September 13, 2014
Party of Five 5.10, One Christmas, to Go: They’re All Grinches. All of Them!
Summary: Claudia’s still in San Francisco and has taken over the household responsibilities. Charlie thinks she’s only making herself useful so he’ll let her leave her boarding school. He meets Daphne’s mom, Doreen, and her boyfriend, Lester, who apparently didn’t know Diana was born until just recently. Daphne doesn’t want them to stay at the house, but Charlie’s happy to have a house full of people.
Ned plans to stay at school over Christmas break, and he’s not exactly thrilled that Julia’s going to call him a bunch so he doesn’t get lonely. At the Salingers’, Charlie encourages Daphne to spend time with Doreen, which is the last thing Daphne wants to do. Griffin thinks Charlie needs to ease up on Claudia, but Charlie’s still mad at him for taking her out of school. The school is threatening not to release her transcript, which means she might have to repeat the year.
Julia goes to say goodbye to Ned, who’s struggling with a paper he has to write quickly. She didn’t realize his grade in the class was in such jeopardy. She announces that she’ll help him write, and the next day they’ll both be able to go home and spend Christmas with their families. Owen’s still staying with Bailey and Sarah, and still upset that his place as youngest child has been usurped.
Daphne complains to Charlie that Doreen’s pretending she wants to be a family when she hasn’t called in a year and a half. Charlie wants Daphne to give her a chance since she’s the only grandparent who’s been around in years. If Doreen wants to be there, they should let her, because the holidays are supposed to be about families.
Bailey and Sarah find some broken ornaments and know that Owen must have used them to lash out. Sarah urges Bailey to talk to his brother, but Bailey doesn’t want to make him mad on Christmas Eve. Julia and Ned work in a hotel room, since the heat’s been turned off in the dorms; I’m surprised they’re getting anything done. Also, I’m pretty sure Julia’s doing more work than Ned is.
Daphne’s mom asks Charlie if he loves Daphne; when he says yes, she asks why they’re not married. She gets her answer when Kirsten the perpetual babysitter makes an appearance. Griffin tells Claudia he’s looking for an apartment since Charlie hates him now. He’s living with a family that isn’t his.
Bailey and Sarah take Owen to a rehearsal for a Christmas pageant, which he doesn’t want to participate in. Bailey’s clueless about Owen’s behavior, and Sarah has to point out that he doesn’t want to take part in a play celebrating the birth of a super-special baby. Julia finishes Ned’s paper and they start to make out, but she realizes she needs to get home to her family. He unplugs his computer and pretends he can’t print his paper so Julia will stay and help him some more.
The doll playing baby Jesus at the pageant disappears, and Bailey quickly realizes that Owen was probably responsible. Daphne’s upset that Doreen sent Kirsten home, thinking Kirsten’s after Charlie. Daphne argues that they’re just best friends, and Kirsten’s the only reason she’s surviving with a newborn. She thinks Doreen’s still stuck in her own mindset of keeping other women away from her man.
Julia and Ned rush to a print shop, arriving just as it closes. Ned thinks they should just spend the night relaxing. Julia demands peace on earth and good will towards men (and women) from the guy working at the print shop, who eventually lets them in. At the Salingers’, Claudia complains to Griffin that no one’s there for Christmas Eve dinner. Griffin had a worse family situation, though, so Claudia’s not going to win this one.
Owen denies taking the doll, so everyone searches the church. Sarah tells Bailey to confront his brother, but Bailey wants to believe Owen, or at least pretend to, so he doesn’t get more upset. Doreen and Lester decide to leave, but now Daphne wants her mother to stay for Christmas Day. She needs Doreen to do the same things for Diana that she did for Daphne as a baby. Doreen points out that Daphne got pregnant, so she gets to take care of her own child.
Bailey, Sarah, and Owen arrive at the house for Christmas Eve dinner, but the only person Owen wants to talk to is Griffin. Julia’s still an hour away, and Claudia’s tired of waiting for everyone to arrive, but Bailey doesn’t think it’s right to start without her. Claudia blasts everyone for pretending that they’re going to be one big, happy family.
Sarah suggests that they each open a present, and when Bailey goes to get the gifts, he finds the doll. The present exchange begins, but Daphne’s MIA, and no one bothered to wait for her. Nice, guys. The only present under the tree for Charlie is for Griffin. Again, nice, guys. These people should all be on Santa’s naughty list.
Ned leaves his paper outside his professor’s office, where Julia spots a sign granting a grace period for late papers over the holidays. So Ned didn’t have to rush to get his paper done after all. She’s mad that he manipulated her to stay with him, and probably didn’t want to finish the paper in the first place. Julia could have been home with her family, but Ned made her lie to them.
Bailey finally sits Owen down for a talk about the doll. He lectures that even if the doll (but he really means Diana) doesn’t matter to Owen, he needs to respect that it (she) matters to other people. He makes it clear that Owen’s not allowed to act out just because there’s another child in the family. Bailey will be like Santa, keeping an eye on everything Owen does.
Daphne asks Doreen what it was like for her when Daphne was a baby – did she miss her daughter when they weren’t together? Daphne admits that it’s easy for her to be away from Diana, and she would even be okay if Diana were taken away from her. She thinks she has trouble loving Diana because Doreen had trouble loving Daphne. She doesn’t want to continue that cycle.
Bailey tells Sarah that Owen won’t talk to him, like, you just yelled at him on Christmas Eve, when everyone was opening presents. What do you expect? Bailey wishes he’d postponed the confrontation, since Owen was doing better. Sarah wants to help, but since she’s not a mother, she doesn’t know how.
Charlie stops Doreen and Lester before they leave, telling Doreen that he wants to try again for everyone to be a family – that’s what Diana needs. Doreen won’t budge. Claudia’s annoyed that dinner hasn’t turned out as planned, but she refuses to give up on having a perfect Christmas Eve. Bailey and Sarah start to leave, and Owen asks to come with them – he’d rather be with the brother who yelled than the brother who ignores him.
Charlie takes Diana out to the “guest cottage” to see Griffin, so no one’s in the house when Julia finally arrives. She finds Griffin’s present to Charlie, a scrapbook full of pictures of the Salingers. Charlie’s currently thanking Griffin for it, having been reminded of his feelings about life after he was told his cancer was in remission. He realized that Griffin doesn’t have the same kind of family Charlie does. Griffin and Claudia are the only people who want to be there, and Charlie keeps pushing them away. “If you’re not family, I don’t know who is,” he says.
Daphne takes Doreen and Lester to the bus station and considers buying a ticket away from her own life. Julia returns to school, still mad at Ned but kind of appreciative of how hard he worked to keep her around. Charlie, Claudia, and Griffin eat Chinese food by their Christmas tree while Daphne watches them from outside the house.
Thoughts: I love how Charlie’s all, “The holidays are about spending time together! But not if Claudia’s here. Also, go away, Owen. And I haven’t noticed that Julia’s not around.” Charlie’s cluelessness and inability to multitask continue to astonish me.
Why did only Bailey and Sarah go to Owen’s pageant? No wonder he’s so upset. No one in his family pays any attention to him.
Was Claudia only cooking a turkey? There were no side dishes? There was nothing else to eat? I don’t get it.
’90s music alert: Natalie Merchant’s “My Skin” (which I thought was called “Untouchable”)