January 3, 2015

Party of Five 6.1, Don’t Let Go: Decisions, Decisions

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , at 1:21 pm by Jenn

Aren't they cute?

Look at these cuties

Summary: Though Charlie asked Bailey to be his best man, Bailey has basically made himself the wedding planner, and has gone a little overboard. (There are doves.) The wedding is four days away, but the theater it was supposed to be held in is suddenly closed, declared unsafe for people to go inside. The Salingers and Kirsten are fine with just getting married in the backyard, but Bailey wants them to have something special. (Also, the backyard is bad luck.)

Charlie and Kirsten go to the airport to pick up Ellie and Gene. Ellie is polite to Charlie, but Gene has major problems with him after his and Kirsten’s previous relationship issues. Joe is also back in town for the wedding. Bailey assigns Claudia to find music for the wedding, so she immediately picks Cody’s band. Sarah wants to help out, but Bailey’s keeping her at a distance.

Julia gets a letter from Stillman Press inviting her to meet with Stillman himself, Evan. He wants to discuss a story she submitted about domestic abuse – it’s not original enough. He gets tons of submissions from abused women, but none of them reveal why the women don’t leave. Evan has an imprint for nonfiction paperback books and thinks Julia should submit a proposal.

Claudia gets Cody and his horrible haircut to agree to play Charlie and Kirsten’s wedding. Claudia’s been spending some time away from Cody because she’s not quite ready to take the next step with him. Also, because his haircut is awful. Kirsten’s parents meet Daphne and Diana; Daphne’s getting ready to take care of the baby on her own while Charlie and Kirsten are on their honeymoon. Gene hates that Kirsten voluntarily spends time with these people.

Bailey manages to book a church for the wedding, though it’ll have to take place at 8 a.m. The priest there thinks he and Sarah are getting married. Sarah says they might someday. (Spoiler: They won’t.) Bailey’s mad that she isn’t sure when he is. Back at the house, Owen wonders if he should be mad, too. Sarah thinks it’s reasonable – if Bailey loved her enough to propose, he’s allowed to be upset that she said no.

Claudia goes to see Cody and catches him kissing another girl. Meanwhile, Kirsten learns that she’ll be getting married at 8 a.m. Charlie still thinks that the backyard is a better option. He and Kirsten try to tactfully tell Bailey that they appreciate all his planning but would prefer things that fit them better. Bailey’s like, “Then plan your own wedding yourselves,” like that’s a novel concept.

Julia goes back to Evan to tell him she doesn’t think she can balance schoolwork with writing. He suggests that she transfer to a college more focused on writing. He’s on the board of the College of Fine Arts and might be able to pull strings to get her a transfer, even though it’s October. Julia isn’t sure about the singular focus. Evan points out that he hasn’t even accepted her book proposal yet. She needs to figure out what makes sense to her.

Bailey whines to Sarah about Kirsten and Charlie disagreeing with his decisions, but she’s not that sympathetic. She thinks he was trying to turn it into his own event. She continues that she had the right to respond the way she did to his proposal, and she still has the right to not be sure about what she wants in the future. Sarah’s sick of Bailey being mad at her and treating her like an enemy.

Charlie asks Daphne if he and Kirsten can borrow a garter for the wedding. (Heh – of course she has more than one.) Gene’s like, “Yeah, no one’s surprised.” Ellie tells him to shut it, but Kirsten wants her father’s opinion. She calls him on acting like he’s superior to Daphne, who Kirsten thinks is awesome now. Ellie tries again to quiet Gene, blurting that Kirsten can’t handle his criticism.

Kirsten’s upset that her parents are questioning her decisions because of her past battle with depression. Ellie tells her that it doesn’t matter what they think. Kirsten disagrees – she wants her life choices to mean something to her parents. If they can’t support her, then after the wedding, they can phase themselves out of her life.

Cody, whose hair looks marginally better, tries to talk to Claudia, but she doesn’t want to hear about his girl on the side. She thinks he’s cheating because Claudia won’t sleep with him. Cody promises to cut the girl out of his life but doesn’t apologize for wanting to have sex. He understands why Claudia wants to wait, and he’d like her to understand why he doesn’t.

Julia talks to Griffin about her possible life changes, and the risks of making a commitment to writing. She compares it to Charlie and Kirsten getting married. Griffin points out that there are ways out of marriage, as they both know. He also doesn’t think he should be the one she asks for advice, since they’re not usually on the same wavelength. He’s taking a less chancy approach to life, knowing that he has plenty of time to take bigger steps.

Charlie assures Bailey that he’s still the best man, then reports that the wedding will take place at the house. Bailey’s opinion matters, so Charlie wants to make sure he’s not too upset about things. Bailey shares what Sarah said about him wanting the wedding to be his. He admits that he’s disappointed because Charlie’s leaving to start his own family. Bailey’s happy for him, but wants him to be less casual about everything. It’s a big deal for everyone, and their way of letting Charlie go.

The wedding day arrives, and Claudia and Julia help Kirsten get ready. The ceremony has been moved, but Kirsten isn’t sure where it will be. Charlie’s at the house, though he’s not supposed to be, and sees Kirsten in her dress. He doesn’t think they need to worry about bad luck. All their past luck has brought them here, where they belong.

Sarah and Bailey are awkward with each other, having realized how long it’s been since they had sex. They start making out. Julia, Claudia, and Kirsten follow directions to a little beach, which Charlie secured through an acquaintance of his father’s. Bailey barely makes it on time, and Kirsten’s parents don’t appear to be there at all, but everything else goes well. Bailey’s happy that the doves make it.

Kirsten spots Ellie at the reception and gets an earful from her mother about how difficult it was for her when Kirsten was sick. Kirsten assures Ellie that she’s happy. Julia tells Griffin that she’s going to transfer schools, and will move back into the Salingers’ while she looks for her own place. After Evan and Griffin gave her two different pieces of advice, she realized that she really did need to make her own decision. Griffin likes the part of Julia that’s confident about her choices.

Claudia tells Cody that they’re in different places in their lives, and she can’t be with him anymore. Bailey and Sarah are back on good terms, and can hardly keep it in their pants. When toast time comes, Charlie talks about making the right decisions, and holding on to things that are important to you. By the way, Gene’s there now. Charlie’s glad that his parents left him with the “secret to life,” which is to never let go. Fast-forward to the end of the reception, when the other Salingers see Charlie and Kirsten off on their honeymoon.

Thoughts: Evan is played by Kyle Secor. No matter what he does, he’ll always be Jake Kane to me.

Every single aspiring writer in the world just called BS on Julia’s plot. She goes in for a meeting with the head of the press (no way) about an article she submitted (he would probably never even see it), and he practically offers her a book deal (NO WAY). Next she’ll win the lottery just by looking at a ticket.

Claudia: “What if we missed the whole wedding? What if we’re too late?” Kirsten: “Claud.” Hee. Nice throwaway moment.

’90s music alert: Cody’s band plays Third Eye Blind’s “How’s It Going to Be.” When they break, they put on Smash Mouth’s “All Star.”

September 7, 2013

Party of Five 3.6, Going Home: Moving Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Moving On

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 2:43 pm by Jenn

Home is where the emotional repression is

Home is where the emotional repression is

Summary: Julia and Sarah are on a plane to go visit Dartmouth together. Sarah’s a nervous flier and just hopes the movie on the flight features Brad Pitt. She’s also nervous about going 3,000 miles from home. That’s the part that excites Julia the most. At the Salingers’, Charlie is surprised by a visit from Ellie and Gene, having been summoned by Claudia to take care of Kirsten. They’re mad at Charlie for not telling them what was going on.

Charlie confronts Claudia for going behind his back, and she reminds him what he said about Jody and trying to deal with things that are over their heads. He thinks she’s getting revenge for the Jody situation, but Claudia says she just wanted to help. He’s too furious to talk to her. While Ellie and Gene wonder why Kirsten didn’t call them, Bailey tells Charlie that he should have contacted the Bennetts. Charlie says that Bailey doesn’t even know what’s going on since he doesn’t live there anymore. He needs to stay out of it.

Bailey goes to his apartment to mope (with beer, so that’s not good) and help Callie come up with something insulting to say to her father on his birthday. At Dartmouth, Sarah learns that her mother’s in the hospital, having broken her hip. Julia, in contrast, feels no need to contact her family. Gene and Ellie blast Charlie for not taking good enough care of Kirsten – Gene claims that she wouldn’t be depressed if she weren’t with Charlie. Ellie outs Gene as having depression in his family, though.

The next day, Kirsten makes a little progress, getting out of bed and getting dressed, but it’s only because her parents are taking her to a psychiatrist. Charlie objects since Kirsten already has a doctor, but Kirsten goes along for the visit. Julia enjoys a stuffy social at Dartmouth while Sarah’s distracted by her mother’s health. Bailey complains to Callie about Charlie freezing him out. Callie shares the information her father sent her to include in his birthday toast, lamenting that he always expects her to disappoint him.

Kirsten and her parents return from the psychiatrist, and the Bennetts don’t want to talk to Charlie about their plans. Gene notes that they took care of Kirsten the first time she went through this, after Charlie left her and wasn’t around to care about her. Bailey and Callie spend the money she was supposed to use to fly home for her father’s birthday on a nice dinner together. Bailey decides to finally take Charlie’s advice and stay out of his family’s troubles.

Charlie asks Kirsten about the doctor’s visit, but she gets upset about everyone putting pressure on her. He promises to keep taking care of her. Julia finally calls home, but only to get Charlie to fax some of her writing to her. Claudia tells her that things are getting back with the Bennetts there. Currently, Charlie is yelling at Gene that he and Ellie are making things worse. He kicks them out of the house, but if the Bennetts are going to leave, they’re going to take Kirsten with them.

The next day, Charlie tries to talk to Ellie about convincing Gene to let Kirsten stay. Ellie thinks that she’s already caused enough problems, what with her affair, so she needs to side with Gene. Charlie accuses her of selling out her daughter to keep her husband. Julia gets more information from Claudia, so now she and Sarah are both annoying Dartmouth students by spending too much time on the phone. Neither of them seems to consider that they could just go home.

Charlie meets with a lawyer in an attempt to find a legal way to keep Ellie and Gene from taking Kirsten back to Chicago. Since they’re not married and Charlie has no legal rights, he’d have to take them to court. Charlie knows Kirsten isn’t up for that. Claudia calls Bailey to fill him in on the Bennetts’ plans to take Kirsten back to Chicago, then tries to keep Gene from coming into the house. He just wants to give Charlie a letter from a lawyer, explaining what will happen. Claudia begs Gene to let Kirsten stay, regretting her decision to call the Bennetts.

Apparently every year two dueling Dartmouth dorms hold a porcupine race, and Julia and Sarah are there for this year’s competition. Julia’s finally decided that they need to go home early. Bailey has also decided to go back to the house, which makes Callie mad, since they just spent a day agreeing to distance themselves from their families. She even calls him a hypocrite, since family emergencies apparently aren’t a good enough reason to try to support your loved ones. Shut up, Callie. Bailey tells her to go home for her father’s birthday. If you can walk away from a call begging you for help, you have a problem.

Charlie’s starting to realize that he’s probably going to lose Kirsten, so when Bailey shows up at the house, he’s really not in the mood to talk. Bailey says he’s just there for support, not for any lectures. He takes Kirsten some of the flowers she planted in the backyard and tells her that after the wedding, he never got used to her not being around. He knows Charlie’s going to take it really hard if she leaves. Bailey doesn’t want Kirsten to have to worry about Charlie, but he’s scared of what will happen if she goes. He encourages her to let Charlie keep caring for her.

Sarah decides to stay at Dartmouth and tries to convince Julia to do the same. Julia says she’s not going because anyone asked her, but because her family needs her. Sarah notes that going away to school means not being able to go home all the time. Julia replies that maybe she shouldn’t go to school so far away after all. She and Bailey can’t move on from Charlie like Sarah can move on from her parents.

The Bennetts return to the Salingers’ house and fight with Charlie over their legal maneuvers. They tell Kirsten that they want to take her home to Chicago, and she needs to say what she wants to do. She says she wants to stay with Charlie, then adds that she wants her parents to care for her, too. She’s too confused to realize that she has to pick one or the other. Gene takes this as a sign that the family will be going back to Chicago together.

As Gene and Ellie get Kirsten ready for their flight (treating her like a child), Claudia tries to talk to Charlie, but he’s not in the mood. She understands and tells him he can punish her however he wants. Julia arrives just in time to learn that her presence can’t really do anything, but she doesn’t feel like it was a bad idea to return. Charlie and Kirsten say a very sad goodbye, and while Kirsten leaves to let her family take care of her, Charlie lets his family do the same for him.

Thoughts: Kirsten lies in bed all day and her hair still looks better than mine. Grrrr.

I couldn’t find any information on the porcupine race, so I don’t think it’s real. It should be real! Someone needs to start an annual porcupine race!

The plot with Julia and Sarah wanting to go to school on the East Coast is dumb – it’s the same as Bailey’s plot from last season and it’s obviously going to end the same way.

June 9, 2013

Party of Five 2.9, The Wedding: Run Away, Little Boy

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:11 pm by Jenn

This is exactly what I want my wedding day to look like

This is exactly what I want my wedding day to look like

Summary: The Salinger house is all set up for Charlie and Kirsten’s wedding. Charlie doesn’t look the least bit excited. Kirsten is already in her dress but is crying in the bedroom because her sister isn’t able to come to the wedding. Also, her parents are running late. Kirsten worries that something else will happen, since bad things always occur in threes. Charlie gives her the third piece: He wants to postpone the wedding six months.

He’s feeling anxious and trapped, and something in him says that getting married right now is a bad idea. “I’m not ready for the rest of my life to start today,” he says. Kirsten thinks that Charlie’s just tired and hungover from his bachelor party, and that he just needs a little time to get himself together. And by “a little time,” she means half an hour. When Charlie hesitates again, she tells him that he just has to meet her at the altar and make a promise.

The other Salingers take care of reception arrangements as Ross, Sarah, and Will arrive. Sarah and Bailey both think Will’s outfit is ridiculous for a wedding. Ellie and Gene finally make it to the house, so Kirsten decides it’s time for pictures. Julia goes to retrieve Charlie, who is clean-shaven for the first time in the series. She notices that he’s nervous but doesn’t think it’s a big deal.

As the pictures start, Justin arrives to drop off a present from his mom. He doesn’t think Julia still wants him there, since she invited him before they broke up. Then he decides to stay so he doesn’t have to be at home with his father. During the picture-taking, Charlie grows more and more anxious until he finally runs off.

Kirsten follows him and he tries to tell her again that he’s not ready to get married. She thinks he’s just nervous and is having the same feelings everyone has before getting married. He just needs to go downstairs and say, “I do.” Charlie can’t do it – it means he’ll live in his parents’ house and take care of his brothers and sisters and work at the restaurant for the rest of his life. He’ll never be able to make another decision for himself.

Kirsten takes this to mean that he doesn’t want to be with her. Charlie corrects that he just needs time to think about everything. Kirsten points out that there are a bunch of people waiting for a wedding. He needs to take a deep breath and follow through. Again, he says no.

The bride and groom announce that the wedding’s off, so of course everyone wants to know what happened, especially Gene. Charlie doesn’t want to talk to anyone. Bailey takes over as resident mature adult, saying he’ll explain things to the minister and pay everyone. He notes bitterly that this is the first time in a while that he’s had to clean up a mess Charlie made.

Ellie is sure that Charlie will come around; he’s clearly not thinking rationally. Meanwhile, Kirsten breaks down. Julia confides in Justin that she’s trying to figure out how to convince Charlie to change his mind. He offers to be her sounding board, as if they’re friends again. She declines the offer but asks him to stay with her. Bailey tries to negotiate the caterer’s payment but just winds up with a bunch of shrimp. Ellie’s in denial that the whole thing is over.

Julia finally figures out what to say to Charlie, but it’s basically just begging him not to call off the wedding. She tells him no one understands what he’s doing. He knows that he’s being horrible to Kirsten, and he doesn’t want to hurt her. Defeated, Julia grabs a bottle of champagne and goes off to drink it with Justin.

Kirsten tries to talk herself into going along with Charlie’s idea to just postpone for a few months. Ellie tells her that if she wants to get married today, she should. She needs to tell Charlie that this is his only chance. Kirsten worries that he’ll say no. “He’s already said no,” Ellie reminds her.

In the basement, Julia and Justin get on the road to Drunkville. He notes that they had their first kiss in the basement when they were kids. They reenact the historic moment, though she remembers it happening somewhere else. Bailey tells Sarah that men in his family always make the same mistake: They walk away from the best thing in their life. He knows that someday, Charlie will regret his decision, but it’ll be too late.

Kirsten takes Ellie’s advice and tells Charlie that they’re either getting married today or they’re breaking up. She knows that if they wait six months, they’ll just replay today. She leaves to give him time to think, but this allows him to run away. Sarah blathers to Will about uncertainty and relationships and decisions and some other crap, which confuses him, since they’ve only been together for three weeks.

Bailey gives Julia the news about Charlie, but she can’t really process it since she’s drunk. Justin grabs another bottle of champagne and they go up to Julia’s room. Kirsten redoes her makeup, making Claudia think that Charlie will come back. She really wants them to be together. Kirsten admits that she doesn’t think he’ll be back.

Bailey asks Will straight out if he loves Sarah. Will doesn’t really know what to say, since, again, they’ve been dating for less than a month. Bailey thinks he himself loves her, so he needs to know where Will stands. Upstairs, a super-drunk Julia and Justin start making out. She asks if he has protection, but it doesn’t look like he makes a move to actually get a condom out of his wallet.

Downstairs, Kirsten tells everyone that the wedding’s really off. Just then, Charlie returns and pulls Kirsten away to tell her he’s changed his mind and wants to get married. If it’s a choice between the wedding and breaking up, he’ll go through with the wedding.

Will pulls Bailey and Sarah into Bailey’s room so they can figure out who wants to be with who. Sarah feels like the guys are competing for her. Bailey says that Will and Sarah care about each other, and he also cares about Will, and also really cares about Sarah. Now everyone’s more confused than before. Julia suddenly sobers up when she realizes that she and Justin just had sex. Claudia knocks on the door to tell her that Charlie’s there and the wedding’s back on.

The ceremony is about to begin but this time the bride isn’t ready. Charlie finds her in her regular clothes, and she tells him that she doesn’t know what else she can give him if he’s not sure he wants to marry her. Charlie promises that he’s sure, but Kirsten knows he’s not. He begs her to marry him. She tells him she’s afraid that one day he’ll come home and say he doesn’t want to be with her anymore. She can’t take the chance that he’ll keep his word not to leave her.

The wedding is called off again, and this time everyone actually leaves. Will tells Bailey that Sarah broke up with him. He could be mad that his girlfriend and best friend want to be together, but he’d rather let it go and keep his best friend. Plus, he thinks Bailey and Sarah are meant to be together. Then Will punches Bailey in the stomach, apologizing for having to do such a guy thing.

Julia isn’t that happy that her first time having sex was at a failed wedding after getting drunk. She wishes she’d been able to look at Justin afterward and know that she wanted to be with him. It would be nice if they were at least still friends. Bailey tells Sarah that when they were together before, it was too soon; when she was with Will, it was too late. Maybe now, the timing is right. They kiss, so I guess that means the timing is right.

That night, Ellie and Gene help Kirsten move her things out of the Salingers’ house. She tells Charlie she’ll be with them in Chicago for a while, then gives him back her engagement ring. They exchange “I love you”s, but she hopes that feeling goes away soon.

Claudia’s really confused about the breakup since she’s sure Charlie loves Kirsten. She decides to save the top of the wedding cake, as per tradition, in hopes that they’ll change their minds again. Bailey goes to talk to Charlie, who thinks he’s in for a lecture. Instead, Bailey promises that he’s on Charlie’s side.

Thoughts: Trivia: Julia’s allergic to shrimp.

No one seems to have any problem with Charlie seeing Kirsten in her wedding dress before the ceremony. I mean, obviously it winds up not mattering, but still.

Why does everyone hang around after the wedding’s cancelled? Go home! There’s no more party! Take some shrimp and get out!

Thanks for showing up for two scenes, Ross.

I remember being so bummed about this episode when it first aired. It’s nice to know that (SPOILER!) Charlie and Kirsten end up getting married in season 6.

May 18, 2013

Party of Five 2.6, Analogies: Detours

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:16 pm by Jenn

Charlie, hold on to this radio. You're going to really want it in a few years. Trust me on this

Charlie, hold on to this radio. You’re going to really want it in a few years. Trust me on this

Summary: Hey, everyone! Let’s talk about Charlie and Kirsten’s sex life! Isn’t that exactly how you want to start an episode? Fortunately, Bailey interrupts by summoning Kirsten downstairs. But maybe she should have put on more clothes, because her parents, Ellie and Gene, are there for a surprise visit. (Surprise! Your daughter’s not a virgin!) They insist on staying in a hotel, but say it in that way that means they’re expecting to be invited to stay at the house.

Julia and Claudia are supposed to go see a dressmaker after school, but Claudia refuses to let Griffin chauffeur them. Julia goes home instead, just in time for Bailey to open his SAT scores. He got a 900, and Julia gets $5 from Will for correctly guessing that Bailey would get under 950. Bailey’s hurt, but Will points out that he doesn’t need a very high score to get into the college he wants to attend.

Griffin wants to hang out with Claudia, but she’s a brat again. He gives her a bracelet he made her as a peace offering. She throws it back at him, so Julia blasts her for being rude. Claudia tells her she preferred Justin, and since they’re in her house, she gets to choose who she’s nice to. Julia says that whoever she dates is none of Claudia’s business. Also, Claudia’s a brat.

The Salingers play musical rooms to accommodate Ellie and Gene, who reveal that they sleep in separate beds. Kirsten wonders if that means they don’t have sex anymore. Charlie and I are both trying not to think about it. Speaking of sex, Charlie tries to get romantic with Kirsten, which I’m sure she really wants a) after talking about her parents’ love life and b) while they’re in the next room.

Charlie and Gene play golf, and Kirsten and Ellie tag along but don’t play. The men discuss Charlie and Kirsten’s honeymoon in Mexico, though Charlie would like to go to Europe. Gene pushes him to set an actual date; otherwise it’ll never happen. As soon as he retires, he plans to take Ellie to a baseball game in every Major League park. They’ll make a vague route, but let themselves be flexible. Charlie agrees that detours make things interesting.

Bailey wants to transfer out of an advanced class and take woodshop, then go to a state school, giving up his dream of going to college on the East Coast. The teacher whose class he’s transferring out of tells him not to run away just because things got difficult. Charlie and the Bennetts go to Chinatown, but Ellie gets food poisoning, though Kirsten thinks it’s revenge because she didn’t get to choose the restaurant. This means the rest of the day’s plans are ruined. Kirsten comes up with alternate plans, and Charlie tells her she sounds just like her mother.

Claudia extends an olive branch to Griffin, asking if he can help her with a school project. She tells him she and Justin were friends, which is why she’s been so cold to Griffin. Bailey’s teacher has locked her keys in her car, so she asks him for a ride home to get her spares. (Red flag #1). He tells her he’s thinking about retaking the SAT. She quickly offers to tutor him, inviting him to study at her house. (Red flag #2). Then she tells him to call her Maggie. (Red flag #3. Bailey, get out!)

Griffin and Claudia are such good friends now that he invites her to hang out with him and Julia. Julia quickly objects, but Claudia doesn’t seem too hurt. Kirsten and Charlie start talking about their sex life again; she’s trying to convince herself that they’re spontaneous, unlike her mother. Somehow, her list of ways they’re different from her parents leads to sex. I don’t want to think about it.

Maggie tutors Bailey, who notes that she’s the same age as Charlie. Despite all the signs that Maggie is totally crossing the line with this whole situation, she does give Bailey some good encouragement, telling him that he’s not facing anything incredibly difficult, or even that hard. He needs to keep an open mind because sometimes the right answer is the last one you would expect. At home, Charlie appreciates Julia’s efforts to do something Griffin likes by getting tickets to a car show.

Griffin is currently out with Claudia, doing that thing where you make up stories about strangers. She shows him that she’s wearing the bracelet he gave her. Charlie shows Gene a picture of his father and grandfather at Ebbets Field, one of the parks he and Ellie will need to visit before it’s torn down. This is the first Ellie’s heard about Gene’s post-retirement plans. She tells Charlie and Kirsten about Gene’s past plans, which he never saw through. Gene gets annoyed and storms out.

Kirsten is also annoyed, blasting her mother for embarrassing Gene. Ellie says this isn’t the first time he’s told someone they’re selling the house and going on some adventure. Everyone always supports his ideas because he’s a dreamer. Then Ellie has to come in and bring him back to reality. She’s annoyed that he can never make a decision more than a day in advance. Ellie doesn’t like that she’s always been the bad guy with Kirsten and her sister. Kirsten loves Gene, but Ellie made her responsible. She thinks Charlie and Kirsten have a similar relationship.

Griffin and Claudia come home later than planned, which means Julia couldn’t take him to the car show. She complains that she has to jump through hoops to get her own boyfriend’s attention while he tries to make her sister happy. She just wants him to do something for her instead. After Julia kicks Griffin out, Claudia accuses her of being jealous. Julia shoots back that if Claudia has a crush, Griffin’s not interesting. He’s only spending time with her out of pity, because she has no friends. “That is not a date, Claudia, it’s called babysitting,” Julia says.

Bailey takes a practice SAT but gets a 900 again. He thinks Maggie should have listened when he said he wasn’t good at this sort of thing. She reminds him that they only worked for a day. Bailey calls himself dumb and tells her not to lie to herself. He’s resigned himself to go to a state school. Maggie thinks his home life is part of the problem – no one holds him accountable for his actions. When he fails, no one encourages him or tells him he can do better.

Gene tells Charlie that he and Ellie are adding on to their house so they’ll have room for their grandchildren. (I guess Kirsten’s sister will be providing those grandchildren.) He gets his ideas for great adventures from National Geographic, and doesn’t see the harm in daydreaming. That’s good enough for him. Charlie doesn’t think it has to be good enough – he doesn’t have to give up all of his dreams. Gene knows that Ellie’s right, and he doesn’t think it’s so bad to stay in one place. He wonders why it matters so much to Charlie.

Bailey tells Charlie that he’s not going to retake the SAT after all. Charlie tells him he got around a 900, too. Now Bailey doesn’t have to put himself through the stress of the test again. Bailey tries to bait him to have a reaction to a low score, but Charlie doesn’t. He asks if anyone gave him a hard time when he dropped out of college. Charlie says their father did, but no one was surprised, since Charlie failed all the time. Charlie reveals that when the accident happened, he was planning to move home for a semester. Their mother thought he would be able to turn things around.

Griffin gives Julia a necklace, which she thinks is an apology. It actually belonged to Jill, and was the first present he gave her that wasn’t childish. She followed him around when she was a kid, and he got used to having her around. Griffin starts reminiscing, then tells Julia that he’s more used to dealing with a little sister than a girlfriend.

Gene and Kirsten discuss house renovations while Ellie confronts Charlie, who she thinks is mad at her. She thinks Charlie and Gene are a lot alike. She calls them both lost, but Charlie likes to think of himself as “not finished looking yet.” He wants them to figure out what they want and not settle for anything else. He regrets getting involved in Gene and Ellie’s issues.

Julia invites Claudia to hang out with Griffin while she does homework. She admits that she was jealous and apologizes. Claudia says Griffin doesn’t have to babysit her, but he doesn’t see it that way. They play the piano together, and he tells her he used to play growing up (clearly with Jill). The Bennetts got to the airport, and Gene assures Charlie that they’ll stay in a hotel for the wedding. Kirsten and her parents part on good terms.

Kirsten thinks the whole trip went well (Charlie thinks she’s crazy), and she’s pleased to see that her parents are still happy together, even though they just have each other. She understands that because she only needs Charlie. It’s hard to tell, but Charlie might not agree. Bailey writes a college essay about losing people in his life who made him feel like he could do amazing things. He’s trying to remember his mother’s voice so he can feel her encouragement.

Thoughts: All three of this week’s guest stars have been on soaps (Falcon Crest is technically a soap). Gene is played by Nicholas Pryor (AKA Chancellor Arnold on Beverly Hills, 90210), who’s been on a ton of soaps, including Port Charles, where he was a regular. Ellie is played by Kathleen Noone, who’s been on All My Children, Passions, and Sunset Beach. And Maggie is played by Stacy Galina, who was on Falcon Crest.

Guys, LEARN TO SAY NO. There’s no room in the house for guests! Claudia already lives in a freaking tent!

What horrible school is going to let Bailey in with only a 900?

Kirsten’s kind of funny when she’s freaking out. Is that bad?

I’m not a huge Griffin fan, but he’s great with Claudia.

Here’s an analogy: Griffin’s connection with Claudia is to Julia’s connection with Mrs. Thompson.