November 8, 2014

Party of Five 5.18, Driven to Extremes: Changes of Mind

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:13 pm by Jenn

By the way, Maggie drives a VW Beetle, so Ned was driving Julia around in a Punch Buggy. Sigh

By the way, Maggie drives a VW Beetle, so Ned was driving Julia around in a Punch Buggy. Sigh

Summary: Claudia visits Griffin at work to let him know that he was right about Ned abusing Julia. She fills him in on the events of “Fam-i-ly,” adding that Julia’s not talking to anyone in the family. Claudia wants Griffin to do something, but he knows that’s a dead end. She yells at him for letting Julia stay where she is and get hurt. Griffin replies that Julia has to make her own decisions now, even if it means she continues to be abused.

Bailey meets with a lawyer to discuss becoming Owen’s guardian. The lawyer points out that Bailey’s live will be examined to determine whether he’s a fit guardian. Bailey’s like, “Nothing bad will come up!… Oh, wait. DUI. Forgot about that.” The lawyer doesn’t think he’ll be able to get custody. He encourages Bailey to talk to Charlie and change his mind without taking the situation to court.

Ned’s annoyed to hear that Julia has plans to spend some time with Maggie. She promises that she’s not going to leave him like Maggie did. She understands his problems and knows he’s working on them. Ned has to be reassured that no one’s going to change Julia’s mind about being with him. Bailey asks Claudia to pick a side between him and Charlie – or, more accurately, he asks her to side with him. Of course, Claudia doesn’t want to give a vote.

Charlie walks in and challenges Bailey to call him a bad parent to his face. He agrees that Owen has problems, but blames Bailey. Claudia says that Owen didn’t start acting out until Diana came along. Not that that means it’s Charlie’s fault, of course. Charlie says that if Bailey wants to know who Owen’s guardian is, he can talk to a lawyer. Bailey says he did. Charlie’s angry that Bailey’s seemingly taking steps to break up the family.

Maggie and Julia head to a museum, stopping at a gas station on the way. When Maggie leaves to go inside, Griffin jumps in the car and drives off with Julia. He tells her he’s just taking her somewhere to talk, and Maggie and Claudia helped him arrange things. Griffin basically says he didn’t want to get involved, but he couldn’t ignore Claudia and Maggie’s pleas. Then he brings up Jill, who also never wanted help, until she was so far into using drugs that she was beyond help.

Bailey turns to Kirsten as a potential ally, but Kirsten, like Claudia, doesn’t want to choose sides. She’s determined to figure out her own life apart from the Salingers. Bailey asks her to look at Owen’s tests as a child-development specialist, but she knows he’s trying to start a custody battle with Charlie. She warns that that would do more damage to Owen than he’s facing from a learning disability.

Ned surprises Maggie in her dorm room, and she tells him Julia’s still at the museum. “You know Julia – she doesn’t know when to quit,” she says. Ned spotted Maggie alone at the cafeteria and wants to know where his girlfriend is and who she’s with. Maggie sticks to the museum story. Ned insists that everything’s fine with his relationship, and he’s totally not worried about where Julia is, or whether she’s with someone who might talk her into leaving him.

Griffin and Julia’s car (well, Maggie’s car) breaks down in what appears to be San Francisco’s only desert. She tells Griffin to go walk for help while she waits in the car. She replies that he can’t tell her what to do anymore. Griffin protests that he was ever able to tell her what to do – Julia always did whatever she wanted. Maybe she was “looking for someone to beat the selfishness right out of [her].”

Charlie’s called to Owen’s school after Owen gets in a fight, and undergoes scrutiny from Owen’s teacher about whether he’s doing his recommended three hours of reading a night. Charlie hasn’t been, since he thinks Owen feels stupid for having to take so long to do something his friends do so easily. He thinks they’re labeling Owen. The teacher says Owen’s friends are the ones labeling him. Owen confirms this to Charlie, adding that fighting must be an appropriate way to deal with things since Charlie and Bailey fight all the time.

Julia flags down a passing car while Griffin’s off getting help, but the guy isn’t interested in helping her once she makes him think Griffin’s still around. Owen gets frustrated while doing homework, and Charlie finally sees the extent of his reading problems. Julia catches up to Griffin and complains that everyone sees Ned as a monster. Griffin challenges his love for someone he hits. He adds that even if Julia thinks Ned has changed, he’ll go back to his abuse. He thinks Julia stays with him because he takes care of her, so she doesn’t have to take care of herself.

Julia turns the conversation back to Griffin, wondering why he hangs around, getting involved in the Salingers’ problems, a year after they broke up. Griffin says he gave up their life together so she could have what she wants. Now he feels horrible because she chose Ned over him. They finally make it to a phone, and Griffin taunts that Julia probably wants to call Ned before they call to get a ride. Julia says that Griffin doesn’t know her and never did, “you don’t know me” being the go-to line for an unwinnable argument.

Kirsten goes to the Salingers’ pretending she wants to ask Charlie how Owen’s doing. She admits that Bailey gave her Owen’s tests, and she thinks he has a serious problem. She’s staying out of the brothers’ battle but does want to help Owen. Charlie has talked to some sort of expert and has bought Owen a bike to help him with hand/eye coordination and confidence. Kirsten’s like, “Yeah, that’ll help him with his reading. Good job.” Charlie thinks giving Owen more attention will fix everything.

Ned goes to get Julia, yelling at Griffin to stay away from his girlfriend. Poor Griffin has to keep waiting for a ride because Ned’s a jerk. Claudia goes to the restaurant to tell Bailey how screwed up everything is now with the family. Bailey tells her he’s only fighting Charlie because he truly believes he knows what’s best for Owen. Claudia’s more concerned with Julia’s situation, and how her brothers are too distracted to do anything for her.

Julia tells Ned that nothing happened with Griffin; he just wanted to talk. Ned thinks they should call the police for kidnapping her. Julia insists that they just went for a drive, and refuses to let Ned do anything. Bailey tells Sarah that he’s worried that Kirsten’s right about how his fighting with Charlie is going to affect Owen. He wanted to help his brother, but now he doesn’t feel comfortable going to the house. Bailey wants to find a better way to do things.

Charlie takes Owen to the park to ride his new bike, but he’s distracted by Diana and isn’t watching when Owen tries to ride on his own. Owen heads toward the parking lot and falls, hurting his arm. Ned tries to get Julia to skip a study group to spend time with him. Julia objects, so Ned passive-aggressively, then straight-out aggressively, tells her to call her classmate to say she’ll be there. Then he whines that Julia’s mad at him and complains that she made him drive out to get her the previous night. Julia gives in.

Bailey, Sarah, and Claudia meet Charlie at the hospital, where Owen’s treated for a broken arm. Bailey thinks Owen’s injury is proof that Charlie can’t parent two kids at once. He says that everyone else can see that Owen needs more than Charlie can give him. Ned arranges a romantic night for him and Julia, but it’s ruined when Maggie shows up. Julia called her to take her away from Ned. Ned’s angry, of course, but can’t do anything without proving everyone right about him.

At the house, Charlie asks Claudia if she’s on Bailey’s side. Claudia says that she, Bailey, and Julia had three people raising them – their parents and Charlie. Then the three older Salingers took care of Claudia and Owen. Now Owen just has Charlie, and his focus is split because of Diana. Single parents everywhere yell at their TVs.

Maggie takes Julia to their former shared room, wishing she’d been brave enough to warn Julia about Ned. She’s happy Griffin got through to her, but Julia says he didn’t. She thought she would be safe from bad things if she chose a life with Ned. Instead, she lost herself. The next day, Bailey goes back to his lawyer with x-rays, arguing that Owen’s not safe with Charlie. He wants to move forward with a custody case.

Thoughts: Griffin mentions the Salingers’ cabin in Tahoe. They still have that? Shouldn’t they have sold it to pay bills or tuition or something?

Owen’s school nickname is Slowen. Kids are awful.

Has Owen’s school never heard of resource classes? I think that’s what they’re called. All through my school years, there was a resource room where kids who needed extra help with certain subjects could get one-on-one attention and extra time. That’s exactly what Owen needs.

Hey, Kirsten, you don’t live at the Salingers’ anymore. Try knocking instead of letting yourself in. P.S. Your hair finally looks nice.

I have to say, I appreciate that a show featuring college students shows them actually doing schoolwork.

So after all the fights with and warnings from her family and Griffin, Julia just randomly sees the light? That’s anticlimactic.

November 1, 2014

Party of Five 5.17, Fam-i-ly: One of Us! One of Us!

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:33 pm by Jenn

Creeeeeeepy

Creeeeeeepy

Summary: Claudia’s reading to Owen in her old tent, which Bailey objects to; he should be working on his dyslexia by doing the reading himself. Charlie’s willing to let Bailey take Owen after school to help him with his homework, but Bailey says that’s not the best time for him to work. The brothers start fighting, disagreeing about whether Owen should be retested, and a program Bailey thinks Owen should be part of. He says again that he thinks Owen should be living with him. Charlie refuses to ever let that happen. Owen hears the whole fight.

Julia and Ned are at their new apartment, since she’s not really allowed to be anywhere else. Claudia has left multiple messages on the answering machine, desperate to talk to her sister about what’s going on with their brothers. Ned hangs up on her, telling Julia to call her family if she really wants to be involved with their problems. Claudia tells Charlie about how distant Julia’s been, and how she wouldn’t answer even when Owen called. Charlie tells her to leave Julia out of it, and let Owen talk to him if he’s upset.

Just then, Julia arrives and promises that everything’s fine. She offers to help out with the kids for the day and stay for dinner. Bailey tells Sarah he’s set up a meeting with a social worker so he can argue that Owen would be better off with them. Sarah has plans with her mother, who’s getting remarried and has just cut non-immediate family from the wedding. On her way to meet her, Sarah stops by the Salingers’ with drums for Owen; Bailey thinks they’ll help him with phonics. (South Park covered that.) Charlie questions whether she’s really willing to commit to help raising Owen.

Julia goes to the restaurant to talk things over with Bailey; she’s on Team Charlie, since he has experience raising kids. Bailey doesn’t care what she thinks – she’s not actually involved. He thinks she just came to town because it was “convenient.” When she moved home last year, when Charlie was sick, Julia felt stuck. Now she’s home to give her vote, but Bailey doesn’t think she deserves one.

Sarah’s nervous about her mother marrying into another family full of people Sarah doesn’t know (her stepfather-to-be has three children). Mrs. Reeves likes the idea of giving Sarah siblings for the first time. She’ll have family if anything happens to her parents. Julia tries to talk to Charlie about Owen; now she’s edging toward Team Bailey, knowing how difficult it was for Charlie to take care of everyone last year. Charlie thinks she’s encouraging him to quit after running the family for five years. “Quitting’s sort of your MO, not mine,” he snaps.

Julia goes back to school and tells Ned all about her mess of a family. He gives her a picture of the two of them, calling it a big step in their relationship. Claudia calls again, and when Julia doesn’t answer, she tells Charlie she’s going to cut school and go to Stanford. Unfortunately, a social worker is at the house for a surprise visit. He reveals to Charlie that Bailey visited to express concerns over Owen’s living situation.

Claudia does, indeed, cut school to track down Julia at Stanford. Maggie’s there to hear Claudia’s list of concerns: Julia’s distanced herself and become quiet. Julia insists that she just wants to avoid home because no one cares about her opinion. Sarah’s future stepsister, Sally, is working on a family tree and asks Sarah to help fill in her mother’s side. Sally is excited to be getting a new family, but Sarah’s still hesitant.

Charlie confronts Bailey for calling a social worker, who could take Owen away from both of them. Bailey promises that he just wanted to ask some questions; he didn’t make any accusations. Charlie says that if anything happens to tear the family apart, he’ll blame Bailey. While visiting Julia to borrow some notes, Maggie brings up what Claudia said about Julia’s recent behavior. She knows it all stems from Julia’s relationship with Ned. Julia plays dumb, then asks Maggie to stay out of her business.

Maggie then goes to the Salingers’ house and tells Charlie and Claudia that she thinks Julia’s in major trouble. She tells them about her own relationship with Ned, and how it mostly seemed fine but was actually abusive. He convinced Maggie that he loved her better than anyone else could. Then one day they had a huge fight and he threw her into a TV – and that wasn’t even the worst thing he did to her. Charlie remembers an injury Griffin mentioned and that Julia downplayed, and Maggie says she had the same experiences.

After Maggie leaves, Charlie calls Bailey over to fill him in. They realize that Griffin was right about Ned the whole time. The brothers decide to go confront Ned, so at least they finally agree on something. Charlie then changes his mind, thinking they should just pull Julia out, since getting into a confrontation with Ned could be dangerous. Bailey accuses him of denying what’s happening so he doesn’t have to admit that they didn’t catch on to their sister’s abusive relationship.

With the guys off on their mission, Sarah’s left to pick up Owen. She winds up taking him to dinner with her mother and stepfamily. Mrs. Reeves thinks this is a bad idea, since they’re all supposed to discuss the wedding, but the stepfamily is very welcoming. Mrs. Reeves complains that the Salingers always call on Sarah to fix their messes. She should be focusing on her family, not someone else’s family.

Charlie and Bailey burst into Julia and Ned’s apartment and order their sister to pack up and come with them. Bailey pulls Ned out of the shower and starts to get violent, but Charlie restrains him and orders Ned to stay in the bathroom. Charlie and Bailey again tell Julia to come with them, but she refuses to let them have a vote in her life when she’s not allowed to have a vote in theirs. Julia insists that Ned’s getting help, and they’re going to make things work: “I’m not quitting on him. Charlie tells Julia that if Ned really loved her, as she says he does, he wouldn’t hit her. Julia sobs, saying that Ned does love her. She kicks her brothers out.

Mrs. Reeves is still upset that Sarah hasn’t spent more time with her soon-to-be-family, but Sarah thinks the choices she’s making are fine. Mrs. Reeves chose Sarah when she adopted her, and Sarah’s choosing the family she wants. Mrs. Reeves realizes that she can’t expect her daughter to respect her choices if Mrs. Reeves doesn’t respect Sarah’s. She tells Sarah to invite Bailey to the wedding.

On their way home, Charlie laments the fact that their father isn’t there to fix things. Bailey thinks Julia’s staying with Ned to prove Charlie wrong; after all, he called her a quitter. He was also super-critical of her and Griffin last year, even though they were working so hard to help out. Bailey taunts that Charlie then turned around and got a stripper pregnant. Charlie pulls the car over to lecture Bailey that their parents wouldn’t approve of any of their choices. He just wants Julia to live up to her potential.

Back at the house, Charlie and Bailey have to tell Claudia and Sarah that Julia admitted there’s a problem but wants to stay with Ned. Now they have to let her figure things out herself. Bailey compares it to his alcoholism – he knew he had a problem but took a long time to realize how bad it was. The family intervened, but he had to hit rock bottom before he got help. Claudia notes that in this instance, rock bottom will probably mean Julia gets hurt.

Owen wakes up from a nightmare and goes straight to Bailey. He asks to sleep over at Bailey’s, where no bad guys can hurt him. After all, Bailey promised he could stay there. Charlie’s mad again, though Bailey insists he only promised to try to let Owen stay with him. Sarah tries to help out, and Charlie tells her to stay out of it. Shut up, Charlie. She calls Charlie on trying to exclude her from the family when she’s just as involved as anyone else.

Outside the house, Sarah laments to Bailey that her mother expects her to already love her new stepfather and his family. She loves the Salingers, and Bailey promises that she’s one of them. Owen asks Claudia if their brothers are mad at him, since he always hears them yelling his name. She assures him that they love him so much, they both want him to live with them. Meanwhile, Charlie puts Diana to bed, probably happy that one person in the family isn’t mad at him.

At Stanford, Julia approaches Maggie and asks how many times Ned hit her. Maggie doesn’t have a number, just saying, “Too many.” She blamed herself until she found out that Ned was also hurting Julia, which made it his fault. When Ned joins them, Julia pretends they were just talking about notes. Then she leaves her friend and goes off with her boyfriend.

Thoughts: Hey, it’s jerky Charlie! Welcome back! Now go away again.

To be fair to him, though, the rest of the family can’t judge his parenting skills based on what happened last year. He had cancer. How was he supposed to take care of everyone else when he couldn’t take care of himself?

Someone owes Griffin an apology. Actually, a lot of people owe him an apology.

Ned and Julia’s apartment has super-high ceilings. So they either live in a cheap apartment with really nice ceilings, or they live in a really nice apartment that they can somehow afford. I don’t know which is less likely.

October 25, 2014

Party of Five 5.16, Party of Freud: What Does Everyone Have Against Therapy?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

Since Daphne won't go to therapy, Diana will probably be there in 15 years

Since Daphne won’t go to therapy, Diana will probably be there in 15 years

Summary: Julia tracks down Ned after he’s hidden out for a few days in the aftermath of his fight with Griffin. He’s realized that he now knows how Julia felt after he hit her. He’s not sure where his rage comes from. He’s decided that they need to end things. Julia refuses to let him decide that for them; it’s like he’s punishing her for what Griffin did. Ned says he doesn’t want her to get hurt again, and the only way to ensure that is for her to go away.

In L.A., Daphne’s happy to be back with Diana, though she’s worried about the effects of her leaving. Charlie points out that Diana’s too young to get what’s going on or remember that Daphne left. Owen’s teacher calls Bailey in to discuss the possibility that Owen has a learning disability. Bailey wonders if he’s just stressed out about all the changes at home. The teacher wants to test Owen to find out what’s going on.

Charlie calls Kirsten to tell her how great things are going with Daphne. Kirsten’s like, “I’m so glad your awesome life is so awesome. I’m still crashing in your attic, you know.” Claudia hangs out with Griffin, who’s trying to give Julia space. She wonders if he’s still in love with someone who obviously doesn’t care about him anymore. Julia tells Ned that their relationship isn’t over just because he says it is. She walked away from her marriage, and she’s not giving up on another relationship. Ned’s not a bad person, and if he gets help, Julia will stay with him.

Charlie wants to spend more time with Daphne, who has to go to work. She’s not sure what he expects from his visit. Charlie tells her he wants her to come home with him. He thinks they can work through her problems, which stem from her mother abandoning her. Daphne appreciates knowing the truth about her childhood, but she can’t make excuses for who she is. Charlie tells her she’s giving up, and she needs to fix what’s wrong: “You’re not doomed unless you decide to be.” Anything Daphne does from here on is her own fault, not her mother’s.

Ned and Julia see a university therapist, and he admits that he can be abusive. Bailey learns that Owen has a learning disability that can be improved with lots of work. Bailey promises that he’s willing to help his brother. Owen’s teacher invites him to volunteer in the classroom. The therapist tracks Julia down on her own to tell her about a group session she might want to attend with other abused women. Julia declines, denying that she’s a victim of violence – Ned just gets angry, but she’s not afraid of him. The therapist is like, “Yeah, I’ve never heard that before.”

Kirsten decides to go visit her parents for a while, which is probably a really good idea. Claudia thinks Charlie will be disappointed, but Kirsten feels like she’s in the way. She admits that she’s been sitting around, waiting for something to happen that isn’t going to. In L.A., Daphne tells Charlie that she’s decided to go home with him and get therapy. They just have to leave immediately before she changes her mind. Charlie tells her to tie up all loose ends first.

Bailey hangs out in Owen’s classroom, and one of the students tries to fix him up with Owen’s teacher. Owen cutely reminds his brother that he already has a girlfriend. In therapy, Ned discusses his angry father, and how he thinks that’s where his own anger comes from. The therapist points out that anger isn’t the issue – it’s the ability to control anger. Ned doesn’t want to talk about Richie, but the therapist guesses that he showed violence as a child, and their father blamed Ned.

Sarah complains to Bailey that her poetry professor isn’t giving them serious assignments. Bailey doesn’t think he’s the right person to have this discussion with, since he wasn’t so great at school. He knows he was smart, but he didn’t get grades that reflected that. He thinks that’s why he’s so focused on helping Owen. After therapy, Ned complains to Julia that the therapist is twisting things around and making his “temper” problem bigger than it is. He yells at his roommate, then tells Julia he wants to live with her so he doesn’t have to deal with annoying people.

Daphne’s not done tying up her loose ends, and Charlie quickly realizes that she doesn’t want to finish tying them up. She tells him she believed him when he said everything could work out, and that no damage had been done to Diana. Daphne’s putting an end to the “disease” her mother passed on to her, but if she goes home, tries to change, and fails, she’ll have passed the disease on to Diana. She doesn’t want to take the risk. She tells Charlie they need to sever all ties right now.

Bailey takes Owen to school, telling him Charlie will pick him up from the apartment that night. Owen’s not thrilled by that news. Charlie and Diana go home, and Charlie tells Claudia that it’s up to Daphne what happens next. She gives him the news that Kirsten left, thinking Daphne would be coming home. Charlie reacts like everything is totally fine.

Ned goes to his next therapy session alone, not wanting Julia to hear everything about his life. He blames her for making him angry, but the therapist calls him out: “You hit because you’re a hitter.” He tries to get Ned to admit that he’s hurt someone else, since that would mean Julia isn’t to blame. The therapist asks if Ned wants to hurt Julia even worse next time because he’s so out of control. Ned doesn’t, and he agrees to have a real conversation.

Charlie throws Griffin out of the house, ordering him to leave Julia alone. Everything in Charlie’s life is complicated, but this is simple, and has a solution: Griffin beat up Julia’s boyfriend, so he needs to leave. Claudia tries to defend Griffin, but Griffin says Charlie’s right. Bailey tells Sarah that he’d like to raise Owen. Sarah isn’t sure Bailey’s thought this through completely, but Bailey just wants to be there for Owen more than Charlie’s been able to.

Ned finds an apartment for him and Julia, but she’s clearly not that excited about living there. He tells her he’s going to find a way to deal with his anger other than therapy, which just makes his anger worse. It looks like his plan is to just avoid getting angry. Charlie goes to Bailey and Sarah’s to get Owen, and tells them Daphne didn’t come home with him. Bailey comes up with a list of reasons for Owen to spend the night at the apartment. Charlie has no idea what’s going on with Owen and decides it’s not worth arguing over right now.

Griffin packs up to leave the Salingers’ as Claudia promises she’ll keep in touch. Owen’s teacher calls Charlie to talk about Owen, but he doesn’t understand anything she’s talking about. She’s confused until he tells her she’s mistaken him with Bailey. Also, why is Owen seeing a psychologist? Julia and Ned move into their new place, and he tries to get her to agree to stop talking to other people about their problems. (Red alert! Red alert! Isolation is classic abuser behavior!)

Bailey and Charlie meet up at Owen’s school so they can argue about their brother’s problems in front of him. Bailey has accepted that Owen has dyslexia, but Charlie hasn’t. He says his opinion rules because he’s Owen’s guardian. Bailey decides it’s time to announce that he wants to take Owen in. He thinks he also has dyslexia and can work with Owen. Charlie doesn’t have the time or ability to help Owen, but Bailey does. If Charlie wants what’s best for Owen, he’ll let Bailey take him. That’s not exactly the way to approach things, dude.

Thoughts: The therapist is played by Gregory Itzin.

Daphne, please get therapy anyway. “Failure is better” is a horrible way to approach things. You make me sad.

I’d like to hear from Maggie about Ned. She dated him, and before that she knew him for years. I want to know about her experiences with him.

Once again, Claudia has no storyline. I’m surprised Lacey Chabert was willing to stick around to keep doing nothing.

These late-’90s hairstyles aren’t working for me. Please brush your hair, Claudia and Kirsten.

October 18, 2014

Party of Five 5.15, Whatever Works: “Don’t Forget What He Did”

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:50 pm by Jenn

Look at those tables turning! Just look at them!

Look at those tables turning! Just look at them!

Summary: Griffin is at Bailey and Sarah’s, telling the two of them and Charlie that Ned is abusing Julia. Charlie and Bailey refuse to believe that that’s possible. Charlie thinks Griffin’s just upset because they’re in the middle of the divorce process. Sarah, however, thinks it’s possible; one of the women in her victim support group was also hiding the signs of her abusive relationship. Bailey decides that they should ask Julia straight out. Meanwhile, Valentine’s Day is coming up, and Ned has something special planned for Julia.

Bailey meets with Sullivan, who’s working on a business deal and wants Bailey to work with him. Charlie’s with a psychiatrist to discuss Daphne; the police report his lawyer gave him revealed that she was abandoned by her mother for 18 months when she was three. He thinks that explains why Daphne had so much trouble connecting to Diana. The psychiatrist agrees. Bailey tells Sarah about Sullivan’s deal, which has something to do with partnerships and new locations. The two of them can’t figure out their schedules for a fancy celebratory lunch, so Bailey has it with Owen.

Claudia goes bowling with Cody and his annoying friends, though she’s not dressed for bowling and clearly wants to be anywhere else. She’s upset that this is Cody’s idea of a date. Charlie tells Kirsten that he feels bad about the things he said to Daphne, since he now knows why she acted the way she did. He thinks it would help her to know what happened to her when she was a kid. Kirsten is skeptical that the information will magically make Daphne want to come back.

Charlie then goes to Julia’s with Bailey so they can talk to her about what Griffin told them. Julia is, unsurprisingly, upset about the accusations and lectures her brothers about getting so involved in her personal life. She tells them that Ned’s always there for her, unlike her busy family and dead parents. Kirsten turns down money from Paul, wanting to get a job and support herself. You know, while she lives in her ex-boyfriend’s house. She tries to get some advice from Charlie, but he’s focused on his plan to go find Daphne.

Bailey’s too busy to meet with Sullivan anywhere than at Owen’s basketball practice. Yes, this is exactly the sort of person Sullivan will want to go into business with. He tells Bailey they need to meet with someone in person to close the deal. Oh, no, Bailey will have to leave Owen for 20 minutes! Cody tries to make up with Claudia by giving her a pick used by a guy who played with Coltrane. He tells her that no one has ever made him feel embarrassed about his friends before; he’s never met someone who made him care that much about how he comes across.

Griffin’s late to sign his divorce papers, and when he arrives, he blasts Julia her for lying to Charlie and Bailey about Ned. He refuses to sign the papers unless Julia promises that she and Ned are over. Julia tries to find away to get divorced without Griffin’s cooperation. Kirsten questions Charlie’s motives for looking for Daphne – does he just want Diana to have her mother back, or does he want to get back together? She warns that he could shake up her world by telling her about her mother. He needs to give things more thought before he jumps in.

Claudia tries to visit Cody at the record store, but he’s been fired for stealing. Yep, he stole her Valentine’s Day present. Amazingly, there’s a less professional meeting place than a child’s basketball practice: a strip club. The deal is on, but clearly Bailey shouldn’t be working with these people, especially since they look down on him for not drinking with them. Sullivan tells him to lighten up and appreciate what he has.

Griffin ambushes Ned at school and sarcastically congratulates him for fooling everyone about who he is. He orders Ned to stay away from Julia, which is about as successful as you’d expect. Ned boasts that they’re going to spend Valentine’s Day playing strip poker. Griffin responds by punching him in the face a bunch. Cops are called and Julia approves of them arresting Griffin. Charlie takes Diana and goes in search of Daphne, easily tracking her down. She refuses to talk to him, so he throws the information about her mother into her car.

Julia takes Ned to be treated for the wounds Griffin inflicted, apologizing for her ex’s behavior. She says he’s not the sort of person who would get violent. Ned’s like, “And I am?” Claudia gives Cody back the pick and chastises that he was supposed to prove that he was worth her going up against Griffin. Instead, Griffin’s awesome and Cody’s a loser. Sullivan calls Bailey while he’s at Owen’s basketball game, and Bailey ignores the call to focus on his brother.

Griffin calls Julia from jail, begging for her help. He promises that he didn’t visit Ned with the intention of hurting him. “Don’t forget what he did,” he says. Julia hangs up on him. Daphne shows up at Charlie’s hotel room to ask why he gave her the information on her mother. She feels like he’s trying to make a parallel between that and what she did to Diana. Charlie says it’s an explanation for the way she acts. He urges her to trust Diana because she’ll never leave, which means Daphne doesn’t have to protect herself by leaving first.

Daphne does leave, so Charlie decides to go home. Daphne tries to call Charlie later, finding herself unable to talk to him. Bailey talks to Sarah about how he feels torn between family and business. Sarah’s surprised that he’s not 100 percent sold on Sullivan’s deal. Bailey notes that he’s getting chances earlier than most people his age, since he had to grow up so quickly after his parents died. He’s afraid that if he passes things up, they won’t come back around for a while. But he also doesn’t want to miss any time with Owen.

Claudia gets Griffin out of jail and tells him how much the family needs him. Julia takes super-good care of Ned, feeling guilty that Griffin’s the reason he’s hurt. Owen hangs out with Bailey at the restaurant, revealing that he likes spending time there. Bailey tells him that when he’s an adult, he could run the place.

Daphne goes back to Charlie’s hotel room just before he heads home and asks if there was anything in her mother’s police report about a marionette. For years she’s had nightmares about one, and it turns out it’s part of a childhood memory. She doesn’t feel better knowing it was real. As a child, Daphne was told that her mother was gone because she was sick. Now she feels like she doesn’t know anything about her life.

Thoughts: If the writers are going to keep giving Claudia dumb storylines, they should just send her back to boarding school and write her out.

Cody’s been looking very Jesse Pinkman. That’s not good.

Hey, guys, I think Griffin’s redemption arc is complete. He used to be completely likable; now he’s the most sympathetic person on the show.

October 11, 2014

Party of Five 5.14, Stand by Me: Please Stop Making Bad Decisions, Everyone

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 3:30 pm by Jenn

"You two look like nice kids. You would certainly never let a criminal into the building. Well, one of you wouldn't"

“You two look like nice kids. You would certainly never let a criminal into the building. Well, one of you wouldn’t”

Summary: Julia and Ned go skinny-dipping in Stanford’s pool, because apparently she said she wanted to take more risks. She tells him they can’t hang out the next night because she’s going to Justin’s parents’ anniversary party. Of course, Ned doesn’t like that she’ll be hanging out with another ex. She promises that he has no reason to worry, especially since Justin has a girlfriend, but Ned invites himself along anyway.

Charlie and Kirsten take Diana to the park, in an inevitable step toward the three of them becoming their own little family. Kirsten says that finding out Paul doesn’t want to adopt makes her feel like she’s learning she can’t have kids all over again. Charlie encourages her to work things out with her husband.

Sarah tells Bailey that she promised to help Albert find a job. She’s officially gone farther than Joey Potter ever did. Bailey’s understandably upset – she’s helping the man who robbed her at knifepoint. A neighbor, Mr. Belmont, asks after Owen, thinking he was Bailey and Sarah’s son. Sarah’s like, “You know who does have a son? Albert.” Sarah, get it together.

She tells Bailey that her victim support group encouraged her to take control, so she’s letting Albert come over to search for a job. Bailey decides to stay home to be there, too, but Sarah doesn’t want him around, making Albert feel like criminal. Bailey’s like, “Uh, that’s what he is.” Sarah asks him to back off so she can face her fears. He gets her to agree to at least meet Albert somewhere public.

Griffin asks Justin to visit him at work so they can discuss Julia’s relationship with Ned. Griffin announces that Ned’s abusive, and Justin wonders why he’s not currently a) with Julia or b) beating the crap out of Ned. Griffin explains that he has to keep his distance. Justin figures out that Griffin wants him to rescue Julia instead. He’s not interested in getting involved, but Griffin points out that it must be really bad if he was willing to turn to Justin.

Claudia goes to Cody’s record store, because for some reason, this plot is still a thing. They’re all, “Why does Griffin want us to stay away from each other? It’s not like we like each other. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” They decide that they’re allowed to do whatever they want. Kirsten suggests a vacation so she and Paul can work on their relationship, but he doesn’t think it can be salvaged. She agrees that they’re over.

Julia and Justin reunite at the anniversary party, and he reveals that his girlfriend cheated on him with her ethics professor. (That’s called irony, folks.) Ned warns Justin to keep his hands to himself. Mrs. Thompson asks Justin and Julia to dance with each other, “for old time’s sake,” so she’s probably on some list of Ned’s now. Ned cuts in before Justin can ask Julia anything about Griffin’s suspicions.

Albert doesn’t get Sarah’s message changing their meeting place, and he winds up at her and Bailey’s apartment after all. Now she’s not so eager to help the criminal. She helps him with some job applications, cautioning him not to put his arrest on one, since it only asks if he was ever convicted of a crime. It probably won’t matter anyway, since he has little education and no job experience.

Kirsten goes back to Charlie for another conversation about her marriage. He offers to let her stay at the house while she figures out what she’s going to do next. Justin and Julia hang out (sorry, Ned), and this time he asks her about how things are going in her relationship. He finds Ned “intense” and “possessive.” Julia doesn’t get the hint. She runs into Ned’s roommate and tells Justin she has to leave before the roommate tells Ned he saw her with another guy.

Griffin announces to the band that he’s booked them a gig. They finally have a lead singer: Cody’s friend Melanie. Cue jealousy from Claudia. Sarah admits to Bailey that Albert came to the apartment and asks him to be proud of her for helping him, or at least happy that she’s facing her fears and feels safe. Bailey’s like, “I’m still a little stuck on the fact that a robber was in our apartment, but okay.”

Ned yells at Julia for meeting with Justin, couching it in disliking that she’s discussing their relationship with other people. There’s some classic abuser language, and then he slaps her. “It’s my fault,” she says, apologizing for doing things with Justin that Ned didn’t like. The whole thing is disturbing.

Charlie goes with Kirsten to meet with the same lawyer he talked to when he thought Daphne might keep Diana from him. Kirsten blames herself for the marriage falling apart, and the lawyer wonders if Charlie had any bearing on things. The lawyer then sends Kirsten out of the room and asks Charlie if Daphne’s departure had anything to do with the information she gave him. Charlie says he never looked at it.

Justin calls Julia to try to get her to meet him, but she tells him she’s sick. Ned’s in her room the whole time. Kirsten takes the room in the Salingers’ attic and they laugh over memories of the early days of them knowing each other. Justin goes to Julia’s dorm but finds only Ned there. Justin fails to goad him into admitting that Julia makes him mad sometimes. They discuss what Griffin’s said about Ned, but Justin decides not to pursue it.

Sarah and Bailey are woken up by a gunshot and call the police. Griffin’s band does their gig. Melanie has a really annoying voice and Claudia tries to upstage her. A detective tells Bailey and Sarah that some apartments were robbed, and Mr. Belmont was shot when he walked in on the burglar. Of course, that burglar was Albert. Sarah blames herself for bringing him over, but that’s not the worst part: Bailey’s gun is missing.

Sarah’s mad that Bailey got a gun after she told him not to, but Bailey points out that that’s not really the issue here. Sarah’s like, “Albert couldn’t have shot anyone without a gun.” Bailey’s like, “Albert couldn’t have gotten the gun if you hadn’t let him in.” They’re at an impasse over who’s really to blame for what happened. Hey, how about we blame Albert?

Claudia and Cody make awkward small talk, and she learns that he and Melanie aren’t just friends – they’re dating. Claudia realizes that that’s the real reason Griffin wanted her to avoid Cody. She babbles until Cody kisses her, so I guess he and Melanie are over? I’m confused. Whatever, I don’t care enough.

After spending the night thinking about it, Charlie digs up the information on Daphne. He tells Kirsten that it’s full of things Daphne might not even know about her own life. If she’d known them, things might be different. He’s decided that he needs to find her. Bailey and Sarah visit Mr. Belmont, then discuss security measures in their apartment. Bailey offers to move, but Sarah wants to learn to feel safe no matter where she is. She assures him that he makes her feel safe, too.

Julia returns to her dorm and learns that Justin came by. Ned claims he’s not mad, but it’s probably only because Justin’s going back to school and won’t be around anymore. He sings “Stand by Me” so the episode can get a title, and they dance. Knowing what we know about him, it’s creepier than it’s meant to be.

Thoughts: The Kirsten/Paul stuff was especially interminable because I know how things end up for her. So thank goodness that’s over.

Didn’t Justin’s parents have another kid? Why is she never mentioned? She must be hanging out with Owen somewhere.

I guess we should be grateful that Sarah didn’t ask Bailey to give Albert a job at the restaurant. That would have been a disastrous conversation.

Melanie’s former band was the Julienne Fries. Ugh, no. It should be Julienne and the Fries.

’90s music alert: Griffin’s band plays Counting Crows’ “Rain King.”

October 4, 2014

Party of Five 5.13, Fillmore Street: There’s a Difference Between Forgiveness and Justice, Sarah

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 3:07 pm by Jenn

This red panda is laughing at Julia and Sarah's horrible decisions

This red panda is laughing at Julia and Sarah’s horrible decisions

Summary: Albert has been arraigned, and the next step is for the prosecutor to help Bailey and Sarah get ready to testify. A woman corners Sarah at the courthouse, introducing herself as Albert’s sister, and tells Sarah that he only turned to robbery to provide for his child. Ned and Julia run into each other at the library, and he says he’s willing to give her some space. She makes excuses for his behavior, saying that just lashed out because he was scared. She’s happy that he cares so much.

Charlie meets with an insurance agent named Beth who totally wants to jump his bones. Bailey’s furious that Albert’s sister talked to Sarah, who thinks the sister wanted to make her feel guilty for pressing charges. She’ll still testify, but she’s confused about things. Kirsten sets up a meeting with an adoption agency while Paul gets depressed over news about orphans. She would rather adopt domestically, since it’s faster; Paul thinks they should go international and save a child.

Griffin surprises Julia at her dorm, wanting to check out her car, which she lied about dinging up. She chases him off, and he’s disappointed to learn that she’s still with Ned. Claudia goes to the music store where Griffin’s jerky ex-band mate Cody works and asks him to come back to the band. Cody doesn’t want to play with someone who’s not as into rock as he is. If she’s not planning to show up at a club on Fillmore Street the next night, off a rumor that Taj Mahal will do a surprise performance, she’s not cool enough for him.

Griffin and Ned run into each other and bicker over Julia. Amazingly, punches aren’t thrown. At his school, Charlie chats with his vice principal, Valerie, who wants him to come to a City Council meeting to show support for arts funding. And if he wants to hang out and have coffee and maybe make out before that, she wouldn’t say no. Charlie asks a student with a crush on him to babysit Diana. Bad move, Charlie.

Kirsten and Paul meet with someone at an adoption agency who tells them someone has already picked them as parents. They could have a baby as soon as next week. Sarah sees Albert at the DA’s office and feels bad for him. Okay, Joey Potter, don’t go there. Griffin tells Charlie that growing up with an abusive father gave him a sixth sense about violence, and he thinks Ned is hitting Julia. Charlie thinks Griffin’s just upset that Julia’s moving on. Julia wouldn’t be with someone who hurts her.

Claudia shows up at the Fillmore Street club, and Cody blathers about playing music and being soulful. If Claudia can learn to play like Taj Mahal, he’ll come back to the band. She asks him to help her. He tells her to close her eyes and focus on the groove. Ned confronts Julia for not telling him that Griffin was on campus; he’s worried that they’ll get back together. She assures him that Griffin isn’t a threat. Ned interprets that as Julia accusing him of being paranoid. He points out that she and Griffin haven’t actually divorced yet.

Bailey tells Sarah that the prosecutor helped him get a restraining order to keep Albert’s family away. He thinks Sarah was scared by the incident, but she’s moved on to feeling bad for the guy who robbed her at knifepoint. She argues that he never hurt anyone; he ran away instead of using the knife. Bailey doesn’t care – Albert should go to jail. He doesn’t care about Sarah’s sympathy for the guy.

Paul comes home at the end of a bad day, telling Kirsten that he performed surgery on a girl whose brain tumor went undetected for a long time because her parents couldn’t afford a doctor. He hates that those parents almost lost their daughter because they don’t have money, while he and Kirsten get to adopt because they do have money. Kirsten reminds him that they have to think in absolutes: There’s an actual child they’re supposed to bring home. Paul says he doesn’t want him this way.

Sarah makes the horrible move of telling the prosecutor that she no longer things Albert was the guy who robbed her. Then she says it’s him, but she doesn’t want to send him to jail. The DA reminds her that she’s the victim, not Albert. Sarah argues that he’s a human with a family. They should be working to fix whatever makes him steal, not punishing him for it. Bailey thinks his testimony will be enough, but the prosecutor thinks Albert will go free if Sarah backs down.

Charlie’s babysitter, Amanda, shows up at the Salingers’, where Beth is already waiting for Charlie (she was going to bring over paperwork). Valerie shows up next, and Claudia predicts a fight. Griffin returns to Julia’s dorm and asks her straight out if Ned’s abusing her. She tries to get him to leave, but he’s not gone before Ned shows up. The guys face off again, and this time punches are thrown. Julia continually tells Griffin to get out.

When Charlie comes home, Beth, Valerie, and Amanda yell at him for not thinking each of them was romantically interested in him. (Amanda, you’re 16. Your dad probably had to drive you over. Shut up.) Charlie tells them he’s too focused on Diana to date right now. Beth’s even more turned on now. Kirsten’s understandably upset about having to turn down the adoption, and she tells Paul that she doesn’t think he’s ever going to be on board. He basically admits it.

Cody’s back in the band, but Griffin doesn’t want Claudia to hang out with him. He thinks she should decide between Cody and the band. Bailey makes some jabs at Sarah for deciding not to testify against Albert, pointing out that people shouldn’t have to suffer because of other people’s bad decisions. Sarah wants to cling to her belief that people deserve second chances. Bailey doesn’t like that she thinks it’s okay to excuse people’s behavior and let them go unpunished.

Julia goes to see Griffin, telling him she’s not mad that he’s concerned. She informs him that she’s having a lawyer draw up divorce papers. She doesn’t want Griffin to keep trying to take care of her – she needs him out of her life. They need to stop worrying about each other. Charlie meets with Kirsten, who tells him that Paul backed out of the adoption. She’s not sure how to forgive him, or if she can keep fighting for their relationship. Julia goes back to school and prepares to move on with her life (with Ned, of course). Sarah tracks down Albert at his home and introduces herself.

Thoughts: Adoptive parents everywhere are laughing hysterically over Paul and Kirsten getting approved to adopt in, like, four episodes.

Ugh, Claudia, don’t fall for a music snob.

I think this episode is the first time in years that Griffin has mentioned Jill. I almost forgot she existed.

’90s music alert: Sheryl Crow’s “My Favorite Mistake” plays during Ned and Griffin’s fight, and if that doesn’t perfectly describe Julia and Griffin, I don’t know what does.

September 27, 2014

Party of Five 5.12, Witness for the Persecution: Every Superman Has His Kryptonite

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

He's not a criminal! He's a cutie pie!

He’s not a criminal! He’s a cutie pie!

Summary: Ned has been trying to get in touch with Julia, and this time he’s apologizing, but only because they fought. She erases his answering-machine messages before Maggie can hear them, then tells her roommate she’s going home for a few days. Julia asks Maggie not to tell Ned where she is. Claudia takes care of Diana while Charlie reminisces about his sister’s birth – he was mad that he had to give up 49ers tickets to babysit Julia and Bailey. Claudia thinks Diana can sense that something’s wrong, since Daphne isn’t there.

Griffin’s leaving as Julia arrives at the house, telling him her shoulder hurts because she had a car accident. It’s not the best lie since her car’s right there and nothing’s wrong with it. Charlie has to take Diana to class with him because he hasn’t yet broken down and called Kirsten for help. The vice principal, Ms. Walsh (also a single mother), lets him know that the school has just started a faculty daycare. Charlie wants to keep the baby close, though, and Ms. Walsh says she’ll see if he can get permission to keep Diana in his classroom.

Claudia sets up her old tent for Owen, which gives Charlie and Bailey déjà vu, especially since Julia’s home. Bailey tells Charlie that Owen’s still mad about not having Charlie’s undivided attention. He offers to let Owen stay with him a few nights a week, but Charlie gets defensive. Bailey thinks he should be more upset about Daphne leaving.

Later, at the restaurant, Sarah tells Bailey that Charlie’s struggling with a Superman complex, thinking he should be able to handle everything. Bailey finds his office trashed, and when he goes back to the dining room to talk to Sarah, he discovers that an intruder is holding her at knifepoint. Bailey gives up all his money and his watch, begging the guy not to hurt Sarah. The robber makes Bailey get on the ground, then heads to the door, still holding on to Sarah. As he leaves, he steals her necklace and pushes her back inside, unhurt.

Bailey and Sarah call the police, and a kind detective named Danner takes their statements and gives Sarah the name of a trauma counselor. Bailey’s more angry than scared, and Danner thinks he could benefit from counseling, too. Bailey insists that he’s fine. Sarah, what was that you were saying about a Superman complex?

Charlie meets up with Kirsten at a diner, and she tells him she and Paul are starting the adoption process. She’s super-excited, saying that the baby’s already changing everything without even being there. Charlie’s like, “Wait till there’s actually a baby.” He doesn’t get why everyone expects him to fall apart and need help.

Sarah wakes Bailey up in the middle of the night, having heard something, and decides she needs counseling. Bailey thinks a security guard at the restaurant is the way to go. He offers to take Sarah to class in the morning, but she wants to be able to live her life normally. Claudia picks up her violin for the first time in a long time to play Diana a lullaby. She hears Griffin playing his guitar in the “guest cottage,” and they play together a little. He invites her to play with his new band.

Sarah confides in Julia that she’s having trouble getting past the robbery, so she wants to see a counselor. She hasn’t been able to have a helpful conversation with Bailey; he just wants to talk about getting revenge. Sarah hates that she feels like she did something wrong, when she’s the one who was the victim of a crime. She actually feels ashamed. Julia doesn’t respond, but she clearly can sympathize.

Ned arrives at the house and hangs out with Claudia and Diana. Julia pulls him away and announces that he will never hit her again. She’s upset that they’ve always been able to talk through their problems, but this time, he got physically violent. Ned denies that he struck her. Julia orders him out of the house and away from her sister and niece.

Ned admits that he did something wrong by getting so upset, but he still denies hitting her. He was just angry that Julia seemed to be rejecting him. He grabs her injured shoulder to keep her from leaving, saying that that’s all he did the other night – he tried to make her stay. He was just worried that she would leave him. Ned can’t believe that Julia would ever believe he would hurt her.

Claudia plays with Griffin’s band, but the other guitarist, Cody, isn’t very welcoming. (I think the drummer’s high and doesn’t actually know what’s going on.) Cody’s like, “Violins aren’t rock! Girls can’t play in bands!” Griffin kicks him out. Bailey meets with a security guy, Ray, at his and Sarah’s apartment, which Ray thinks isn’t safe despite being in a yuppie neighborhood. Sarah refuses to live in a fortress. She’s even more upset when she sees that Ray brought over some guns.

Kirsten’s gotten the ball rolling on the adoption process, but Paul is too busy to get completely on board. She thinks he’s trying to back out, when really he just has surgery the day she’s set up a meeting. Calm down, Kirsten. Claudia packs up Daphne’s things so Charlie doesn’t have to, though, of course, he says it’s not a big deal and he can handle it and would everyone just leave him alone because he’s totally fine?

Sarah and Bailey discuss how shaken they’ve felt since the robbery. Sarah’s already had a session with the counselor, and she wishes Bailey would set up an appointment. Bailey wants to be more practical by finding ways for them to feel safer. She doesn’t want to stay away from her normal life even when she doesn’t feel safe. Bailey insists that buying a gun wouldn’t make him a different person. He points out that they could have had Owen with them at the restaurant.

Danner calls with the news that the robbery suspect has been arrested, so the next morning, Sarah and Bailey go to the police station to see a lineup. Sarah immediately recognizes the robber. Bailey’s mad at the guy, but Sarah’s just sad – the arrest doesn’t make her feel any better. Claudia tells Griffin that she doesn’t think playing with his band will work out. She thinks the guys are great together, and she doesn’t want to be their Yoko. Griffin tells her he kicked Cody out and kept her because he likes her playing, not because he felt sorry for her.

Julia hears noises in the basement and finds Charlie there, angrily packing up Daphne’s things. He complains about people leaving when you want them to stay. He admits for the first time how upset he is that Daphne left her own child. Julia points out that he couldn’t understand because he’s always stayed. Charlie’s emotional, realizing for the first time how alone he is. Julia urges him to focus on the important parts of his life. He’s not alone, and the family would have fallen apart if he hadn’t survived his cancer.

Julia goes back to school, silently watching Ned in the library. Maggie shows up and asks Julia to tell her what’s going on with them. Julia says she doesn’t know what’s going to happen. Bailey and Sarah have compromised with new locks in the apartment. He tries to comfort her by telling her that the robber, Albert, is off the streets and can’t hurt anyone anymore. They’re going to help put him away, which means they aren’t helpless. But Sarah’s seen a different part of the world now, and she’s not comforted.

Thoughts: Albert is played by Freddy Rodriguez, who’s probably best known from Six Feet Under. Danner is played by Disney actor Phill Lewis.

Griffin’s been on the show for years and we’re just now learning that he plays the guitar?

Sarah, take the whole family with you to counseling, please. Every last one of them.

September 20, 2014

Party of Five 5.11, Rings of Saturn: Make Like a Tree and Leave

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:24 pm by Jenn

"And up there, you can just barely make out the last shred of Ned's likability"

“And up there, you can just barely make out the last shred of Ned’s likability”

Summary: Daphne’s at an empty playground with Diana, just staring at all the equipment. She starts to leave without the baby, running back when she hears Diana crying, but not picking her up. At some later point, Daphne’s out when Charlie needs to leave for work and Claudia has to go to school (the local high school, not her boarding school), so Charlie has to take Diana with him.

It’s Owen’s last day with Bailey and Sarah, and Bailey assures him that Charlie’s excited to have him back at home. However, with Daphne gone, Charlie doesn’t have anyone to look after Owen, so he needs to stay where he is. Julia and Maggie are still living together, which must be AWKWARD, though it might get a little less awkward now that Maggie’s starting to date again. Maggie’s even willing to possibly forgive Julia, maybe just a little. She asks Julia not to tell Ned that she’s seeing someone.

Paul asks Kirsten to do some volunteering with the kids at his hospital. She’s hesitant, not wanting him to feel like he needs to help her fill up her time. The current volunteer asks her to keep a troublemaker named Michael in line. Charlie promised to take Owen camping, so Bailey wants to fill in, even though he has no idea what he’s doing. Sarah thinks he’s nuts.

Daphne goes to see a priest for some counseling; she’s distressed about almost leaving Diana. The guy is pretty clueless and keeps pressing her to go to church. Julia and Ned head to her dorm room, but there’s a stuffed monkey on the doorknob, which means Maggie has a guy in the room. Ned’s surprised to hear that his ex has a new boyfriend. He pretends he’s not upset, but Julia’s not an idiot.

At the house, Daphne calls a bank about cashing in a savings bond to leave in Diana’s name. At Stanford, Ned admits to Julia that he’s upset after all – but with Julia, for not telling him that Maggie was dating someone. He’s sure that Maggie’s telling the guy stuff about Ned and Julia. Julia tells him that Maggie’s actually less angry now, and they might be able to repair their friendship. Unless he’s jealous, he needs to deal with it.

Kirsten has hit it off with Michael, and she goes back to the hospital to spend time with him. Bailey and Owen go camping, and since Bailey’s horrible at it, it’s fortunate that a mother (Theresa) and her daughter invite them to eat dinner with them. Charlie and Daphne fight over her leaving the house early that morning to go to the bank, without giving him any notice. She says she’s focusing on Diana’s future.

Bailey and Owen’s tent is too small. This storyline is dumb. Ned takes Julia to a single dorm room he wants them to use as a love nest. Julia thinks he’s being weird about Maggie, but he says he just wants them to have their own place to be alone. She doesn’t like that he’s making decisions without consulting her. Charlie and Claudia find a ton of diapers in the house – it looks like Daphne’s stockpiling them.

Bailey and Owen survive their night camping, and in the morning, Bailey chats with Theresa, who’s impressed with how he’s handling taking care of a kid on his own. Bailey confides that he feels like Owen hates him. Theresa invites them to spend that night with her and her daughter in their tent. Bailey wants to leave, Theresa woman says that’s not what Owen wants – he wants Bailey to turn things around.

Julia’s decided to move out of her and Maggie’s room, which actually disappoints Maggie. She thinks Julia’s giving up the college experience she wanted so she can shack up with her boyfriend. Michael’s discharged from the hospital, and Kirsten’s sad to see him go. Thanks to Theresa’s telescope, Bailey and Owen’s second night camping is much better than the first. Owen’s impressed that there’s so much cool stuff in the world. “When you find out about cool stuff, will you let me know, so we can see it together?” he asks Bailey.

Daphne tells Diana how great her future will be, and what she should and shouldn’t do. She’s clearly planning to leave. Charlie gets that, and the next day he tells Kirsten about it. She presses him to say something to make Daphne want to say, but Charlie isn’t sure he should. If Daphne wants to go, she should go.

Julia tells Ned she’s changed her mind about moving out, but he ignores her. He continues packing her things, even as she refuses to leave or let him control her. Things get so heated that Ned backhands Julia, then continues packing as she leaves the room. Julia cleans herself up in the bathroom, where another girl chatters excitedly about a date.

Bailey asks Owen not to tell Charlie about their camping trip, and definitely not to tell Sarah that they shared a tent with another woman (especially if he’s going to say, “Bailey slept with Theresa”). Paul decides to address the elephant in his and Kirsten’s lives: the fact that they don’t have kids. He knows that a child is the only thing that would make Kirsten feel like they’re a family. She reminds him that they agreed not to have kids since he doesn’t want them, but he doesn’t know how else to make her happy.

At the Salingers’, as Charlie tells Daphne that he knows she’s going to leave. He’s not going to try to stop her; he just wants to know when she’s going so he can have a little notice. Daphne tells him about walking away from Diana in the park and how she just stopped thinking about her. She’s afraid that she’ll always be the kind of mother who can and will leave, which isn’t what Diana and Charlie deserve. “I’ve already left,” Daphne says. She asks Charlie not to let Diana hate her.

Ned tries to call Julia, who’s avoiding him. He’s not apologetic about hitting her; he just wants to talk about the move. Bailey invites Sarah along the next time he and Owen go camping. She tells him that no matter what Bailey thinks he did wrong, Owen’s happy, so everything turned out all right. Bailey’s also pretty happy with the way things went. Julia goes back to her and Maggie’s room but doesn’t tell Maggie what happened. Daphne calls a cab and leaves the Salingers’ house, leaving Charlie alone with Diana.

Thoughts: Shouldn’t Owen be in school of some kind? Isn’t he kindergarten age by now?

If there’s anything that will make me laugh, it’s an eight-year-old who says, “Bring me the next human sacrifice.” Bravo, Michael.

With an abusive boyfriend, the show has now hit almost every big teen show storyline. I think the only one left is sexual assault. There’s still a season and a half left to fit that in!

September 13, 2014

Party of Five 5.10, One Christmas, to Go: They’re All Grinches. All of Them!

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

Still not as depressing as Christmas with the Salingers

Still not as depressing as Christmas with the Salingers

Summary: Claudia’s still in San Francisco and has taken over the household responsibilities. Charlie thinks she’s only making herself useful so he’ll let her leave her boarding school. He meets Daphne’s mom, Doreen, and her boyfriend, Lester, who apparently didn’t know Diana was born until just recently. Daphne doesn’t want them to stay at the house, but Charlie’s happy to have a house full of people.

Ned plans to stay at school over Christmas break, and he’s not exactly thrilled that Julia’s going to call him a bunch so he doesn’t get lonely. At the Salingers’, Charlie encourages Daphne to spend time with Doreen, which is the last thing Daphne wants to do. Griffin thinks Charlie needs to ease up on Claudia, but Charlie’s still mad at him for taking her out of school. The school is threatening not to release her transcript, which means she might have to repeat the year.

Julia goes to say goodbye to Ned, who’s struggling with a paper he has to write quickly. She didn’t realize his grade in the class was in such jeopardy. She announces that she’ll help him write, and the next day they’ll both be able to go home and spend Christmas with their families. Owen’s still staying with Bailey and Sarah, and still upset that his place as youngest child has been usurped.

Daphne complains to Charlie that Doreen’s pretending she wants to be a family when she hasn’t called in a year and a half. Charlie wants Daphne to give her a chance since she’s the only grandparent who’s been around in years. If Doreen wants to be there, they should let her, because the holidays are supposed to be about families.

Bailey and Sarah find some broken ornaments and know that Owen must have used them to lash out. Sarah urges Bailey to talk to his brother, but Bailey doesn’t want to make him mad on Christmas Eve. Julia and Ned work in a hotel room, since the heat’s been turned off in the dorms; I’m surprised they’re getting anything done. Also, I’m pretty sure Julia’s doing more work than Ned is.

Daphne’s mom asks Charlie if he loves Daphne; when he says yes, she asks why they’re not married. She gets her answer when Kirsten the perpetual babysitter makes an appearance. Griffin tells Claudia he’s looking for an apartment since Charlie hates him now. He’s living with a family that isn’t his.

Bailey and Sarah take Owen to a rehearsal for a Christmas pageant, which he doesn’t want to participate in. Bailey’s clueless about Owen’s behavior, and Sarah has to point out that he doesn’t want to take part in a play celebrating the birth of a super-special baby. Julia finishes Ned’s paper and they start to make out, but she realizes she needs to get home to her family. He unplugs his computer and pretends he can’t print his paper so Julia will stay and help him some more.

The doll playing baby Jesus at the pageant disappears, and Bailey quickly realizes that Owen was probably responsible. Daphne’s upset that Doreen sent Kirsten home, thinking Kirsten’s after Charlie. Daphne argues that they’re just best friends, and Kirsten’s the only reason she’s surviving with a newborn. She thinks Doreen’s still stuck in her own mindset of keeping other women away from her man.

Julia and Ned rush to a print shop, arriving just as it closes. Ned thinks they should just spend the night relaxing. Julia demands peace on earth and good will towards men (and women) from the guy working at the print shop, who eventually lets them in. At the Salingers’, Claudia complains to Griffin that no one’s there for Christmas Eve dinner. Griffin had a worse family situation, though, so Claudia’s not going to win this one.

Owen denies taking the doll, so everyone searches the church. Sarah tells Bailey to confront his brother, but Bailey wants to believe Owen, or at least pretend to, so he doesn’t get more upset. Doreen and Lester decide to leave, but now Daphne wants her mother to stay for Christmas Day. She needs Doreen to do the same things for Diana that she did for Daphne as a baby. Doreen points out that Daphne got pregnant, so she gets to take care of her own child.

Bailey, Sarah, and Owen arrive at the house for Christmas Eve dinner, but the only person Owen wants to talk to is Griffin. Julia’s still an hour away, and Claudia’s tired of waiting for everyone to arrive, but Bailey doesn’t think it’s right to start without her. Claudia blasts everyone for pretending that they’re going to be one big, happy family.

Sarah suggests that they each open a present, and when Bailey goes to get the gifts, he finds the doll. The present exchange begins, but Daphne’s MIA, and no one bothered to wait for her. Nice, guys. The only present under the tree for Charlie is for Griffin. Again, nice, guys. These people should all be on Santa’s naughty list.

Ned leaves his paper outside his professor’s office, where Julia spots a sign granting a grace period for late papers over the holidays. So Ned didn’t have to rush to get his paper done after all. She’s mad that he manipulated her to stay with him, and probably didn’t want to finish the paper in the first place. Julia could have been home with her family, but Ned made her lie to them.

Bailey finally sits Owen down for a talk about the doll. He lectures that even if the doll (but he really means Diana) doesn’t matter to Owen, he needs to respect that it (she) matters to other people. He makes it clear that Owen’s not allowed to act out just because there’s another child in the family. Bailey will be like Santa, keeping an eye on everything Owen does.

Daphne asks Doreen what it was like for her when Daphne was a baby – did she miss her daughter when they weren’t together? Daphne admits that it’s easy for her to be away from Diana, and she would even be okay if Diana were taken away from her. She thinks she has trouble loving Diana because Doreen had trouble loving Daphne. She doesn’t want to continue that cycle.

Bailey tells Sarah that Owen won’t talk to him, like, you just yelled at him on Christmas Eve, when everyone was opening presents. What do you expect? Bailey wishes he’d postponed the confrontation, since Owen was doing better. Sarah wants to help, but since she’s not a mother, she doesn’t know how.

Charlie stops Doreen and Lester before they leave, telling Doreen that he wants to try again for everyone to be a family – that’s what Diana needs. Doreen won’t budge. Claudia’s annoyed that dinner hasn’t turned out as planned, but she refuses to give up on having a perfect Christmas Eve. Bailey and Sarah start to leave, and Owen asks to come with them – he’d rather be with the brother who yelled than the brother who ignores him.

Charlie takes Diana out to the “guest cottage” to see Griffin, so no one’s in the house when Julia finally arrives. She finds Griffin’s present to Charlie, a scrapbook full of pictures of the Salingers. Charlie’s currently thanking Griffin for it, having been reminded of his feelings about life after he was told his cancer was in remission. He realized that Griffin doesn’t have the same kind of family Charlie does. Griffin and Claudia are the only people who want to be there, and Charlie keeps pushing them away. “If you’re not family, I don’t know who is,” he says.

Daphne takes Doreen and Lester to the bus station and considers buying a ticket away from her own life. Julia returns to school, still mad at Ned but kind of appreciative of how hard he worked to keep her around. Charlie, Claudia, and Griffin eat Chinese food by their Christmas tree while Daphne watches them from outside the house.

Thoughts: I love how Charlie’s all, “The holidays are about spending time together! But not if Claudia’s here. Also, go away, Owen. And I haven’t noticed that Julia’s not around.” Charlie’s cluelessness and inability to multitask continue to astonish me.

Why did only Bailey and Sarah go to Owen’s pageant? No wonder he’s so upset. No one in his family pays any attention to him.

Was Claudia only cooking a turkey? There were no side dishes? There was nothing else to eat? I don’t get it.

’90s music alert: Natalie Merchant’s “My Skin” (which I thought was called “Untouchable”)

September 6, 2014

Party of Five 5.9, Gifts: Take Care. Or Not

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:20 pm by Jenn

This is why you have relationship arguments in your own home, not someone else's

This is why you have relationship arguments in your own home, not someone else’s

Summary: Did you know babies cry a lot? Party of Five is here to remind you. The Salingers have hired a baby nurse, for some reason, and she thinks Charlie and Daphne need to let Diana start soothing herself. Charlie disagrees, but Daphne thinks the nurse, Nora, should take care of everything so they can sleep. Get used to Daphne doing nothing with Diana throughout this episode.

Julia makes up with Ned, telling him it’s hard for her to see a family not getting along after she’s spent five years keeping hers together. She tries to invite herself along to spend the day with Richie, but Ned declines. At the restaurant, Bailey learns that he’s earned a big tax refund because the restaurant is doing so well. In fact, the place is more profitable than it was when his father ran it.

Griffin looks for a job, considering one as a courier, which will let him travel a bit. Daphne continues to let Nora take care of her child. Griffin asks after Claudia; everyone’s still ignoring her pleas to come home. Bailey wants to spend some of his money on an expensive suit but isn’t sure it’s a practical purchase. A salesman reminds him that one day, he’ll be dead. Thanks, salesman! He really means that Bailey should want to be remembered as a fashionable dresser, not a practical money-saver.

Charlie butts heads with Nora over whether Diana should be eating anything other than breast milk. Nora decides she can’t work with a parent who’s so controlling, and she quits. Daphne begs Charlie to hire a new nurse so she can get some sleep. I’m not sure why Daphne isn’t sleeping, since she’s not actually doing anything to take care of Diana, but whatever. Julia crashes Ned’s day with Richie, upsetting both brothers.

Despite telling Daphne he wouldn’t, Charlie asks Kirsten to come take care of Diana for a few hours. She assures him that Paul won’t care. She’s happy to help, saying there’s no one she’d rather spend the evening with than Diana. Sorry, Paul! Bailey asks Charlie to build a wine cellar for the restaurant; he’s thinking of doing a big renovation. He’d also like to take Charlie and Daphne out for a nice dinner.

Claudia’s friends are worried because she’s been isolating herself from them. Griffin shows up, having taken a detour while in Boston on his courier job, and makes plans to hang out with Claudia that night. Bailey buys Sarah a dress and looks at new furniture for their apartment. He wants Sarah to go to dinner with him, Charlie, and Daphne, but she has work to do for a professor. Bailey suggests that they hire someone else to do the work.

Julia and Ned go to his parents’ house to take care of some plants; this time her presence doesn’t upset Richie because he’s ignoring her. She recognizes his allegedly nonsense ramblings from before as a poem, and she recites it with him. At their super-fancy dinner, Bailey encourages everyone to get expensive food, but Charlie just wants to speed things up so he and Daphne can go home. Bailey and Sarah realize that friends with kids can be a little annoying.

Paul goes to the Salingers’ to complain that Kirsten is once again helping the family. He wants them to do something the next night; “the Salingers will just have to do without you for one day.” Claudia confides to Griffin that she feels like she’s in the wrong place, which he can relate to. She reminisces about how her mom taught her to take care of Owen, which helped her not be so jealous of him. She asks Griffin to teach Owen to take care of Diana.

Bailey takes Owen to his place for the night, and Owen’s surprised by the amount of attention he’ll be getting. Bailey takes a call from the bursar’s office at Sarah’s school and learns that her tuition’s due in 20 minutes. Claudia accompanies Griffin as he makes his delivery (a ferret), but they run off with it when they learn that it’s supposed to be buried with its deceased owner.

Sarah learns that Bailey paid her tuition and blasts him for taking care of her. “When you pay for something, you own it,” she says. Bailey reminds her that she taught him to share, and he wants to share their success. Sarah denies that she’s had anything to do with how well the restaurant is doing. Bailey disagrees, telling her this is his way of saying thank you. He’d appreciate some gratitude from her.

Kirsten is back at the Salingers’ to take care of Diana while Daphne sleeps. Okay, it’s time for Daphne to see a psychiatrist. Charlie finally asks Daphne why she keeps calling people to look after Diana. Daphne claims that Kirsten came over on her own. Griffin takes Claudia back to school, feeling bad about having to leave her in a place she doesn’t want to be. At the last minute, he tells her to go pack her things.

Julia wants to use more poetry to connect with Richie, but Ned denies that Richie can have any kind of meaningful communication with anyone. When he was younger, he tried to analyze what Richie said, but he never found anything he could understand. He thinks Julia’s “looking for something that could make him worthy of love,” when they should just love Richie for himself.

Griffin takes Claudia home to San Francisco, angering Charlie. Griffin’s upset that no one listened when Claudia told them she was miserable. Charlie thinks she should stay in her prestigious school that will open up doors for her. Claudia would rather help take care of Owen and Diana, since Charlie sucks at it.

Kirsten doesn’t make it home in time for the plans Paul made for them, so he asks her straight out who she would rather be with, him or the Salingers. Kirsten tells him that since she doesn’t have a job, taking care of Diana makes her feel useful and comfortable. Bailey and Sarah discuss how uncomfortable the restaurant’s success has made them – she because she feels like a kept woman now, and he because he feels like he needs to figure out who he should be. Sarah likes her new dress, so the perks of being rich aren’t all bad.

Julia tries to explain to Ned that she thought she could understand him better by spending time with his family. He tells her that he’s always been overshadowed by Richie; he wants Julia all to himself. Daphne wants to hire another baby nurse, even if it’s one who’s not compatible or competent. Charlie thinks something’s wrong with her, whether it’s postpartum depression or something else – Daphne isn’t connecting with Diana. Daphne already knows it but doesn’t know how to fix it.

Thoughts: Everyone should check out Vulture’s oral history of the first season of Party of Five. Everyone is very cheerful.

Charlie and Daphne need a nurse for Diana because…? And they’re paying her…how? Also, Nora is played by Ms. Teasley from Beverly Hills, 90210.

Julia, stop trying to fix everyone’s problems. You’re not Brandon Walsh.

When Griffin is the most compassionate person on the show, something’s wrong.

Is the Salingers’ house magical or something? Why does everyone want to be there all the time?

Charlie shouldn’t be so surprised that Daphne’s distant with Diana. She didn’t want a baby in the first place. I’m glad she reminds him of that, because it’s a little weird of him not to think about it.

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