Julia is visiting Sam at one of his work sites and she's talking about going to Europe after graduation and just getting a back pack and a Eurorail pass and travelling around until her money runs out. When she mentions that she's thinking that the trip would last about three months, Sam gets concerned about being without her for that long. She tells him that he should come with her. He says that he's just started a huge remodeling. "Remodeling shmemodeling," she says, and tells him about this bridge in Venice where if you kiss underneath it your love lasts forever. She sits in his lap and kisses him. He laughs and agrees to join her.
Claudia is in a music store and asks a clerk for sing-a-long tapes for kids... anything but Barney. The clerk does this little shiver and says, "Oooh, Barney backlash," as he walks off (presumably to find her the tapes.) Avery walks up and says, "If those tapes are for you I am going to kill you." Claudia is pleasantly surprised and they hug hello. She says the tapes are for her little brother, and shows Avery the sheet music she was getting for herself. "Ah, the Grieg," he says. He approves and tells her not to buy it because he can lend her his copy. She is excited about the prospect and suggests that she come by and pick it up right away and the two of them can hang out and catch up. He says that he was actually planning on spending the afternoon with his son. Claudia is surprised because she didn't know he had a son. He stammers a bit, and then says his son's name is Marcus and he's fourteen. Marcus had been living with his mother but things didn't work out so he moved in with Avery a month ago. Claudia offers to show Marcus around San Francisco. Avery protests but then gives in.
Charlie and Grace are walking in the front door of the house and Charlie is saying how he doesn't understand the point of walking all the way up a mountain and walking all the way down. "That's what hiking is," says Grace, grinning. They walk into the kitchen and Bailey is there writing out a check. Charlie asks him if he's taking out a loan and Bailey says he needs C-A-S-H for the C-L-O-W-N. Bailey also mentions that Grace's parents called and they're in the area and want to take Grace and Charlie to dinner that night. Charlie casually says, "Great," but Grace gets upset. Charlie asks Bailey if he can take Owen for the night. Bailey protests, suggesting Julia, but then gives in saying he could use the opportunity to catch up on school-work anyway. Grace keeps protesting through the whole conversation. Charlie doesn't understand, and Grace explains that her parents haven't approved of anything she's done since she dropped out of law school... not her jobs, not her apartments, and certainly not her boyfriends. Charlie jokes and suggests that maybe her parents were right about all her former boyfriends because all the guys before him were "great, big, losers." She gets really defensive and says, "Don't take their side!" "Okay," he says, "Parents in, sense of humor out." She apologizes but assures him that it will be a nightmare. He's still optomistic.
Avery and Claudia walk into Avery's house and Avery introduces Marcus who's sitting on the couch watching a basketball game on TV. It's awkward, particularly when Avery says he'll be right back and leaves the room. Marcus quickly tells Claudia that he goes by Marc and his dad is the only one who calls him Marcus. Marcus asks Claudia how she knows his father, and she explains that it's because she plays the violin. She asks him if he plays anything, and he starts to explain that he plays basketball but he moved to his dad's in the middle of the season so... she interrupts and says she meant an instrument. He says he doesn't. Then he asks her if she wants to watch videos. She agrees and sits down on the couch next to him and he turns on loud videos on the TV. Avery comes back in and tells Marcus that that's not Claudia's taste. Marcus sulks and turns off the videos. Marcus then goes to a shelf to get the Grieg. Claudia joins him and sees a picture of him with her mom. Avery tells her it's a picture of the first time they played in New York, and says he has a copy of the recording if she'd like to hear it. She would love to. They leave the room together and Marcus is left by himself. He turns back on the videos.
Charlie and Grace are having dinner with Grace's parents at Salingers. Owen is there too and knocks over a glass of wine. Owen is really fussy and tired and wants to go home. Charlie takes him on his lap, apologizing the whole time, and Owen just keeps saying that he wants to go home and he doesn't want dessert and he keeps playing with Charlie's face and ears. Meanwhile, Grace's parents are trying to tell a story about a trip to Russia, and are disturbed by Owen's antics, but also seem to understand that that's just the way little kids are. Charlie asks a passing waiter if Bailey has called back yet and is told that he hasn't. Grace's parents ask if it's normal for Bailey to not show up, and Charlie insists that he's usually very responsible. Owen is still fussing and complaining. Grace's parents finally say that maybe they should finish their story another time and let Owen get to bed. Grace's father asks for the check, and Charlie says it's on the house, but Grace's father insists that he understands how rough the restaurant business is and says he doesn't want Charlie going belly-up because of him. The scene ends with Owen pounding on the table.
Julia is in the living room looking at a map when Charlie and Grace get home with Owen. Owen goes to put on his pajamas and Grace walks into another room. Charlie asks if Bailey has called and Julia says he hasn't. Charlie dials Bailey's number and as it's ringing he asks Julia what she's looking up. "France, Italy, Spain, Greece," she answers. He asks if she's researching a term paper and she tells him that she's decided to go to Europe after graduation. He thinks that's a great idea and asks if she's going with Sarah. (There's no answer at Bailey's and Charlie hangs up the phone.) She just kinda looks at him and he realizes she's planning on going with Sam and starts to protest. Grace comes back and Charlie tells her Julia's idea. Julia asks what's wrong with it, and Charlie says, "You mean besides the fact that he's 24 and you're a minor?" Grace mentions that that's actually illegal. Julia lashes out at Grace, asking why she's even involved in the conversation when she's not a member of the family. Grace protests saying that Charlie got her involved in the conversation. Julia says he shouldn't have because her plans are not Grace's business... or Charlie's for that matter. Julia leaves the room.
Callie comes walking into her apartment with some friends as the phone is ringing. She answers it and it's Charlie. Her friends are busy getting beers as she tells Charlie that Bailey isn't home, but she'll tell him to call as soon as he gets there. It might be kinda late though, she warns, 'cause she just left him at this party and he seemed like he was having a great time.... The scene cuts to Charlie saying, "Thanks anyway," and hanging up the phone. He sits down and shakes his head in amazement.
Bailey comes into Salingers wearing dark sunglasses and apologizing a mile a minute to Charlie for not showing up the night before. Charlie is cold to him, and Bailey keeps going saying that he messed up and he totally spaced and he's a jerk and he's an idiot. Charlie is still not ready to forgive him. Bailey keeps at it until Charlie finally says that he should stop beating himself up and just think of it as a wake-up call. Bailey says he's awake. Charlie hands him a cup of coffee and tells him he looks like hell. Bailey drinks it.
Julia and Sam are in Sam's apartment and Julia is telling him the story of the night before when Charlie was saying that she shouldn't go on her Europe trip with Sam. When she gets to the part about Grace saying that the two of them travelling together was probably illegal because of their age difference, Sam says, "Well, you gotta admit. If there's one thing those people know about, it's the ins and outs of the legal system." Julia is shocked but doesn't really know how to express it.
Bailey is in his apartment with Coco the Clown. Bailey can't believe that a clown gets $250. Callie walks in and asks Bailey if Coco is his new friend. She gets a brief introduction: "Callie, Coco. Coco, Callie." As Coco lights a cigarette, Bailey keeps trying to bargain down his price, finally admitting that all he has is $80. Coco says for $80 you can rent your own damn clown suit, and walks out the door. Callie says that that was pitiful, and asks why Bailey can't get money from his family since it's a "family thing." Bailey admits (as he's looking throught the yellow pages) that he did get money from his family, but that a lot of it went to the round he bought at the bar the night before for like 12 people. When Callie is disgusted by the thought that he spent his little brother's clown money on liquor, he protests that he had no idea clowns were so expensive. He dials a number and says, "Yeah. I need a clown for under eighty bucks. Talk to me."
Julia and Sarah are at the bake shop picking up Owen's birthday cake. Julia is telling Sarah about her recent conversation with Sam. She is particularly upset about his use of the term "those people." "'Those people' means blacks, right?" she says, "Like a blacks and crime thing?" Sarah tries to defend him, saying maybe he was referring to homeless advocates, people who do her kind of work. Julia disagrees, saying he was snickering like it was a joke, and people don't joke about homeless advocates. A woman brings over a huge sheet cake and holds it up in front of them for their approval. Julia reads it aloud. "Happy Anniversary Leo and Ted?" "Not you?" says the lady. "Try 'Happy Birthday Owen'," Julia corrects. The lady takes the cake away. Sarah tells Julia that there must be another explanation for what Sam said, and Julia tells Sarah that when she comes up with it, to let her know.
Claudia is just putting on her coat to leave the house as Julia pounds her foot on the side door to be let in because her hands are full of the huge cake in a big pink box. "Thanks," Julia says, "I'm carrying like forty pounds of sugar and lard here." Julia notices Claudia's coat and asks her where she's going because they were supposed to clean up the yard. Claudia says, "Yeah, like I'm dying to listen to you guys fight some more?" The front doorbell rings and Claudia goes to answer it. Grace's parents are standing there and don't speak immediately, so Claudia says, "We already have a religion, thank you." Grace's parents start to explain, but then Grace comes in carrying a laundry hamper and asks them what they're doing there. They walk in and say they wanted to see where she lives. She gets defensive, and tries to beat them to the punch by saying that she already knows that they don't like Charlie and she doesn't care. Her father tells her that actually, they like Charlie, and her mother says that Grace looks great and that's what's most important. Charlie comes to top of the stairs yelling for Grace because he can't find something. He notices her parents and comes downstairs to apologize for the night before. Grace's mother insists that there are no apologies necessary since they have three kids of their own and have been there. Grace is not happy with everyone else's good mood. Charlie asks if Grace has already shown them around, and when he finds out she hasn't, he offers to, warning them that it might be messy. Her father is just happy that there aren't bullet holes in the door. Charlie turns to Grace and says, "See? I'm not the only one."
Julia is cleaning up the yard, putting things into the garage. Bailey comes by and asks if there's anything he can do. Julia is cold to him and says he can mow the lawn. He says he needs her help because the "clown thing" is driving him nuts. He tells her that it turns out they're way more expensive than Charlie thought. Julia reminds him that not only has she already lent him $50, but she helped him get a job that he blew. She's not interested in helping him again. He goes through another amazing apology number, saying that he knows it's all his fault that he messed up "the Sam thing" and he handled the situation badly(Julia is still cold), and he's handled a lot of stuff badly lately (Julia is still cold but listening), and that she and Sarah were right and he has been partying a little too much lately (now she's really listening), and he knows he was really defensive about it but he's been thinking lately, and yeah, way too much partying. Julia is relieved, and says that she was afraid Bailey was disappearing. Bailey tells her that sometimes she makes too much out of things, like she takes one little thing and blows it up into this huge syndrome. She thinks about it for a second, and then agrees with him, thinking that maybe she gets judgemental too fast. He tells her it's okay, it keeps her human. She reaches into her pocket and asks him how much it was that he needed.
Claudia walks into Avery's house and explains to Avery and Marcus (who's squirming the whole time) that Ross had two tickets to a chamber music series tonight, but he couldn't use them, so he gave them to Claudia and she found out that there are also still seats available so the three of them can go. Avery thinks that's great, and suggest that they could also do dinner. Claudia mentions this Japanese restaurant near the theater that has great sushi. Marcus says he doesn't really like sushi, and Claudia says they could always go to a different restaurant. He says that's okay, he doesn't want to go to the concert either, but the two of them should go. Avery scolds him, saying that Claudia is making a really nice offer. Marcus then makes up this excuse about having promised to call his mom that night. So Avery gets his coat.
Sam and Julia are looking for back packs for Europe in a camping gear store. Sam asks her what "thing he said earlier" is she asking about, 'cause he said a lot of things earlier. She reminds him of his "those people" line. He casually says it was a joke, and helps her try on a back pack. She asks if "those people" meant blacks. "Right," he says. As she takes off the back pack she asks if it was a joke about blacks being criminals. He says it's not like all blacks are criminals, in fact, he's sure lots aren't. "Most," says Julia, "most aren't." Sam doesn't see the difference between lots and most. Sam asks if her point is that he's a racist, 'cause he's not. In fact, he's got black guys working for him. Julia says that she just doesn't think race should be an issue. "So you don't think there's a difference between blacks and whites?" asks Sam. "No," answers Julia. Sam asks her why she locks her doors when driving through the Tenderloin at night. She says that's not because it's a black neighborhood, it's because it's an unsafe neighborhood. "So," he counters, "you lock your doors in unsafe white neighborhoods too?" She doesn't have an answer for that, and he tells her that it's hard to answer because there aren't any unsafe white neighborhoods. She tells him that's not true, and it's more complicated than that. He says that this is a stupid fight, and he's sorry if the joke made her uncomfortable and he won't make jokes like that anymore. She doesn't say anything, but she's still not completely sure she's comfortable with the whole thing.
Bailey gets out of his Jeep in front of the toy store, and starts walking towards the store. In the reflection of the front window of the store he sees the bright neon lights of the liquor store across the street. In the background you can hear sirens, cars going by on the street, and light tinkly music coming from the toy store. He turns to look at the liquor store, looks back the window full of toys, and then looks back to the liquor store.
Commercial Break: As part of Love Week, FOX shows a scene from 1995 when Julia tells Justin he has beautiful brown eyes and kisses him.
Callie is in the shower and Bailey is either really drunk or really hung over or both. He's trying to use the steamed up mirror to shave. Callie is telling a story about a party she went to the night before and how Chris Isaac showed up and got hold of a guitar and started singing camp songs. Meanwhile, Bailey is so messed up that he cuts himself shaving. Callie asks him what he was doing last night. Working?
Grace and Charlie are in the kitchen and through the window you can see her parents and a whole bunch of balloons in the back yard. There is a faint sound of kids playing. He asks how her parents take their coffee, and she asks what are they doing here. He said they wanted to help out, and she says they don't need any help. She insists that her parents are "casing the joint" and in a week her mother will send fabric swatches offering to make new curtains for the living room. Grace goes to tell them to leave, and Charlie says she shouldn't kick them out and she says that's it's not a big deal, she does it all the time, it's the only way to get them to go. He says he likes them and she says that he doesn't even know them, and they don't know him, so she doesn't know where they get off liking each other. He tells her she sounds crazy, and she says whatever, go ahead and kiss their butts.
In the back yard there are kids everywhere, and the camera pans so that we see Claudia helping a girl down from a slide and Grace's father doing something silly with a party hat on his head to entertain a little kid.
Inside, Julia's on the phone telling Callie to tell Bailey when he gets home that he and a clown were due at the party over an hour ago. Charlie overhears and tells Julia that Bailey will show. He tells her they had a long talk yesterday and everything's fine. The doorbell rings and Julia runs for it thinking it's Bailey. When she answers the door and Sam is standing there holding a present, she says, "Oh. You're not a clown." When she asks him why he's not at work, he says, "Remodel, shmemodel." She's not entirely glad to see him, but lets him in.
In the back yard, Grace's dad is still entertaining kids with tricks, and Grace's mom tells Charlie that her husband used to do those same tricks for Grace when Grace was a kid. Charlie says that Grace must have been an adorable kid. Those are the magic words, and out come the baby pictures. Grace sees her mother and her boyfriend chatting and glowers. Grace's mom mentions that she and her husband rent a place in Carmel every summer, and next summer Grace and Charlie should come up and join them. Charlie says that sounds great, but notices Grace is upset and goes to talk to her.
In the kitchen, Charlie asks Grace what did he do wrong? Is he being too nice? You're just being you, she says. She tries to explain. She says she's been struggling her whole life to find a "me" that's different than "them." She said she tried to do everything they didn't want her to. Then she falls in love with Charlie, and her parents think it's the best idea they've ever heard. So now Grace feels like her parents think they've won, and that Grace has finally decided to step in line and behave. She looks down, realizing how much she sounds like a teenager, but it doesn't change what she feels. Charlie tells her that he knows that that isn't what's going on, and Grace knows that too, so what's the harm in letting her parents thing they've won? She says she knows she's being a baby, but it just bugs her. They end up laughing about it. Claudia walks in and says it's time for the cake. Grace walks to the bathroom (Omigod! Someone in a TV show going to the bathroom!) and walks in on Bailey trying to get into a clown suit. He's really drunk and yells at her. She tells him she thought he was hiring a clown. He says clowns are very expensive and hard to book at the last minute. She starts to give him advice and he tells her that she tells too many people what to do. As he puts on his red nose over no make-up, he tells her if she was less of a bitch, more people would like her. She's shocked, and watches him walk towards the kitchen.
In the back yard, Sam is bringing Grace's parents drinks. His beeper goes off and he has a moment of polite chit-chat with them before he has to leave. Julia notices and smiles.
Claudia is in the kitchen lighting the candle on Owen's cake and telling Charlie that maybe they should get Grace's mother to take a picture of all five of them, since they haven't had their picture taken in a long time. Bailey walks in dressed as a clown and Charlie and Claudia are surprised and start laughing at him. He's surly and says that this whole thing has been a major hassle and he doesn't want to hear about it from either of them. He picks up the cake to take it into the back yard. He stumbles and Claudia giggles because she thinks it's because of his big floppy shoes, not the fact that he's completely smashed.
Julia walks Sam to the door, and he asks if she's feeling better. "About what?" she asks. He says, "Oh man, you didn't see? I was a saint to those people." (ooooh, he said "those people") Julia kind of stands there dumbfounded. She can't believe what she's hearing. He kisses her and tells her he'll try to swing by after work.
In the back yard, everyone is singing Happy Birthday. Bailey the clown is standing there holding the cake, swaying a little bit and not smiling and not singing. When they're done singing and clapping, he comments, "Well that pretty much sucked," and holds the cake out in front of Owen so he can blow out the candle. Owen blows it out, and everyone claps, and Bailey falls down on the table, landing on top of the cake. All of a sudden everyone is concerned. Bailey yells out, "Who the hell put that there?" Julia realizes he's drunk and tells Claudia. Then she goes to try to comfort a kid who has started crying. Bailey's still stumbling around and finally sits down next to the crying kid and starts yelling at him, telling him that he's never done this before. "What, you expect a first-time clown not to make any mistakes?!" Charlie tries to get Bailey to leave, but Bailey says he's talking to his friend here. Charlie takes him by the arm and tries to get him to stand up. Finally, Bailey gets pissed off and stands up and shoves Charlie away. Charlie goes flying and falls into the swing-bench (there have been so many great scenes on that old swing-bench), breaking it. Grace goes running to see if Charlie is okay, everyone else is just silent and speechless and staring at Bailey in horror. Grace looks up at Bailey accusingly as she helps Charlie up. Bailey takes off his red nose and tries to make excuses, saying Charlie pushed him and it was an accident. No one says anything. "The hell with you all!" he yells, and stumbles back into the house. Claudia goes after him. She walks in to see him heaving in the bathroom and asks if he's going to be okay. He tells her to get out. She persists. He yells at her, saying he doesn't want to hear her stupid whiny voice, and slams the bathroom door in her face. She takes off her party hat, grabs her coat, and heads for the door crying.
In an unusual shot for Party of Five, we see the outside of the Salingers' house and the house next door to theirs. Day turns to night as the sky gets dark the windows glow with yellow light.
Julia is cleaning up in the back yard in the light coming from the kitchen. Charlie comes and says he put Bailey in Owen's room. He makes a joke about how this will be hot gossip in the sand box tomorrow. Julia isn't amused and walks away. He looks at the broken swing-bench. He turns around, says, "Oh man," and walks into the house, pulling down some of the streamers as he goes.
Owen is in his room, trying to wake Bailey up and get him to look at his new hat. He shakes him and yells at him, but Bailey is out cold.
Commercial Break: as part of Love Week, FOX shows a scene from 1995 when Charlie gives Kirsten his mother's engagement ring, and she can barely find the stone in the setting.
Grace's parents are putting on their coats to leave (Grace is waiting for them by the door with her coat on already), and Charlie is apologizing. They say he has nothing to apologize for. Grace's father chimes in that his sister-in law had this problem, and there is a treatment. "Treatment?" Charlie says. "For alcoholism," Grace's father answers. Charlie says Bailey is just being a college student. Grace's father says he doesn't think so. Charlie tells Grace's father that he just met Bailey, whereas Charlie has known him his whole life. There's an awkward silence, and Charlie tries to end the night on a better note by telling them to drive carefully. Grace and her parents walk out the door.
Julia is standing on a little step-ladder in the back yard taking down decoration when Sarah comes wandering back with a present for Owen. She admits she came by late so that she wouldn't run into Bailey. She notices Julia's upset and asks what's wrong. Julia says everything is screwed up and Sarah asks if she can be more specific. Julia tells Sarah that Bailey ruined Owen's party and Sarah immediately knows it was because he was drunk. Julia recounts her conversation with him the day before, and how for five minutes he was himself. But when he drinks, she says, he just turns into this.... "It's really bad, isn't it?" she says to Sarah. Sarah asks if he's still here, and Julia says yeah, he's passed out. They go into Owen's room and the room is empty. Julia yells for Charlie and looks out the window. Charlie comes running in and asks what's wrong. Julia tells him the Jeep is gone so Bailey must have left.
Claudia shows up at Avery's house and Marcus answers the door. He's very curt and tells her that Avery's not home. Claudia's disappointed and wonders if he'll be back soon. Marcus gets defensive and rude and Claudia turns away saying she'll come back later. Marcus says to her back, "Why don't you come back when it's just him and me so he'll have someone interesting to talk to?" Claudia tries to apologize but Marcus just keeps insulting her. Finally she just bursts into tears. He gets uncomfortable, and tells her not to cry, and apologizes. She looks up and says, "I'm not crying about you, you stupid idiot, I couldn't care less about you." She goes on to say that her family is falling apart and she doesn't know what to do about it. Marcus invites her in to watch videos and after a pause, she joins him.
Sarah's in the kitchen washing dishes and Sam walks in looking for Julia. Sarah tells him she's out back. He walks into the back yard and Julia's obviously not happy to see him. "What's the matter?" he asks, "Did I do something?" "Yeah, you did," she answers, "and I know you probably think that you didn't... it was probably just another joke or something." Sam says there's nothing wrong with joking a little. She says she knows she can't convince him that how he thinks or how he is inside is bad, but for her she knows it is. She says she doesn't know how to be with someone who thinks that way. He walks towards her protesting, and she backs away saying that she feels sick. When she lets the things he said run around in her head, she feels ill. He asks if she's ending this. He says it's crazy to just casually end something like this. She says it's not casual, and that he did so much for her, and he made her life better, and that was amazing. But by being "this way," by being who he is, he took it away. She asks him to leave. He says that this is silly, that it's nothing. Julia says she just told him that she cares about this, so don't call it nothing. He starts towards her again, and she asks him again to leave. He walks away.
Julia joins Sarah in the kitchen and starts drying dishes. "Sam left?" Sarah asks. "Yeah, I told him to," Julia answers. Sarah understands why, and asks if that's it. Julia nods. Sarah tells her she's sorry. Julia says when there's something awful in someone, something so terrible, it just erases all other things. Sarah says yeah, it should make it easy to walk away. Julia nods. They both know it doesn't.
Charlie is in the living room telling Owen about how they're going to write thank you cards for all the birthday presents. Owen goes running off with a toy airplane that Charlie has put together (after thanking him for it) and Grace walks into the room with her coat still on. She sits down and takes off her coat and tells Charlie about how she left her parents at the station. Charlie says he understands now why she feels the way she does about them, how they stick their noses in where they don't belong. He's upset about what her father said right before he left. Grace is understanding, but admits to Charlie that she thinks her dad was right. Charlie protests, saying Bailey's a freshman in college, and has crappy judgement, but he's not a.... he's exactly like Charlie was when he was in college. "Did you ever hit anyone in your family?" Grace counters, "Because he hit you." Charlie says no, but that he's been out of control like that too. Julia appears in the doorway with Sarah and says that no, Charlie, you were different. She says, "You drank. A lot. But you were always you." There's a pause as Charlie thinks about that. The phone rings. Everyone hopes it's Bailey. It's Callie, answering a message the Charlie left earlier. She hasn't seen him and his car's not there, but she'll have him call as soon as he gets in. Julia and Sarah sit down with Grace and Charlie to wait. "He'll call," says Charlie.