Party of Five (“Dearly Beloved”)

Season 2, Episode 3
Date of airing: October 18, 1995 (FOX)
Nielsen ratings information: 8.5 million viewers, 6.0/10 in Households

Damn. It took Sarah only three episodes to tell Bailey that she is in love with him, which means the writers definitely wanted to the two to get together immediately. Now that Charlie and Kirsten were almost married and Julia and Justin are pretty much broken up, there needs to be a blossoming romance in its early stage, and Bailey and Sarah fit that bill, especially since the latter is considered a central character in the show. Don’t ask me though how Sarah was able to blurt out her long-kept secret about her crush on Bailey and how she wasn’t immediately humiliated. Granted, we’re only three episodes into the season and Sarah hasn’t gotten a lot of character depth, but I would have considered her something of a shy nerdling (she has been called a nerd already, so there is that). I am of that race of human beings and I definitely would never have revealed my secret to my subject of affection, and I definitely had one or two of those during my high school years. Sarah is a lot more braver than I was or will ever be.

She can’t believe her ears.

The episode was solid. Julia’s story is typical romance bullcrap in every teenage weekly primetime soap opera, so I couldn’t connect with it completely, but I was glad that her own secret was blown up and that her thing with Justin is over. It’s gonna be intriguing how the family will react, considering they liked Justin a lot and liked seeing Julia with such a nice guy. Those feelings may be different when Griffin becomes Julia’s next love project, although the kid also hasn’t gotten a lot of character depth since his introduction, which means he could be pretty much like Justin. By the way, I am disappointed that the only thing Griffin is good for now is to be Julia’s secret love interest. The character was introduced, albeit via a different actor, with his sister dying of a drug overdose. That part of Griffin’s appearances seems gone completely now, begging the question why the writers couldn’t have chosen a new character for Julia to hang out with and have talks about being moody and emotional. In a way, this season’s version of Griffin is a different character from the one we’ve seen in the season finale, and the only thing the two have in common is the name and the connection to Bailey.

Meanwhile, Kirsten was fun in this episode. Her overreaction to everything involving the planning of her wedding was hilarious, and I really did not think that Paula Devicq could be considered a comedic actress, but here we are, as her annoyance made me laugh a few times, even if the entire thing wasn’t much of a story. I still don’t think that Kirsten is good for anything else than being Charlie’s girlfriend, current fiancee and future wife, and I am still waiting for the writers to try and make her a real character who isn’t just part of someone else’s life while not having a life of her own. At least she was a great plot device this time around, since I loved Claudia’s sad disappointment that she was unable to witness the happiness that is a wedding. She was right when she said that they are all there for the sad stuff, but never around when something great happens. It’s a good thing that Charlie (and maybe Kirsten, but we don’t know, since only Charlie spoke at the end of the episode) realized the same and called off the quick Reno wedding for one that has the entire family as guests.

Ghosts have been seen walking away by one character in this screenshot.

Before Sarah was able to blurt out her secret, she was a campaign manager for almost the entire episode. Never trust a high school student in love with the candidate to run the candidate’s entire campaign, because maybe that high school student will turn out to get used. It’s the lesson Sarah learned, which makes it somewhat understanding that she would tell Bailey about her feelings for him, but the story was in general nothing to get excited about. More Jennifer Love Hewitt is always great, and as I am watching these episodes I start remembering how much in love I was with her during my teen years, but what is missing now are some proper stories. Although it was hilariously obvious that Bailey wouldn’t be interested in propping up his records by becoming part of the governing body in school. At the end of the previous episode he was ready to do whatever it takes to get to college, but it didn’t even take an episode for him to not do whatever it takes to get a proper high school record for his college applications. This kid does not take things seriously, which should give you a picture of how things are gonna go for him this school year.

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