Season 6, Episode 10: Dog Day After New Year

Previous episode | Index | Next episode

Written by: Julia Dahl and Tom Garrigus
Directed by: Keith Samples

Co-starring Marianne Muellerleile as professional wrapper, Wendy Robie as Elaine, Gene Wolande as Dr. Hobbs, William Monaghan as Uncle Bert, Patience Cleveland as Aunt Lydia, Chao-Li Chi as Ling, Audrey Wasilewski as Mistress Trudy, Marin May as bride

Transcribed by Rachel

Bailey, Julia, Claudia and Owen are taking the decorations off their Christmas tree. Julia is criticizing Bailey for spending the turn of the millennium at a family wedding with Holly. Claudia points out that 2001 is the millennium but Julia disagrees because mankind has said that this year is it. She's going to be at home watching it on TV with Griffin, Claudia and Owen. Claudia says that she won't be watching TV. She's too busy. Julia wants to know if he's serious with Holly. He doesn't think so, but his sisters point out that going to a family wedding is serious. Actions speak louder than words.


Charlie and Kirsten's apartment
Kirsten comes home to find that Charlie has made dinner. It's kind of a special occasion. Kirsten warns him that she had a really bad day at work and she might not be able to get to that "happy place" with him. Charlie asks what happened. She had to deal with a drug rep that treated the kids like lab rats. She asks what his news is. He stalls, but then tells her that he got a promotion. She thought he hated the factory. He didn't, but the assembly line is a little boring. She asks if he is off the line. Kind of, he's supervising a shift now. She asks if the money is better. A little. Less hours? No, actually a few more. She doesn't understand. He thinks it's a chance to move up in the company and get to work on some of his own designs. Kirsten asks if Gus has seen any of his designs yet. Charlie is waiting to cost them out, but he thinks Gus will like them. Well, as long as he's happy, that's all that matters.

Julia is helping Griffin finish his books. She wants to know why all of his customers sound like pets and lists off Stinky, Spike and some others. Griffin says that if you work on bikes you have to work with bike people. He wants to stop, but she points out that they are almost done with the books for the year. His hand is killing him and he wants to quit. She tells him that the only way to be sure that he doesn't get this is to not try. The phone starts to ring. She and Griffin scramble, looking for the cordless phone she carried outside. Evan gave her the name of another editor to show her book to and Julia has been waiting for this Elaine to return her call.

Julia answers the phone. It's Elaine's office, but they are calling to month. Julia hangs up. Griffin asks what is wrong. The woman was excited when she first got Julia's book and called her, but now she has cancelled twice and is leaving town for two months. Julia will have to wait until March to find out if they are going to publish her book. Griffin asks if she is just going to take that. Julia doesn't know what else she can do. She can't just go busting into her office. Griffin points out that the only way to not get this is to not try.

Claudia's room
Bailey comes up to Claudia's room. He needs some help with groceries, laundry and the vet. Claudia wants to know why they need to go to the vet. Bay points out that Thurber has been just lying around lately. Claudia thinks he looks fine to her. Besides, she's been in her room half the vacation. Bay thinks she should get out. She asks why he can't do the errands. He has to go to pick out china with Holly. Claud can't believe they are already picking out a pattern. It's for Holly's cousin. Claudia says that she can't. She has a deadline, her test has to be postmarked the next day. Bay asks what test. It's the post-secondary standard test. She's decided to do the test and skip her senior year of high school. She wants to go to college early, lots of people do it. She's looking at schools with rolling admissions so when she decides where she wants to go she can just transfer the credits. Bailey doesn't understand why she wants out so bad. She's over it. High school, all the stuff you're supposed to go through, cliques and gossip. Bailey wants to know why they haven't talked about any of it. Claud points out that they just did.

Elaine's office
Julia comes back outside. Surprise, surprise...she just missed Elaine. Griffin guesses that they missed her by about 20 minutes. The odds of finding her now are...50/50, Griffin pipes in. There are only 17 card readers on Union Street and somebody over in the smoker's hang-out said that Elaine is very superstitious and she always has her cards read before she leaves town. Someone heard her book a reading for tomorrow. Maybe Julia could just bump into her. Someone who is superstitious would have to take it as a sign. Julia wonders why he's helping her. Griffin points out that he could use some diversion on New Years other than sitting on his sofa trying to figure out how to pop a beer with his one good hand.

Department store
Holly and Bailey are trying to pick out wrapping paper for the wedding gift. It's going pretty well until they have to decide whether or not Bailey should sign the card. The woman wrapping the gift asks if they are serious. They don't know. They each decide that they wouldn't want the other one to be seeing someone else. Bailey decides that he should sign the card.

Charlie is showing his designs to Gus. Gus thinks they are very nice. He had no idea Charlie was a designer. Charlie tells him that he used to own his own business. He showed the chair designs to a couple of his friends in the restaurant business and he thinks he could sell some if he had a prototype to show people. Gus thinks Charlie will definitely be able to sell his furniture, if he can find the right person to make them for him. Charlie wonders if Gus would do it. Gus laughs. Charlie wonders what's so funny. He reminds Gus of Gus thirty years ago. He came to his boss and showed him his line of quality knock-offs...some of which they are still making. That's how he got started, by being told no. Charlie points out that was the wrong answer, so Gus should say yes. Gus can't afford to start a new line now. He can barely make payroll this month. Charlie is shocked to find out how precarious the business is. Charlie's furniture is beautiful, but there's nothing Gus can do about it.

Holly and Bailey arrive at the wedding. There is a problem with the cake so Holly trades Bailey for her cousin who happens to be a pastry chef. Bailey is stuck squiring around Holly's elderly aunt who forgot her cane. She continually introduces him by the wrong name and calls him first Holly's boyfriend, then fiance, then husband.

Madame Olga's
Julia wants to give up looking for Elaine, but Griffin gets her to try one more. There is a woman inside, but she isn't Madame Olga. Her name is Trudy. Griffin goes to talk to Olga while Julia sits down. Trudy recognizes her as a skeptic. She is too...Olga tells her that she has the gift, but she doesn't think so. She asks if she can do a reading for Julia, who agrees. Trudy tries and gets close, knowing that Julia is a writer and that she is searching for an answer. She tells Julia that she will find the truth within herself, or at a gathering. Griffin comes out and reports that he found out what party Elaine would be at. They take off to find her.

Claudia is warming up a bottle for Diana while she calls to Owen. The post office closes in half an hour and they need to get going. Owen comes in. Thurber won't come. She tells him to grab the dog by the collar. Owen comes back in and says that the dog is sick. He just threw up. They go out in the backyard where Thurber is lying.

Charlie and Kirsten are discussing Gus' comments about the furniture while Daphne tries to change the subject. They continue talking as Daphne goes over and talks to the hostess. She returns and tries to interrupt again, finally shouting for them to save it please. She apologizes for being rude, but her boyfriend will be there in a couple of minutes and it's kind of important to her. She realizes they had to squeeze her in before Charlie's holiday party, but this isn't her fantasy New Years conversation. They promise no more shop talk. Daphne's boyfriend, Luke shows up. He's from Texas too and is in the army. He kisses Daphne very deeply before they sit down.

Bailey is still stuck with the aunt until finally he talks one of Holly's cousins into taking over. He gets pulled over for the family picture. Both Bailey and Holly protest, but he ends up in the picture anyway.

Julia finds Elaine at the party. At Griffin's urging she goes over to talk to her. She acts like it's a coincidence that they ran into each other until Elaine tells her that it's her party and she knows that she didn't invite Julia. Julia apologizes, but she had to know about her book. Elaine remembers the book. Julia asks why she has been dodging her calls. She shows her some promotional material. They signed a book by a Princeton sophomore who survived a college relationship two weeks before Evan sent over Julia's book. If Elaine had known she would never have even read Julia's book. She's sorry, but the other woman got there first. Julia asks if it was better. It wasn't, but it got there first. She wrote a nice book...she just missed her moment.

It's time for the bouquet toss. It goes over the heads of the single women and into Bailey's lap. He looks at it for a moment and at Holly, then throws it out into the middle of the room. Holly looks very hurt.

Animal hospital
The vet comes out to tell Claudia that Thurber is very ill. They might have to make some difficult decisions. She should call the rest of the family.

Bailey finds Holly in the kitchen watching television. She's upset about the bouquet. Bailey wonders what she expected. If he had thrown it to her, Holly's family would have expected them to set a date. Holly thinks that's absurd, but Bay points out that half of them already think they are engaged. They're her family, they're excited that she found someone nice. Bailey thinks that sounds very final. The day before they weren't even sure they were a couple. Holly points out that they are just words. What matters is what happens with their feelings. Is she wrong? Bailey's phone rings. It's Claudia. Bay hangs up and says that he needs to go take care of the dog. Holly clearly thinks it's a blow-off excuse. She walks away mad.

Kirsten is telling Luke about the medical study she is working with. Daphne excuses herself. Luke takes the opportunity to state his intentions toward Daphne. Since she doesn't have any family, Luke thinks he should ask Charlie and Daphne for their blessing. They tell him that he shouldn't have to ask them. Kirsten asks what he would do if they wouldn't give it. Does he care about her? Luke says that he does. He would stay with her, not letting anyone stand between them. He'd do everything he could to change their mind. He shouldn't worry so much about what other people think.

Animal hospital
Thurber's kidneys are failing. The vet points out that he has lived a very long time. Bailey asks what they can do. The vet tells them that they could do dialysis for a few weeks, but it would cost $15,000 and there is little chance for a recovery. Bay asks if they can wait. He hasn't been able to reach Charlie or Julia. They can wait, but they should consider the pain Thurber is in. Bay tries to call again, but Claudia points out that they are only doing it for themselves right now. Bailey kisses Thurber and tells him that he's being very brave. He asks the vet if they should put him down. The doctor thinks they should.

Griffin asks Julia if she wants to watch the millennium on TV. Julia thinks she will just go to bed. She stops to check the messages. There is one from Claudia telling her about Thurber. She tells Julia that she should get down to the clinic before midnight if she wants to say good-bye. Julia needs to go. Griffin goes with her.

Gus is throwing a huge party for all the employees. He's got two open bars. Kirsten thought he was going broke. He comes over and greets them, asking why they don't have anything to drink. Charlie doesn't feel like it. Gus tells them to relax, but Charlie says it's easier said than done. Kirsten goes to get them something. Charlie says that their conversation from earlier is stuck in his head. The guys bust their butts from Gus. He wants to give them something to let them know how much he appreciates it. Charlie thinks they would appreciate having their jobs the next month before. Gus wants to know if it's about saying no to Charlie's designs. Charlie tells him to forget about the designs. He doesn't care what designs they use, if they don't get new customers they're dead. Gus asks Charlie if he thinks he can say anything now that he's a foreman. Charlie doesn't want the job if it'll just mean telling people that they've lost theirs. He leaves.

Julia and Griffin are stuck in a cab in traffic while people celebrate the New Year. They watch as the sky fills with fireworks. Julia thinks this is just perfect. The card reader said that she would find her answer in a gathering. She thought it would be the party, but now it turns out that the answer is "give it up already."

Animal hospital
Claudia doesn't think they should tell Owen. Bay thinks they should. They can't lie to him. Claudia wonders why they can't just tell him that they sent Thurber to a farm to get better. They can't because Owen would ask which farm and want to visit him. Claudia wants to spare him. Why is everything bad that happens put out in the open? Bay wants to know what she's talking about. She just wants him to be able to stay young a little bit longer. Bay understands, but Owen should has the chance to say good-bye and everyone should have that chance, shouldn't they?

Bailey goes over to Owen. He tells him that Thurber is very sick. The truth is that there isn't much they can do to help him get better. If they want to help him, they have to figure out what is the fairest thing for him...

The whole family is gathered with Thurber's ashes. Bailey asks if anyone wants to say something. Charlie doesn't know. Julia thinks there is a nice view. Owen thinks it's sad. He wishes Thurber was with them. Bailey wonders how they know he isn't there. Charlie thinks he can still see him. Julia sees him over there, eating that family's picnic. Kirsten can see him peeing on the wall. Bailey thinks he's looking for the rope toy he was always losing. He's behind the tree and the bushes. Bay wonders where they should spread him. Owen thinks everywhere. They all take a little handful and scatter him all over the place. Julia comments that it might be the first time Thurber has dumped and not gotten a ticket. Claudia takes her handful and walks over to a tree. She watches it trickle out of her hand and starts to cry.

Charlie goes back to see Gus. Gus hopes that they can forget the things that they said at the party. He hopes Charlie wasn't serious about quitting. If it's about the party, Charlie was right. He shouldn't be spending so much money. Charlie wonders about the rest of it. What about starting something new? Gus is still unsure about taking the risk. Charlie needs what he does to be about the future. He doesn't have anymore time to be moving sideways. Gus asks him to wait. Charlie said he could build the chairs without laying out a lot of money. He thinks he can, if he has the right customers. Gus agrees to try. They shake hands.

Bailey tells Holly that she shouldn't have brought over the bouquet of flowers that he's arranging in a vase. Actually, they were leftover from the wedding. She's really sorry about the whole thing. Bay is sorry too. He should have thrown the bouquet to her. She says it's okay. He brings over one rose. How about one at a time? How would that be? She wants to know what it means. It means that as long as he gets to be with her and not know what it means, that makes him happy. He doesn't want to know what the future is yet. They kiss. She leaves.

Living room
The family compares who had the worst New Years. Griffin puts up them being trapped in a cab. Kirsten points out that they, at least, got to see fireworks. Claudia wins with "at the pet hospital with my dog being put down." Bailey tries to put a good spin on it, but fails. Claudia is depressed. They missed the biggest night. Julia points out that Claudia had been saying it was nothing. Well, she watched it on TV at the vet's and it was not nothing. Julia asks who says they missed it. The clock? Julia goes on. She has spent the past day feeling like she missed her moment, with her book coming out at the wrong time, but she doesn't know. How can the world decide what is her moment? Claud wonders if they should call Dick Clark and see if he can raise up that ball again. Charlie agrees with Julia. Claudia tells them to face it. Y2K...not a Salinger holiday. Charlie starts the countdown..10, 9, 8. They all join in.


I don't know if it is because we so rarely see the whole family together or that the show is feeling the effects of Aaron Sorkin...but the dialogue was running at a much faster pace tonight in the opening and closing scenes. I watch the tape and try to get as much of it as I can and tonight was a lot more fast-forwarding and rewinding to catch it all.

After quite a few weeks away, this was a good solid episode. It's always nice to see the holidays celebrated and I'm not sure we've ever gotten to celebrate the New Year with the Salingers.

Of course the major story tonight is the death of Thurber. I have to admit, I choked up...both times I watched. The death of a pet is really hard and I would say that for people who have lost a lot, it would hit them even harder. I can understand Bailey's struggle to decide whether it was more important to wait for Charlie and Julia or to save Thurber a great deal of pain. My mom asked me the same question several years ago when our collie was put down right before Christmas. I was glad to see that Bailey decided to save Thurber the extra pain. It's more important to remember your pet how they were when they were happy, rather than sick and in pain.

This story also drew some other good analogies. Owen is the only child who didn't know their parents. Here he's confronting his first death and Bailey is offering him something that they never had...a chance to say good-bye. Sometimes I wonder if the rawness of the Salinger children comes from not having that closure with their parents.

This story also brings Claudia's struggles with school and her attack back out. I'm really glad to see that this has not been swept under the rug. It's an important story and I think we will see a great deal more before the arc is over. Again, I am so amazed at the incredible woman Lacey has begun. She has really grown up.

Charlie's and the factory was also well done. I think he is finally getting himself to some significant place in life and I think he realizes it too. He was totally on the point when he told Gus that he needed to be moving forward now, it was time.

Julia and Griffin was amusing, although I don't really understand why Evan didn't just publish her book. Clearly a plot-driven solution there. It's too bad because the book would have finally given us a chance to understand more about Nick and Diana. I think this is a lost opportunity and if anyone who matter is reading still have half a season to pick that back up!

I like Holly, but the wedding story was stupid. Predictable and dumb. Move on.

Finally, great to see the baby this week. Man, she is so cute! What's up with Daphne's boyfriend? That one kind of appeared suddenly for as serious as he seems to be. Oh well...I'm sure the mysteries will be revealed to us eventually.

Copyright ©2000 by Rachel Vagts. All rights reserved.

Previous episode | Index | Next episode