Season 2, Episode 2: Falsies

Nominated for a 1997 Writers' Guild of America Award.
Notes by Rachel Written during the summer after the fifth season

One of my projects this summer is to go back and fill in some of the holes in the web site. I might get really ambitious and get some missing summaries done, but for now I'm going to do some reviews of old episodes. I started doing my reviews rather late in the game (mid-season four) but now I'd like to catch up some of the others.

This week I'm reviewing my favorite episode of all time; from season two, Falsies. It stuck in my mind over the years because of the wonderful scene at the end between Charlie and Kirsten, but rewatching it I find that the entire episode is really wonderful on a number of levels.

Since there isn't a summary, I'll run down the details. Charlie's old girlfriend showed up and tried to pass her son off as his even though he wasn't. This brings up a whole bunch of feelings on Charlie's part and some insecurity from Kirsten about not being able to have children. Bailey goes to look at a college with Will and lies to a girl he is attracted to, not telling her about Jill who has just died or his parents. This is one of the early Griffin episodes. Julia and Justin are involved in a student protest about kissing, but Julia really only has eyes from young Mr. Holbrook. Claudia is just starting junior high and stuffs her bra out of insecurity. As per usual...very little Owen and no Thurber.

This script written by Mark B. Perry and directed by Ellen Pressman is seamless. I have often thought of the title as referring to Claudia's faux bosom, but in fact each of them are wrestling with falsehood. Bailey lies to get away from the sympathy he feels like he gets from everyone who know about the tragedy in his life. Julia is covering her true feelings about Griffin, which are now beginning to bubble to the surface. Charlie feels like his role as parent in the house isn't real, that he has his chance now with Spencer. At the same time Kirsten wonders if Charlie is being truthful that he is okay about them not being able to have their own children.

Charlie's search for Spencer is fascinating to watch in the wake of the birth of Diana and his complicated relationship with Daphne. He talks to Kirsten about how he is just the babysitter with his siblings, but Spencer would be his own child. He seems very invested in that, the kind of investment we've seen him have with Diana. I also see that to some extent in his relationship with Owen. It has something to do with raising them from birth or near birth. It is this fact that sets up my favorite scene: where Charlie tells Kirsten that he and the others have decided that he and Kirsten should adopt Owen and raise them as their own.

Bailey's dilemma is interesting. He is having a very hard time getting over Jill's death and all he wants is to get out. He wants to be away from people who know that he's an orphan, the whole nine yards. At the same time we see Sarah making her first tentative movements toward him. I love the youthful enthusiasm Love Hewitt portrays here. It's amazing to see how she has changed over the years.

And speaking of change . . . I love the comparison of Claudia beginning junior high and now her discomfort at beginning to start a serious relationship. Her fear of being small and different from the other girls is a refreshing story we don't often see on television. I also enjoyed the way they integrated her into Charlie and Kirsten's relationship, having her make Charlie realize what he could be giving up with Kirsten.

Julia and Griffin. The beginning sure didn't seem like it would get us to this place four years later. He seems like a diversion for Julia who is growing a little bored with Justin. This would be the beginning of a pattern of behavior for Julia.

So, this is a pretty resounding endorsement of this episode, but I did say up-front it's my favorite. Even the family fight seemed appropriate. Its wasn't the screaming with little or no resolution that we've seen in recent past. Julia and Claudia were pestering Charlie, he yelled, they smarted off and he stormed into the backyard. This set-up a wonderful scene between he and Kirsten where he talked about simply care-taking his parents' children. The emotion was so real!

I would not argue that the quality of Party of Five has dropped over the years because the show has changed...that's evolution. But, I will admit that at this time and place, I love these Salingers!

So, I've shared my thoughts on my favorite. What is yours? Send me an e-mail at with "Favorite" in the subject line. I'll be selecting older episodes to review and post this summer.

Copyright ©1999 by Rachel Vagts. All rights reserved.

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