Probation Officer......Ellen Bry
Surrounded by Chantal Kreviazuk
Griffin in his office at the bike shop, first with a series of debtors, all uncooperative, and then a collection agency. He hangs up midsentence when Julia walks in. She wants to know how his day is going, but he says "You first."
Charlie and Bailey are waiting to see Bailey's probation officer, who has kept them waiting. Charlie says this is the worst possible day for him to be waiting, and he outlines his busy day for Bailey. When Bailey wonders why Charlie's "to-do" list includes going home to take a shower, Charlie says that Joe and Frannie set him up on a blind date. Bailey looks pleased for him, but while they are talking, Charlie notices something and asks Bailey if he can see a pimple on Charlie's chin. This is too much for Bailey, who dissolves into giggles. The probation officer arrives, and comments that she is glad that he finds his appointment amusing. During his appointment, Bailey goes over his current school and work status, as well as his living arrangements. The officer tells him that his community service work includes telling his story at local high schools, starting with Grant.
At home that evening, Claudia is eating her supper while Charlie rushes around looking for the address of his date. Just as he's getting snippy with Claudia for not helping him find it, the woman calls to cancel. "What a waste of anxiety, huh?" Charlie says. As Claudia tales out the garbage, she takes note of Bailey, practicing his speech for the school. He explains that he has to practice his speech, and asks her to listen and tell him if it is too bad. Claudia reluctantly sits down to listen and Bailey introduces himself. When he gets to part about his sister going to the same school, Claudia can't help squirming. "It sucks, doesn't it?" Bailey asks. Claudia wonders why he has to do it at his old high school, and she tells him that he ought to refuse.
Inside Griffin and Julia are kissing on the couch, while Brando and Eva Marie Saint are making out on tv. Charlie comes in and tells them (a couple of times) his date's off, so they don't have to watch Owen. They say they don't mind, since they were watching the movie anyway. They go back to kissing and Charlie turns the tv towards his chair and sits. He pulls up his tie around his neck in exasperation, experimenting with its potential as a noose.
Bailey tries to explain to his probation officer that he would rather do his community service work at another hgh school, or even twice as many schools a week, rather than his old school. The fact that the students at Grant know him, she says, means his story will have more impact. Besides, she says, a little humiliation might be good.
At the restaurant, Claudia is helping Charlie go over the bills when she comes across a head shot of actress Charlie is thinking of going on a date with. "What are you doing," Claudia wonders, "*casting* for a girlfriend?" Charlie says he might not even go. Claudia reminds him of the advice he gave her about doing the same piece as another finalist in the West Coast Young Musicians Competition. Did Claudia give up? "No," says Charlie, "you did the Paganini and Yvonne went home with the gold." Claudia looks crestfallen that he remembered so specifically. "Well, that was a very valuable lesson," she says, pretending this was her original point.
At the bike shops Griffin shows a customer, Howie, the Sturgess motorcycle he bought at Howie's instruction. When Howie reneges and says that he's no longer in the market, Griffin tries to hold him to their agreement, without success.
Sarah is about to move into her new place when she finds that landlord has rented to someone else, who is now moving furniture into *her* apartment. The landlord doesn't exactly deny that she gave him $1000 for the first and last month's rent, but he says without a written contract or receipt she can't hold him to anything.
Bailey is shocked that Sarah would give somebody she doesn't even know a thousand dollars in cash. Why didn't she know to give him a check [okay, okay; I'll use the American spelling. It's American money after all], Bai wonders. But this is only making Sarah feel like more of an idiot, so he tells her about the job at the ticket agency his planning to get, and says he'll help her out.
Julia and Griffin are at their apartment, Griffin stretched on the couch. When she can't cajole him into telling him how his day went, she tries to tickle him into submission. Cut it out, he tells her, real anger in his voice. Relenting a little, he says he just fixes bikes all day. She tells him she really loves him. "Why?" he asks her, his anger giving way to mystification, the patented Griffin frown furrowing his brow. "Because," she tells him, "you're being great about my job, you're the one working hard and earning all the money, and all you do is care about me." "Well, that's true," Griffin admits, and knits his fingers into hers.
Bailey goes to his interview at the ticket agent. He tells the manager that he is comfortable with using computers and he knows the home and away schedule of practically every team in the Bay area. "Practically," he stresses, with a self-deprecating grin, his dimples going full blast. The interview goes smoothly until Bailey admits that he was involved in a DUI. The manager says he can't hire Bailey because of his record. Bailey wonders if the references would help. When he sees they won't, Bailey is disappointed, but doesn't press the issue.
Charlie is having dinner at Salingers with the actress. Things are moving along when she asks him about himself. He leads off by saying that he has four great kids, although one is on probation right now. The actress suddenly remembers that she has to go over a scene with her acting partner. Charlie asks, as she streaks for the door, whether he should wait to order. "Guess not," he tells himself.
The next morning, Charlie and Bailey are waiting to use the bathroom at the house. Claudia comes out complaining of a fever. Bai reaches out and feels her forehead. When Bailey says she doesn't have a fever, Claud also says her throat's sore and she has a throbbing headache. Charlie tells her to get back in bed and he'll bring her some juice and some aspirin. Claud tells Bailey regretfully that she'll miss his speech. "How To Lose Your License, Job Opportunities, and Your Self-Respect, All Overnight," says Bailey bitterly. "Nothing you haven't heard before, right?" He tousles her hair gently. "Feel better." When Charlie brings her the aspirin and juice, Claudia tells him that he's approaching this dating thing all wrong. Instead of leading off with "I have four kids, one on probation," says Claud, he should make a woman fall in love with him first, and then bring up the other stuff. Tell her about his work with the homeless, about wanting to go back to school to study architecture, about the way wood feels in his hand when he builds his own furniture -- about how it felt to re-open his father's restaurant after he died. Charlie looks at his little sister in wonder and trepidation. "You are *way* too good at this, you know that?"
Griffin meets with his parts supplier, and he explains that he's having some cash flow problems; when the man threatens to stop doing business with him, Griffin agrees to keep to his previous order, and pay part in cash immediately, and rest by check [there's that word again!]. Later, Bailey sees Claudia getting on a bus with her possum suit, on her way to practice.
That night Charlie is on a date with Kerry, and he's following Claudia's advice, accentuating the positives in his life (in pretty much the order that Claudia suggested them). When Charlie walks her home, he wonders about coming up to her apartment. She is reluctant, because it might wake her two two-year-old boys. Charlie starts to laugh quietly. Kerry thinks he must be offended that she didn't tell him earlier. Charlie says nothing, just keeps chuckling to himself, but he doesn't meet her eyes.
When Claudia gets home and comes into the garden, Bailey is there waiting for her. "How was possum practice?" he asks her. He accuses her of being ashamed of him. Claudia says it's not that she's ashamed of him, just that it's hard enough to fit into a new place without everybody making up their minds about her based on his community service speech.
Charlie comes in the door, and runs into Claudia, who's on her way upstairs. "Lousy, okay?" he tells her, in answer to the question he anticipates. He says that her "best foot forward" advice meant that he shelled out forty-five dollars for dinner before learning that Kerry has two kids in diapers. "And who's downstairs?" Charlie asks, going down to the laundry room. He finds Julia and Griffin down there, kissing away. He asks them whether they're planning on doing it in every room. Julia demands to know what his problem is. Charlie complains that she's showing a lack of consideration. And besides, he says there are children in the house. Julia counters that she and Griffin were alone in the basement, and that a couple of newlyweds kissing is nothing compared to Charlie's former habit of bringing his girlfriend of the moment down to breakfast. "Don't argue morality with me, Charlie, because you'll lose," says Julia, her voice steely. The next morning Claudia tells Charlie she had a nightmare about meeting a nice boy and bringing him home only to have Charlie rip her head off for kissing him in the house. She tells him everybody is tired of his always being mad at Julia. Charlie makes some attempt to defend himself, but Claud doesn't listen: "It's like, they're *married*, Charlie -- deal with it."
At their apartment Julia and Griffin are discussing Charlie's behaviour, and Julia suggests that they not go over there for a while. Griffin changes the subject when he notices Julia has on a new dress. He wonders why she needs a new wardrobe when she takes a different tour group every day. She could wear the same outfit for a week and no one would notice. Julia thinks he is accusing her of not pulling her weight financially and says she'll take the dresses back. Trapped between telling his wife how strapped they are and her unhappiness with what she thinks is his unfair attitude, Griffin gives in and tells her to keep the dresses. He kisses her forehead and she misses his miserable expression. "Forget it," he says. "Maybe you should get some shoes to go with them."
Bailey is eating lunch at Salinger's when Claudia gingerly approaches him. She doesn't apologize in so many words, but she knows he needs a job and a place of his own. She gives him a clipping about a job opening for an apartment manager. All he'd have to do keep an eye on the apartment, and he would get an apartment rent free. Bailey asks if she remembers how she she didn't want him around her school because of his DUI conviction. He says that she and the landlord would have a lot in common. But then he gets an idea. He goes to see Sarah. What if *she* were to apply for the job as manager, and he just went along as "the live-in boyfriend"? That would solve both their apartment problems, and would bring in money. When Sarah reminds him of his previous objections to the idea of their living together, Bai says this is different: she wouldn't be living with him out of fear; she'd be living with him out of desperation.
Griffin goes back to see Howie about the Sturgess. This time he won't take no for answer. He doesn't intend to "let a couple of deadbeats call the shots" in his business. Instead of buying the bike, however, Howie says he wants to invest in Griffin. Griffin is skeptical until Howie writes him a che___ [spell it however you want] for $10,000. "So you'll owe me," he says.
Bailey and Sarah discuss where to put furniture in the apartment in the building Sarah has applied to manage. It seems clear that they haven't made up their minds on living together, but when Sarah asks if he noticed that one of the two bedrooms has "slightly less disgusting carpet." Bai smiles at her and says he'll flip her for it.
Julia is in her apartment expecting a pizza delivery and comes to the door impatiently. She is surprised to find Charlie on her doorstep with a pizza of his own. He says that everyone begged off dinner at home, and since he hadn't seen her new place, and since the pizza has olives, and she likes olives, he thought they could share it. He comments that her new place is nice. "We love it," she says, adding that it's been newly renovated. Charlie suggests that the renovations included cheap locks, and she and Griffin should think about upgrading. When his sister says "okay" stiffly, he comments that it was not a criticism, just an observation. "It's kinda hard to tell, these days," she says. Charlie admits that he has been hard on her, maybe because she's in love and he's not. He doesn't even have any prospects. Julia observes that this is not her fault. Charlie knows it's not, but says it's hard, especially since she's gone -- gone from the daily life of the house, anyway. Charlie says they use to just hang. They used to read the paper together, first thing in the morning. "Not even talking, just trading sections. I miss that. It's like -- I miss you. I miss you, Jul," he says finally, and looks her in the eye. Julia, her eyes shining a little, says nothing for so long that Charlie looks away. For answer, she goes to the kitchen and gets a plate for him, sets another place. They share the pizza.
Fade to credits.