Season 2, Episode 9: The Wedding

Nominated for Oustanding Sound Editing for a Series in the 1996 Emmy Awards

Transcribed by Julie Gumm

Charlie returns to the house in the morning. The house is beautifully decorated for the wedding, the cake is set up and the caterers are busy in the kitchen. He's obviously a little overwhelmed by it all. He finds Kirsten in the bedroom, already in her wedding dress. He tells her that he needs time. He loves her and knows he wants to marry her, but he wants to wait maybe 6 months. He doesn't want to feel panicked and trapped like he does now. She tells him that he just has cold feet and the jitters and that it's perfectly understandable. Then she tells him to get ready, and "Charlie, be sure to shave." She really doesn't listen to what he said, but as she leaves the room you can tell that she almost knows what is going to happen.

Justin arrives with a gift. Julia is glad to see him. He says he's not going to stay, but he does. Charlie arrives downstairs and they all go outside for pictures. The photographer is snapping away, saying, "Everybody say forever." Charlie freaks out and leaves, Kirsten goes after him. She finds him in the bedroom and he tells her that he can't go through with it and that she's not listening to him. She replies, "I am listening. What I am not doing is indulging you." Then Charlie says he can't handle it – if he marries her then she is the only women he will ever be with, he has all the kids he'll ever have, he lives in his father's house, takes care of his father's kids and every day he goes to his father's job. He says he could handle any one of those things by themselves, but not all together. "I'm 25 and I have no choices left." He tells her that the wedding is off.

Kirsten's parents arrive and her dad starts yelling at Charlie. Kirsten and her parents leave the bedroom and Charlie is left in their with three upset siblings. He tells them to leave. Bailey says he'll go pay the help. "It's weird. I haven't done that in awhile–cleaned up your mess," he says.

Kirsten's mom is irate. She says that any person who calls off a wedding 30 minutes before the ceremony is insane. (Pretty funny when you consider that Kirsten does the exact same thing months later.) Kirsten tells her parents to shut up. There's to much noise in her head and she can't think and she has to remember how to breathe.

Julia is sitting on the stairs and her and Justin are talking. She's trying to figure out what to say to Charlie to make him change his mind. Bailey is downstairs paying off the caterer when Kirsten' mom interrupts and tells her that she's not going anywhere, that there will be a wedding. Then she goes into Kirsten and tells her what she has to do is give Charlie an ultimatum. Either he marries her today or she's gone.

Julia sneaks a bottle of champagne and pulls Justin into the garage. He remembers when they had their first kiss by the washing machine. They're both very drunk. Sarah comes over and sits by Bailey. She tells him that she's been trying to think of something to say and all she can think of is "Oy!" He tells her, "All Salinger men make the same mistake. They walk away from the one thing that is actually the best think in their whole life." She says, "I don't know what to say." (Bailey is not just talking about Charlie, but himself too." Later Bailey asks Will if he loves Sarah. Will says he doesn't know if he loves her, he's definitely "into her." Then Bailey says, "Because I think I her...I think I do."

Someone discovers that Charlies is missing so everyone freaks out. Sarah has a weird conversation with Will (whom she's now dating) about how you never know about couples, etc. Kirsten is in the bathroom fixing her makeup. Claudia goes in and asks her if she thinks Charlie is coming back. She replies, "I don't think he's coming back in time."

Julia and Justin are in her bedroom and she starts talking about how the room is spinning. They start kissing and taking each other's clothes off. She asks him if he has something which she does, "OK." She says.

Just as Kirsten is about to tell the guests that the wedding is off, Charlie comes bursting through the door. He pulls her into the bedroom and says, "let's just do it." (Real romantic.) He tells her that he doesn't want to lose her.

Will confronts Bailey and Sarah and says he doesn't know what is going on but all of a sudden everyone is asking him about his relationship with Sarah. Both Bailey and Sarah are surprised that the other said something to Will. Will asks, "What are we going to do."

Claudia's pounding on Julia's door awakens the two sleeping lovebirds. Julia's exact words are "Oh my God!" She repeats this several times as Claudia tells her that Charlie's back, the wedding is on and to get downstairs.

Charlie and Bailey are standing by the minister waiting for Kirsten who doesn't appear. Charlie goes to check on her and finds her in the bedroom in jeans and a sweatshirt. She says she can't marry him, "I'm scared to marry you." She's afraid of the day when he'll come home and tell her that he doesn't want to be married to her anymore. He says he'd never do that but Kirsten says she doesn't believe him.

Will tells Bailey that he can have Sarah, and then punches him in the stomach. He says he had to do it, as a guy. Bailey says he understands. He finds Sarah in the backyard and tells her, "Maybe now it's, I don't know, just right." Then they kiss.

Kirsten gets ready to leave with her parents. Charlie says, "I love you." Kirsten replies "I love you too. Maybe if we're both lucky, that will go away." She gives him back the ring telling him it should stay in the family.

The kids are in the kitchen surveying the mess. They decide to leave the clean up until morning. Claudia puts the cake top in the freezer for good luck.

Bailey goes outside where Charlie is sitting on the bench. He asks, "What are you going to do now Charlie?" He replies, "Do you think I know, do you think I have a clue? It's only been, like what, 6 hours." Bailey says he meant what was he going to do tonight. Charlie tells him to go ahead and give him the lecture about how he screwed up. Bailey says he's not going to give him the lecture because he figures Charlie will hear that from a lot of people. "Sometimes I just don't get you, but I love you because you're my brother. ... I'm on your side." He sits down with Charlie who starts crying.

Notes from Rachel:
Written August 27th, 1999

The writing is on the wall from the first moment. Before the credits even air Charlie has broken the bad news that he isn't ready for "the rest of his life to start today." It takes Kirsten the next forty minutes to figure out that he means it. So, why don't Charlie and Kirsten get married? They love each other, shouldn't that make it so? Charlie is confused and this is one big step for him to take. He never denies that he loves Kirsten, only that he can't make one more permanent decision. He lives in his father's house, raising his father's children, running his dad's business. It would have to be overwhelming for any twenty-five year old.

With the perspective of 4 more years of Charlie and Kirsten we can see that he is making a terrible decision, but was it the worst decision for Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman to have made? I argue no. I'm glad that Charlie and Kirsten seem headed for marital bliss now, but then it would have completely changed the tenor of the show. They would have become the parents and that would have put a safety net under the drama that we like to call the Salingers.

Beyond the drama of the wedding there are several stories going on here. This episode is the launching point for Bailey and Sarah's relationship. Will realizes that he doesn't have a chance with Sarah and decides that he could lose both of his good friends, or just be happy for them. I love seeing the youthful exuberance, Sarah's unfettered joy.

It is also a renewal of Julia and Justin's friendship. They have broken up, but Justin shows up for the wedding. As the drama of the day carries on they find themselves with a bottle of champagne, then drunk, then in bed. This sets up a story arc that carries us to the very powerful "Before and After" the following February.

This episode is such a great example of the strength of Matthew Fox and Paula Devicq's portrayals of these characters. I can feel the pain that they are going through as they come to the horrible realization that they are not going through with this wedding. As Kirsten walks away from the man that she loves, the children that she has become so close to, we all want to cry with her.

In hindsight I can see so much of Kirsten's mental fragility in this episode. I found it very interesting that in the spring of season five she told Charlie that her depression was never his fault. He has always thought so and quite frankly, I blamed him as well. He might not have known he was going to send her into a depressive cycle, but ultimately it was his actions that put her there.

At the end, though, after everyone has left, despite their anger at Charlie for tearing their family apart again, it is his siblings that rally around him. "Monopoly" by Shawn Colvin is a powerful expression as it plays over the last scene.

A classic example of the angst that the Salingers are capable of producing without the soap opera that has overwhelmed some aspects of the past few seasons.

Personally, I can't wait to see Gene and Ellie Bennett back for round two.

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