January 17, 2015
Summary: Charlie and Kirsten come home from work to find Diana with a guy they’ve never met. He’s Victor, and he’s secretly been nannying, though I’m not sure how Daphne pays him since she was fired and hasn’t found another job. Oh, and she didn’t tell Charlie and Kirsten she was fired until now. At the house, Sarah gets a phone call from Mindy, a high school friend of her biological mother, Robin. Sarah wants to meet her and find out more about her birth family. Bailey is very supportive.
Julia meets with Evan, who wants more details in her writing about her family’s reactions when her father lost his temper. He thinks Mrs. Salinger enabled Mr. Salinger, and that Julia has inherited that. Kirsten objects to Charlie giving Daphne money, since it gives her an excuse not to find a new job. He suggests that she try to get Daphne a job as the assistant to Kirsten’s boss. At school, Claudia, Alexa, and other popular kids talk about how someone’s writing trash about them on the Internet. Alexa’s boyfriend, Cameron, isn’t fazed.
Charlie tries to reach out to Myra, a girl in his woodshop class who’s doing poorly in school. He offers to give her extra time on a project; if she doesn’t do well on it, she’ll fail. Myra doesn’t care. At home, Julia brings up a childhood memory of her mother telling her and Claudia to hug their father so he wouldn’t get mad about a broken bowl. She doesn’t remember Mrs. Salinger ever telling Mr. Salinger to stop being angry. Bailey tells Julia to stop talking about their parents like that, especially with Owen in the room.
Sarah meets Mindy and hears some stories about Robin. She looks through a playbill from a performance Robin did of Cyrano; she wrote a note on it to Mindy that she felt like her life was about to change. Mindy wonders if she was talking about having Sarah. Daphne gets the job Kirsten helped her with, admitting to Kirsten that she lied about her professional skills: “All I know how to do is make long-distance phone calls and steal office supplies.” Claudia thinks Cameron is behind the Internet trash-talking, but isn’t sure why he’s doing it.
One of Julia’s classmates, Isabel, apologizes for being so mean to her because of how Julia has a book contract already. Julia confides that her editor wants her to blame her parents for things she’s not mad at them about. Charlie gives Myra a new assignment for her big class project: build a guillotine. She thinks he’s taking pity on her, but he says it’s because he’s sick of everyone else’s uncreative projects. He adds that he’s hard on students so they’ll work hard to leave, because the alternative is coming back there to teach, like he did.
Kirsten helps Daphne with her job, though Daphne’s clearly more interested in playing with Diana. Kirsten finishes things up for Daphne, criticizing her for telling Diana how to do things instead of learning to do them herself. Victor’s like, “Hey, what great advice!” Sarah reads Cyrano, gushing over how romantic it is, and how Robin must have felt speaking the lines to her co-star, William. She’s done the math and thinks William could be her father. He has a studio in New York, and she’s made plans to go see him.
The next day, Bailey reads some of Julia’s notes and discovers that she’s painting their father as controlling. She denies that she’s making him out to be a villain – no one is a bad guy, even Ned. Bailey doesn’t like that she’s putting blame on their parents and looking in the past for answers. Myra starts working on her guillotine, and chats with Charlie a little, mentioning that she’s alone at home a lot. Some secrets of Alexa’s have made it online, and she and another friend, Rhiannon, think Claudia is responsible. After all, the trash-talk didn’t start until she joined their group.
Daphne goes to Kirsten at work to announce that she quit. She’s not comfortable working a job that requires her to do the same thing every day. Kirsten’s like, “Welcome to the world of being an adult.” She warns that Daphne’s leaving a good job when she doesn’t know what she wants, and she might have trouble getting another good job. Julia tells Isabel how much Evan annoys her by acting like her writing is just words, rather than experiences that actually happened to her. Isabel thinks he’s cold because his wife committed suicide. That’s news to Julia.
Sarah promises Bailey that she’ll be back after spending a few days in New York, but he wants to know what happens next. Does she expect to get answers to all of her questions? Bailey assures Sarah that he’s supportive of her wanting to meet her father, but he’s worried that she’ll end up disappointed. He’s connecting her search with their own relationship problems. Sarah can’t tell him honestly that there’s no connection.
Julia meets with Evan, telling him that she decided not to look more into her mother because her book is about her own experiences. Evan wants Julia to be honest in her writing. She accuses him of seeing the story personally – like something happened to him and he’s looking for someone to blame. Evan knows she’s talking about his wife. She tells him that since she can’t tell him how to feel about his wife, he can’t tell her how to feel about her mother.
Alexa apologizes to Claudia for her false accusations, since Claudia has now been trashed on the website. Cameron has also trashed himself, criticizing his inability to be grateful for the things he’s been handed in life. Sarah tells Bailey that she wants to look for her father so she can feel young and spontaneous. So her search does go back to their relationship, and how she feels stuck in an adult life when she’s only 20. Sarah feels like she left her ID and passport in New York, and she has to go retrieve them so she and Bailey can travel somewhere else together.
Evan tracks down Julia on campus, and she quickly apologizes for their fight. He admits that he’s always trying to make sense of why his wife killed herself, which involves blaming people. He just wants Julia to be honest about the way her parents might have let her down. She’s not blaming them, just trying to understand them. Julia can be disappointed in them and still love them, like she did when they were alive.
Charlie runs into Myra as he’s leaving for the night, and she asks for help with her homework. Julia packs up to move out of the Salingers’ house; Isabel offered to let her move in while she looks for her own place. Sarah urges her to talk to Bailey about their recent arguments. She knows that Bailey doesn’t like change because he wants stability around him. She thinks Julia should stay in the house. At their place, Kirsten tells Charlie that she thought she’d accepted not having a child of her own, but she still wants one.
Bailey’s happy to hear that Julia’s going to stay at the house after all. She assures him that asking questions about their parents is just as hard for her as it is for him to hear them. She feels closer to them now; it’s like she’s letting them be themselves instead of making them out to be something else. Bailey takes Sarah to the airport, promising that he’ll never stand in her way when she wants something. She invites him to come along, but he thinks she needs to do this on her own. He promises that he’ll be there waiting for her when she comes home from finding what she’s looking for. (Spoiler: She won’t come home. This is her last episode.)
Thoughts: ‘Bye, Sarah! Enjoy your failed spin-off!
Lots of recognizable guest stars in this one: Myra is played by Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under). Victor is played by Wilson Cruz (My So-Called Life). Rhiannon is played by Jodie Sweetin (Full House).
So is Charlie ever going to talk to Daphne about how she kept quiet about losing her job? Their relationship is so weird.
Would a student actually be allowed to build a guillotine? That sounds unsafe.
’90s music alert: “Never Saw Blue Like That” by Shawn Colvin.
January 10, 2015
Summary: Charlie and Kirsten are in Mexico on their honeymoon, but they’re not having a good time. He has a bad sunburn, she has food poisoning, and the people in the hotel room next to theirs are very loud when they have sex. Kirsten says she’s glad to be there anyway, even though she and Charlie have just been playing cards the whole trip. Back in San Francisco, Bailey and Sarah have been having lots of sex and are much happier than they were in the last episode.
Julia gets her book deal, which means now she’ll have to actually write the thing. She asks Claudia and Sarah to help her get all the details right. They’re more excited by the thought of her getting an advance and having her book turned into a movie. In Mexico, Charlie and Kirsten try to figure out who their neighbors are. They order the exact same food as a couple there for their 30th anniversary. The couple has also spend the whole trip playing cards, like Charlie and Kirsten have. The newlyweds rush to their room to have sex so they won’t seem old.
At school, Cody tries to get Claudia to go to a concert with him. She reminds him that they broke up, and she doesn’t want to be friends right now. Daphne takes Diana to daycare for the first time; she’s nervous but Diana’s completely fine with it. Sarah goes to pick up Bailey after an AA meeting, meeting one of his friends, John. She notes how strange it is that Bailey talks to strangers about her.
Julia goes to a writing class at her new college, but one of her classmates thinks it’s dumb that they’re focusing on a piece with a contract and deadline. Another classmate thinks she’s just getting published because she’ll look good on the book jacket. The professor points out that all writers face criticism, so they shouldn’t put it on each other. He tells the students to be on Julia’s side, rather than against her.
Cody hijacks the school’s PA system to play Claudia a song. Her classmates are impressed, though surprised that she merits this kind of behavior. Claudia’s hugely embarrassed. Sarah wonders how Bailey talks about their relationship at AA meetings – does he tell people that things are good? After all, they never talked about their recent problems; they just solved everything in bed. Bailey’s like, “Yes, but that’s working, so…?”
Unlike those two lovebirds, Charlie and Kirsten aren’t having much fun in bed. She’s not that concerned – they’re married now, so they don’t have to have a magical time every night. She doesn’t expect surprises anymore. She assures Charlie that there’s no pressure now. He’s not as happy to hear that as she expected. At school, a popular girl named Alexa tries to get Claudia to talk about Cody’s song, but Claudia won’t discuss it. She guesses that they broke up because of cheating.
Julia tries to talk to Evan about her book, but he’s more interested in the publishing angle than the writing part of the process. He also doesn’t think he’s the best person to ask, since he’s an editor more than he is a writer (despite having written a book). Bailey asks Joe to run the restaurant that night so he can spend time with Sarah. Joe offers to run it for a week to give them more time together. He admits that he doesn’t want to go back to L.A. because he and Franny have separated. He didn’t want to bring it up because the Salingers are all so happy.
Daphne continues to be on the show for no reason. Motherhood is hard, you guys. Alexa wants to talk to Claudia about boyfriends who cheat, and how sometimes they’re better boyfriends after that. Claudia realizes that Alexa’s boyfriend Cameron cheated on her. Alexa wants to know if Claudia gave Cody another chance. Claudia wants to know why Alexa cares so much about how Claudia handled her relationship problems.
Charlie and Kirsten discuss how their noisy neighbors are able to keep up their passion. There’s a discussion of tying someone to a bedpost, and Charlie teases that Kirsten would be into that. She admits that she tried that with a guy and enjoyed it. Bailey and Sarah try out that relationship thing where you talk instead of just having sex. Sarah’s realized that all of her life plans have involved Bailey, and she’s not sure how to make decisions about her life on her own. He doesn’t like to hear that she feels lost. He reminds her that he can help her feel found.
Cody goes to the Salingers’, where, fortunately, Bailey tries to get him to back off. Cody says that when things got rough, they didn’t discuss them, so they just got worse. Now that he wants to fix them, Claudia won’t talk to him. Bailey totally gets it. In Mexico, Charlie’s stuck on Kirsten’s bed-tying affection; she once asked him about it and said she’d never done it. Charlie’s insecure because Kirsten has had better sex than him. She insists that she’s happy, but he notes that things could be better in bed if she wants them to do something different.
Cody bugs Claudia once again about working things out, but this time Alexa comes to the rescue, telling Cody to respect Claudia’s wishes not to talk to him. Alexa also tells Cameron to shut up, so rock on, Alexa. Claudia feeds off of her confidence, telling Cody to leave. Daphne takes a break at work to go visit Diana (apparently the daycare center is in her building). Her boss disapproves and fires her. By the way, I don’t think that’s legal, but whatever.
Julia’s up late, crying while trying to write. Claudia doesn’t get why she’s stuck, since she’s just writing what happened to her. Julia corrects that she also has to write what it all means to her. She doesn’t think she should need help – a real writer should know what to say. She feels like she’s not a real writer after all. Claudia can’t believe that that’s the only thing she can think of that she learned from her whole experience with Ned.
Joe’s surprised to see Bailey at the restaurant rather than with Sarah. Bailey admits that their relationship isn’t as super as it seems. Joe points out that talking to him isn’t going to help if it means he’s not talking to Sarah. Bailey doesn’t want to be mad at Sarah for not knowing what she wants from them. However, he doesn’t want to tell Sarah how he feels because it’ll upset her. Joe tells him that this attitude isn’t going to fix anything.
As Charlie’s packing up to head home, Kirsten lets him know that she bought some scarves. If he’d like to use them to tie anything to anything else, she wouldn’t say no. Or they could just keep playing cards. At school, Alexa introduces Claudia to her popular friends. Daphne continues to exist. Why is she still on this show?
Julia goes to Evan’s office again, basically demanding that he help her. He wanted a book that would help him understand why she stayed in an abusive relationship. She doesn’t have an answer yet, but she thinks Evan can help her figure it out. Charlie and Kirsten are super-okay now. She offers to tell him more about things she experienced before they got together, but he’d rather wait and be surprised. Bailey and Sarah continue to have sex without talking about their issues.
Thoughts: Alexa is played by Maggie Lawson, Juliet from Psych. John (who only had one scene in this episode but is supposed to pop up again) is played by Jen Lindley’s father.
Claudia, wondering who should play Julia in the movie version of her life: “How about Sarah Michelle?” Sarah: “She’s way over-exposed.” I know that was supposed to be a joke, since Neve Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt both did movies with her, but it just sounds mean. Also, of the three of them, Sarah Michelle Gellar is still the most famous 15 years later, so nyah.
Diana’s walking! I can’t believe she’s already that old.
January 3, 2015
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.”
December 27, 2014
Summary: Claudia comes home from a night out and finds Sarah studying for a test. Sarah quickly clears out when Bailey comes in to talk to his sister. He’s happy that Claudia has been sticking to her curfew, but he doesn’t like that she goes out every night, so they never get to spend time together. Claudia thinks his real problem is that he doesn’t like how she’s dressing or who she’s hanging out with. She doesn’t think he trusts her. Bailey goes to complain to Sarah, she needs him to handle his own problems so she can focus on her grades, which will affect her scholarship.
Over at Kirsten and Charlie’s, they’re both up late as well. Kirsten’s trying to make sure she has a plan B in case Charlie and Daphne get back together. Charlie assures her that that won’t happen – he’s completely committed to Kirsten. She knows that he could change his mind, so she’s not depending on his word. Julia pops up at the Salingers’ to study in peace, but instead she and Sarah commiserate over how they feel like they’ve screwed up in school this year. They realize that they’re both going for the same scholarship, which can go to up to five people.
Cody takes Claudia to a party to meet more of his friends. They’re watching skateboarding videos, which Claudia finds boring. Justin makes a surprise visit to Julia’s dorm, bringing with him knowledge of what’s on her biochemistry exam. She declines his help, since it would violate the honor code. Plus, she doesn’t want to depend on someone else. Also, Maggie’s there, but she doesn’t do anything. Hi anyway, Maggie.
Charlie meets Bailey at the restaurant so Bailey can ask for advice. He and Sarah both feel like all they do is put out fires and don’t get anything out of life. He wants them to make a life together instead of just getting through each day. Bailey shows Charlie the engagement ring he bought, which makes Charlie laugh – he bought one for Kirsten. Justin tries again to give Julia information about her exam, but she declines again, still wanting to learn to do things for herself.
Bailey makes plans to spend the evening alone with Sarah so he can propose. She has Bailey call to get her grades so she can figure out if she’ll get the scholarship. Her GPA isn’t high enough, so she thinks she’s sunk. Bailey tries to cheer her up, reminding her that he has a special night planned. Sarah realizes that she’s lucky to have found such a great guy. Claudia’s still not having fun with Cody’s friends, but she connects with a girl because she knows about alcohol from the family’s restaurant. She celebrates with a beer.
Charlie has his own special night planned for Kirsten, though she’s not in the mood, despite landing a new job. She already regrets accepting the job since she doesn’t really want it. She doesn’t want a consolation prize, and she shouldn’t have said yes to something she’s not that excited about. Charlie’s like, “So maybe I shouldn’t ask any important questions right now?” Claudia gets sloppy drunk, which turns Cody off. Hey, Cody, maybe do something she wants to do for once?
Kirsten starts cleaning up the living room and finds Charlie’s ring. He admits that he was going to propose but decided to postpone because she wasn’t in the mood. She still isn’t, but he starts to propose anyway. Kirsten thinks the timing is suspicious – she’s recently been worrying that Daphne is a threat to their relationship, so she thinks Charlie’s doing this to reassure her, not because he actually wants to marry her.
After a nice dinner, Bailey takes Sarah to the dock where his father proposed to his mother. Sarah quickly figures out what’s going on. Mr. Salinger used to say that sometimes you need a crisis to let you know what’s important. Thanks to some recent mini-crises, Bailey would like to make all of his problems and all of Sarah’s problems their problems so they can get through them together. He proposes, and after the shock wears off, she accepts.
The next day, Bailey visits Charlie at school to ask how things went with Kirsten, and to report that he and Sarah are engaged. Charlie has to admit that he and Kirsten aren’t. Cody finds Claudia at home, hungover, and apologizes for making her spend time with people who are so different from her. He likes his friends, but he would rather be with Claudia. He liked her better when she was herself, not when she was trying to fit in with a wilder crowd.
Daphne comes over to watch Diana while Kirsten and Charlie go out. Daphne’s upset that Kirsten’s pretending that everything is awesome and the whole arrangement isn’t weird. She acknowledges that she has problems trusting that the people who love her won’t leave her. Kirsten promises that even though Charlie’s life has changed, Daphne can still trust him. Daphne says that no matter what Charlie did after he and Kirsten split up, he never left her, and he never will. She wishes she had something like that.
Julia mopes at the Salingers’, sure that she bombed her biochemistry final. Sarah commends her for going to school and trying new things, even if she didn’t succeed in every area. Julia notices her engagement ring and gets excited that she and Sarah will be sisters-in-law. Charlie and Kirsten go to a dinner he planned to celebrate their engagement. He has to turn away violinists who want to serenade them with “It’s Now or Never” (heh). Charlie tries to explain to Kirsten that he was going to propose because he loves her, not out of obligation. Kirsten interrupts to tell him she wants to marry him.
At the house, Bailey listens to tapes, trying to pick a wedding band, while Sarah starts to melt down, all, “This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife” (well, husband). She tells Bailey that this isn’t what she asked for. Bailey offers to make some changes, but Sarah knows that no matter what happens, Owen will always be the priority. Bailey promises to make things work. “What if I don’t want it to work?” she asks tearfully. She wants to be able to try new things and make mistakes, like Julia can. Right now, other people depend on her to succeed. She can’t be engaged right now.
A few days later, Charlie and Kirsten plan an engagement party at the house, which I’m sure won’t be awkward just after Bailey and Sarah’s engagement has ended. Bailey’s upset that Sarah must feel like there’s something better out there for her. Sarah assures him that he’s the best thing she’s found in her life, so there probably isn’t something better. Claudia asks Bailey not to comment on her wardrobe, since she feels like he’s trying to make her into someone he wants her to be. Then she backs off, telling him she got a pager so he can stay in touch with her better.
Daphne drops Diana off at the house, clearly upset that Kirsten and Charlie are going to get married. Kirsten gets her to admit that she feel left out of their little family. Daphne wants to be in Diana’s life so she and her daughter can both benefit. Kirsten invites her to stay for the party, saying she really wants her to be there. Julia learns that she got the scholarship, despite her certainty that her grades and essay wouldn’t measure up. She laments to Justin that she’s never satisfied with things, and promises to work on that.
Bailey feels like he’s done everything wrong, especially trying to take over the family from Charlie. He thinks he’s made everything worse for the family. Charlie’s like, “I don’t care. Be my best man.” Bailey warns that his controlling ways will cause tension between them, but Charlie needs someone to make the wedding perfect. (Also, Charlie has no friends, so…) Griffin comes by with a present, and Julia invites him to take pictures with the family. He declines, but all the Salingers take pictures with Kirsten. There’s only one shot left when Sarah shows up, and Justin takes it when she’s not facing the camera. Foreshadowing!
Thoughts: That’s it for season 5! Don’t get too attached to Sarah; she won’t be around much longer.
Justin goes to Yale, so why would his biochemistry exam have anything to do with one at Stanford?
What’s with Charlie and Kirsten always getting engaged so quickly? What’s the rush? They just got back together!
Bailey’s rejected first-draft proposal was probably, “Sarah, will you commit to being this stressed out and confused until one of us dies, possibly because you’ve murdered me out of frustration?”
Also, Bailey and Sarah picked September 11th as their wedding day. Now THAT’S an omen.
I love that Claudia gives Bailey her pager number…then the bill for the pager. “I got you a really good deal.” Never change, Claud.
December 20, 2014
Summary: Julia takes a break from studying to try to call Perry, who she hasn’t spoken to for a few days. Julia’s trying to work on an essay for a scholarship. Sarah’s going for the same scholarship and is also having trouble with the essay. Bailey’s annoyed that Claudia’s hanging out with Cody, but promises that everything’s okay between them. He changes his mind when she comes in with her hair dyed red, and wearing a leopard-print tube top. Bailey calls her an idiot for changing her hair to please a guy.
Over at Charlie and Kirsten’s, the happy little family is still happy – so much so that Charlie basically sees Kirsten as Diana’s mother. Kirsten loves Diana but isn’t trying to replace Daphne. Julia and Perry meet up and finally talk about their kiss. Julia knows she’s not gay, but she likes the way she feels when she’s with Perry. She feels like Perry helped her love writing again and got her to move on with her life. They agree to be friends and writing buddies again.
Claudia complains to Charlie about how Bailey’s been acting, both with her and as the head of the family. He tells her to go easy on him. He also likes her new look, which is surprising. Sarah tells Bailey that she can’t work on her essay while she’s taking care of things around the house, so she’s going to go out of town for a couple days. Suddenly Daphne arrives at the house, looking for Charlie. Bailey sends her to the high school, then calls to warn his brother.
Julia wonders why Josh keeps putting up with her, so he says he’s doing research for a story about a “haunted” (hey! Like the episode title!) woman who keeps rejecting a neurotic guy who wants to go out with her. Julia says that the woman is the neurotic one, and she’ll go out with Josh. Bailey didn’t reach Charlie in time, since Charlie was on a field trip, so he’s surprised to see Daphne at school. She announces that her mother died. She’s now clear on a lot of things, including what she wants.
On their date, Josh and Julia run into Perry, and Julia downplays the reason they’re there together. Perry’s surprised they’re on a date since Julia said she wasn’t interested in Josh. Sarah has difficulty getting ready for her special distraction-reducing vacation because she’s distracted by stuff around the house. I think it’s supposed to be funny. It’s not, really.
Charlie hasn’t told Daphne that he and Kirsten are back together, and is just now telling Kirsten that Daphne’s in town. Kirsten wonders if Daphne wants Diana and/or Charlie back. She’s also upset that Charlie’s so happy that Diana might get her real mother back. Cody clearly couldn’t care less about Claudia’s new look, which includes henna tattoos on her hands. As they’re rushing to leave a party and get Claudia home on time, she bumps into a guy who spills his beer on her.
Julia goes to Perry’s to confront her for her attitude about Josh and Julia’s date. She thinks Perry believes she only went out with Josh to avoid being alone, or to prove that she’s straight. Perry notes that Julia has a lot of complaints about her. When she saw Josh and Julia together, she thought it was nice that they might end up together. Perry blah blahs something about writers looking inside themselves to get what they need.
Of course, Bailey smells beer on Claudia and thinks she was drinking. He’s like, “Could you please not do that, please? Did I say please?” Claudia sasses that not everyone in the family is an alcoholic. Bailey thinks she believes she’s more grown-up when she dresses like one, but it’s not working. Claudia plays the “you’re not my dad” card. Sarah calls home from her distraction-reducing vacation, unable to stop thinking about the things she’s not supposed to be thinking about.
Josh asks Julia out again, trying not to be offended by the fact that she cut their previous date short. Julia wants to hold off for a while. She thinks Perry was right about her going out with Josh so she wouldn’t have to be alone. Now she’s pulling a Kelly Taylor and choosing herself so she can figure out who she is on her own. Josh says that he may not be able to wait for her, but Julia’s willing to risk losing out on a good relationship.
Daphne goes to Charlie’s, discovering that he’s living with Kirsten. The two women aren’t exactly warm toward each other, but Kirsten says that Charlie wants Daphne to be in Diana’s life. She promises that she’s never tried to take Daphne’s place. Daphne says she never even thought about that, but it’s not clear if she’s telling the truth.
Sarah returns from her distraction-reducing vacation minus one laptop and her almost-completed essay. She thinks it’s a sign that she’s not supposed to apply for it. Bailey tracks down the computer, but Sarah admits that she didn’t write anything. She can’t answer an essay question about who she is when she had to leave her life to try. Sarah isn’t sure of her identity – “sort of a mother, but not really? Maybe a wife, but not quite?” She thinks she’s afraid to be comfortable in that role because she’s so young. Maybe she does know who she is, but she’s afraid to admit it.
Daphne tells Charlie that part of the reason she came back was to make him happy, but he’s already happy with Kirsten. He makes it clear that he won’t be leaving Kirsten. Daphne wants to focus on Diana, and hopefully fix things before they get too screwed up. Charlie assures her that she can spend as much time with Diana as she wants. Daphne’s disappointed that she’ll have to work out visitation with Charlie and Kirsten.
While Claudia sneaks out to see Cody, Julia writes Perry a letter thanking her for encouraging her to be herself. Daphne visits with Diana, but it’s clear that Kirsten is more of a mother to the baby than her real mother is. Kirsten, however, thinks that Charlie, Daphne, and Diana are going to become a family again. Charlie tries to assure her that Daphne’s just there for the baby. Downtown, Bailey passes a jewelry store and takes a long look at an engagement ring.
Thoughts: I don’t think Claudia’s tube top would be acceptable under most schools’ dress codes. My high school barely had a dress code, and I know that wouldn’t pass.
Bailey thinks that Claudia “shouldn’t make a habit out of drinking.” Way to parent, Bailey.
I’m sorry, no – Daphne has no interest in Diana. She barely looks at her and won’t even hold her. I don’t believe for a second that she wants to be a mother. She only came back because she feels bad that she left. She doesn’t want to change her life to make her daughter fit in it.
December 13, 2014
Summary: Hey, it’s Josh again! And this time he gets to talk! He runs into Julia on campus and they talk about writing and stuff. He’s surprised that she and Perry have become friends. He asks her out, but Julia isn’t ready to start dating again…or, really, to hang out with people. Other than Perry, of course. Cody and Claudia are back together, so when he takes her to his place, she thinks he only has one thing on his mind. She pretends to call Bailey and get summoned home.
Claudia doesn’t get home until after midnight, and Bailey’s mad that she’s late. She’s annoyed because Charlie never worried about her staying out late. She tells her brother to mind his own business, which is a mistake, because she is his business. Bailey points out that it’s best not to make each other worry about each other at night, considering what happened to their parents. He gets the last word in the conversation by grounding Claudia.
Over at Kirsten’s, things are much happier. Charlie wants to look at another apartment for himself and Diana, but Kirsten is beyond okay with them staying with her. At the restaurant, Bailey works on boosting business while Sarah works on a school protest against sweatshops. He’s upset that they’re not spending as much time together as they used to, despite still living together. He suggests that she host a big dinner with him.
Julia goes to see Perry at her apartment, and they discuss some of Perry’s writing. Julia’s hesitant to give her opinion to a published writer, especially the published writer she totally has a crush on. Perry drags her along to a function at the dean’s. Sarah meets with her fellow sweatshop protestors, then realizes she’ll have to miss the actual protest because it coincides with the dinner.
Kirsten gets and rejects a job offer from the University of Chicago. Meanwhile, Charlie has to take Diana with him to a doctor’s appointment, which leads to him singing “The Wheels on the Bus” just before getting a scan. Then he meets Bailey for lunch and tells him that he and Kirsten want to take things slowly, which is why he doesn’t want to live together yet. Bailey thinks that if they’re in a relationship they both want, they’re not taking too many risks.
After a writing session, Perry wants to take a break by going to a frat party. She can’t believe Julia’s so focused on work when she’s surrounded by so many fun opportunities. She took Julia to a faculty function, so now Julia should take her to a student activity. Claudia and Cody hang out at the house, which is empty for once, but Claudia has already arranged for a couple friends to come over and turn it into a group thing. Unfortunately, more than just a couple people show up, so she’ll have to figure out how to explain her impromptu party to Bailey.
Speaking of parties, Julia and Perry go to a frat bash, where a guy bugs Julia, then grabs her wrist to get her to keep talking to him. Josh rescues her, but Julia would still rather be with Perry. Bailey comes home during Claudia’s party and almost gives himself a heart attack by imagining that she’s having sex. She tells him that Cody left but won’t explain why there’s a party in the first place.
Charlie finds out about Kirsten’s job offer and is surprised that she turned it down. She doesn’t see any problem with wanting to stay in San Francisco to be near him. She points out that he convinced her not to take the job in Africa. Charlie says that a long-distance relationship between San Francisco and Chicago is much more reasonable. He doesn’t want to hold her back from a job she’s been working toward for years. Also, he blames himself for her past problems with depression and finishing her degree.
Julia thinks the frat guy only messed with her because she emits some sort of invitation to be messed with. Perry, on the other hand, emits a warning to leave her alone. Perry thinks Julia has had the better life, though, because she lets herself be vulnerable with people. Julia looks at some of Perry’s jewelry, making her uncomfortable with their closeness.
Claudia finally tells Cody that she’s been acting strange because she’s not sure she’s ready to be alone with him when it might lead to sex. Cody’s offended that she thinks he might force her to do something. He’s not that sort of person. Sarah feels out of place at Bailey’s party, and it doesn’t help when she’s mistaken for a waitress.
Kirsten learns that Charlie had tests run at the hospital and didn’t tell her. He assures her that the tests are standard, and he’s not sick again. She’s upset that he didn’t let her know about them even if it meant she might get scared for him. Kirsten announces that she’s definitely not taking the job in Chicago – she won’t let Charlie dictate how she’s supposed to feel about him. He asks her to come with him to the hospital to get the test results.
Bailey introduces Sarah to a guy who runs a company that happens to use sweatshops. This is the last straw for Sarah after a horrible evening. Perry tells Julia that she talked to a friend who might want to publish something Julia wrote. Julia’s so grateful that she kisses Perry. After a pause, they kiss again, but then Perry walks away.
After the party, Bailey chastises Sarah for blowing up at the guy without thinking about how it might affect her boyfriend. Claudia comes home and Sarah turns on her for not helping to clean up after her own party. Claudia confesses that she had the party so she wouldn’t have to be alone with Cody. Whenever they start to get close, she panics because she doesn’t know what Cody expects from her. Sarah encourages her to, you know, talk to him. Cody’s response is his own problem. Bailey overhears this.
While Julia also eavesdrops, listening in on one of Perry’s classes, Charlie and Kirsten wait for his test results. Kirsten gets the giggles over a ringing phone, which helps both of them loosen up a little. Claudia has her talk with Cody, but instead of just saying, “I want to wait to have sex,” she says something about creating boundaries in a pluralistic society, and paradigms, and some other crap. Cody’s totally okay with sticking to kissing for now. Meanwhile, Charlie’s tests come back clean.
Bailey tracks Sarah down at school so he can apologize for his reaction to her blowup at the party. He shouldn’t have been so worried about how it affected him when it was more important that Sarah was sticking up for herself. He’s also grateful that Sarah’s there to teach Claudia to stick up for herself. Bailey thinks that Sarah will be a great mother someday. She seems to feel a little pressure from that statement.
Julia goes to see Perry for the first time since their kiss, which Perry doesn’t want to talk about. Julia confirms that she didn’t kiss Perry because she’s gay, or at least she doesn’t think she is. Perry, however, is, and she doesn’t want to give Julia mixed signals. She’s gay because she likes women, not because she’s had bad experiences with men like Julia has.
Julia says she likes spending time with Perry and doesn’t want to lose their relationship. Perry doesn’t want Julia to use her to work out her issues. Elsewhere in town, Charlie gets a call back about the apartment he was looking at, but he’s decided to stay with Kirsten. The two of them and Diana are extremely happy, and it’s seriously adorable.
Thoughts: One of Sarah’s classmates is Parry Shen, who plays hateful Brad on General Hospital. Boo, hiss, Brad!
The guy who offers Kirsten the job is played by David Brisbin, AKA Mr. Ernst on Hey Dude, one of my favorite shows as a kid.
Claudia, I know Cody has an actual pet snake, but when you’re trying to avoid sex, it’s probably best not to blurt out, “I want to see your snake.”
The jerk at the frat party actually uses the “did it hurt when you fell from Heaven?” line on Julia. Has that line ever worked on anyone?
Cody was annoying before, but he’s turned out to be a good guy.
’90s music alert:
- “Battleflag” by Lo Fidelity Allstars, which I will always associate with that ER episode where Kellie Martin is stabbed
- “What It’s Like” by Everlast
- “Virginia Woolf” by the Indigo Girls. This comes on during Julia and Perry’s last scene, and the second I heard the opening bar, I started laughing. A little on the nose with the Indigo Girls, eh, show?
December 6, 2014
Summary: Lauren tells Bailey that she’s resigning, which means no more kissing in the empty restaurant. Bailey refuses to let her take another job, but she wants to put the brakes on their mutual attraction before it can go too far again. He promises that it won’t. They’ll just figure out a way to work in the same place without ever having any contact.
Julia has moved back in with Maggie and is focusing on school work to distract herself from her guy issues. Maggie thinks that’s a good idea. Thanks for showing up, Mags! Everyone who lives in the Salinger house, minus Bailey, winds up in Charlie’s room, which now appears to be Charlie and Kirsten’s room. Kirsten suggests that they hang out at her place that night so they can have some privacy. Charlie learns that Bailey has hired someone to renovate the attic without letting him know.
Sarah takes Claudia to a health clinic so she can see a gynecologist before she starts having sex. Claudia reminds Sarah that she’s waiting, and besides, she doesn’t even have a boyfriend. Sarah, however, is a responsible role model and knows that Bailey and Charlie won’t be any use for this sort of thing.
Charlie goes to the restaurant to talk to Bailey about the renovations. To Bailey’s surprise, Charlie’s fine with Bailey making big decisions about the house on his own. They both want to share the house in a way that’s fair to everyone. Julia and Josh’s (remember Josh?) writing class has a visiting professor, Perry Marks, and she and Julia quickly connect. Too bad she’s not that impressed with the story Julia wrote.
Bailey and Lauren are forced to have an actual conversation at the restaurant, and Sarah accidentally makes it even more awkward by interrupting. She’s decided to cancel a spelunking trip she was supposed to take with her geography class because things are so crazy at the house. Bailey’s like, “Yes, please spend more time with me so I can’t spend it with Lauren.”
Claudia wants to go to a secret REM concert with Melanie, but since when are they friends? She’s surprised that Charlie’s not stricter with her. While unpacking at the house, Bailey finds Claudia’s pamphlets and other souvenirs from the clinic and freaks out about the possibility of his little sister having sex. Sarah tells him to calm down. He encourages her to go on the class trip. There’s a joke here about Bailey doing some spelunking of his own, but I won’t make it, because I’m a lady.
Julia runs into Perry on campus and blasts her for being so critical. What does she think she’s doing, her job? How dare a writing professor act like a writing professor! Calm down, Julia. Perry tells her that her attitude shows that she’s a writer. She’s tougher on writers she respects, which is why she was hard on Julia. Yes, yes, Julia is the best at everything. Let’s move on.
Charlie and Kirsten have their quiet evening at her place, which she’s happy to have all to herself. Charlie assures her that he’s not jealous that she has a quiet home; after all, he can retreat there whenever he needs some peace. Claudia and Melanie run into Cody, and Melanie reveals that she lied about the secret concert to get both of them to come. She thinks their breakup was stupid and that they should get back together.
Bailey continues to take over as head of the household while Charlie enjoys having more time to himself. Bailey’s concerned about Sarah taking Claudia to a gynecologist, since he and Charlie can’t be sure where her sex education is coming from. Charlie criticizes that Bailey keeps asking his opinion when he’s already made up his mind about things. If Bailey wants to do something differently, he should just do it.
Julia and Perry discuss Julia’s story, and the question of why her protagonist stays with her bad boyfriend for so long. Julia admits that it’s because she stayed with her own bad boyfriend for so long. Perry encourages her not to ignore her feelings. Charlie leaves household responsibilities to Bailey so he can spend time with Kirsten and Diana.
Perry and Julia are totes BFFs now, talking about past relationships. Julia’s read Perry’s book and wants to talk about something she wrote about, but Perry resists sharing everything about her life. She only shares what she wants to in her writing. Claudia and Melanie go shopping, and Melanie continues to press Claudia to get back together with Cody. She also knows about Claudia’s crush on Griffin. She tells Claudia to give up on what she can’t have and go for what she can.
Bailey finds a packed suitcase in Charlie’s room and mopes. Julia goes to Perry’s book signing and gets blown off by her new BFF. Bailey confronts Charlie for packing to leave, and Charlie reveals that he’s moving out. Bailey thinks it’s because his changes around the house have ticked Charlie off. Charlie says that Bailey’s just better at running the family. Charlie never wanted to be in charge, but Bailey does.
Bailey panics because Sarah hasn’t called from her trip. Julia goes back to the bookstore to get Perry’s book and learns that it’s in the lesbian section. Bailey goes to Lauren’s house to have a freak-out about his tendencies to always want to be in control. They start to make out again, but Bailey puts a stop to it. Lauren doesn’t get why else he would be there. He admits that he’s trying to do too much and is pushing away people he loves. Lauren tells him she’s taking another job.
Charlie tells Claudia that he’s moving out and she can come with him or stay with Bailey. She decides to stay, since the house has always been her home. She’s not as grown up as he is, not as ready to move on. Charlie admits that he’s not that ready, and often thinks of their mother when he sees Claudia, because Claudia looks so much like her. Claudia says that if she’s grown up at all, it’s because of Charlie. She’s happy that he’s happy.
Sarah comes home, and she should probably be suspicious of how happy Bailey is to see her. He tells her that Charlie’s already moved out, and Bailey’s now in charge. He promises never to take Sarah for granted again. Julia confronts Perry for freezing her out and not being honest about her sexuality, instead talking about past boyfriends. Perry assures her that they’re still friends.
Charlie’s staying with Kirsten while he looks for his own place, which is weird – because why didn’t he just stay at the house? Anyway, she tells him he can stay “for a while,” by which she means, “Move in with me, hunky boyfriend no longer saddled with tons of annoying dependants.” Claudia meets up with Cody at the concert venue, where REM really is playing a secret show this time. Music montage! Julia writes. Charlie and Kirsten have privacy. Claudia and Cody kiss. Bailey’s the man of the house.
Thoughts: Perry is played by Olivia d’Abo, best known as Karen on The Wonder Years.
Hey, I was just wondering what happened to Josh. Too bad he’s only in one scene and doesn’t get any lines. Good work, Adam Scott!
I still don’t buy that Julia hasn’t discussed sex stuff with Claudia. Claudia’s the type to ask a lot of questions.
I can’t believe Perry doesn’t make a J.D. Salinger reference when she learns Julia’s last name. It’s like an English professor rule − if a student has the same name as a famous writer or character, you must mention it.
Charlie doesn’t want to be in charge? Is that why he fought so hard for custody of Owen? Whatever.
’90s music alert: REM plays “At My Most Beautiful.”
November 28, 2014
Summary: Post-elevator hookup, Griffin has gone to Julia’s dorm room for more hooking up. She wants him to skip work for even more of the same, but he can’t. He also can’t hang out with her that night because he has plans with some co-workers. Julia’s like, “This reunion with a person I had a bad relationship with isn’t going as perfectly as I expected it to.” Griffin doesn’t seem to think this is a good idea.
At the restaurant, Lauren would like to address the sexual tension she felt between her and Bailey. She thinks he’s been avoiding her since the blackout. He denies that he is, and that there’s any reason to avoid her in the first place. Charlie needs a sitter so he can go on a date with his vice principal, a concept that Claudia finds ridiculous – he can’t date his boss. Also, he should be dating Kirsten anyway. Charlie notes that Claudia’s not the only person to tell him that. He tells her what Paul said, and Claudia backs him up. They need to express their feelings for each other.
Bailey meets with Owen’s teacher, who’s concerned that a drawing he made of his family seems sad. She thinks it’s because of the change in his living arrangements. “He needs to know who his family is,” she says. Julia meets Claudia at her school, and Claudia can tell from Julia’s good mood that she’s met someone. Julia admits that she and Griffin are back together. Claudia doesn’t think that they necessarily make sense now just because they did in the past. (Wait, they did?) Claudia’s going to pretend to be supportive, though.
Charlie finds an excuse to visit Kirsten so he can gauge her feelings for him. She admits that she might not stay in San Francisco, since nothing’s tying her down, and this is a good time for her to travel. Charlie indicates that he thinks she should stay put, but tells her to do what she wants. The Salinger brothers play together at the house, and we get to see Thurber for the first time in years. This is all in case we didn’t get that this is the best place for Owen.
Claudia goes to see Ross in a concert, and afterward she can’t stop herself from telling him about her life. Charlie tells Julia that things are complicated with Kirsten right now, and he’s not sure why he would want to give things another shot if they’re not going to work out. Julia notes that it’s been two years, and they might be ready for something different. Charlie thinks that since Kirsten has been avoiding him for weeks, she doesn’t want to start things up again.
Sarah notices that Owen’s super-happy after having spent the afternoon at the house. She tells Bailey that he misses Claudia and spends an hour on the phone with her every night. She tries to assure Bailey that Owen’s happy with them, but Bailey can’t shake what his teacher said about the move shaking things up for him. Sarah suggests that the three of them move into the house. Bailey objects, wanting to hold on to the independent life he worked so hard for. He wants to give the arrangement more time to work out.
Claudia tells Ross that she doesn’t feel like Julia appreciates how much Griffin does for her. She’s sympathetic toward Griffin for the things he had to go through when he and Julia were married. Ross realizes that Claudia’s in love with Griffin. He can empathize, having loved someone who would never love him back, and he encourages her to put her emotional pain into her music.
Charlie gives Kirsten information on teaching in Tonga for a few months. It’ll combine two things she wanted to do – traveling and teaching. She’s surprised that, after he noted that she hadn’t been around, he’s encouraging her to be around even less. Kirsten wonders what he wants. Charlie says he’s just trying to be a friend, and is surprised that she’s not more excited about this opportunity.
At the restaurant, Julia notices that Bailey’s a little flustered (it’s totally because of Lauren). Bailey’s surprised that his sister is there to have dinner with Griffin. Griffin actually has no plans to be there, and ignores the message Julia leaves him. Charlie goes by the loft, and Owen asks both of his brothers to read him a bedtime story. After he falls asleep, Charlie and Bailey mention how happy he is when they’re all together. Charlie’s on board with Sarah’s idea about them moving back in.
Julia goes to Griffin’s garage to confront him for missing their date. He doesn’t make any excuses, telling her that he thinks they made a mistake. He doesn’t need more than the week they’ve been back together to realize that it’s not going to work. Bailey spent the night thinking about the Salingers’ living arrangements, and he tells Sarah that after he’s done so much for Owen, he can’t avoid doing something else that would be good for him. They’ll move back into the house.
Kirsten applies for the teaching job in Tonga, and Charlie is asked to give a reference. He learns that the job isn’t just for a few months – it’s closer to two years. He knows that Kirsten wants to finish her graduate degree. He reveals that she hasn’t finished her thesis, and her divorce isn’t final. These might be two strikes against Kirsten getting the job.
Bailey confides in Lauren that he’s sick of people telling him what he should do. He doesn’t feel like he can complain, because he has everything he wants, but he’d like some time to himself. Lauren’s the only one who makes it easier. She’s like, “Yeah, there’s totally something between us, but we’re not going to talk about it.”
Kirsten goes to the house to yell at Charlie for hurting her chances to get the job after he encouraged her to take it in the first place. Charlie admits that he was being selfish and tells her that he wants her to stay. Once the truth is out, Charlie wants to backtrack, afraid that if they get any closer, he’ll lose a really good friend. Kirsten tries to change his mind by kissing him.
Bailey goes to an AA meeting and talks about how much he wants to give up control, but how afraid he is that it’ll lead him to drink again. He thought that after enough time sober, the urge to lose control would go away, but it hasn’t. Julia laments to Claudia that everyone was right, and she and Griffin were never going to work out. Claudia thinks it’s better that they’re ending things early. Julia’s upset that the person who was there for her even after they broke up is really gone now.
Charlie and Kirsten end up in his bed together, stunned that they ignored their feelings for each other for so long. He wants to take things slowly, like, I think the ship has already sailed on “slowly,” Chuck. Claudia goes to Griffin’s garage to blast him for breaking Julia’s heart. He knows that they love each other, but that doesn’t meant they should be together. He was always afraid of screwing things up, and didn’t realize that it could screw him up. He wants to live his life without worrying about holding up someone else’s.
Bailey, Sarah, and Owen quickly start moving into the house, where Kirsten pretends she spent the night (on the couch, then in Diana’s room) because she lost her keys. Only Owen buys that. Sarah’s clearly unhappy with the new living arrangements, despite them being her idea, and Bailey’s like, “Could you please not act like your favorite pet just died?”
Claudia plays her violin while Julia looks at her divorce papers, accepting that she and Griffin are really done. Charlie goes to see Kirsten, and they’re possibly the only happy people left on the show. Bailey and Lauren are at the restaurant late, and he finally gives in to his urge to lose control. She says he shouldn’t have kissed her, but she doesn’t resist when he goes back for more.
Thoughts: ’90s music alert: “Run” by Collective Soul. Remember Collective Soul, guys?
Hey, it’s Ross! Why wasn’t he at Claudia’s birthday party?
I was starting to think that Claudia should have trapped Charlie and Kirsten in an elevator together to make them talk things out. Thank God that’s over.
Hey, Sarah? I know it sucks, but you were willing to do it, so get on the train or get off the tracks.
Imagine Owen’s family drawings now: “This is my brother and his girlfriend. This is my other brother and his girlfriend. This is my sister. This is my niece. And my other sister and her husband used to live in our shed.”
November 22, 2014
Summary: Julia helps Bailey continue moving Owen’s things out of the Salingers’ house a few weeks after he received custody. Bailey and Charlie are still on shaky terms, but Charlie’s trying to act like everything’s okay. Bailey invites him to visit Owen at his place any time he wants. Claudia joins her siblings, obviously looking for some acknowledgment, but no one catches her hints. Then she opens the fridge and finds a sign wishing her a happy 16th birthday. She’s excited that her friends and family will be getting together that night at Bailey and Sarah’s to celebrate.
Apparently parenting only one child hasn’t made things all that much easier for Charlie, as he accidentally leaves Diana’s diaper bag in his vice principal’s car. Claudia asks Griffin to come to her birthday party, but he resists since he’s still trying to separate himself from them. She offers to bring him a piece of cake instead. A waitress at the restaurant complains to Bailey about some new rules at work, which have been implemented by a manager named Lauren. She makes Bailey hang around to go over more issues.
Sarah gets things ready for Claudia’s party, which is going to get crashed by the high school’s ice hockey team. Sarah thinks that’s awesome since Claudia could use some time with boys. Lauren bugs Bailey some more about work stuff, like running tabs for longtime customers and never asking them to pay. He tells her she can implement new policies, but she needs to be a little nicer. Griffin decides to go to Claudia’s party after all, and he and Julia take an elevator up to the loft together.
Bailey’s about to leave the restaurant when the power goes out. Over at his apartment building, the power outage traps Julia and Griffin in the elevator. Elsewhere in the city, Charlie and Diana get stuck in a traffic jam. The hockey team manages to make it to the party, though. Owen notices that the power’s out all over the city. The mayor quickly declares a state of emergency and a 9:00 curfew. Charlie ditches his car in an alley while Bailey and Lauren bicker over whether they should still give their customers their bills.
Julia decides to take advantage of the situation to get Griffin to talk things out. She admits that she’s upset with him for the way he treated her when she was with Ned. She was in a bad situation, but Griffin didn’t let her handle it on her own. However, she’s grateful because he ultimately helped her. On a hunt for diapers and formula, Charlie encounters a police officer, who suggests that he stop by a hospital. The hockey team hangs out with Owen while Claudia awkwardly avoids them. Sarah tries to get her to loosen up – it shouldn’t matter if she’s a virgin and the guys aren’t.
Charlie gets what he needs at the hospital, where he also runs into Paul. He asks Charlie to donate blood since there’s a shortage. Griffin asks Julia why she didn’t call him after everything with Ned. She says she was embarrassed that he saw her in such a bad place. Griffin’s surprised that she cared about what he thought – she rarely cared about his opinion before. “I’m just a nuisance to you,” he says. Julia’s surprised that he did so much for her after claiming not to love her. She has more than just basic respect for him now.
Claudia’s still jumpy, so Sarah tells her to stop acting like the guys are enemies. They’re just paying attention to her and being nice. Claudia denies that she’s afraid, then says that she has every right to be, since she’s never had sex and so many bad things can result. Sarah’s like, “Been there, and it’s so much more awesome than you think.” She decides it’s time to give Claudia a version of the talk (and I don’t buy that Julia never did, but whatever). Bailey and Lauren fight some more – each is mad that the other is so controlling. She quits, leaving him alone to close up.
Sarah tells Claudia that she waited a long time to have sex, which for some people is part of being safe. Claudia clearly isn’t at the right place yet, but when she is, she won’t be scared anymore. Until then, she shouldn’t be nervous around the hockey players. Bailey’s hesitant to leave the restaurant until the power comes back on, since the alarm won’t work, but Sarah convinces him to stay. Lauren returns, admitting that she has trouble forming positive relationships with people, and often drives people away. They accept that they’re both control freaks and decide to have dinner together.
Charlie and Paul note how weird it is to be back in the hospital where Charlie’s life changed so much. He appreciates that Paul has always been so kind to him. Paul finds it strange that Charlie would worry about how he’s handling the split with Kirsten. Julia and Griffin consider an escape through the elevator shaft, but it’s not feasible. Instead, they’ll just bring in some sexual tension and make out a little.
Claudia tries to help a hockey player decide what to give his girlfriend for her upcoming birthday. She advises him to give her something that means a lot to him but that he never wanted to give away. (She totally means virginity, you guys.) Bailey and Lauren discuss their control issues, and Bailey wonders if that’s what was in play during the custody battle. Was he really looking out for Owen, or did he just think he was the only one who could do things right? Lauren tries to hide her disappointment when Bailey confirms that he has a girlfriend.
Griffin tries to stop things before he and Julia can go too far, but she wants him to stop worrying about making a mistake. Somehow, all the way in another part of town, Bailey and Lauren catch Griffin and Julia’s sexual tension and look like they might kiss. Just then, the power comes back on, which they should totally take as a sign. He agrees to forget about her quitting her job. Griffin and Julia finally make it out of the elevator, but he decides not to stay for the party. Julia gets him to change his mind.
Paul catches Charlie on his way out of the hospital so he can announce that Charlie and Kirsten belong together. Charlie laughs, but Paul thinks it was obvious the entire time he was with Kirsten. She told him that she hated letting Charlie go, but was able to move on because of Paul. He told himself that he was helping her move on, but she was always on a path back to Charlie. Paul wants him to realize that he’s protesting too much.
Bailey makes it to the party, which has turned out to be a big success. Claudia’s happy that Griffin showed up after all. Charlie and Diana arrive last, and since Kirsten’s there, Charlie has some thinking to do. So does Julia, who kind of wishes she were 16 again, and Griffin, who is much more practical. She asks him to pretend that things are carefree again, just for the night. Charlie tells Bailey that he can see how happy Owen is with him.
Sarah asks Claudia if she feels any older. Claudia does, since a boy asked her to “park” with him, but she asked to postpone the date for a couple years. Her birthday ends on a good note, with everyone singing “Happy Birthday.” She makes a wish as she blows out her candles, not worried that it won’t come true.
Thoughts: Lauren is played by Julie Warner (Doc Hollywood, Tommy Boy).
Charlie, don’t put a baby in the front seat! Come on!
Ahh, elevators, The go-to contrivance to trap characters together. What would TV shows do without them?
Sarah: “Offer them some nachos.” Claudia: “What if they ask me a follow-up question?” Hee.
’90s music alert: Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy.”
November 15, 2014
Summary: Things are chaotic at the Salinger house, because Charlie is the only adult and we’re all supposed to think Owen would be better living with Bailey. Kirsten announces that she’s found a place to live. Griffin’s also planning to find a place, though now Charlie’s okay with him staying, since he’s been trying to help Julia. Just as everything calms down, Charlie receives a subpoena: Bailey’s suing for custody of Owen.
Julia’s been hanging out at the house a lot, and when she realizes just how many times she’s had dinner there recently, she decides that she should stop avoiding school so much. Sarah complains to Bailey that his lawyer interrogated her at his office, even though she’s on his side. Bailey worries that she’s not on his side anymore. She admits that she doesn’t think suing Charlie is the best option. Her parents’ divorce was barely contentious but still went horribly. Sarah warns that Charlie might never forgive Bailey for his actions. Bailey’s more concerned with what Owen needs.
Griffin tours an apartment, not knowing that Kirsten’s always interested in it. The landlords are a married couple, and each offer the place to Griffin and Kirsten. Julia runs into Ned, who sends her on a guilt trip by telling her that Richie asked about her. She tells him to stop acting like things are normal. They’re over, and she won’t give in to his attempts to manipulate her. Ned seems to think that Julia will change her mind about him in time.
Charlie goes to the restaurant to confront Bailey for suing him. He can’t afford a lawyer to counter the suit, but he thinks Bailey would lose in court anyway. Bailey suggests that they hire a judge to mediate, which means neither of them would need a lawyer. Charlie doesn’t have much of a choice, since there’s a subpoena. He wonders when Bailey decided that beating him was more important than anything else.
All of the Salingers except Owen attend the mediation, where Owen’s teacher testifies about the help he needs to deal with his dyslexia. Charlie says that he didn’t follow the teacher’s suggestions because he wanted a second opinion. Bailey accuses him of trying to hide from the truth. Claudia speaks about Charlie’s schedule and how much she helps around the house. Julia’s upset that Bailey put something in the court records about Charlie’s cancer and follow-up treatments.
The judge asks if Charlie has the time to help Owen with his learning disability. Claudia admits that he doesn’t, and she wouldn’t be able to help enough to give him the time he needs. Kirsten and Griffin both arrive at the courthouse to testify and decide not to insert themselves in the drama. They mention that they’ve both found a great place to live, and that they’d like to move on from their current lives.
Kirsten objects to testifying against Charlie, blasting Bailey for making her come. The judge asks if Charlie ever discussed a plan for how he would raise Claudia, Owen, and Diana on his own if Daphne ever left. Griffin admits that Charlie has more on his plate than he can handle. Someone from Social Services testifies that things at the house are chaotic. He’s also surprised to hear that Owen broke his arm; they’re supposed to be notified of serious injuries.
During a break, Julia complains to Claudia about how the whole session is people attacking Charlie. Claudia thought she knew that was how things would go. Ned shows up (and how did he know Julia was there?) to announce that he’s seeing the counselor he and Julia saw together, and is willing to take full responsibility for everything bad if it means he gets her back. Julia continues to refuse, telling Ned to leave.
Bailey points out that Charlie’s been complaining about having to take care of the family from the minute he moved back home after their parents’ death. Julia notes that that was a long time ago. Charlie thinks he’s what’s best for Owen – he’s the only father Owen has had for the past five years. Bailey points out that Owen wants him, not Charlie. Julia tells Bailey to stop. Charlie admits that he hated giving up his own life, but he did give it up. Now he has a life of his own – Diana – and Bailey’s punishing him for it. By turning on him, everyone’s taking away his new life.
Back in court the next day, Claudia and Julia tell Bailey that Charlie hasn’t talked to either of them since they left the day before. Sarah testifies that Bailey has a lot of time to spend with Owen, Bailey’s been working hard with him, and they have room for Owen in their apartment. The judge focuses on the fact that Sarah’s a 19-year-old college student with no childcare experience beyond babysitting. Bailey thinks Charlie spoke to the judge about this on his own.
Kirsten starts moving into her new apartment, which is also apparently Griffin’s new apartment. Someone testifies about the safety of the neighborhood where Bailey lives, which is reasonable, because of all that stuff with Albert. Julia testifies about Bailey dropping out of college. Then Bailey’s alcoholism comes up, as well as how Sarah was injured when Bailey got his DUI. The social worker returns to state that they don’t like to remove kids from their homes unless things are horrible, since changing a residence can be traumatic.
Griffin wants Kirsten to take the apartment, which was a little too expensive for him anyway. She agrees to let him stay until he finds another place to live. They agree not to talk about the Salingers since they’re trying so hard to move on. At Stanford, Julia spots Ned talking to another girl and pretends she’s fine with it. Bailey thinks he’s going to lose the case, so he wants to make Owen testify that he wants to be with Bailey. Claudia and Sarah chastise him for dragging a five-year-old into their family’s mess.
Julia goes back to counseling, admitting that she feels tempted to go back to Ned. She asks if he’s making progress, and the counselor asks how he would know. He says he can’t comment on another patient’s treatment, even if say if he’s in treatment. Julia realizes that Ned lied about going back to counseling.
Owen goes in to meet with the judge, begging Bailey to stop the process. Bailey assures him that everything’s okay and no one’s fighting. He realizes how bad things are, sending Owen home with Sarah. Charlie mocks that Bailey’s just putting on a performance as a caring father because he knows he can’t win. Bailey yells that it took a subpoena to make Charlie realize that Owen needed more attention. “I’m not the one who lost his kid in the mall! I’m not the one who knocked up some stripper!” he says.
The judge announces that she’s already made a decision. If she could, she’d give Owen a break from both brothers, but instead she’s going to send him to live with Bailey. Of course, Charlie handles this badly. Bailey tells him that he only did this to get Charlie to realize that he can’t give Owen what he needs. At Stanford, Julia runs into Ned again, and he tells her he’s not going to press her to get back together, but he’d like to be friends. She agrees to hang out that night.
At the house, Charlie hears Owen on the phone with Bailey, telling him how well he did on a school assignment. He pretends he wasn’t talking to Bailey, but Charlie assures him it’s okay. Griffin helps Kirsten move into her apartment while they talk about how much the Salingers try to take care of each other. They kick themselves for talking about the Salingers while trying to move on. Griffin things they need to avoid each other to really move on. At home, Charlie urges Owen to tell him whatever he needs, even if it’s something that might make him mad.
Ned goes to Julia’s dorm room, where the counselor is waiting for him. Julia reveals that she called the school and the police to report Ned’s abuse. If he comes near her again, he’ll be charged with assault. She also called his family so they can make sure he gets help. After Julia saw Ned with the other girl, she wanted to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else. Ned wants to say something, but she tells him that no one’s listening.
Charlie and Bailey meet to hand off Owen, but Charlie doesn’t want to have a conversation with his brother yet. At school, Julia starts to eat by herself in the cafeteria, then asks to sit with a group of people. Charlie takes care of Diana while Bailey takes care of Owen, having finally gotten what he’s been fighting for.
Thoughts: The judge is played by Roxanne Hart, who’s been in a ton of stuff, and whose name makes me think of Roxie Hart. Hence the picture for this recap.
Kirsten’s apartment is way too nice for a place Griffin could afford. It’s also probably big enough for two people. It’s like an entire floor of a house.
Can’t Owen just hang out with Bailey more while still living with Charlie? This whole thing is so dumb. The judge’s decision makes no sense to me.
Aww, Griffin and Kirsten are sweet as friends. They do need to leave the Salingers behind, though.
Good for Julia. Unlike some people on this show, she makes good decisions.