Season 1, Pilot
- Rating: 8.9
- Additional Cast
Joe Mangus......Tom Mason
Mrs. Kelleher......Maxine Miller
The credits: starring scott wolf, matthew fox, neve campbell, lacey chabert, paula devicq, guest starring mitchell anderson, johnny whitworth, and tom mason as joe, supervising producer ken topolsky, created by christopher keyser & amy lippman, written by amy lippman and christopher keyser, directed by richard pearce.
Transcribed by Rachel
The Pilot episode opens up in a car lot. Bailey, Julia, Claudia and Owen are picking out a new car to lease. Bay thinks the car they've picked is too flashy, a station wagon would be more practical. Next scene: they are in a sporty black jeep. Bailey makes eyes at two girls in the car next to them. He prepares to impress them, can't get the car in gear and starts rolling down one of those steep San Francisco streets.
Claudia is practicing her violin, upon closer examination we see she is reading the script for the school play while she practices.
Julia and Bailey are discussing pizza selection when Charlie shows up. He spent the night at his friend Doug's. Bay asks if he did the shopping, Charlie offers diapers and wipes as a compromise. He asks about the Jeep parked in the driveway. He's upset when it turns out it's the station wagon he co-signed the lease for. Claudia comes in practicing for the school play. Bailey says the Jeep is his birthday present. Charlie gives him tickets to the Cowboys/49ers game and tells him to take someone special. Both of his sisters give him adoring glances. The nanny, Mrs. Kelleher enters with Owen in her arms. The next day is her 65th birthday. There are 59 steps to their front door, two flights to the bedroom and she can't take it anymore. Bailey tries to get her to hold out.
Charlie calls out to Owen who has been playing in the freshly folded laundry. He asks Bay why he isn't watching him. Bay has been, but it takes time to find a new nanny. He asks Charlie to watch the baby the next day, but Charlie has a big painting job. Bay goes to call the nanny agency, but the phone's been disconnected for nonpayment. Charlie asks why Bay didn't pay the bill. Bay acts incredulous, then wonders why he (Bailey) didn't pay the bill.
Grant High School
Julia is in math class. As she begins to take a test she notices the boy next to her looking at her paper. She slides it over so he can copy the answers.
Later, outside she talks to him. He has noticed her before, he copied off her in health class, twice. He offers her a cigarette, but she refuses. He asks if she wants to go out. She accepts. He wonders if what she would say if he asked her to meet in the middle of the Golden Gate bridge at 3 am. She thinks it's a great idea. He wonders what her folks would think. Julia looks away. He remembers, drunk driver, about 6 months ago. She says she doesn't want to talk about it. He says his dad split a couple of years ago. It's not the same she responds. So they can do whatever they want? No one tells her what to do.
A string ensemble is performing. Claudia's violin instructor walks over to her. He wants to enter her in a contest. They'll have to meet one more day a week. She wants to audition for the school play. She thought it would be fun. Ross points out that if she works hard she is good enough to win.
Charlie and Doug are finishing up their painting job. They're waiting for Doug's friend to come with papers for a house they've bought together. They each gave him $12,000 for the deal. Charlie's nervous because the guy hasn't shown up.
The plumber announces they are going to have to do some major repiping. The estimate is $600 and he needs half of it up-front. A check would be just dandy. Bailey opens up the checkbook. Check 917 is missing and they have a $35 balance. Bay asks if the plumber can get started and they'll pay him later. He says they can call him when their folks get back into town. He'll just need $50 now for the estimate. Cash would be dandy.
Bailey is trying to explain that they need to keep better track of the money. Joe leads them to their table. They ask if he's seen Julia, but he hasn't. They sit down at the table. Charlie thinks it was a mistake to give them the whole $15,000 at a time (they get it 3 times a year). He's going to give them their money a month at a time from now own. Bay asks why it's his decision. Charlie says he's the executor of the will and that's the way it is. On paper, Bailey points out. And only because someone had to be, Claudia adds. Charlie asks what a bunch of kids know about handling money. Mr. Graham gives him the money 3 times a year and it's up to him to see how it gets doled out. That's just the way it is.
Julia comes in wearing a new leather jacket. Bailey asks where she was. She was at Union Square shopping, what does he think? He hopes she didn't pay for it with check 917. She bought it for tomorrow night, she has a date with PK She missed dinner. She says it isn't the end of the world. It was the one thing they agreed to do no matter what. She asks why, so they can hang around their dad's restaurant and eat with napkins instead of paper towels? It's about checking in with one another, making sure they all still have a pulse, Bailey argues. Julia checks her pulse, it's still beating.
On the street
Bailey calls a nanny agency on a pay phone. He tries to impress how important it is to find someone soon. He gets off the phone. The agency needs a fee, 15% of a year's salary, but the Department of Social Services says Owen has to have a qualified nanny.
Claudia pawns her violin. She negotiates with the pawn dealer and gets $350. He gives her the money and her ticket. She leaves and then returns. She opens the case and takes her mother's photo out. She asks him to please put it in the back. He agrees.
Bailey is interviewing a nanny candidate. She wants to discuss things more thoroughly, but Bailey just wants to hire someone. She doesn't think this would be the ideal situation for her. Bay offers to do anything for her to stay. She comments of the odor coming from their kitchen.
Julia and PK are dancing. It's very loud and they have a confused conversation. He goes to the bar to get a beer when Charlie walks up. He asks what she's doing there. She's on a date. He wants to know how they got in. PK knows the bouncer. Charlie wants to know if they drove. She tells him they took the bus. Doug comes up. Charlie tries to get her to leave, but she won't . Doug says he has to talk to Charlie. Julia walks over the bar. PK wants to know if she knows the guys. She tells him the guy in the jean jacket is her brother and the other guy...they kind of went out. He looks over where Charlie and Doug are in a heated discussion. PK asks if it's about her. Charlie smacks Doug again the wall. Julia says she doesn't know and asks if he wants to leave.
PK looks at a picture of her parents and comments on how pretty her mom was. She asks if he wants to kiss her. He asks if she has any music. She offers to turn on the radio, but he moves in and kisses her. She slides her hands down his back. He pulls away. She asks what she did, but he says she surprised him. They start kissing again.
Charlie calls from downstairs. They need to have a family conference right now. She shows PK out the back door. He asks about the Golden Gate bridge, but she doesn't think it'll work that night.
Charlie gathers the family together. They have a problem they have to talk about. Charlie is going to work it out. He and Doug and a friend were going to buy a coop and fix it up, but the guy took off with the money. Bay asks how much money he lost. $12,000. Of his own money Julia asks. Charlie just sits quietly. Bay asks if this is why he wanted control of the money. Charlie was just trying to do something for all of them, this investment would have been for all of them. Bay tells him to save it. Julia asks what they're going to do for the next 4 months until they get another check. They got $2500 yesterday and that's it. They have to find a nanny, get the plumbing fixed and pay the mortgage. Julia says they'll just go to Mr. Graham, it's an emergency. Bailey says no, it will make them look irresponsible. They have to handle it themselves, or they'll have an excuse to split them up. Julia runs upstairs. Bay says they'll have to give up whatever they have to give up. Charlie can still seem like a father to them, even if they know it's a lie. Charlie asks Claudia what's wrong. She's scared. He tells her not to worry, they'll work it out. She says this wouldn't have happened if their mom and dad were there. Why aren't they here? Bailey comforts her while Charlie watches.
Charlie comes home with his bags. The kids ask what he did this time. He's going to spend more time and home and take more responsibility, what he should have done in the first place. He tells Julia to move her stuff out of their parents' room. He's 24 and he's not sleeping on the couch. If she doesn't move her stuff out, he'll throw it out in the hall.
Charlie and Claudia are setting up a tent for her to sleep in. Bailey comes in with a nanny prospect. She seems disturbed by their creative solution. She says she's forgotten to set her parking brake. She makes a hasty exit barely remembering to hand Owen back to Bailey on her way out.
Julia seeks out PK He and his friends are heading out for Berkeley. She asks if she can come, but he says no. She asks about tomorrow. He's busy. She asks if he'll call her later. He tells her that they aren't going out. She's surprised. The other night was fun, but... She thought it was something else. He has to go.
Bailey and Owen's room
Bay puts Owen to bed. He apologizes, but if he can't work something out with the nanny thing, he's going to have to sell Owen into white slavery. He knows it isn't how they planned to do things, but hey, welcome to the club.
Claudia asks for 3 ways their lives have been improved by space travel. Bay offers satellites, Charlie says better planes. She needs one more, Bay mentions Tang, he loves it. Julia comes home. Bay asks why she's home so soon, did he break up with her. Julia looks away uncomfortable. Charlie thinks she's better off. Bailey says she was too good for him anyway. Charlie asks about the rule about not going out on school nights. She tells him to go to hell and leaves the room. Charlie tells Claudia to go to bed. She never goes to bed this early. He can't tell her what to do. He says he can, she should read the guardianship agreement. Bay points out that a piece of paper doesn't make him a parent. Charlie's upset. He's sick of hearing it. If Bailey is sick of the agreement, then no one will be in charge and they'll come in and split them up. Bay points out that Charlie was the one that lost the money. If he wants to help he should go get a job. Charlie says that he has something in the wings. Bay has seen what he's looking for. He's not looking for a job, he's looking for a career. They need him to have a job now. Charlie storms out. Bay tells Claudia it's late and she should go to bed. She does.
Bailey comes in to check on her. Is this about that jerk PK? She asks if it's supposed to make her feel better if he calls him a jerk. She wants him to say something to make her feel better. Bay comments that he made a gun rack in shop class last year. This doesn't make her feel better. He doesn't know how she feels and he can't tell her it'll get better because he doesn't know. There's no one to tell her what to do. She asks Bailey to please just go away.
Ross is stunned to hear that Claudia pawned her violin. She sorry, but she had to decide between her violin and her baby brother. He says he'll take her on as a scholarship student. She's right on the verge. She asks to please not make her do it. He agrees, if it is something she really doesn't want to do it, she shouldn't, but she has something so rare. She has it, her mom had it which makes it even more special. Claudia thinks it's a big drag sometime, she can't be in the play. Instead of thinking about what she's missing, she should think about what she has that no one else does. When she picks up a violin she can do something that no one else can, it makes her the luckiest.
Bailey opens the door to reveal a beautiful woman. She's there to interview for the nanny position. Her name is Kirsten Bennett. Bailey's jaw is hanging on the ground, but he lets her in.
Claudia reclaims her violin. While she waits for the bus she pulls it out and plays for the others waiting. They all applaud her efforts.
Claudia asks Bailey about the new nanny, what are her qualifications? Does she have record? How could he turn Owen over to a total stranger? She walks in and Claud gives her brother a dirty look. Kirsten says Owen was a dream and the Jeep runs great. Is he sure he doesn't mind her driving it to class every night? She takes Owen into the other room to change his diaper. Bay turns to Claudia. Now he remembers, she's a grad student in psychology and has references from previous nanny jobs and she's taking $75 less a week for using the car. Bailey offers to help with the diaper despite Claudia's protestations that he never does.
Charlie asks Joe for a loan. He asks for $3,000. He wouldn't ask if it wasn't an emergency. He'll pay it back as soon as he gets a job or Joe could have it in trade. Charlie could refinish the bar from him. Joe says he'll give it to him. He'll just take a little out of his paycheck every week. He throws the bartender's guide to Charlie and asks him how to make a Singapore Sling. Charlie can't believe he wants him to bartend there. Joe says it's like deja vu. He saw Charlie stand in the same place and ask his dad for money. Charlie asks if Joe's going to call him a flake too. He never had a fight where his dad didn't call him a flake. Joe says if he needs the money, it's his, but he has to work for it. Charlie grudgingly agrees.
Bailey joins Julia on the swings. Last year he had a thing for Gina Lewin. He didn't talk about it much, but he had it pretty bad. He kept asking her out until she told him to buzz off. He was in pretty bad shape. Julia asks what he did about it. He went to their dad. She asks what he said. Bailey can't remember, but it really helped. He's sorry. He's trying. He doesn't have anybody to tell him what to do either. She asks if he ever thinks about them. Of course he does. Then why don't they ever talk about them? Bay thinks maybe they put on a brave face for Claud and Owen, but maybe that's stupid. Maybe talking about them would help. Julia says she hopes that sometime the feeling will go away. Bay thinks there's so much that he doesn't know that he just has to hang on to what he does know, like the five of them. Them being together just feels right, it's the same thing with the dinner, they have to keep that going. She asks why. He says because it matters, to him, to the others and it would have mattered to their mom and dad.
Bay, Claudia and Owen come into the restaurant. Charlie comes over wearing an apron. He tells them he's working there. Charlie asks if Julia's flaking again, Bay says she's going through a hard time. Bailey asks about the house-building career. Charlie just says to count him in for 550 a week plus tips. Claudia has $25 from dog walking and Bailey will contribute 50 from the shoe store. Charlie sent the mortgage off that afternoon. They just might make it. Julia comes to the table and asks what they're having. Claudia comments that it's too bad Kirsten couldn't come. Julia asks who she is. Bailey tells them she's the new nanny. As they start passing bread he tells them about her, she's very professional and qualified.
It's amazing, four years later the Pilot episode still holds up remarkably well. Sure, the house looks funny to those of us who pay attention to these things, but from the very beginning these are very well drawn characters. I had a taped copy of the second half of the episode so much of that was familiar, but seeing the first half of this episode again was like running into an old friend I hadn't seen for a few years.
From the moment Bailey leases that infamous black jeep, we're off to the races. Without a lot of explanation we are introduced to Claudia, the violin virtuoso who wants to be a regular kid, Julia, who's experiencing first love and the first of many complicated relationships, Bailey, the responsible sibling and Charlie, the incredibly irresponsible sibling. Charlie has grown up so much the last couple of years it's hard to remember what an incredible screw-off he was. Even Owen makes his entrance here as the silent sibling we've grown to love. One difference in this episode is the large role played by Thurber who seems to have disappeared as of late.
The episode's pivotal moment comes with Charlie's admission that he has lost the family's money. While Bailey and Julia are outraged, Claudia has the genuine reaction. She's scared and upset. This wouldn't have happened if their mom and dad were still alive. The rest of the episode we seem them pulling it together and moving on.
Legend now has it that Kirsten was originally conceived as a sight gag. The apparition of the beautiful woman to solve Bailey's nanny problems fortunately was fleshed out to become the pivotal character that many including me, dearly love to this day. Her entry here signifies a new day in the lives of the Salinger family.
It's interesting to think about the scene on the swings. Julia asks why they don't talk about their mom and dad. They talk about needing to do it more, but they must do all of that talking off screen. As I'm writing this, I've seen 4 seasons of Party of Five and I still don't feel I have much sense of who Diana and Nick Salinger were.
All in all, this is a strong beginning to quite possibly one of the most unique and interesting shows on television. Well done!
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