The rain fell outside the window of the Harvard Square restaurant, but it was peaceful. It seemed fitting. I had never been here before so I watched everything around me. As I watched, I said to my brother and his two friends, "This place seems like it's out of a movie or something."
"Yeah," Suzy chimed in, "I don't know why, but for some reason it reminds me of Party of Five.''
"That's it!" I cried.
My brother smiled arrogantly and replied, "Party of Five? Don't even tell me you actually watch that stupid show. Why would you waste your time watching that superficial excuse for television?" Coming from this Harvard graduate student who never misses an episode of Santa Barbara, the irony of his put-down betrayed him. Yet, as Party of Five fans, it was our obligation to give him a verbal bashing for this remark.
Many people question the appeal to Party of Five. So, in defense, for all its viewers out there, I would like to attempt to explain why we watch. We watch a show filled with amazingly talented actors and writers, who create an unsurpassed family drama. We watch the lives of the Salinger family unfold every Wednesday night because these five siblings create the most unique and special relationship on television.
We watch them continue to raise each other (after their parents are killed by a drunk driver). We watch the eldest, Charlie, the patriarch of the household, tackle his newfound responsibility, even though he does not always receive the "parental" respect he deserves. While balancing the family restaurant, a prosperous career, and his relationship with his fiancee, Charlie is forced to mature quickly. We watch Bailey, a heart-warming high school senior, endure incredible hardships, including the death of his girlfriend to a drug overdose and the experience of almost paralyzing a teammate in a freak football accident. Bailey's innocence and endearing qualities leave us with a sense of compassion for his misfortune. We watch Julia, a truthful and wise 16-year-old, whose problems revolve around her relationships. Julia's deep, yet true, responses to life's questions inspire us all. We watch Claudia, an overdramatic and pompous 13-year-old violinist, whose main concern is keeping her family together. And we watch Owen, a two-year-old wonder to his brothers and sisters. Owen has yet to realize how lucky he is to be a member of this Party.
Although Party of Five has been highly acclaimed by critics since its first season (last year), it has never received the viewer recognition it deserves. We hope tha this year this interesting and uncommon drama drama achieves that recognition.
The waitress had just finished collecting our empty plates. Our dinner conversation was coming to an end. "You see. It's the best show. You just have to give it a chance," I summed up, for my Party of Five comrades.
My brother nodded, "Okay, okay. I'll give it a chance, but no guarantees. Nothing can beat Santa Barbara."
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.