Party of Five: The Complete Third Season

Party of Five

On DVD: 
Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The drama of the Salinger siblings continues to the third season. Although the show has some moments that make you smile, the Salinger siblings face the same/similar childhood and adolescent challenges that many American families deal with, and touchy and emotional episodes with serious issues can make Party of Five addictive.

The complete third season includes 25 episodes. The family keeps struggling with financial situations and instable relationships, but Season 3 adds depression, alcoholism, suicide of a friend, health scare, and a family intervention. I found that their plots are deeper and more various than the plots of other shows like Dawson's Creek and Felicity.

Charlie, the oldest child (Matthew Fox), reunites with Kirsten (Paula Devicq), but soon faces the problems of a long-distance relationship. Bailey (Scott Wolf) starts college at UC Berkeley, but his relationships with several women become complicated, and he turns to alcohol for comfort. Musically gifted Claudia (Lacey Chabert) is now officially a teenager, and sibling rivalry increases between her and Julia (Neve Campbell). Meanwhile, Julia and Bailey’s on-and-off girlfriend Sarah (Jennifer Love Hewitt) prepare for college. At the same time, someone has to take care of the youngest child, Owen. As you can see, it does not get boring. But sometimes the stories drag on a bit too long, and you may have to wait for several episodes to find the conclusions or answers.

The actors are not afraid of showing emotional outbursts, yet a simple smile brings a believable family unity. I was especially impressed with Lacey Chabert’s powerful performance, and her character and her literally growing up before my eyes makes me feel proud.

Party of Five is a heartwarming show which, in my opinion, does not get old-fashioned yet. Each sibling and their love interests are unique and complex; therefore, naturally their problems are different. Overcoming the death of parents is hard, but moving on and growing up is certainly harder. Both young and elderly audiences can be entertained and learn something from this program.

Review by Pat Trabi