Bailey and Annie
Julia and Justin
Will meets Annie
Annie Mott......Paige Turco
Will You Drive Me? by The Rosenberg's
Look Away by Radio Iching
Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Anymore) by The Ramones
Run, Rudolph, Run by Mary Karlzen
Alien for Christmas by Fountains of Wayne
Santa, Please Remember Me by Phil Sillas
Blue Christmas by Daniel Dax
White Christmas by Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters
River by Joni Mitchell
Charlie is finishing his appointment with Dr. Rabin. She asks if he's been able to eat, but he says that he's mostly been puking. She tells him to try to keep up his nourishment, his body needs to be strong to fight the disease and the radiation treatments. His white cell count is on the low side. He should take it easy, recharge over the weekend. If his count hasn't come up on Monday, they'll have to suspend the treatments for a week or so. Charlie is upset at the thought of stretching it out even longer. He says he was eying a "Wonder Years" marathon on cable that weekend. She says chances are things will be fine. "Chances are?" Charlie responds. It's just a figure of speech. He should just try to take it easy.
Bailey and Sarah's apartment
Will is home for the holidays. He's teaching Bailey a fraternity chant while Bay puts roach poison behind the refrigerator. Will demonstrates the chant, done on one foot hopping up and down saying "Owah Tadoo Fiyam". He repeats it a number of times until Bailey turns and says, "Oh what a doof you are, I get it." Bay inquires what Will finds so interesting about it. When Will gets back after break, he gets to do the same things to the new pledges.
There's a knock at the door and Will goes to answer it. He greets Annie with a "Yes ma'am." She's surprised to see him and asks if Bailey is there. Bailey introduces them to each other. Annie has heard so much about Will, Will says that he hasn't heard nearly enough about her. Natalie comes in. She got the results from her insurance adjustor exam, but she hasn't opened it yet. Natalie tells her to open it...she passed. Bailey, Annie and Natalie rejoice while Will looks on.
Julia, Sarah and Claudia are setting the bed up. It's still dusty, but Claudia points out that it is a shed. Julia tells her to stop calling it a shed. They have to get it ready because Justin is coming over. Claud hopes he isn't coming until July. Julia tells her to be quiet, she's trying to make the best of it. Claudia offers to put up some Christmas lights and Sarah says she has time to make some curtains while Elliot is away. Justin comes in. He had spent about as much time with his parents as he could. He asks what they're doing. Claudia says that Griffin and Julia are "moving into the shed." Julia tells her again to stop calling it a shed. Justin thought they had some great apartment, what happened. Julia said they moved home to help out, now that Charlie is sick. They're turning it into a guest cottage. They all think Justin looks great. Sarah invites him to her tree-trimming party. Julia can't wait to hear all about Yale.
Charlie is giving Kirsten instructions for his truck. She is taking it up north to pick up her great-aunt's armoire. She asks Charlie's advice on a route. He asks why Paul isn't navigating. Kirsten says that he's stuck on a 36 hour shift. Charlie offers to go with her, he'll just ride shot-gun. Both Kirsten and Claudia (who's come in from the shed) think it's a bad idea. The doctor told him to rest. Charlie says the doctor told him to recharge and he has to get out of the house, he's going crazy. He could use some kind of distraction. Kirsten thinks that bouncing around in the truck and lifting and exerting...it's a bad idea. Charlie says it's just a day trip, they'll be back by 4. He needs to do something different, won't she please let him come with her. She agrees.
Bailey, Annie and Will are out celebrating Annie's success with coffee and dessert. Annie thanks him for getting her to take the test. Will asks if this "adjusting thing is a pretty big deal?" It is, she can get a better job and send Natalie to a better school. She continues making plans. She goes back to refill her coffee. Bailey asks Will if he's bored with them. Will says he loves hanging out with his parents.
Salinger living room
Justin and Julia are looking at slides from their trip while Griffin sits on the couch trying to stay awake. He gets up and says he's going to bed. He has to be at the shop early the next morning. Julia says goodnight. She asks Justin about Yale. Is it everything he thought it would be? Justin says it is and then some, but she hasn't told him about her job at the museum. Oh, she forgot to tell him that she got a new job. What kind of job he asks. It's at Taylor's, the department store. Mrs. Taylor came in for a tour and was so impressed with Julia she offered her a job doing merchandise and displays. It's kind of a junior executive position. "Who needs higher education?" Justin comments. "Not me," Julia responds. They continue looking at slides.
On the Road
Kirsten is driving while Charlie looks out the window. They drive past a house decorated for the holidays. Charlie says, "Christmas time" under his breath. Kirsten asks what he said. He didn't even realize he'd said it out loud. When they were little the whole family used to get in the car and drive around and the first one to see decorations would say, "Christmas time." They drive a little further and Kirsten says, "Christmas time," as they pass another decorated house. They both smile and laugh.
Bailey and Sarah's apartment
Sarah is preparing the egg nog for the party. Will samples it and asks if there's rum in it. Of course not, Bailey. He thinks it's great that Bay is sober, but he's turned into a total adult. Sarah thinks he's become a whole different person since he met Annie. Will misses the old Bailey, not the drunk Bailey, but the old, old Bailey. The start dancing to head-banging music. Bailey comes in and asks them to turn it down. He has to retype Annie's resume. Will tries to get him to loosen up, the resume can wait. He dares Bay to head-slam. Sarah tells him to do it like he means it. They all start dancing.
On the Road
Kirsten and Charlie discover their road has been closed for the season. The other route will add 150 miles each way. Charlie says the back roads are more fun anyway. Kirsten worries about Owen and Claudia. Charlie says he can call them, besides if they go through Widener's Pass they can eat at Tony's. Tony used to work for his dad and Charlie has always wanted to check his place out. When is he going to be up here again? Kirsten asks is he's okay. He is and he wants to forget about it for a while. Kirsten says, "I don't know...you and me and road trips." Charlie says he'll chance it if she will. They get back in the truck.
Downtown San Francisco
Justin and Julia are window-shopping. She asks him about New Haven. He says she would love it, art galleries, culture, but enough about him...what about her new job? Does she get a discount? Julia says she does, but when Justin asks to come with her she says she's already maxed it out and she's going to be in meetings all afternoon. She sees a sweater in the window. It would be perfect for Griffin until she sees it's $60. It looks like wool and he's allergic to it. She asks about the art department at Yale.
On the Road
Kirsten and Charlie pull up in front of Tony's whose sign boasts it is opened 365 days a year until they walk up to the door and see another small sign saying it's closed for the holidays. They are both starved. Charlie is surprised to find he actually has an appetite. Kirsten notices that he's shivering. He got cold all of a sudden. She asks if he brought a coat. She thinks they should head back. He's fine. No, he isn't. He's hungry and cold and they should go home. Charlie wants to keep going. Yes, he's hungry and cold, but those are things he can do something about. They can get in the truck, turn on the heat and find someplace to eat. They have to keep going. She agrees.
Bailey and Sarah's apartment
Will, Sarah and Bailey are trying to set up the pathetic little trip Bailey saved from the garland pile. Bailey and Will start wrestling. There's a knock at the door. Sarah answers it wondering what loser shows up to a party this early. It's Annie. She isn't there for the party, she needs to see Bailey. She got fired from her job.
A customer is berating Julia at the gift wrap as Justin walks by and sees her dressed in her elf costume.
Bailey asks why she got fired. Her boss caught her scheduling interviews. Bay says it might not be the end of the world. She says that he doesn't understand. She doesn't have an income and no savings. Nobody is hiring until after the holidays. She needs a paycheck now. Bay points out that it'll be tight now, but she'll have time to look for a job now. Annie says it isn't like being kicked out of class. He doesn't understand. The last time she listened to him she got herself into this mess. She would still have her job. Bailey says that isn't fair. He leaves.
On the Road
Kirsten and Charlie pull up to a bed and breakfast/yard sale. Charlie asks the guy if he has any coats and Kirsten asks about a restaurant. The guy throws Charlie an old pea coat and tells them about a place down by the interstate, about 2 hours away. Everything else is closed, which no one thought to tell him when he bought the place. Charlie tries on the coat, it's perfect. Kirsten asks how much, they're in a hurry. $5. "Sold," Charlie says. The guy offers them a deal: $5 for the coat, they help him move the yard sale stuff inside and they can try his new lamb stew. The bed and breakfast isn't going well, but he's trying to make a go of the restaurant. Charlie says he can give him some pointers. Kirsten says they should go home, this road trip has gotten way out of control. Charlie thinks this is the perfect answer. They're lost, cold and hungry. She agrees, but after they eat they are going home. The guy introduces himself, he's Glenn. Charlie says he has to grab his wallet out of the truck while Kirsten asks to use the phone to call home. Charlie takes his wallet out of the glove box and picks up Kirsten's purse. He notices the keys in the ignition. He looks to see if anyone is watching. He takes them and puts them in his pocket. As he gets out of the car he asks Kirsten if she has the keys.
Sarah and Bailey's apartment
Julia, Griffin and Justin arrive at the party. When Julia presents Sarah with her ornament Justin asked if she wrapped it or if the elves did. Julia said it came that way, prewrapped.
Sarah brings Bailey a glass of eggnog in his room. If he won't come to the party, she'll bring the party to him. He says he doesn't like egg nog. She says some of his friends from State are there. Bailey looks at the guys she's talking about. He didn't invite them, he doesn't even know them. That would explain why they didn't bring an ornament. Sarah stumbles as she leaves and says the floor isn't straight. Bailey picks up the egg nog and smells it.
Charlie and Kirsten are sitting at a table at the inn. It is rustic looking, with candle light, all decorated for Christmas. Kirsten is trying to figure out what she did with the keys. Charlie tells her not to worry about it. They looked everywhere and it's too dark out now so they should just enjoy dinner. He asks her to smell, the stew smells amazing. Kirsten says that the whole place is amazing. "And it's all ours," Charlie answers. Glenn comes in and says the stew is almost ready. He also invites them to spend the night. Kirsten says they should go home, shouldn't they? Charlie says that Claudia said she was willing to watch Owen, and they've come this far. They could pick up the armoire in the morning unless she thinks Paul would mind? Kirsten says he wouldn't. Glenn says he'll go fix up a room. Charlie says they'll need two. Glenn can't believe it. They seem so... Charlie says they're just friends. "Good friends," Kirsten adds, "besides, he snores."
Bailey and Sarah's apartment
Will and Sarah are trying to figure out what ingredient is making the egg nog so good: the vanilla or the nutmeg. Bailey says it's probably the rum. Sarah didn't put any rum in it. Bay points out the party crashers and says they probably spiked it. "Love those guys," Will exclaims.
Griffin and Justin are sitting out on the swing set, they have obviously been drinking their fair share of the spiked egg nog. Justin announces that he always hated Griffin. Griffin says he always did too. Griffin has this whole bad boy thing going on that women go for, it makes Justin want to puke. Well, what about Justin's "smartest and think's he's the smartest" thing, Mr. Harvard-freakin law. Justin retorts that it's Yale and he's an English major. "Whatever," Griffin responds. Justin doesn't understand. He's working his ass off and Griffin already has everything, his motorcycle shop, he's married to this perfect woman...Griffin points out that it's not all it's cracked up to be. He has overhead, long hours, he's living in a shed, Harvard's a piece of cake compared to the real world. "Yale," Justin answers. "Yale, Schmale, he's the one whose got it easy." Justin says it's not all true. He was valedictorian at Grant and now he's failing English lit. Julia walks outside and overhears the rest of the conversation. Justin's roommate is a Thurston Howell the Turd who can't stop talking about his polo scores and his brandy snifter collection. "It sucks, it blows!" Griffin agrees that Justin wins. Justin asks if there is anymore egg nog. Griffin gets up, the next one is on him.
Kirsten and Charlie are in her room. He looks out the window and laughs. She asks what he's thinking about. He was thinking about the day. "Yeah," she answers, "everything that could go wrong did." No, it was a perfect day. Yeah, things happened, but now they are in this incredible place. It's been the best day since they told him and he's really happy that she was there to share it with him. It means a lot to him, it's been nice, really, really nice. She also points out that he got a really great coat. He thanks her for taking him away and kisses her on the forehead. "Good night," he says. "Sweet dreams," she answers as he walks to his room.
Bailey and Sarah's apartment
Julia pulls Justin into the bathroom to ask him about his roommate at Yale. He's pretty cool, Justin says. Oh, what's cool...the brandy snifters or the polo scores. She knows he hates it there, what kind of friends are they if he can't tell her the truth. Why did he feel he had to lie to her? Justin says this is rich, especially coming from one of Santa's little elves. He's not the only one who's been lying here. Julia asks if Griffin told him. No, he saw her. Good question, what kind of friends are they?
Annie comes in looking for Bailey. She wants to talk to him. She's sorry about yelling at him, but she's feeling a little out of control. Will comes up and says he's figured it out...it's like a maternal thing, Mrs. Robinson thing. Bailey tells him to stop analyzing their relationship. While he and Will continue to fight Annie grabs a bottle of rum and runs out. Bailey calls after her. He goes up to her apartment, but she isn't there.
He finds her sitting on the steps with the bottle. She didn't, but she wants to, she's so close. He takes the bottle from her. He knows this has been rough on her, getting fired. That's a huge part of it, but it's so much more than that. What if Will is right? What if she is some dirty old woman. She's 26, she just got fired from a crappy job, she has a child who's totally dependent on her and she's dating some college student. What does that say about her? What kind of desperate person does it make her? Bay doesn't know. What kind of desperate person does it make him? It doesn't matter that she's older because he's had to grow up pretty fast the past few years. He looks at Will and they are so different. After everything he's gone through he has more in common with her than anyone he's ever known. They make so much sense because they understand each other, so she shouldn't throw that out because his friend doesn't get it. She thinks he's the oldest 20 yr old she knows. Actually, he's 19.
Sarah and Bay's apartment
Julia comes to find Justin. She doesn't know how everything got so out of hand, but if he tells her why he lied, she will too. He has some serious buyer's remorse. He made a big deal about going and... And things didn't turn out the way he thought, she answers. She gets that. She needed to live vicariously through him. "It's really bad?" He admits that it's hell. She's kind of glad because now her life doesn't seem so bad. He knows what she means. She asks how it really is, every single miserable detail. He agrees to tell her as long as she does the same. Oh, she can beat him misery for misery. New Haven is the coldest, most depressing place to live, he says. "Try living in a shed," Julia responds.
Sarah and Will are cleaning up, both clearly quite hung-over. Bailey comes home. Sarah goes to find some ice for her head. She sits slumped on the floor in the kitchen. Will tries to apologize for the night before. Bay doesn't accept it. Will says the liquor just got a little verbose, but Bay says the liquor only makes you say things you're already thinking. Bay doesn't get it. The last time Will came home he called Bailey a drunk and now that he's sober and really trying that isn't good enough either. Will is sorry, Bay is his friend and he's really sorry. After Bailey leaves Sarah asks if he means it. Will doesn't get it, it's either one extreme or the other.
On the Road
Kirsten can't believe she couldn't find the keys. She looked 100,000 times in her purse. Charlie says he found them in the little pouch, it happens. They unlock the storage shed and there stands the armoire covered with really nasty pea green paint and stickers. They look for a moment and then Charlie proclaims that it's butt ugly. Kirsten can't believe it. Charlie says they should load it up, he can refinish it and make it look as good as new.
Bailey, Annie and Natalie are cutting out decorations for their Christmas tree. Bay tells Annie to file for unemployment the next morning. She can start applying for jobs. School's out so he can watch Natalie and he's going to help out with Santa Claus, because that's important. She thanks him. It's not going to be easy, but she doesn't have to do it alone. They kiss.
Julia is apologizing to Griffin for lying to Justin. It's not because she's ashamed of their relationship together. Griffin understands. Things are miserable right now, who wouldn't lie. The shop is in trouble, Charlie's sick, they're living in a shed. She tells him to stop calling it a shed. They walk into the shed. As Griffin reaches for the lights he says, "Face it, life sucks right now." They are amazed. Claudia and Owen (who are asleep in the chair) have decorated the whole shed with Christmas lights and a tree. Julia covers them up with a blanket and they hug and kiss.
On the Road (The River by Joni Mitchell plays)
Kirsten asks Charlie if he wants to stop in Tiburon to get something to eat. He says he should get home, his treatment is pretty early the next morning. She asks if he would like her to come. He says that would be nice. He kind of hopes there's traffic. She looks over at him and smiles. The camera pulls back and we can see the truck with the armoire in the back traveling along the little highway back to San Francisco.
One of the best aspects of this episode is the exploration of the relationship between Justin and Griffin. It has always been one of antagonism. Griffin came on the scene when Julia and Justin were dating and his friendship with Julia led to the first of their break-ups. It is interesting to see that they are each jealous of the other. Justin and Julia do have a long friendship, he was the first person she called when her parents died. It is nice to see that the friendship has continued now that she's married to Griffin.
I don't completely understand the dynamic between Will and Bailey except that I believe it is used to illustrate what Bailey might be like if he had not been forced to grow up so quickly. Will acts like a typical college sophomore, talking about Spring Flings, frat activities, being happy that someone was considerate enough to spike the egg nog. These two friends have been taken on two very different paths in their lives.
The road trip serves as a time for us to see the new relationship between Kirsten and Charlie. They are no longer lovers, but they have a very special relationship. I don't think Kirsten completely trusts Charlie and perhaps this is why she is reluctant to spend the night, but he does nothing (that she's aware of) to make her regret the decision. Of course, she doesn't know that he stole the keys thereby forcing them to spend the night. I don't think this was done out of the old Charlie "less than pure motives", but rather his fervent wish to just keep the magic going a little bit longer.
I will point out that a mistake made about Bailey's age is corrected in this episode. During his trial Charlie says Bay is 20, but tonight Bay admits that he is only 19. We can only assume that the stress of a possible DUI conviction caused Charlie to be confused about his brother's age. Also note that after they inadvertently had too much to drink at the party Griffin and Julia appear to have spent the night. At least one member of the family seems to have learned the powerful lesson about drinking and driving.