Party of Five (“The Wedding”)

Season 2, Episode 9
Date of airing: December 13, 1995 (FOX)
Nielsen ratings information: 10.5 million viewers, 7.9/12 in Households

I am crying just a little bit after this episode, as Bailey joined Charlie in the misery of having relationships that succeed and fail, proving once more that life is not that easy after all. You think you made it, but then your mind pummels you to the ground, giving you a different picture of life, telling you that your future does not look the way you think it does. And when that happiness is taken away from you, you just want to hide in a dark corner and cry for the rest of eternity. You don’t want to see anyone, you don’t want to talk to anyone, you just want time to continue on without you. Charlie should become depressed after the events of this episode, because he lost the love of his life, while his family lost a mother figure. Charlie should think of the events as life-changing, as he either becomes a more reckless person from here on or a more cautious one who hesitates to begin new relationships, who decides to stay far away from things that could make or break his heart. Because if the writers go back to the status quo and have Charlie be the same person he was during the beginning of the show, then this episode, which I would consider essential, is worthless.

This won’t be the new great family picture on the wall.

A lot of things happened, which was to be expected, considering this was a wedding. Things that had nothing to do with Charlie and Kirsten messed up the lives of other characters, as a couple broke up, another couple found itself again, and yet another couple found drunken sex for the first time. When Julia spoke about wanting her first time to be special, all I could think of was that it definitely was special — she did it during the failed wedding of her big brother, while she was drunk, in the middle of finding her way back to her boyfriend. The day has already been made memorable by the wedding fiasco, but topping it off with losing your virginity and probably getting drunk on wine for the first time makes things more special than you want them to be. I have no idea why Julia would think this wasn’t special. Okay, maybe she won’t remember all of it, thanks to being drunk, but the situation could not have been better for her goal to get back with Justin and make sure that her way of jumping from one relationship to the next will be part of her character for the remainder of the show. When Justin is history, she will probably find the next guy to date and it won’t even take an entire episode. With our luck, she will date the guy while still being with Justin, because that is her modus operandi.

Meanwhile, it was only a question of time until Bailey and Sarah would get back together, especially after this episode started off with Sarah and Will being somewhat uninterested in each other — if he doesn’t care about her opinion that his suit jacked sucked, it means he is generally not interested in him. If she would rather give Bailey a smootcher on the right cheek before going to find food and drinks, then it’s pretty clear that she hasn’t forgotten Bailey either. At least the story has been handled with respect and friendship, although the idea of Bailey, Will and Sarah getting into something of a threeway relationship could have bee fun. The only thing that was missing from that premise was Sarah actually feeling something for Will and not wanting to end things with him. The writers could have chosen that threeway premise, and they could have chosen to keep Scott Grimes in the show as a character placed in the actual center of the show, instead of just hanging out with Bailey all of the time. It would have given Bailey’s romance with Sarah a different edge (which has never been focused on at all while Sarah and Will were dating), and it would have given Grimes to be in more minutes of the show and maybe have an actual opinion about the wedding failure of his best friend’s big brother. But hey, Sarah and Bailey are back together, so they better be going through some tragic romance stuff. I know what’s coming in the next season, leading into what might be one of the best episodes of 1990s television in general, but I kind of want a smaller version of that to happen throughout the second half of this season.

So this is what sex feels like?

But I guess that story belongs to Charlie at the moment, who for some reason wants to wait to get married, but also can’t stop telling Kirsten that he loves her and that he wants to get married to her. It’s almost like he chickened out of the wedding all by himself, with the thought of wanting to still be a bachelor, yet also not wanting to lose Kirsten, because maybe there is actual love between the two. It’s a little bit schizophrenic, but who am I to argue about that hen it led to that fantastic scene in the backyard at the end of the episode, when Charlie surrendered his head into his palms and cried his soul out? Normally I don’t know Matthew Fox to be that great an actor (there are spouts of greatness in LOST, but that show wasn’t about him and those moments were super small and only there when Jack’s flashback episodes were up next), but this episode could have been his Emmy consideration reel. It makes me wonder how much the writers were able to get out of him over the course of the next few episodes, when it counted.

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