’t good. If it doesn’t come up over the weekend, he might have to suspend treatment, which would drag things out even longer. Will is in town for Christmas break, telling Bailey all about his super-fun frat hazing. Annie stops by, and Will, not knowing who she is, hilariously calls her “ma’am.” Natalie pops up as well, and it looks like Bailey didn’t mention her to Will. He’s even more confused when Annie and Bailey celebrate because she passed her insurance adjuster’s test.
Claudia and Sarah help Julia make the shed look nicer since Justin’s coming by for a visit. They decide to decorate for Christmas. When Justin arrives, Julia tells him the shed is now a “guest cottage,” and that she and Griffin are moving in because Charlie’s sick, not because, you know, they have to. Charlie loans Kirsten his truck to pick up an armoire at her great-aunt’s house. Charlie invites himself on her day road trip, thinking it’s a good way to recharge, like his doctor told him he should. Claudia and Kirsten can’t talk him out of it.
Bailey, Annie, and Will go out to celebrate her test results, but Will doesn’t want to overindulge so he can stay slim and get a date for a dance at college. What kind of frat is Will in, anyway? He’s a little lost when Annie and Bailey start talking about good schools for Natalie and budgets and savings and other stuff college students don’t usually have to worry about. “I love hanging out with my parents!” Will says.
Julia, Justin, and Griffin look at slides of Julia and Justin’s trip to Europe, but Griffin’s understandable bored. After he goes to bed, the other two talk about how Julia’s now working at a department store instead of at the museum. She lies that the woman who owns the store admired Julia’s work at the museum and hired her immediately to work on displays. Justin’s like, “I guess some people are successful without going to Ivy League schools!”
On their day trip, Charlie and Kirsten start spotting Christmas decorations. Will and Sarah get ready for a tree-trimming party she and Bailey are throwing, and he mentions that Bailey’s suddenly turned into an adult. Will misses the guy he used to be, since he’s not as much fun anymore. As if to prove Will’s point, when Bailey shows up, he turns down their music and asks to borrow Sarah’s computer to type up Annie’s résumé. Sarah and Will get him to head slam with them for a little while. “So you know, I hate you both,” Bailey says, though he’s having fun.
Charlie and Kirsten get lost, so he suggests that they take advantage of their new route to extend their trip a little. Hopefully someone responsible is taking care of Owen. Julia and Justin hang out, and he asks to do some shopping at her department store. She lies that she has meetings all afternoon. She spots a sweater she’d like to get Griffin for Christmas, but when she finds out it’s $60, she tells Justin that she can’t get it because it’s wool and will make Griffin itch.
Kirsten and Charlie stop at the only place to eat for miles, but it’s closed. Charlie’s disappointed because he’s hungry for the first time in a long time. Kirsten notices that he’s cold and tells him they have to leave – being hungry and cold can’t be good for him. Charlie insists that they keep adventuring since those are things he can deal with. Bailey, Sarah, and Will decorate for the party, and Bailey has definitely reverted to the fun guy Will remembers. Annie arrives and announces that she got fired.
Justin goes shopping on his own and catches Julia in her lie – she’s not a decorator, she’s an elf-costumed gift wrapper. He leaves before she can see him. Annie tells Bailey that she fired because her boss caught her scheduling things to become an insurance adjuster. She’s understandably upset about being unemployed right before Christmas, when she needs to buy presents for Natalie and can’t find anyone who’s hiring. Bailey tries to help her stay optimistic, but Annie doesn’t think he understands since he’s still a college student. Plus, he’s the reason she got fired.
Charlie and Kirsten come across an inn; the owner, Glenn, is having a yard sale and sells Charlie a coat for $5. He asks Kirsten and Charlie to help him move his unsold things back inside in exchange for dinner. Kirsten’s hesitant to agree, but Charlie points out that they wanted a coat and food, and here they are, being provided for him. When Charlie goes back to the truck to get his wallet, he pockets the keys, then asks Kirsten if she has them.
Sarah and Bailey’s party starts, but Bailey mopes through it. Charlie and Kirsten make the most of “being stranded” at the inn, enjoying a nice dinner alone. Glenn invites them to spend the night, which, of course, is exactly what Charlie was hoping for. Glenn can’t believe it when they ask for separate rooms; he was sure they were a couple. Sarah and Will wonder why their egg nog is so good, and Bailey informs them that some unknown guests spiked it. (Fortunately, he didn’t drink any.)
Justin and Griffin snipe at each other, but they’re drunk, so it’s funnier than when they used to fight. Justin doesn’t get why he, as a Yale student, is busting his butt, but Griffin the slacker gets to have the terrific life. Justin admits that he’s failing English lit despite being his high school’s valedictorian. Julia listens as he complains about his snooty roommate and how horrible Yale is. Griffin’s like, “Yeah, fine, you win.”
At the inn, Kirsten laments that nothing went right all day, but Charlie disagrees. This was the best day he’s had since he was diagnosed. He thanks her for helping him get away from his life for a little while. Julia pulls Justin away from the party and asks him about Yale, busting him on never telling her the truth about how much he hates it. Justin’s like, “You’re one to talk, LIAR.” They wonder what kind of friends they are if they’re not honest with each other.
Annie crashes the party to apologize to Bailey for their fight. Will interrupts to drunkenly talk about their Graduate-type romance and how Bailey’s looking for someone maternal. Bailey tells him to back off, but while they’re arguing, Annie leaves. When he finds her, he’s worried that she drank. She didn’t, though she admits that she wanted to. She’s worried that Will’s right and she’s desperate for dating a college student. Bailey tells her that their age difference doesn’t matter because he feels more grown-up than Will, and more comfortable with Annie than with people his own age.
Julia and Justin finally start being honest with each other. He regrets going to Yale, and she wanted to live vicariously through him. Now, though, she doesn’t feel like things are so bad – at least she’s not living with an annoying roommate and failing a class at one of the country’s top schools! The two start competing over whose life is worse: Justin’s in cold, bleak New England or Julia’s in a shed.
In the morning, Sarah and Will are hungover, so Bailey gets to be the sober one for once. Will apologizes to Bailey for being a jerk the night before. Bailey doesn’t want an apology for that, though – he wants one for Will being judgmental of his sober life after being so concerned about his drinking the last time he visited. Will does apologize, but I think Bailey’s a little happy that he has to deal with a hangover. After Bailey leaves the room, Will tells Sarah that he didn’t mean his apology. He doesn’t get why Bailey has to go for one extreme or the other.
Kirsten finally “finds” her keys, so she and Charlie set off to get the armoire they were supposed to get the day before. Unfortunately, it looks a lot worse than she thought it would. Charlie offers to fix it up. Bailey and Annie make Christmas decorations with Natalie, because Bailey is now a middle-aged father. He plans to help Annie find a new job and watch Natalie while she’s out on interviews. He’s also going to help her buy Natalie presents.
Julia talks to Griffin about the lies she told Justin, promising that it’s not because she’s ashamed of their life together. Griffin gets it – after all, their life kind of sucks right now. But it’s looking up a little, because Claudia and Owen decorated the shed for Christmas. Kirsten suggests another stop as she and Charlie head home, but he tells her he has an early treatment appointment the next day. She offers to go with him, and he happily accepts.
Thoughts: Glenn is played by the awesome John Michael Higgins, who you would probably recognize from anything by Christopher Guest.
Since when does the shed have a loft? It’s officially nicer than where I live.
Julia, you don’t have to lie about why you don’t want to buy a $60 sweater. That’s a ridiculous price.
Annie, I think the guy with dead parents and a DUI on his record understands suffering.
Thanks for ending the episode with Joni Mitchell’s “River,” show. I’m not depressed at all.