Rating: 7.0

Additional Cast

Paul Archer......Raphael Sbarge
Prof. Conklin......John Pleschette
Mr. Burns......Frank Sanders
Mrs. Huffman......Lela Ivey
Nana......Virginia Capers
Ross......Mitchell Anderson
Sam Brody......Ben Browder
Directed by Michael Engler, written by Chris Levinson

2 Synopses of Season 3, Episode 16
I Declare

from Marley Gibson, writer for the Compuserve TV Zone (GO TVZONE)

Charlie and Grace are sitting up on the hill together talking about their growing relationship and how they should proceed. They decide to take it slow. Grace reaches over and takes his hand and kisses it, asking him if that's okay and he certainly likes that. Then, they are all over each other, kissing passionately.

Opening Credits

Claudia and Ross are looking through pictures and she realizes Ross must be in a new relationship, because he is very happy and mentions a "he" and he seems to be floating. He tells her it's a teacher at her school and she figures out that it's Mr. Archer.

Bailey is doing quite well in his wrestling, his professor notes, during an in the office visit. Prof. Conklin tells him if he doesn't get a B+ average on his term paper for his comparative modern poetry class, he'll make a D in the class and will be put on probation, which will prevent him from wrestling. Bailey tells the professor he's going to cut back on the partying and will get this paper done in time.

Claudia wrote in the school paper to a "confused" student offering them advice to just be who they are and her column mentions that even one of their teachers is gay. Everyone crowds around her wanting to know who the teacher is, but she is stressing the importance of what the article says, but still they press. She finally gives up and says, "Look, it's Mr. Archer."

The Salingers are all in the kitchen with an envelope...waiting for Julia to come in the room. When she enters, Charlie hands the envelope - from Stanford - to her. As she opens it, they ask, "well?!" She reads the letter and she has been accepted for one of the early slots to Stanford! The family cheers and Charlie opens a bottle of champagne. They all toast Julia's good fortune - even Claudia gets to sip some of the bubbly. Bailey puts down his glass after one sip to keep in stride with his no drinking policy. Julia withdraws into herself and doesn't seem happy about this letter at all.

When Bailey arrives at his apartment, there is a huge party going on. He is quite upset and insists to Callie that she make everyone leave, as he has to study and concentrate on his paper. They have words about who's apartment it is and she says the people aren't leaving and as a compromise, he can study in her room.

At Grace's apartment, she and Charlie are kissing as they come in the door. They are most anxious and impatient as the kisses heat up, but Charlie steps back and tells her they need to slow down. Charlie wants to make sure they're doing the right thing. He says he has always gotten in trouble with the run away, get it fast, sex. Grace laughs and asks when he got this way? He tells her recently. Grace signs and says, "great, I get the new model with automatic seatbelts."

Commercial Break

In the hallway at school Julia and Sarah wave to each other. Julia gives the thumb's up sign to her and she shrugs, doing the thumb's down sign. The meet up and Sarah tells Julia of her disappointment in not getting into Stanford. Julia feels she only got in because she's some "alumni's brat."

Bailey opens the knock at the apartment door and it's the landlord, Mr. Burns. He wants to know why everyone in San Francisco was in his apartment building last night? He spats that he wants Bailey and Callie out at the end of the month. Callie comes in and tells Mr. Burns he can't do that, because they have rights as tenants. Mr. Burns tells them they're out of there!

At Grace's apartment, she opens the door to Charlie, dressed in her robe. She suggests that he change from his nice shirt, because since they're going to be painting, he doesn't want to get paint all over him. She tells him she's going to finish dressing and leaves to go into the other room. Her door to her room doesn't close completely and Charlie sneaks a look at her bare back as she slips into her painting clothes. She turns, noticing the crack in the door and watches as Charlie pulls off his shirt to change.

Ross confronts Claudia about "outing" Mr. Archer. She thought she could do it to use him as a good example, but says perhaps he'd be better off just lying about his sexuality. She then tells Ross if Mr. Archer is lying about who and what he is, doesn't that mean he's lying about Ross too? Ross thinks about it.

On the site of a job, Julia shows up to tell Sam about her acceptance to Stanford. He congratulates her and then notes, "you look like you're going to throw up!" He then asks, "isn't this what you wanted?" She doesn't know any- more and tells him she doesn't think she wants to go. He asks when did she decide this and says she needs to decide what's best for her - think it through. She rants that how you do in school is not who you are...and that's all she's been for all these years. She tells him she thinks she's done with school.

Callie comes out of her bedroom wrapped from head to toe in a thick blanket. Bailey is huddled on his bed wrapped in blankets, wearing his coat, gloves, a hat and scarf. In an attempt to run them out, Mr. Burns had the heat shut off. Bailey has to study at the apartment because the library is closed. Callie says Burns can't get away with this and goes to the kitchen to get some brandy to keep her warm. Bailey is watching her...not her, but rather her drinking. She offers to pour him a little sip, saying it will help warm him up. He says he can't because he has to work on his paper. Then, as he continues to watch her drink, he comes to the table, justifying that he can write the outline of the paper today and then finish writing the whole thing tomorrow. He requests a small sip and when she doesn't pour enough, he tells her so. They toast with "bottoms up!"

Commercial Break

Bailey awakens with his head on the kitchen table. The brandy bottle is totally empty and his head is killing him. He reaches for asprin and pops two into his mouth, only to find that now the water has been shut off. There's nothing to wash the pills down with except beer in the fridge. Finally, he goes to the plant watery can and drinks from it. Callie enters with several law books and announces she's going to write a letter to the landlord. When Bailey carps about not having written any of his paper, she tells him he should write it in stages and even offers to help him. He loves the idea.

Julia is standing in the doorway of Charlie's room watching him. When she asks if he's meeting Grace, he's startled and wonders how long she's been standing there? Julia tells him she wants to help out more - in a non-academic way, possibly helping with kids or something. She tells Charlie how her life has always been about school and he suggests to her that she take some time off and enjoy herself before she starts Stanford in the fall. He cuts her off when she tries to explain more and tells her he'll talk to Grace about her possibly helping out and rushes out the door, leaving Julia standing there with her mouth hanging open.

Charlie and Grace are at the house they are painting ... and not too happy that they are all alone. That is...until she finds Owen in a corner behind some of the covered furniture...coloring. Just then, Grace's Nana walks in.

Julia finds her adviser in the stairwell at school and tells her she doesn't think she's going to go to Stanford. Her teacher isn't very happy and tries to talk her out of it, but Julia says she's going to see what she's able to do with her own life - she's going to write Stanford and let them know.

Claudia is playing her violin for Ross. When she finishes, he tells her she is "getting there." She seems disappointed in his assessment. Then, Paul Archer arrives and tells him they'll have to meet later. He seems to feel awkward with Claudia watching on. Paul tells Ross he has to meet his mother and when Ross indicates he'd like to go along, Paul says, no, that he's not totally "out" to his mother. Ross understands being discrete at work, but being with him around family isn't worth going back into the closet. Paul tells him he's just not ready and he leaves.

Bailey and Callie are at a bar and are both getting quite blitzed. Empty beer bottles cover the table. She has written a biting letter to the landlord, threatening a law suit. Bailey thinks the letter is great and then he realizes his paper is almost finished. He has written seven pages....a page a beer. He orders more beer so he can get the paper done.

Grace and Charlie have obviously been painting for a while, stealing glances at each other. Nana informs them she's quite hungry and she's sure Owen is too. She offers to take Owen for a hamburger, but both Charlie and Grace urge her not to leave them. She poo-poos them, picks up Owen and heads out. Once they are alone for about a minute, the meet in the middle of the room, Charlie kisses her and the paint can spills and the the paint brushes fall to the floor.

Commercial Break

Charlie is at Salingers the next day when Grace comes in with a baggie full of Owen's crayons that he left yesterday. They smile knowingly at each other and then stumble of their words. She tells him that last night was great...but Charlie wishes it were four months from now...because they rushed things. And, he wants to be sure. He wishes they were past this point. He says he wished it were summer, when everything is warm and new. Grace reminds him that they have waited, because they have been friends for so long beforehand. She tells him she can now wait, because she knows what she's waiting for.

Claudia and Ross are going through some clothes and folding them. Ross isn't too talkative, so Claudia goes on about a new waiter at Salingers that she wants to fix Ross up with. He doesn't want to hear this and tells her not everyone is as open as she and him and they can't all just be themselves. He reminds her of how she reacted to him when he told her he was gay. Then, he realizes he's better off without Paul and all the pretending.

Sarah is in the kitchen at the house with Julia, asking her what she's going to do? Julia tells her she's going to find a job. Sarah asks if this is all a reaction to Libby's death? Julia says, "yeah, a little." She then tells Sarah that it took her four days to even mail the application. Sarah gets snarky to her and asks if she has been thinking about this back to the time when they were all working on their applications together? Sarah snaps at her, saying this is an "ego decision." Then, she screams, "You took an early acceptence spot that you knew *I* wanted!" Julia screams back that Sarah can have it! Charlie walks in just in time to hear this Julia snarls at Sarah, "Thanks for the support, Sarah."

Callie announces to Bailey that she took the letter down to Mr. Burns and walla, the heat and water are back on. Bailey wakes up from his hangover and starts reading his paper. It's done, but he can't believe what he's written. It's horrid. He repeats paragraphs and explains things in childish, inane fashion.

Claudia is leaving school and is stopped by a fellow student who tells her that her column is really good and people are talking. Then, he tells her he was the one who wrote the letter and signed it "Confused at 14." He smiles, telling her she's the first person he's admited that to.

Charlie is making a sandwich when Julia comes into the kitchen, wanting to talk. He wants to know why she's turning down the spot at Stanford and she says she's "tired of being me." She compares herself to pictures on the refrigerator - telling Charlie that he and Bailey always made pictures the way they wanted them with pink mountains and purple clouds, while her pictures were always perfect and just as they should be. She needs to find out who and what she is. Just then, Sam walks in and then excuses himself when he sees she and Charlie are talking about her decision. Charlie lashes out at Sam, asking if he has some- thing to do with this decision? He screams for him to get out and Charlie tells Julia she's letting Sam ruin her life!

In Prof. Conklin's office, Bailey tells him he missed class today because he was getting his paper just right. He tells the professor how hard he's been working on it, but it's just not completely finished and he wants to make sure he has it down pat for him. He asks for an extension, but the professor won't budge. He tells him he can turn it in late, but Bailey realizes he would need to make an A+ on the paper to keep his grade from falling. If he drops the class, he'll have an incomplete on his transcript, but he can still participate in wrestling. He decides this is what he'll do.

Grace answers the door to her house to find Charlie standing there. He tells her he was walking around and realized it was warmer and it felt like summer to him. He walks in, towards her, talking about nature and how life chugs along. Grace smiles, telling him she always knows summer is coming because she has a flowering dogwood tree outside her bedroom window and asks him if he'd like to see it? They walk hand in hand to her room, kiss and shut the door.

from Julie Gumm

Charlie and Grace are picnicking in the back of his pickup truck at some scenic park. She thinks itís weird that theyíre there and she wants to make sure that he wants to be there. He says if it feels a little strange then theyíll just take it slow. Then she asks, "How slow is slow?" He doesn't know so she grabs his hand and kisses it and then kisses him.

Claud is looking at Ross's kids pictures. She's looking at the pictures and sees Mr. Archer, her 3rd grade English teacher. Then Ross tells her that they're dating. She's totally quizzing him about how serious it is. They've been dating a couple of months but he's taking it kind of slow.

One of the school counselors is reading a newspaper article about Bailey. He tells Bai that in college all he cared about was wrestling, drinking beer and chasing women. Then he tells Bai that if he doesnít get a B+ on this Friday's poetry paper, his average will be low and heíll be placed on academic probation and won't be able to wrestle. Bai admits that he has to cut back on partying and get back into the books.

Some girl is complementing Claud on her column "I, Claudia." Some boy wrote a letter about being "confused." Her response was to be honest and she mentions that one of their teachers is gay. Two boys come up to her with bets on who the teacher is. She's kind of annoyed because the article wasn't supposed to be about the gay thing, it's about being honest with yourself. "It's not a big deal, it's Mr. Archer," she finally says.

Julia walks in the kitchen. The whole family is waiting for her. The envelope from Stanford came, and it's thick. "Congratulations," Owen says. She got in. Everyone's really excited. Charlie pops the cork on a bottle of champagne. "Here's to knowing what you want, and going for it," Charlie says. "And generally kicking ass," Bai says. Then Bai says that as of 4:55 he's swearing of alcohol until he writes 10 pages. As Julia finishes reading the letter, they're all talking about how cool it is.

Bai walks into the apartment to find about 50 people in there having a paper. He's all uptight. She tells him to have a beer and relax. He wants her to kick them out but she tells him the best offer he's going to get is to work in her room.

Charlie and Grace get back to her apartment and are into some heavy breathing/kissing. Charlie pulls away because he doesnít want to get that intense, that fast. "This gotta have it sex always messes it up," Charlie tells her. Grace asks when he got so forward thinking. "Just my luck, I get the brand new model with the automatic seatbelts," she says.

Julia sees Sarah from down the hall and their motioning to each other. Sarah didnít get into Stanford. Julia is a little less than enthusiastic, saying that she probably just got in because she was an alum brat. Sarah thinks sheís just trying to make her feel better.

Bai is studying in the kitchen when some guy knocks on the party, apparently the landowner. Callie comes out and apologizes for the party, but he tells her that she's moving out at the end of the month. Callie tells him that he can't force them out because they have a lease. "Start looking for a new place for your keg. Feb. 1 you're out," he says.

Charlie goes over to Grace's. She's in her robe. She goes into the bathroom to change but the door kind of slips open so that he can see her back. He's in the family room and she kind of peeks at him.

Ross is mad at Claudia for printing the column. She thought that Mr. Archer would be a really good positive example and she didn't realize that it was a secret. "If it's ok for him to lie about who he is than isn't he lying about you too?" she asks.

Julia is over at Sam's. He reads the letter and thinks it's great. "Wait, why do you look like you're going to throw up?" he asks. She says she didn't know. She never weighed her options and decided that college is for her. She keeps telling herself it's a great opportunity but she doesn't know what for - just to prove she's a good student. "How you do in school, is not who you are," she says. He tells her it's OK to say that she's had it with school. "I think I've had it with school, I think I don't want to go" she says.

Bai and Callie are all bundled up in the apartment because the landlord turned the heat off. Callie gets some brandy to warm up. "What if I just pour you a little sip, not enough to mess your concentration?" she asks. Then Bai starts making excuses that he really only has to do the outline tonight and 5 pages each for the next two days. She gives him about an ounce of brandy. "Bottoms up," he says.

Bai wakes up the next morning next the empty brandy bottle. He goes to take some aspirin but the guy turned the water off. He doesn't want to drink it down with beer so he drinks some out of the plant watering can. Callie comes back in with some law books to help her draft a letter to the landlord. She volunteers to help with his paper. "You help, you help?" he asks. "I love that idea," he says.

Charlie is putting on his shoes. Julia is standing in the doorway and says she thinks its great that heís helping out and that she'd like to do volunteer, work with kids, etc. Charlie tells her that she should take some time off. She thinks it's great that he said that but he's just talking about taking a few months before she starts college.

Grace and Charlie are at one of the centers to do some painting. "Alone?" Charlie asks. Grace asks him if he's nervous about being alone. He says he's not right before she spots Owen sitting on the floor. Just as she's about to tease him, her Nana comes in. Apparently Grace asked her to come help with the garden which is practically non-existent.

Julia runs into the counselor at school who's excited about her going to Stanford. But Julia tells her that she's not going that she's deferring a year, maybe two, or whatever. The counselor wants her to think about it, but she says she doesn't need to.

Claud is practicing while Ross is barely listening. There's a knock on the door and who could it be but Mr. Archer. He says that he has to go see his mom so can they meet later. Ross volunteers to go with him but Mr. Archer says it's not a good idea - apparently his mom doesn't know about him being gay. "How about a dark alley somewhere?" Ross asks. He says he gets being discreet at work but thatís one thing. "I'm just not ready," Mr. Archer says. Ross tells him to call him when he is.

Bai and Callie are at the bar. Bai reads the letter which he thinks is great. She asks how many pages he has. "Well the incentive plan is one beer per page so...seven pages." Well, not quite. Then he thinks he should have another beer.

The four of them are still painting. Nana says that she's starving and so is Owen so she takes him to go get a burger even after they both beg her to stay. She leaves and not 10 seconds later they're kissing.

Grace comes over to the restaurant to drop off something. Neither one of them called the other. She says that last night was great. He agrees but he wishes that it was four months from now so they would have taken their time. She disagrees because she thinks they did everything right, because they started out as friends.

Claud is down in the basement sorting through clothes for Ross's daughter. She mentions that there tells her that's not the answer. Claud tells Ross that she thinks he did the right thing. He agrees partly although he knows what Mr. Archer was going through.

Sarah and Julia are in the kitchen. Sarah asks what she's going to do and Julia says she'll get a job, and then another job until she finds one she loves. Sarah asks if it's a reaction to what happened to Libby and she says that maybe it is. They start arguing and Charlie comes in and overhears that Julia is not going to Stanford. "What, you weren't going to tell me?" he asks.

Callie comes out and wakes Bailey up. He grabs his term paper off the floor. He can't tell what order they're in and he copied the same paragraph three times. He can't believe how terrible it is.

As Claud is walking out of class this guy comes out and tells her that he reads her column and that it was good. She thanks him and then she's about to walk away when he stops her again. He tells her that it was him that wrote the letter "Confused at 14."

Charlie is in the kitchen making a sandwich when Julia walks in. He asks her what she's thinking. She says she's tired of being her - the A student, reliable her. Charlie tells her it's just a phase but she says she needs to find out who she is. Sam comes in and excuses himself. Julia tells him he can stay because itís nothing he hasn't heard. Then Charlie gets mad that Julia's talked to Sam about it and accuses Sam of talking her into making this mistake. He orders Sam out of the house which Julia tells him he has no right to do. He says he's her guardian and it's his job. "You don't care about me or my life, just how I reflect on you. That's great parenting, I'm sure mom and dad would be proud," she says.

Bai walks into class and tries to make an excuse for his paper about how hard he's been working. The teacher says he's not giving an extension and that late papers loose a letter grade a day. So Bai says that if he drops the class and takes an incomplete than it doesn't affect his GPA. The teacher says he's making a mistake.

Charlie comes over to Grace's apartment. "Just in the neighborhood?" she asks. "Nowhere near," he says. He starts talking about the weather and how for a while it felt just like summer. "And you know what I like about summer. Summer's full of nature and nature is a wonderful thing, everything does what comes naturally," he says. She takes him to her bedroom to show him the flowering dogwood tree outside of her bedroom window.

Back to Season 3 Episode Guide.