I used to love getting ready to watch this each week. I don't know why, but it was so addictive and fun. I guess it didn't hurt that Matthew Fox and Scott Wolf were so hot. I remember this to be one of my favourite seasons. It was when Kirsten and Charlie got back together, Bailey goes to college, we meet Grace and you could see Claudia growing up more and more.
For a refresher, here are the ways the episodes pan out.
SUMMER FUN, SUMMER NOT - Charlie, now back together with Kirsten, is trying to get on with his life until Kirsten's mother unexpectedly shows up and tells them that she has left her husband. Meanwhile, Claudia returns from summer camp with stories about meeting a boy named Byron, whom everyone thinks she made up. Julia's ex-flame, Griffin Holbrook, having graduated from high school, arrives in town during a leave he has with the merchant marines to try to reconcile with her. Also, Bailey and Will decide to take an end-of-the-summer road trip to Mexico. But Sarah and Will's girlfriend, Gina, spoil the fun by insisting they come along. Things get even worse for the guys when Bailey's jeep breaks down, the girls desert them, and their jeep gets stolen.
GOING, GOING, GONE - Kirsten gets a teaching job at California State Monterey. But the commute and long hours begin to take its toll on her and Charlie's relationship. Griffin, temporarily living at the house until he finds an apartment, doesn't measure up to Julia's expectation of responsibility, forcing him to leave. Meanwhile, Claudia becomes angry and jealous when Byron apparently develops a crush on Julia. Bailey fears his friendship with Will is ending as Will prepares to leave town to go to college back east with his new outgoing roommate, Tucker.
SHORT CUTS - Bailey starts college at Berkeley and meets a new friend, named Cooper, who already has him taking short cuts his first few days on campus. Meanwhile, Julia, Justin, and Sarah are grouped together when they enter an essay contest hoping that by winning the prize they will boost their chances of getting into a good college next year. Also, Kirsten's professor discovers that she has unintentionally plagiarized part of her dissertation, and risks losing her teaching position and everything else.
DEAL WITH IT - Bailey's friend, Cooper, and Julia are attracted to each other, but Bailey forbids them to date. Bailey then moves out of the Salinger household and into an apartment with a new attractive roommate named Callie Martel, an older woman whom Sarah doesn't approve of. Meanwhile, Claudia takes over the household repairs herself and must deal with leaky pipes. Also, Charlie realizes that Kirsten's depression over losing her job is much serious than he thought.
MIXED SIGNALS - Bailey finds himself playing rescuer for Callie who has gotten herself in a mess with a boyfriend wanting her, and who turns out to be one of his college professors. Meanwhile, Cooper wants his relationship with Julia to become more intimate, but Julia apparently isn't ready to sleep with anyone yet for she is still affected by her recent miscarriage, which leads to their breakup. As Claudia moves into Bailey's old bedroom, Jody confides in her about her troubled home life that her mother's new boyfriend has made sexual advances towards her. When Kirsten tries a new anti-depressant medication, she becomes compulsive about neatness and Charlie tries to convince her to stick with it.
GOING HOME - Kirsten's parents arrive in town after Claudia had told them about Kirsten's worsened mental condition and they immediately quarrel with Charlie after they decide to take her back to Chicago to have her committed to a mental hospital, with a court order if possible. Meanwhile, Bailey and Callie start to confide in each other about their past history; Callie about her relationship with her distant father who is having a 60th birthday party this weekend, and Bailey about his strained relationship with Charlie. Also, Julia and Sarah fly east to interview at Dartmouth in hopes of going to college there, but Sarah becomes worried and homesick almost immediately.
PERSONAL DEMONS - As Halloween approaches, Claudia is convinced that a curse is the cause of all the bad things that have happened to the family over the past few years. So, she hires an exorcist to "cleanse" the family dwelling. Meanwhile, Bailey is beginning to feel the constants of his celibate relationship with Sarah and goes to seek some intimacy with Callie. Julia has to deal with the fact when she learns that Justin is now dating another girl. Also, Charlie puts his trust in a shady handyman, named Earl, who claims to be an old friend of his father's. Charlie also comes across a black woman named Grace Wilcox, who runs a local charity that feeds the homeless.
NOT SO FAST - In the aftermath of having sex with Callie, Bailey feels guilty and decides to break up with Sarah. But Bailey falls ill with chicken pox in which Sarah becomes his personal servant. After approaching a resident novelist at Stanford to read her admission essay, Julia receives an unexpected scathing critique which shakes her confidence in going to college. Meanwhile, Claudia meets once again with Avery, her mother's old musician colleague, who wants to enroll her in a school for gifted children, in which Charlie objects to Claudia making a rash decision that's way over his head.
GIMME SHELTER - The local press publishes Charlie as a bad guy when he mishandles an incident with a belligerent homeless man at Salingers during a feed-the-homeless fund, and Grace too disavows Charlie leading to her organizing a boycott of the restaurant. After being rejected to get on the college hockey team, Bailey tries out for the wrestling team and deals with his coach's lenient methods and his own inexperience. Meanwhile, Julia is disturbed by the loud noise of a construction crew fixing the roof of the house while she trying to finish her college application paper, and befriends the two construction workers, foreman Sam and his spaced out brother Alec.
CLOSE TO YOU - Bailey rescues Callie from an attempted date-rape and she becomes more dependent on him, in which he breaks a date with Sarah to be with her. Meanwhile, Julia's attraction for Sam grows and she tries keeping him at the house to finish fixing the roof. Claudia is asked to be a writer of the "Love Lorn" column for her school's paper to write about problems with people's love lives and beings to analyze everyone's problems around her, while she herself becomes oblivious to advances from a student named Stuart. Also, Charlie finds himself in an awkward position when Grace wants to be more than friends.
I DO - Bailey is on a downward spiral when his relationship with Callie intensifies while Sarah becomes increasingly resentful of him. So, Sarah tries to set Callie up with her cousin Paul to keep her away from Bailey. Meanwhile, Charlie is beginning to feel an attraction to Grace when his former restaurant partner, Joe, arrives in town and announces that he is getting married to a younger woman and wants the wedding held in the restaurant. Also, Julia's crush on Sam grows which prompts him to quit working on the roof of the house to stay away from her.
DESPERATE MEASURES - Charlie flies to Chicago to visit Kirsten and is surprised to see her doing good with her life. When Charlie asks Kirsten to come back with him to San Francesco, without telling her mother, he soon realizes that her manic depression is something not easily fixable. Back in San Francisco, Julia takes over the household responsibilities by herself and takes them so lightly that she and everyone else doesn't notice when Claudia is admitted to the hospital with appendicitis. Also, a guilty Bailey, going downward on his relationship with Sarah while trying to stay away from Callie as well as balancing time with his wrestling practice, finally confesses to Sarah that he slept with Callie who surprisingly reacts hurt, but understanding.
CHRISTMAS - The Salinger's grandfather, Jacob Gordon, returns and tells the Salingers that he just wants to spend the holidays with his family and nothing more. But Julia, as usual, suspects there's something more going on with him and that he's hiding some health problems. Meanwhile, Charlie is attempting to overcome his depression about losing Kirsten for good by working more on Grace's feed the homeless project where meets a homeless man he tries to help out, but whom Charlie later finds out that the man too suffers from a mental illness. Bailey is alone when both Callie and Sarah leave town to be with their families. Not wanting to be around his own family, the alienated Bailey seeks a bond with his wrestling coach, Russ Petrocelli. Also, Claudia is still being perused by Stuart who has a massive crush on her. When Claudia tries to show Stuart that he's nothing more than a friend by giving him a lame gift of trick candles, it backfires when it turns out to be something he wanted.
LIFE'S TOO SHORT - Julia, Justin and the rest of Grant High School is shocked when Julia's long-time friend, Libby, suddenly commits suicide and Julia tries to find out why Libby would want to end her life when it looked so promising. Meanwhile, Charlie attends his 10-year high school reunion where he becomes reacquainted with two old school basketball teammates and his old girlfriend, which leads Charlie to think that the best time of his life, which was in high school, and is behind him for good. Also, Sarah becomes increasingly cold and resentful towards Bailey who tries to hard to please her, which leads Sarah finally deciding to let Bailey go his own way.
SIGNIFICANT OTHERS - In an attempt to overcome his pain after breaking up with Sarah, as well as to get away from Callie who wants to evict him from the apartment, Bailey throws himself into a grueling practice to qualify for a spot on the wrestling team. Here, Bailey shows his first serious signs of his already strong alcohol consumption he has been having for the past few months. Meanwhile, Grace accepts a date with a politically connected man from the mayor's office which arouses jealousy in Charlie. Also, Sam becomes more tentative to Julia after encountering his former girlfriend, Karen, who's tells him that she's marrying someone else.
I DECLARE - Charlie and Grace finally go out on a date, but they agree to take things slow. The next time they see each other to paint the interior of a house, Charlie brings over baby Owen and Grace brings her grandmother in order to curb any temptation. Meanwhile, the family is exited when Julia announces that she has been accepted to Stanford, but she is conflicted about this turn of her life. Sarah resents Julia's reluctance to send in her letter of intent because Sarah did not get into Stanford. Bailey tries to resist alcoholic beverages after learning that his grads are low, but he is sidetracked by Callie's disruptive presence and an angry landlord trying to evict them. Also, Claudia's outing of a gay teacher at her school affects her violin teacher, Ross, personal life too for he happens to be dating the man.
MISERY LOVES COMPANY - Bailey's friend Will arrives in town for a visit during a break from college, and becomes surprised to see how frequently (and how much) that Bailey drinks on a regular basis. Will tells Bailey to take it easy with drinking, but he tells Will to mind his own business, in which Will turns to Sarah to try to get her to talk to Bailey. Meanwhile, Grace moves into the Salinger house after a fire destroys her apartment, and not everyone is happy to have her there. Also, Julia decides that she can no longer live under Charlie's rules after she tells him about not going to Stanford and moves into Sam's apartment, upsetting the quite life Sam had going for himself.
MYOB - Grace beings to think that moving in with Charlie and his siblings wasn't a good idea after during a food shopping outing, Grace has an encounter with a woman whom makes a casual, but stereotypical, comment to Grace about her standing with Charlie. Claudia, sensing tension at home between Grace and the family, offers to volunteer at Grace's office in a way for the two of them to get better acquainted, only to see Grace's true demanding colors. Meanwhile, Sam is looking for an extra guy for his construction crew and Julia recommends Bailey, which turns out to be a bad idea when he steals some liquor from the site. Also, Sarah confides in a skeptical Julia about Bailey's ever increasing drinking who continues his self-destructive lifestyle and resorts to stealing Callie's rent money as well as pawning various items to get more money for beer and hard liquor.
POINT OF NO RETURN - Charlie refuses to believe Julia or Sarah about Bailey's drinking problem until he and the rest of the siblings finally realize the enormity of Bailey's alcoholism after witnessing him doing embarrassing actions at Owen's 3rd birthday party. Meanwhile, Grace is disturbed by a surprise visit from her parents who seem warm to Charlie. Julia decides to plan a summer trip to Europe with Sam, until she realizes that they hold different views toward certain people where Julia sees little amusement in Sam's stereotyping of others, which leads to their breakup. Also, Claudia becomes reacquainted with Avery who introduces her to his visiting son Marcus, a withdrawn, unsure-of-himself, troubled teen.
THE INTERVENTION - Grace and Sarah join Charlie, Julia and Claudia for a family intervention to Bailey about his drinking. They lure Bailey to the house about a family emergency with baby Owen to confront him about his self-destructive lifestyle. But Bailey is stunned by what he sees as everyone against him and goes out on the attack, cruelly singling out serious faults of their own. As the day wears on into the evening, Joe joins the group and reveals a surprising revelation: Nick, the Salinger's late father, was also an alcoholic.
HITTING BOTTOM - In the aftermath of the family's failed intervention, Bailey escalates his drinking, totally not caring about himself, anyone or anything. But Bailey's increasingly erratic behavior alienates both Callie and Coach Petrocelli after Callie finds out that Bailey's now spending hundreds of dollars every night at local bars by stealing money out of her own purse, while Coach Petrocelli learns that he cannot rely on his star player anymore after Bailey keeps showing up for practice drunk. Feeling rejected by everyone, a drunken Bailey kidnaps Owen from day care and keeps him out all day. Later that night, Bailey gets behind the wheel of his jeep and gets into an accident which injures Sarah who's riding with him. Meanwhile, Claudia directs her anger toward her late father for Bailey's drinking, after Avery tells her stories about her late parents troubles. Also, Julia's former boyfriend, Griffin Holbrook, arrives in town for a visit while he has some legal matters of his to deal with over suing the merchant marines for an accident he got into on board a freighter.
LEAP OF FAITH - After a long night of a guilt drinking binge over injuring Sarah, Bailey appears on the doorstep of the Salinger house where he finally admits that he needs help. He attends his first AA meeting where he discovers Walter Alcott, the man who was responsible for his parents death three years ago, is a member and a big participator at the meetings which prompts Bailey to quit after revealing his still deep-rooted hatred for Alcott. Meanwhile, Griffin is trying to find a way to spend the $100,000 settlement he got for his knee injury and Julia tells him to help his long-estranged father who is having financial problems. But Julie becomes suspicious when she suspects Griffin's father only wants to bond with him over the money. Also, Grace is approached by some associates to run for a local office seat, making Charlie feel left out.
PROMISES, PROMISES - Sarah tries to move on with her life by dating an attractive medical student named Drew. But her efforts to remain supportive for Bailey's recovery are met with disapproval from Callie who feels left out. When Bailey realizes that Callie's presence is one of the causes of his compulsion to drink, he moves out of her apartment and back into the Salinger house, thus leaving Callie all on her own as before when he first met her. Meanwhile, Claudia tries to show Charlie that Grace is too self-absorbed with running for an office seat and is also too obsessed with publicity than to care about the family. Also, Griffin voices his concern with Julia who's slacking off in school and skipping classes to be with him.
A LITTLE FAITH - On Spring Break, Sarah goes away with her parents and Bailey volunteers himself to chaperon Claudia on a trip to Los Angeles for a violin concert in order to distract himself in her absence. Bailey then falls off the wagon, but learns a valuable lesson of his problem from Joe and his young wife, Fran, living there. Meanwhile, Julia and Griffin's motorcycle trip through California hits a snag when their motorcycle breaks down, where Griffin decides to buy the shop where it gets fixed, upsetting Julia's spontaneous plans. Also, Grace has a pregnancy scare, which turns out to be a false alarm, but brings up an issue on kids to Charlie.
YOU WIN SOME, YOU LOSE SOME - Bailey tries to make peace to all the people that he hurt while he was drinking including Coach Petrocelli. Although Bailey takes it hard when Sarah breaks up with Drew, she makes it clear that she only wants to be friends. Meanwhile, Julia's former boyfriend, Justin Thompson, tells her that he has been accepted to Yale and invites Julia to spend the summer with him in Europe. When she brings this news to Griffin, he tells her to put her love for him to the real test, by getting married. On the eve of Grace's election results, Charlie realizes that although he loves Grace, he tells her that she cannot love his siblings or any children like Kirsten did and tells her that his job as the legal guardian for his brothers and sisters must come first.
I can't wait to get my copy of this. I have the first season, and will order the second season along with this. It's a great programme that I still continue to watch over again.