Today’s #throwbackthursday is devoted to Party Of Five, that glorious 90s drama about the Salinger family’s coming-of-age.
In today’s world of streaming and tweeting, it can be nice to remember a simpler time. A time when characters on TV talked about their problems, showed their emotions, and when sometimes an entire episode was devoted to something seemingly super small.
I’m talking about Party Of Five, which is just one of the amazing 90s teen dramas that I’m always in the mood to rewatch. Airing from 1994 until 2000, the series featured the Salinger family — Charlie, Bailey, Julia, Claudia, and little Owen — trying to deal with the tragic passing of their parents. Charlie was suddenly forced into the father role, while Bailey had to learn to grow up super fast as well as he ended up taking over the family restaurant. Julia was dealing with boy problems as a normal teenage girl, Claudia was struggling with being a normal kid and balancing her musical talents, and of course Owen was too young to really know what was going on. As the years progressed, life didn’t get any easier for this crew. It got even harder.
But that’s why this show is so amazing, so well-crafted, and still worth watching, all these years later.
In a way, Party Of Five is like the more modern Parenthood. It shows that life is not always simple and it can be more stressful than you ever could have imagined. It can essentially knock you on your butt and make you wonder how you somehow ended up here. But that’s why life is worth living and that’s why you have to keep going: because your dreams may seem totally out of reach today, but they’re not. One day your hard work and all your effort and believing and dreaming will pay off, and you will be right where you’re supposed to be.
I can’t remember exactly when I discovered Party Of Five — maybe the end of high school, maybe the beginning of university — but I remember where I did: on the shelves of Queen Video, an independent video store here in Toronto. I rented the second season DVD for a week and devoured it. Even though I was watching it out of order, I still fell in love with the Salinger family, and got really into Julia’s boy problems. Later, I caught up with season one, and then thankfully could watch the rest on Netflix and then through iTunes. Which just proves that perseverance pays off, even when you’re just trying to watch six entire seasons of a brilliant TV show from back in the 90s.
I recently watched the series finale because I was trying my best to save it. And it was truly beautiful, just like I knew it would be. The Salinger family were going their separate ways, but they would always be together in their hearts (which is super cheesy but hey, 90s shows are all about the cheese so it’s totally allowed). Which is just what us fans knew all along.
Did you ever watch Party Of Five? Do you have any other favourite 90s shows?