April 12, 2014
Party of Five 4.14, Of Human Bonding: Other People’s Problems
Summary: Charlie’s at the hospital for treatment, chatting with a fellow patient named Kevin who claims that having cancer makes him more attractive to women. After all, women like movies about guys who have cancer. Charlie admits that he almost looks forward to coming to treatment because he gets to spend time with people who understand what he’s going through.
While Julia starts an office job, Sarah asks Elliot about his sexual history, hoping that her lack of experience won’t be a disadvantage. It sounds like a moot point anyway, since they’re having trouble finding time to spend together. Bailey buys Natalie a badminton set, looking for a way for them to bond. Natalie isn’t appreciative, and Annie doesn’t like her attitude.
Julia finds a new co-worker, Jeannie, crying in the bathroom because her husband wants to go to a basketball game on their anniversary. They’ve been married ten years and Jeannie is totally over all of it. That doesn’t help Julia feel better about where her marriage stands. Sarah takes her car to Griffin’s garage for some repairs and asks for some relationship advice. She’s confused because Elliot’s no longer trying to get her into bed – is he losing interest? Griffin worries about what that means for him and Julia.
Charlie’s late getting home from treatment, which worries Julia and Claudia. It turns out he’s at a batting cage with Kevin. Kevin admits that he’s always avoided seemingly dangerous activities because of fear of injury, but now that he has cancer, he’s more adventurous. Bailey buys ice cream to try again to win Natalie over. Annie tells him to stop bribing her and give it time. Bailey points out that they’re letting Natalie call the shots, which Annie didn’t want.
Charlie finally makes it home, and his sisters bug him about disappearing. Griffin tries to get romantic with Julia while she’s doing laundry, but she’d prefer if he would help her with her chores. She points out that they’ve barely talked in the past few weeks, so he’s going to have to do something else to make her want to have sex.
Kevin makes breakfast for the Salingers before he and Charlie go fishing. They also plan to go camping, which Julia and Claudia object to because of all the horrible things that could happen or the ways Charlie’s health could worsen. Charlie puts his foot down. Bailey’s latest bribe is hockey night at the restaurant, and this is the one that cracks Natalie’s resolve. (Though maybe it’s the promises of grilled cheese and a Shirley Temple.)
Julia and Jeannie bond over their husbands only having sex and electronics on the brain. They decide to have a girls’ night together. Hockey night is a success, both with patrons and with Bailey and Natalie’s relationship. Sarah doesn’t want to go, so Elliot tells her to go do something else while he hangs out with Bailey and Griffin. Bailey ruins things with Natalie by accidentally singing a song her father used to sing. Annie tells him to stop trying to be Natalie’s father.
Julia and Jeannie wind up at the restaurant as well, and things between Julia and Griffin are super-awkward. (Also, Griffin is unable to display basic human manners.) Fed up with their wimmin-folk, Griffin and Elliot split to find fun somewhere else. Charlie and Kevin get ready for their fishing trip, though Charlie’s realized that some of Claudia’s fears about their remote location and possible illness are reasonable.
After some time at the restaurant, Julia, Sarah, and Jeannie go out to find something else to do and stumble across Griffin’s bike outside a strip club. Yep, that’s where he and Elliot went to escape their significant others. Julia is very displeased with her husband. Once they’re back home, Julia points out that Griffin didn’t do a very good job of hiding where he was; was he trying to hurt her? Griffin says he was just trying to get away, and this isn’t the first time he’s gone to a strip club. (Ohhh, wrong answer.)
The next day, Sarah confronts Elliot as well, but he’s a little more apologetic. Part of Sarah’s problem is that he went to look at naked women he doesn’t know but he doesn’t seem to be interested in seeing his own girlfriend naked. Natalie wanders off and Bailey finds her in the laundry room, trying to call her father. Apparently he changed his phone number and didn’t give the new one to his daughter. Natalie’s understandably upset.
Charlie and Kevin meet up again at treatment, having called off the fishing trip. Kevin isn’t upset since he knows Charlie needs to take care of himself. Jeannie thanks Julia for their night out, praising her for just walking out on Griffin at the strip club. She wishes she’d stood up to her own husband before last night, when she announced that it’s over. Julia’s all, “You can end a marriage? That’s an option?”
Annie tells Bailey that the situation with Natalie and her father makes her feel helpless. Bailey says it makes him angry since Jay’s bad decisions keep hurting Natalie, and she takes it out on Bailey. Annie keeps defending Jay, blaming his behavior on his alcoholism. She claims that no one’s better off without a father.
Claudia rents Charlie A River Runs Through It to make up for his missed fishing trip. She and Julia continue mothering their brother, who pulls a Jeannie and tells them to back off. They tell him they just want to make sure he’s okay. Charlie asks if they would leave him alone if he said he was okay. They’re great when he’s feeling bad, but they hover when he wants to do something that makes him feel good.
Charlie continues that Julia and Claudia make him scared to take a chance. They caution him against doing anything that could make him feel worse, not thinking that he could actually feel better instead. Julia’s fine with Charlie doing something new, but she feels like she’s the only one taking his illness seriously. She’s the one sacrificing so he can go out and have fun. Charlie tells her that when he’s in bed, he’s not living – he’s “just waiting.”
Bailey tells Natalie that he knows how she feels not having her father around since his is also gone. He knows that their fathers still love them and think about them. Natalie can hold on to her good memories of her dad, and Bailey will never try to take his place. Charlie wants to do something with Kevin, but Kevin’s health isn’t good enough right now for an adventure. Charlie offers to just hang out instead, though Kevin encourages him to go have the adventure on his own.
Julia tries to talk to Griffin, who turns things into a fight. She’s fine with that since it means they’ll at least be communicating. They admit that they’re not even sure why things are so bad. (I think I have a few ideas…) Sarah thinks she’s finally worked out what’s going on with Elliot: He’s nervous because she’s a virgin, and he doesn’t think she can be fun. She suggests sexy clothes to solve the problem. Elliot admits that he’s not as experienced as she thinks. He’s a virgin, too.
Bailey looks in on Natalie while Annie’s putting her to bed, and she asks if he’ll be there when she wakes up. He promises he will. Then she sings the song her father used to sing her. Julia and Griffin go to bed silently. The next day, Charlie goes parasailing by himself.
Thoughts: Bailey, trust me, low-fat, sugar-free ice cream is no way into a child’s heart.
Way to make laundry even less sexy, Griffin.
Annie, shut up. “You’re doing too much. You’re doing too little.” You and Claudia go whine to each other and let everyone else have fun. P.S. Natalie is absolutely better off without that sorry excuse for a father.