1 9 9 4 – 2 0 0 0 (USA)
143 x 60 minute episodes
The five Salinger children – 24-year-old Charlie, 16-year-old Bailey, 15-year-old Julia, 11-year-old Claudia and infant Owen – lost their parents in a tragic car accident and lived together in the family home at 3324 Broadway in San Francisco.
Oldest brother Charlie (Matthew Fox) was appointed legal guardian of the others and worked as a carpenter during the day, doubling-up in the evenings as a bartender at Salinger’s, the restaurant on Filbert Street that his father had owned with current owner Joe Mangus (Tom Mason). Their slogan was “Salinger’s – ‘Cause You Gotta Eat”.
Helping him manage the family finances was 16-year brother Bailey (Scott Wolf). while Julia (Neve Campbell) was having the most trouble adjusting to the loss of her parents. Younger sister Claudia (Lacey Chabert) was a gifted violinist and slept in a tent set up in the dining room.
All of them helped take care of baby Owen, who had only been a few months old at the time of the accident.
Their pretty young nanny, Kirsten Bennett (Paula Devicq) was in grad school at Berkeley majoring in child psychology. She began dating Charlie and eventually she moved into the Salinger house – but not as a nanny. She eventually succumbed to depression and her parents took her back home to Chicago.
Bailey’s best friend and confidante was Will (Scott Grimes). The two of them attended Grant High School, where Bailey had a series of girlfriends including Kate (Jennifer Blanc), who left town to go to a boarding school; the emotionally troubled and sexually active Jill (Megan Ward), who died from a cocaine overdose; and Will’s ex, Sarah (Jennifer Love Hewitt).
Bailey began college and moved in with the free-spirited Callie (Alexondra Lee) and developed a serious drinking problem. He eventually joined Alcoholics Anonymous and moved back to the family home.
Julia, meanwhile, married Griffin Holbrook (Jeremy London) but had problems adjusting to married life. She had forgone college and gone out to work because Griffin’s motorcycle repair business wasn’t thriving. He ultimately sold the business and they moved into the Salinger attic.
Bailey started to date Annie Mott (Paige Turco), a member of his AA group who was seven years older than he and who had a young daughter, Natalie (Allison Bertolino). When Annie eventually rejected his marriage proposal, Bailey went back to Sarah.
When Charlie was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Bailey dropped out of college to help care for his sick brother and run Salinger’s. Joe Mangus sold his half of the restaurant to the family and Bailey, who loved the work, became the full-time manager.
By the season’s end, Charlie discovered he was cured and that his girlfriend, Daphne (Jennifer Aspen), was pregnant. She gave birth to Diana but couldn’t adjust to motherhood and took off, leaving Charlie to raise the baby alone.
In the 1999-2000 season premiere Charlie finally married Kirsten and Sarah left Bailey, moving to New York in search of her birth father – and a 1999 spin-off called The Time of Your Life.
Bailey hired Joe, his father’s former partner, as a manager at Salinger’s but he embezzled money from the restaurant to gamble on the stock market to pay his divorce expenses and lost it all.
Meanwhile, Charlie purchased a successful furniture business from his previous employer.
In the series finale, Bailey was accepted to Wharton in Philadelphia; Claudia decided to go to Juilliard in New York; Julia got a job as an intern at NOW (the National Organization for Women) in Washington; and Charlie sold the family home to provide money for Bailey and Claudia’s education, Owen’s future expenses, and to help out Julia and still leave enough for him to buy a smaller home for the family.
Jennifer Love Hewitt