CHARLES IN CHARGE

So, a little history lesson.  Charles in Charge was a CBS sitcom that aired from 1984 to 1985.  It struggled to garner ratings, and CBS canceled it after one season.

However, during the ’80s and early part of the ’90s, there was a trend to revive canceled shows in syndication.  Programs such as: Punky Brewster, It’s a Living, Mamma’s Family, What’s Happening!!, and WKRP in Cincinnati all found a second life in syndication.

Charles in Charge was one of these, and it lasted four more seasons from 1987 until 1990.

When it came back, they got rid of everyone from the original cast except for Scott Baio and Willie Aames.

This episode is from the first season, so the family Charles is in Charge of is named Pembroke.

TL;DR:  It’s the same show with a different cast.  But seriously, if TL;DR then why the hell are you here in the first place?

PLOT

The episode begins with the boys stuck doing the dishes because Lila’s parents promised her that if she got straight As on her report card she could get her nails done.

That’s right kids; we didn’t get new cars or cell phones or computers or a fifth of vodka for our academic achievements.  We got Lee press-on nails.

Charles comes in and asks Douglas (the middle child) if he has the five dollars he owes him.  Douglas feigns ignorance and Charles is agitated.  He almost goes full “where’s my money” on the kid and explains that he needs the cash for his trip to Florida.

He needs sixty dollars but only has half.  If he gets the five from Douglas and the twenty-five that Buddy (Willie Aames) is getting for his chemistry textbook, then he’ll be all set.

The youngest little shit (I mean child) Jason is wondering if Charles will be able to help him with his Indian scouts merit badge.

I know that Charles is supposed to be babysitting these kids, but I mean, do the parents do anything?

Douglas then tells Charles that not only does he have the five dollars he owes, but he wants to borrow ten more dollars because he wants to be a father.

Before he can break the sad news that a child that deeply discounted is sure to have some kind of birth defect (like ginger hair) the doorbell interrupts them.

Buddy is there with Gwen to break down how much this trip is going to cost.  Charles is short, and he doesn’t know what to do.

Douglas explains that he actually wants to sponsor an African child with his friend Patsy.  Patsy is obviously Angelina Jolie using an alias.

Patsy comes in and everyone leaves them alone and it’s revealed that Patsy is blackmailing Douglas.  It seems she took a picture of him through a peephole into the boy’s locker room.

So scratch Angelina Jolie, Patsy is a sex criminal, constantly carrying a camera with her so that she can catch boys in compromising positions.  So, I guess Kevin Spacey.

Douglas forks over the money but forgets to ask for the picture, like an amateur, and Patsy bounces out the door to join her dad Harvey Weinstein in their effort to exploit people everywhere.

Charles begs the mom for money, but she says she’s broke and he’ll have to ask Mr. Pembroke.

Lila walks in and displays her new nails, which look more like claws.  Douglas says she looks like Elvira and Charles says she’s more like Howard Hughes.  So…two dynamite and timeless references there.

The dad comes in for dinner and keeps getting hilariously preoccupied with his actual children and their money worries.  The college-aged man who watches his children while they sleep finally gets the nerve to ask him for the money, and the dad agrees.

Presumably to get Charles out of his house for a weekend.

The gang makes it to their hotel room and Baio and Aames revert to their characters from Zapped (look it up kids) and drool over all the women around them.

The girls show up and it seems that the hotel has overbooked and they’ll have to share a room.  None of them have a big problem with it but then a Japanese stereotype walks in and says his name is Mr. Asuka.  He says that he’s also booked in the room.

I’d just like to point out that this is not what happens when hotels overbook.  It’s first come first serve.

Gwen wants Mr. Asuka to leave, but Charles insists that he stays since there are no other rooms available.

The boys leave for a beach party with some girls they met and Mr. Asuka parties with the girls by the pool.

Charles calls Gwen and informs her that he and Buddy have been arrested and she needs to bail them out.  She doesn’t have the money, but Charles does…money that was supposed to be for his return flight.

Gwen bails him out and before Charles can explain what happened, Douglas calls him and says he needs a horse for his adopted African child and needs more money.

Even over the phone, Charles proves more perception than the boy’s actual father and pushes him to confess.  Douglas finally does and Charles tells him he can’t allow himself to be blackmailed.  Just let the girl release child pornography to the school and ride it out.

Yep, that’s the ’80s.  No consequences for Patsy, other than regret for that side-ponytail later in life.

Buddy comes in and admits he can’t sit down because he’s sunburned.  It’s then that they explain what happened.  The beach party they went to was apparently a nude beach party, which was illegal.  The police came and arrested everyone and even though the charges were dropped the bail money won’t be released for sixty days.  Buddy, obviously not proud of his package, refused to turn over so his butt got burned.

Charles obviously doesn’t want to disclose this incident to his employer (*cough, Matt Patricia *cough) so he’s in a bind over how to get home.

Mr. Asuka talks to Charles privately and reveals that he understands more English than he let on.  He gives Charles the money to get home because of the kindness that Charles showed him earlier.

Back at home, Charles gives the family various terrible gifts: A T-shirt, a rubber alligator, flipflops, and boxer shorts.  For the youngest child who’s trying to earn a badge in fire starting, Charles bestows a lighter.  To an eight-year-old.

We end the episode with Charles asking Douglas how it went when the picture was released.  He says all the girls and smiling at him in the hallway now.

So what we’ve learned from this episode of Charles in Charge is that Douglas has a bigger cock than Willie Aames.

 

 

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The Author

Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips is the author of several thriller and literary novels. His Bentley Books series introduced the world to sadistic serial killer Bentley Grimes, a villain of unbelievable cruelty and unimaginable coldness. His literary novels are populated with richly drawn characters struggling with issues that affect our society today, such as: homosexuality, alcoholism, family struggles, poverty, greed, and bigotry.

He is an avid sports fan as well as a lover of movies and television.

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