YMMV / Party of Five

  • Accidental Innuendo: One of Julia and Griffin's first scenes has her talking about stains on his coat. Specifically Julia starts talking about where they possibly could have come from. The line she uses is "you see those little white stains" - she immediately says something about milk but come on, we all know what the first assumption was.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: It's quite possible that Julia could have an addiction to conflict and drama in her life. Given that she doesn't develop interests in guys who don't have some kind of big flaw or emotional baggage, it looks as though she loves creating conflict in her life. She's happy with Justin and inexplicably starts seeing Griffin - despite complaining numerous times about him not caring that he's with her. The only reason their relationship ends is because he gets Put on a Bus at first. She also seems to go out of her way to romance guys who are already with someone else - Justin was with Libby and Ned was with Maggie. One must wonder how her Last Minute Hook Up with Justin will last.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Bailey was quite popular and had a large amount of fans when the show was airing, but as time has gone on, he has a growing number of detractors. His fans view him as a Woobie who gets taken advantage of and behaves realistically for a teen in his circumstances. His detractors however see him as whiny, self-centred and overly entitled.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Griffin is treated as one of Julia's greatest romances when it's more of a destructive Edward Cullen relationship. She cheats on Justin with him and then gets mad at him for not being as into the relationship as she is. He seems so disinterested that you have to wonder why Julia is even giving him a chance.
    • Grace in Season 3 is incredibly cold and bitchy to Charlie. While he's rude to her first, he apologises for this and she never apologises for her rudeness. Similar to the Griffin example, there's no actual reason for Charlie to fall for her.
  • Die for Our Ship: Julia/Griffin vs Julia/Justin. Shockingly avoided for most other couples - as the other siblings rarely had enough long-term love interests.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Claudia was always the most popular of the siblings, due to Lacey Chabert having an equal balance of cuteness and sass (and sometimes behaving more maturely than Bailey and Julia). Even as she aged, fans still liked her character.
    • As most characters played by Scott Grimes tend to be darkhorses, this rings true with Will. He manages to be both Plucky Comic Relief and the Only Sane Man at the same time. Him becoming a regular again is viewed as one of the redeeming things about Season 6.
    • This is to say nothing of Sarah Reeves. This show, along with I Know What You Did Last Summer turned Jennifer Love Hewitt into a teen superstar. Producers even tested out giving her a spin-off, which was unsuccessful.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Bailey and Sarah and Charlie and Kirsten, which is likely the reason that although they split up initially, they reconcile much later on. The former case only split up because Sarah had to be Put on a Bus for her own show.
    • Out of Julia's many flames, Justin seems to be the preferred one - likely due to the Victorious Childhood Friend element. Probably helped by them becoming Amicable Exes and who hook up at the end..
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Kirsten's freaking out about her wedding in season 2 is funny. But considering that she ends up suffering from depression in season 3, it now comes across as eerie Foreshadowing.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Bailey casually mentions setting a date for his and Sarah's wedding - it's September 11th. If the wedding had happened, it would have been September 11th 2000 meaning their first anniversary would have been...yeah.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In Season 6 Claudia becomes the Cool Loser to Lovable Alpha Bitch Alexa. Seeing Claudia trying to be In with the In Crowd is nothing short of hilarious given Lacey Chabert's role in Mean Girls.
    • Claudia having A-Cup Angst is incredibly ironic if you've ever seen Lacey Chabert in anything made after this show. Let's just say puberty was very kind to her.
    • Claudia in Season 3 hires someone to cleanse the house of evil spirits. Around this time Neve Campbell (who plays Julia) starred in The Craft as a teen dabbling in witchcraft.
    • Brittany Murphy appears in Season 1 as an Alpha Bitch that Julia tries to impress. Skip to Clueless where Murphy is the uncool one. Also Julia's nerd friend is named Libby. Skip ahead to Sabrina the Teenage Witch where a character called Libby would be the former Trope Namer for Alpha Bitch.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Bailey is self-centred, Wangsty and occasionally abusive at times. But it can be incredibly hard to suddenly have to contribute to your family's finances at sixteen, deal with a drug-addicted girlfriend and her eventual death. It's no wonder he ends up turning to the bottle in Season 3.
    • Julia too is a bratty little thing but she does have to suffer through a lot of ordeals - like the miscarriage of her baby, her marriage with Griffin falling apart and Ned hitting her.
    • Claudia's rebellious friend Jody becomes this once it's revealed her stepfather molests her.
  • Les Yay: Claudia and her friend Jody are a little too close. Claudia is again rather close with Alexa in Season 6.
  • Narm Charm: A scene between Julia and Griffin after Jill's death has her buying him a second-hand coat Jill had planned to get for him. Julia starts making up scenarios about where the rips, tears and stains came from. What she says is rather ridiculous and a little silly - yet it has Griffin opening up to her and the scene is rather sweet.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Inverted. Sarah is more fondly remembered than her predecessors Nina (as Julia's gal pal) and Jill (Bailey's love interest). Though see They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character below.
    • Holly in Season 6 had potential to become this. That's probably the reason she and Bailey split up before the finale.
  • Romantic Plot Tumour: Any romance plot that involves Julia tends to become this. She's guaranteed to have at least two love interests per season. Charlie and Kirsten narrowly avoid this as after they split in season 3, they become Amicable Exes for a while - and they are spared any more romance drama as they get together for good at the start of season 6.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Julia is the least popular of the leads, mostly due to her inability to not fall for guys who aren't already in relationships. Additionally she seems to get a new gal pal every season, implying she's not particularly good at making long-term friendships.
    • Few people have any love for Grace Wilcox, Charlie's girlfriend in Season 3. Not only is she a Replacement Scrappy for Kirsten but she has very few redeeming qualities.
  • Seasonal Rot: Seasons 5 and 6 aren't liked too well by the fandom. Some would even include Season 4.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Many moments to choose from but the most heart wrenching is Claudia's breakdown in front of Bailey at his intervention where she threatens to stop loving him and orders him out of their lives if he doesn't get better.
    • There's also the episode where each of them confront the man who was responsible for their parents' death. Charlie is the most reluctant to do so, and we find out why at the end; he blames himself. He thinks if he'd come home on time to babysit the others, his parents wouldn't have been in such a rush, and they wouldn't have been hit by the drunk driver.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Two of Bailey's season 1 girlfriends Kate and Jill were both quite interesting. Kate was Put on a Bus and she and Bailey became Amicable Exes in her last appearance, while Jill was abruptly killed off in the season finale. Of course since fan favourite Sarah was introduced in the next season, it's not as bad as other examples.
    • Maggie Lawson's Alexa in Season 6 was a nice Lovable Alpha Bitch friend for Claudia. However she's only in six episodes.
    • Nina played a nice best friend role to Julia in season 1. She got one episode in season 2 and spent the rest of the series being mentioned off-screen - as Sarah took on Nina's role in addition to her romance with Bailey.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Bailey, Julia and Claudia in "Dearly Beloved". Charlie and Kirsten decide to elope and get married in Reno. The siblings are furious at this and when the couple don't go through with it, they apologise. Except that the three siblings had been excessively butting in with wedding preparations - to the point that Kirsten was freaking out about the stress of it all. Despite her rebuffing some of their excessive ideas, they don't listen and keep pressuring her. What's more is that while Charlie and Kirsten apologise for the attempted elopement, the other three never apologise for their behaviour.
  • Values Dissonance: A large amount of Bailey's storylines make him come across as borderline abusive to the modern audience. He's ready to split up with Kate over her wanting to wait until she's married to have sex, he spends an episode Slut-Shaming Sarah for wearing skimpy clothes while she performs on stage, and he responds to complaints about being smothering by saying that that's just the way he wants to love Sarah - and it's her problem if she doesn't like it. He usually learns An Aesop about this, but it'd be hard to see him played sympathetically in any of those situations today.
  • Values Resonance: The episode where Claudia discovers Ross is gay. It avoids becoming a Very Special Episode or a Long-Lost Uncle Aesop. Ross had been part of the main cast, didn't disappear after the revelation and had some of his own subplots later on. Bear in mind this was 1994, only just after Philadelphia had been released. Notably although Claudia is surprised at first, she quickly realises she doesn't care.
  • Wangst: Sarah's complaints about Bailey making her feel like a kept woman. It's simply him celebrating having a higher salary by buying her a couple of expensive gifts and paying for dinner. She flips out when he pays a bill for her when she's about to be late to pay it.
  • The Woobie:
    • Claudia in early seasons. She loses both her parents at the age of twelve, and her only comfort is the violin. She doesn't seem to have too many friends, and she's often ignored by the other siblings. Then there's one episode where the poor thing witnesses a robbery and has nightmares over it.
    • Charlie at the age of twenty-four suddenly has to become the breadwinner for his younger siblings. Despite his efforts, they don't always respect him or go along with him. Namely one episode has Claudia taking horrible advantage and he nearly hits her over it - and is horrified with himself. His freakout before his wedding in Season 2 can hit home for anyone who's been in a similar situation.
    • Sarah discovers that she's adopted, something her parents kept from her most of her life. Throughout the show, she discovers she's the Replacement Goldfish to a guy she really liked, he cheats on her, and gets her into a car crash.
    • Kirsten gets cheated on, left at the altar, discovers she's infertile and ends up suffering from depression after her dissertation is discredited due to a clerical error.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/PartyOfFive