Season 6, Episode 7: We Gather Together

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Written by: Allan Heinberg
Directed by: Steven Robman
Edited by: Richard Freeman, A.C.E.

Co-starring Paul Messinger as Robert Fass, Loridawn Messuri as Lonnie

Transcribed by Rachel

Charlie is meeting with Mary Anne Grey, the principal. He's growing very impatient with the investigation. Mary Anne tells him he should be grateful that Mrs. Wringler is letting them check out the allegations before she files charges. Charlie can't be grateful, the whole thing is a lie. Mary Anne tells him that Myra's mother has agreed to drop the whole thing if Charlie agrees to resign. It would spare everyone a lot of pain, he might want to think about it. The school could afford to offer him a severance package, something that would allow him time to find a new job. Charlie says there is no way. It would be like saying he's guilty. She counters that without charges filed no one would know what the allegations were, it would be like nothing ever happened. Charlie points out that nothing did happen. Doesn't that matter? He doesn't understand. If those charges go on record, it happened. No matter what the verdict is, that's what the parents will think. That's the way it works.


Evan's house Julia comes downstairs dressed in a man's shirt. She's greeted by a young man sitting in a chair. It's Evan's son, Brian, home from UC Santa Cruz for Thanksgiving. He asks who she is. She wonders if Evan told him about her, cause he didn't mention that Brian was coming. Brian admits that Evan didn't know he was coming. That's probably why he never mentioned her. He has Julia's manuscript in his hands. How did she fill up all those pages? She's like...his age. She says it's a long story. Evan comes in and kisses her, pulling away when Brian greets him. He's pleased that Brian got away for Thanksgiving after all. He did, sort of, he dropped out. Evan wonders when this happened. Yesterday. And when was the deadline for tuition reimbursement? Last week, why? Cause it's all about the money? Evan thinks it must be because for three schools, three years of tuition Brian has zero credits to show for it. Brian thinks that's all he cares about. Evan points out that he is not the one who is destroying his college career out of spite. Brian doesn't know why he's there; Evan is clearly too busy sleeping with other people's kids to care about his own. He leaves.

Joe shows Bailey the menu for Thanksgiving. Bay wants to know why they are going to be open for the holiday. Joe has nothing to do and their numbers have been down a little bit lately. Bay doesn't think that's the case. Besides, Joe has plans...he's coming to the Salinger's for dinner. Tracey shows up at the door. Joe tries to tell her they aren't open yet, but she's here to see the owner. She and Bailey go over by the bar and talk. He hasn't been returning her calls. He reminds her that they've talked about it...she's married. She knows, he tells her every five seconds. He cares more about her marriage than the two people in it. They have a good time together. If her marriage doesn't bother her, why should it bother him? Cause there is a guy out there who would be bothered. She tells him Franklin wouldn't care. His secretary called her to say that Franklin would be going to London for Thanksgiving. Bay's sorry. That's just the way it works...Franklin gets to go to London with his secretary and she gets to spend it alone. Which wouldn't bother her, if she had it with him. Bay wishes he could, but he's sorry. She is too.

Grant High School
Derek catches up to Claudia in the hall. He heard she was sick. She's shocked he's even talking to her. He was going to call her, but he was afraid she might still be mad about the party. Mad? Yeah. He guesses he had a few too many and got a little out of control. A little? Well, he said he was sorry. What else does she want him to say? He walks away as Claudia looks a little stunned.

Victor is looking in the want ads for a job for Daphne as she watches Griffin through the window while he works in the backyard. Victor catches her, but she says it would never happen. He's Julia's ex-husband and she's Charlie's ex-whatever. It would be too weird. Victor thinks it would be too perfect. She agrees, except Griffin is totally not interested. Victor tells her to make him interested. She wonders how. She should just walk up to him and go "Oh Griffin!" Griffin answers her, he has just walked in to get something to drink. While he has his head in the refrigerator Victor pantomimes that she should make her move while Daphne tells him to cut it out. Griffin turns back to look at them while they've fallen silent. Daphne covers by saying she is in week two of her pathetic job search. She actually has an interview at Yogarama, so she needs to get going. Victor wonders how she's going to get there, since her car is in the shop. Griffin wonders what is wrong with it. It won't start. Does she need a ride somewhere? Daphne admits that she does. He goes to get another helmet. Daphne tells Victor he's pure evil, but he tells her he's welcome.

Evan and Julia are walking up the street while he tries to remember the name of a Chinese restaurant. She interrupts him asking what was going on that morning with him and Brian. She shouldn't worry, Brian will be back. He's just blowing off some steam. By dropping out of school? It's just a game they play. He claims to hate every school Evan sends him to, Dartmouth, Grinnell. Evan guesses he must have hated Santa Cruz as well. Brian yells, acts out, looking for some sort of reaction. Julia wonders if it wouldn't just be cheaper to react. Doesn't she think he's tried? He's yelled, he's cried, he's done family therapy with him. Maybe it's Evan's fault, maybe he was too young when they had him. He was 18 when Brian was born and now it seems like everything he does is wrong.

Joe starts listing off the guest list for Thanksgiving. They have Julia, Evan, Kirsten, Charlie, Diana, Claudia, Owen, him, Bay. Bailey reminds him of the old days when it was "Salinger, Party of Five." Joe asks Will if he is coming. Well, his parents have stopped talking to him. Okay, that makes Will, Griffin, Daphne. What if they all bring dates? Bailey wonders how many turkeys they need to make. Victor comes in. Owen is supposed to finish his math homework before he does anything else. Joe asks if Victor has plans. No, his family is kind of all over the map right now. Joe invites him, but Victor tries to get out of it. It sounds like they have a really full house. Joe says there is always room for one more. They'll do potluck. Bailey says they are not doing potluck. Joe reminds him that there is no shame in potluck. Again Victor tries to again to say no, but Bailey interrupts. Business is a little off, but no one is scraping the bottom of the barrel yet. Victor is coming, okay? He agrees.

Charlie and Kirsten's apartment
Kirsten tells him he can't take the settlement. It makes him look like he's guilty. He knows, that's what bothers him, but it actually gives them some options. He could take the severance money and work the extra hours at the furniture factory. He would be making twice what he is now and they could use the money. She doesn't care about the money and she hopes the school didn't tell him to take it. He tells her to calm down. This is the other reason he wants it over with. She cannot be stressed out right now, it is not good for the pregnancy. They just did the IVF and the doctor said she has to avoid any stress at all. Kirsten can't believe this woman...Charlie was just trying to help her daughter. Charlie tells her to calm down. She is too upset. There is a very good chance that she is pregnant and to start some kind of war about all of this...they have way too much to lose.

Claudia comes up to find Julia. If she tells her something, will Julia promise not to tell anyone? Julia agrees. She tells her about the party and what happened. Claudia is very upset. She tells Julia how Derek kissed her and wouldn't stop and she finally had to knee him to get away. Because if she hadn't he would have...he would have.... Julia takes her in her arms. She tells Claudia that she has to report Derek to the school. She has to, he assaulted her. Julia will come in with her. Claudia doesn't want to. Julia points out that Claudia probably isn't the first person he's done this to and she won't be the last if Claud doesn't say something. Claudia just doesn't want to talk about it anymore. Julia apologizes and holds her, asking Claudia to promise to talk to someone.

Principal's office
Charlie comes in while Mrs. Wringler complains that he's twenty minutes late. He apologizes. He had to drop his wife off at work, they share their truck. Mrs. Wringler's attorney is also present. Charlie asks where the document is, he's ready to sign. The lawyer says it isn't quite ready yet. Mrs. Wringler wants Charlie to say he's sorry and she wants it on the piece of paper. Charlie can't believe she wants him to apologize. Mary Anne tells him to calm down. He won't. Mrs. Wringler won't take responsibility for Myra's problems and he's the one who is losing his job. He won't do it. She knows that he didn't take advantage of Myra, why else would she offer him a deal? She doesn't want Myra in the same courtroom with him. Protecting her? Where has she been for ten years? Where was she when Myra had to get drunk in a park so someone would pay attention to her? When she was shoplifting? Mrs. Wringler says she doesn't have to listen to this. The principal tries to intervene. Maybe she can clarify this for everyone. When did he first have concerns for Myra? Late October? He agrees. And he knew that he should not have intervened, that he should have reported it to Social Services? He agrees again. Is it fair to say that he regrets that he didn't follow the proper procedure? Would language to that effect be acceptable? Charlie asks her what she's doing. Will that settle it?

Grant High School
Claudia has told Alexa. She's really sorry for Claudia. Guys get drunk and do such stupid things. Claudia wonders if she should tell someone, the school or Derek's parents. Alexa can't believe that she would report him. That would basically say that he almost... Claudia points out that he almost did.... Neither one of them says the word "rape." Alexa reminds her that he got drunk and made a mistake. If she reports it, it will ruin Derek's life. Claudia wonders about her life. That's what Alexa is concerned about. Does she really want the whole school debating whether she is a tease or a slut? She's sorry, but if Claudia didn't have sex, she didn't get hurt. Claudia told her what happened. And Alexa believes her, but not everyone will.

Evan's house
Julia, Evan and Brian are in the kitchen making dinner. She's preparing them for Thanksgiving at the Salinger household. They should not ask Bailey about his cooking, because he will never stop. Brian has a question. Who is the act for? He needs to know so he can gauge his audience. Julia wonders what act. Evan tells her to just ignore him. Brian wants to know who the happy family act is for. Her brothers and sisters, or is it for Julia and Evan? He really hopes it isn't for him. Evan tries to stop Brian, but Julia argues back. She really hopes he isn't planning on acting this way at her house. What would "this" be? Julia wants to know what he's angry about, cause she's really sick of the free-floating sarcasm. Evan leaves the room. Brian tells her to take her pick: she's half his dad's age, she's telling him how to behave in his own house, he didn't even know she existed until the day before and...his argument is cut off by the door slamming shut. They both look. Julia is sorry if this isn't what he expected. Brian walks away.

Charlie and Kirsten's apartment
Charlie is on the bed when Kirsten comes in. She asks if that is the agreement he's looking at. It is. When do they want him to leave? Actually, he hasn't signed it yet. She sits down on the bed. He knows it would be best to just get it over with. She interrupts him. She went to the doctor. He comes over to sit next to her. Is everything okay? She was having some cramping, felt kind of weird. Dr. Vasquez took some tests and they came back. It's called a "low positive" so she's not. She would like to be mad at that woman for what she did to them, but part of her is happy, because for a minute she was actually pregnant. She begins to cry and he holds her.

Grocery store
Charlie explains to Claudia about what is going on with Myra and her mother as they walk to the truck with their groceries. Claudia thinks Myra's mother might have been jealous of the way Myra felt about him. Charlie doesn't care, he isn't going to stand by and take it anymore. He's going to fight the charges. Claudia is surprised. Has he thought about that? Everyone will know, the whole school will talk and pick apart what he did. He knows and it's her school too, so he wanted to talk to her about it. He has to believe that it matters that he didn't do it and that the truth matters somehow.

Charlie and Claudia bring the groceries in to a totally decorated house. Charlie wonders if the pilgrims broke in. Bailey comes in with the ice. He's surprised as well. They walk into the living room with a long, beautiful table with linens, china and candles. There is classical music in the background. They thank Joe, but he admits that Victor did most of it. He can't help it, he has a holiday fetish.

Julia watches Brian and Evan out the window. Charlie comes in and asks if that is Evan. He hasn't met him yet. He moves to go outside, but Julia stops him. He's working things out with his son. His son? His son. Charlie nods, knowingly.

Bailey's bedroom
Will comes up to find Bailey. He got two ring girls to go out with him if he could find a fun friend to double date. He knows that Bay probably doesn't want to, but Will feels an inexplicable need to help him. Bay thanks him, but ring girls? What do they talk to them about? Will doesn't care, they are fun, gymnastic girls. Bailey wonders what happens after they fool around with them for one night. Will answers that they smile at the memory for the rest of their lives. Will thought Bay was going to act his age, be more spontaneous. Bailey is working on it. Will says that you can't work on being spontaneous. You just have to do it. Just do it, for your sanity. It's what Sarah did.

Daphne surprises Griffin as he's pulling a plate of relishes out of the refrigerator. She comments that he's a bit skittish. It must be the holiday. She has just the thing for him...Pilgrim's Punch. She pours him a large glass of punch. Griffin thinks it's good. Her recipe is a little rusty. She pours a long shot of Southern Comfort into each glass. It still isn't right so she adds more vodka and then another long pour.

Dining room
The family stops while they listen to Evan and Brian argue in the entry way. The door slams shut. Julia goes out to see what is going on. Evan says that Brian took off. She tells Evan to go after him. He doesn't know why he should. They will just have the same argument again. Brian says that Evan has no emotions, because he can't manipulate Evan. It's all the same stuff his mom used to talk about. They fight and fight and it never gets better. Julia wants to know who else there is if Evan doesn't go, who else will chase and yell? She would want him to go after her. She turns to go after him. Evan tells her to wait. He'll go.

Griffin and Daphne go down into the basement to find more bourbon. Daphne reaches for a bottle, but she is too short. Griffin picks her up and flips her over. Finally they get the's balsamic vinaigrette. They start to kiss.

Dining room
Everyone is fixing their plates when Joe comes to get Charlie. There is someone at the door for him. He goes out to find Myra. She shouldn't be there. Does her mother know? Myra says she doesn't. Charlie tells her that she hurt his family. She knows, hers too. Charlie is sorry, but he can't feel bad for her now. Myra told her mom the truth, but she wouldn't listen. Her mom read her diary and made up her own mind. Charlie points out that she didn't deny it. Myra knows, she was confused. Her mom was all worried about her and that had never happened before, so she just didn't say she was wrong. Charlie doesn't care how it happened, it's too late for that. Myra wants him to stop. They will have to go to court and Charlie will say that her mom is a terrible parent. Charlie says again that they cannot have this conversation. They might take Myra away, she might lose her mom. She just wanted her family back and now she might lose that.

Charlie comes back in the house. Everyone sits down at the table. Victor stands up. He wanted to thank them for including him in their special day. Griffin sneaks in one door and Daphne in the other. Victor continues. Not a lot of families have what they do and he doesn't know if they know that, but he feels very lucky to share it. Where he comes from they sang grace. If everyone doesn't mind, he'll sing.

We gather together to offer thanksgiving for all of the heavenly blessings we've known. The troubles that find us are only to bind us and daily remind us we're never alone.

The family looks at one another, appreciating each other.

Tracey's apartment
Bailey knocks on Tracey's door, turning away when there is no answer. Before he gets to the street she opens the door up. She's surprised to see him. Was he just gonna ring and run? He apologizes for not calling first. She asks what he's doing there. He's sorry, but he wanted her to know that he used to be a lot of fun, seriously. Not seriously, yes he was. She stops him with a kiss. He kisses her again and then she takes him inside.

Mrs. Wringler is walking up to her house when Charlie approaches her. He has to talk to her. He tells her that Myra came over to his house. She came because Mrs. Wringler won't listen to her. She told her mom that Charlie is innocent and that's what she'll tell the judge. Mrs. Wringler asks what he wants. He doesn't know, but they want the same protect the people that they love. Myra's mom says that is what she's doing. It isn't, if Myra is still coming to Charlie for help. He doesn't know what she's so afraid of, him, or the truth, but it's time for her to look out for her family, to look out for her little girl.

Daphne comes to find Griffin. She asks how he is. He says he's fine, a little hungover. So is she. The night before, it didn't make much sense. Griffin points out that he's never made much sense, so probably not. That's what Daphne thought, but they can still be friends, right? Griffin agrees. She asks if they could, maybe, go to a movie sometime together. Just as friends. She kisses him goodbye on the cheek, but he pulls her in for a longer kiss. She pulls away and says they can go to a movie sometime. He agrees and then begins kissing her again.

Front Hall
Julia finds Claudia getting ready to go out. She asks what happened at school. Claudia admits that she didn't tell the principal. She knows how Julia feels about it, but she just wants it to go away. Julia reminds her that it won't just go away. Claudia knows that Julia has been there, but she isn't the one who will have to spend the next year and a half at that school with a thousand people discussing whether or not she's a liar or a slut. No, Julia won't, but she also won't be the one worrying about running into Derek all the time. How is Claudia going to deal with that? She'll just figure something out, make like it never happened. For all she knows, maybe it never did. She leaves.

Bailey is on the phone with Tracey when Will shows up with the ring girls. Bailey tells Tracey that he will have to come over later. She tells him to come by whenever. Will asks if he's having fun yet. Bailey tells him he has no idea.

Charlie comes out of a diner-style restaurant. They'll have to wait for a table. Kirsten asks if he wants to go. Nah, he wants to celebrate and it's one of his favorites. Kirsten can't believe that Mrs. Wringler dropped everything without an explanation. Charlie says that isn't why they are there. They are celebrating because they got pregnant and he wants to start trying again right away. Kirsten isn't sure they should. Maybe they could wait. It's really hard. Charlie says they can be all right now. Kirsten wonders if they could practice the old-fashioned way for a little while before they begin the hormone shots again. He kisses her.

Evan's house
Julia comes downstairs to find Brian writing a note. He's taking off pretty early. Julia wonders if he's going back to school. He is. He asks if Evan told Julia about their little chat the night before. A little. It was weird, he basically drew the line, told Brian he would have to pay back every cent of lost tuition if he didn't. Julia asks if it's just about the money. Brian thinks it was like Evan had been coached, like he was arguing against someone else, like Julia. Brian gets up and puts his coat on. He tells her again that she is way too young for Evan. She knows that Brian thinks so. Well, Evan's lucky. Julia thanks Brian. She wishes him a safe trip and hugs him. He kisses her. She pulls away. He leaves.


As the Salingers prepared to celebrate another Thanksgiving I found myself thinking back to the first one we witnessed. It was the first major holiday since the death of their parents and coincided with the release from jail of Walter Alcott, the drunk driver who killed them. It is still one of the most powerful hours of this television series as each member of the family confronted Alcott in their own way. I think of Claudia, so young, just wanting to see what he looked like, of Julia telling him that they are okay, of Bailey railing against him for cheating Owen out of ever knowing what they were like and finally of Charlie admitting the horrible guilt he felt because his irresponsibility put them in that intersection at that moment. They were all so hurt, so broken that initially they couldn't move past that to celebrate this very family-centered holiday. It is only after working through their pain that they are able to celebrate.

This year we see each of them again in various kinds of pain, yet they now have the skills to set that aside, to come together as a family and even reach out to their friends: Joe, Griffin, Daphne and Victor to include them in their family celebration.

Of course in amongst the revelry there are quite a few things going on. This was a very well-crafted episode as the specter of sexuality hovered in and out of every piece of the plot.

Julia's relationship with Evan has come to a very awkward place. She is his lover, but not the mother to his son. She is the peer of the son, but that's skewed because of the relationship with the father. There is still the problem of their relationship and the power differential of him being her editor. She is very young and whether they are happy together or not, there are so many things that are going to make this not end nicely.

Bailey is in an entirely different situation. He has had this long-term, meaningful relationship with Sarah, but now finds himself having to shift out of that mode into a more carefree one where he romances married women and has one night stands with ring girls. I agree with Will, he does need to relax and act his age, but I have a feeling that this all might come back to bite him in the ass if he isn't more careful.

Claudia's case is a difficult one and very interesting when juxtaposed with what is happening with Charlie. I sit here wondering, like Julia, how she can let Derek get away with what he did to her, but I'm not in that situation. She needs her mother and Julia is trying, but it isn't the same. I think this is an important story to tell and very powerful. Man, Lacey Chabert has really developed her skill over the years. She is going to continue to do well in this profession.

Charlie's story is also one that is not uncommon. What frustrates me is the way it has been played to be more dramatic. I think it is very unlikely that a principal would not be more of an advocate for her teacher. She is right, if they have to take it to court Charlie will be tainted with the stain of sexual impropriety, but he has the right of deciding whether or not he wants to take that chance. For good and bad reasons we now live in a society where the actions that Charlie took, on behalf of a student that he thought needed them, can be misconstrued. In some ways I think it's a really sad statement on our society.

The other thing I didn't like was the fallout of the case against Charlie. We didn't have enough build up to Kirsten's pregnancy, so I found that I had little feeling when she told Charlie she wasn't pregnant any longer. What have we invested? Two weeks and some IVF? If they are going to tell an infertility storyline, they need to tell it more slowly so we can get a better feel the frustration that so many people feel. The real question is, why are they doing this now? Would they have more trouble later? Diana is only a year old and already she's being shuffled from house to house and to a nanny. Why don't they spend more time with the child they have then spend all of this time and money trying to create another one?

Holiday shows can often times be really cheesy, but this was a nice, well-balanced one. It's always good to see that there are some moments of joy in amongst the angst-ridden ones.

Copyright ©1999 by Rachel Vagts. All rights reserved.

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