Party of Five (“Change Partners … and Dance”)

Season 2, Episode 5
Date of airing: November 1, 1995 (FOX)
Nielsen ratings information: 8.4 million viewers, 6.3/10 in Households

I was a little surprised that Bailey and Sarah were already an item with this episode, dating like there was no tomorrow, just for the writers to get into the notion that Bailey hasn’t gotten over Jill yet. First of all, I’m quite happy that Jill still has a presence in Bailey’s mind and that her death still has an aftermath to even just one fo the characters in the show, since Griffin can’t be bothered to be emotionally affected by his sister’s death. But I have a bit of an issue with how quickly Bailey and Sarah were an item, after the two had a few issues to talk to each other in the previous episode, with Sarah already showing that she is not interested in someone who isn’t in grips with his emotions. It makes her an intriguing character because she is so much different from the other girls Bailey dated, but I wouldn’t have minded to have at least one episode that had the tow get a little closer together while none of them were dealing with emotions left and right, which Bailey definitely was doing after almost causing a paralysis with one of his teammates.

Take out your markers and put your signature on Claudia’s arm!

Still, the fact that Bailey wanted to recreate his relationship with Jill with Sarah was kind of an interesting plot. It’s almost like this is all Bailey knows when thinking about romance, and this is all he wants when he has a girlfriend. For a moment I wondered whether or not he went into a romance with Sarah, in the hopes that he can quickly get into the same relationship he had with Jill since it was the thing that was missing in his life — the speed of it, the excitement, the unpredictability. It’s almost like a drug, which made Sarah the unconscious dealer, and maybe it’s luck that she quickly realized that and broke it off with Bailey before things went a little too haywire after a few weeks. After five episodes though, two main characters who were dating the Salingers have now broken things off with them and they are still main characters. I’m going to be interested in how the writers were continuing to keep Justin and Sarah in the show, although I am still expecting for both characters to be absent for a handful of episodes or more throughout the season. We haven’t seen much of Will lately and he is still considered a main character.

Charlie and Kirsten’s story was okay. The two still don’t have a lot of chemistry, which begs the question if it’s just me who cannot buy their relationship or if Paula Devicq’s words about how much fun she had shooting the show with Matthew Fox was an overstatement and something of a lie. Because I don’t see any of the fun, and the writers don’t even just go into the romance side of things in their relationship, as they are always arguing about something, or dealing with a specific topic that does not have them hug each other at the end and declare their love for each other. At the beginning of the season it was the twist of Charlie being a father, then it was Kirsten and her annoying family planning her wedding, and now it’s the dancing part of the wedding reception she would love to have. In the meantime, they are talking about their exes like they have trust issues, making me think that their marriage won’t hold for long at all. I think I said it once before, but their divorce papers have already been drawn, and Charlie and Kirsten aren’t even married yet.

She just wants to watch a film and tell you about it…

Meanwhile, Griffin is still the mysterious character with a few words, and here is Julia who would like to change him into being a better boyfriend. It isn’t a story I have the hots for, although it looks good on Julia to take center-stage in a relationship for once and not be the shy and emotionally eccentric wallflower in the background, like she was with some of the guys during the beginning stages of the series. I’m starting to not like Griffin though, who apparently does not see a lot in hanging out with people and I am wondering why. If it’s a consequence of his sister’s death, the writers should have said so. If it’s just Griffin who is completely and utterly anti-social, maybe the writers should have said so as well, but right now I’m on the fence with this character, similar to Charlie who says that Griffin only shows attitude, which is a problem for anyone. Apparently not for Julia though, because she still likes him for some unexplained reason.

And then there was Claudia, who is still getting stuck with the mediocre storylines. Let’s just hope that her broken arm will have consequences for her future musical career and she has to say goodbye to her violin for good. It would actually be a great dramatic plot, so here is to hoping the writers were preparing for that one during this episode. There has to be a point in Claudia’s series-long character arc that has her focused on something other than her music. At one point she has to become a teenager and be interested in what teenagers are interested in, which is not making music.

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