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During a recent episode of their fourth season, the award-winning comedy series MODERN FAMILY introduced a recurring guest character named Andy ( Adam DeVine ), an eager young man hired by the Pritchetts to be the male nanny in charge of nursing and caring for their newly born infant.
Aside from possibly serving as a clever and covert tribute to SCOTT BAIO’s fondly remembered 1980s family sitcom CHARLES IN CHARGE, Andy The Manny also ends up triggering several key observations about both of these present and past shows.
1. Jay Pritchett ( Ed 0’Neill ) is a cantankerous yet compassionate family patriarch as well as a traditionalistic but tolerant grandfather of two girls and a boy who are his grandchildren by blood.
Walter Powell ( James Callahan ) was a cantankerous yet compassionate family patriarch as well as a traditionalistic but tolerant grandfather of two girls and a boy who were his grandchildren by blood.
2. Gloria Delgado Pritchett ( Sofia Vergara ) is a wife and mother who lives with an older man, her second husband Jay, in a domestic setting that includes her teenage son whose dad lives separately from them because she previously divorced him.
Ellen Powell ( Sandra Kerns ) was a wife and mother who lived with an older man, her father-in-law Walter, in a domestic setting that included her three children whose dad lived separately from them because he was then serving as the commander of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
3. Manny Delgado ( Rico Rodriguez ) is a highly intellectual but socially awkward young lad who has a cute baby brother.
Douglas Pembroke ( Jonathan Ward ) was a highly intellectual but socially awkward young lad who had a cute kid brother.
4. Phil and Claire Dunphy ( Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen ) are a funny married couple raising three naughty offsprings – a vivacious eldest daughter, a scholarly middle child and an impish youngest boy.
Stan and Jill Pembroke ( James Widdoes and Julie Cobb ) were a funny married couple raising three naughty offsprings – a vivacious eldest daughter, a scholarly middle child and an impish youngest boy.
5. Haley and Alex Dunphy ( Sarah Hyland and Ariel Winter ) are a pair of comically feuding teenage sisters who have different interests and temperaments.
Jamie and Sarah Powell ( Nicole Eggert and Josie Davis ) were a pair of comically feuding teenage sisters who had different interests and temperaments.
6. Luke ( Nolan Gould ) is the mischievous youngest son of the Dunphy family.
Jason ( Michael Pearlman ) was the mischievous youngest son of the Pembroke family.
Adam ( Alexander Polinsky ) was the mischievous youngest son of the Powell family.
7. Cameron and Mitchell ( Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson ) are a hilarious male duo who are more than just friends and engaged to be married.
Charles and Buddy ( Scott Baio and Willie Aames ) were a hilarious male duo who were the very best of friends and engagingly masculine.
8. Lily ( Aubrey Anderson-Eamons ) is the adorable daughter of Cameron and Mitchell.
Lila ( April Lerman ) was the adventurous sister of Douglas and Jason.
Lillian ( Ellen Travolta ) was the admirable mother of Charles.
9. Deedee ( Shelley Long ) is the foolish ex-wife of Jay who runs away to find herself and consequently leaves him free to rediscover love a second time around with single mother Gloria.
Gwendolyn ( Jennifer Runyon ) was the flirtatious ex-girlfriend of Charles who moved away to study at a different university and consequently left him free to romantically pursue other beautiful women alongside his best friend Buddy.
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A hilarious sitcom about a typical young man doing a rather unusual job!
Charles ( SCOTT BAIO of Happy Days fame ) attends Copeland College. Like many college students, he needs a place to live and a job to help pay for his education. However, Charles’s job is slightly different from that of an average college boy because he is also a live-in “child-minder” hired by Stan and Jill Pembroke ( James Widdoes and Julie Cobb ) to help take care of their three children – Lila, Douglas and Jason.
The Pembrokes are very busy people and Charles is exactly the type of person they need to help them raise their kids. Lila ( April Lerman ) is your average 14 year old who wants to be 21 but still enjoys slumber parties with her friends and all sorts of “girly” stuff. Douglas ( Jonathan Ward ) has a very bright and inquisitive mind. As he matures, he wonders not only about the world of science but also the odd creatures known as girls. Finally, 10 year old Jason ( Michael Pearlman ) looks up to Charles as an older brother and suffers all the normal amount of angst which goes along with it.
SCOTT BAIO is a very skilled comedic talent and plays the role of the responsible yet loveable Charles to perfection. Willie Aames ( Eight Is Enough ) is superb as his best friend Buddy Lembeck who seems to get into enough trouble in one episode to last a lifetime. The three kids are also brilliantly cast and, in spite of their youth, manage to pull off their respective roles in a very mature and capable fashion.
The series was axed but then two years later was resurrected. Unfortunately, none of the original actors who portrayed the Pembroke family were able to replay their roles. So the producers devised a storyline whereby the Pembrokes moved to Seattle, subletting their house AND Charles at the same time to the Powell family who also had three children in need of a “Charles” to raise them. Jamie, Sarah and Adam were very different from the Pembroke kids. Thus, the slant of the show necessarily changed when the new family took over. However, real life good friends Scott Baio and Willie Aames continued to be outstanding and the series continued until 1990.
CHARLES IN CHARGE was a show for young and old, a laugh a minute, good clean fun and now available on DVD to enjoy again and again!
( Lady Lancaster )
SCOTT BAIO plays Charles. We never know his last name. He is just Charles and he is in charge. Charles is a college student who moves in with the Pembroke family in Season 1. He doesn’t pay rent but he does help take care of the Pembroke children and the house. In addition, Charles also has his best friend Buddy and sometimes girlfriend Gwendolyn to help him along the way.
This show is more 80’s fun. It is silly at times but it is funny. Charles and Buddy are a great comedic duo. Charles and the kids also have good chemistry with each other as well.
Now I must tell you that I think the next season with the new family, the Powells, is a lot funnier. But I would have actually liked to have seen more from the Pembrokes as their family felt real.
It is a fun 80’s show that is really funny at times. The chemistry between all the actors is what made this show work. Mainly Scott Baio as Charles and Willie Aames as Buddy carry the show as they were the only ones to advance into the next season.
( “InsidePulse DVD Review : Charles In Charge – Season One” by Josh Clinton, primetimepulse.insidepulse.com )
I loved CHARLES IN CHARGE. I saw the first season with the Pembroke family and it became my favorite show. I thought that it was so funny. Charles and Buddy were hilarious. The kids were funny, too. Douglas was the strange one. Lila was the sweet and rebellious teenager. And Jason was fun and sarcastic. The show was amazing. Charles moved in with the Pembroke family and took care of the kids. He was like a big brother to them. But then when the show came back for season 2, the Pembroke family moved away and they were replaced by the Powells. Jamie was a spoiled brat, Sarah was boring and Adam was just annoying. And I couldn’t stand the grandfather Walter. If the Pembrokes could have stayed on the show, I would have given it a 10. But I just didn’t like the Powell family and I lost interest in the show when they came on it.
( blondwildboy )
The first season of CHARLES IN CHARGE was the best season. It was awesome and had more going on than the other seasons.
The Pembrokes were way better than the Powells. For one thing, it made more sense why Stan and Jill hired Charles. They were both working long hours and didn’t have much time to spend with the children. The storylines were also simple.
Gwendolyn Pierce was definitely one of my top reasons for loving season 1. She and Charles made a super hot, ideal couple and I was left hanging when they decided to break up. Gwendolyn wasn’t in any more episodes except only two later on. I still watched but it broke my heart that they brought in a new family. I had to readjust to them and just threw any hope of Charles and Gwendolyn getting back together out of my mind.
The show lost focus as the Powells came in, not to mention the fact that they were constantly picking on Charles. They took any chance they could get to blame him for everything. I was really disappointed when CHARLES IN CHARGE came back in season 2 with a different family and no Gwendolyn. It pretty much killed the whole purpose of the show.
I would strongly suggest fans to buy the first season DVD because it captures the actual magic of CHARLES IN CHARGE as opposed to the other seasons which don’t do that. It follows the 80’s sitcom formula. It’s clean cut and just makes me think back to the 1980s and how awesome TV shows were at that time.
( SOHA 15 )
This is truly one of the best sitcoms to ever be on television.
SCOTT BAIO and Willie Aames recall Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton.
I had actually forgotten how truly engaging and charming CHARLES IN CHARGE was. This was actually a show that I didn’t follow all the way but I certainly did watch it in the ’80s. In fact, I always thought that this show was a continuation of the Charles “Chachi” Arcola character SCOTT BAIO made famous on “Happy Days”.
Here is the set up, at least for CHARLES IN CHARGE : The Complete First Season – Charles is a live-in helper for the Pembroke family as he attends college. Since he is around more than the parents, he ends up being the children’s father, mother, maid, shoulder to cry on, and just about everything else. Along the way, he is “assisted” in his duties by his pal Buddy.
Whether Charles is trying to stop Buddy from doing something stupid, trying to keep up with school and take care of the kids, or placating the mother and father of the household, CHARLES IN CHARGE : The Complete First Season is good, solid, fun TV.
WHY IS SCOTT BAIO NOT A BIGGER STAR?? I know that he is well-known but why isn’t he in more movies and other high profile roles? I know he just did a stint on “Arrested Development” but isn’t that show going off the air?
It just doesn’t make sense to me because he was such a big star on “Happy Days” and he’s so good on this show. He can play funny, serious, introspective and just about any other range of emotions. Yet, he doesn’t seem to get in any big projects, I am hoping that he makes a film or does something to reestablish himself in the minds of producers and directors who can give this great actor a badly needed career jump-start.
( “Charles In Charge : The Complete 1st Season DVD Review” by Evan “Mushy” Jacobs @ www.movieweb.com )
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One of the most entertaining sitcoms from the 1980s.
Nothing screams the ’80s like CHARLES IN CHARGE, a featherweight but appealing vehicle for the budding dreamboat of Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi SCOTT BAIO.
His boyish charm and earnest appeal surpassed his outfits and managed to sustain the show through 5 seasons.
BAIO was sweet as CHARLES but really rocked decades later in ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT as sleazy attorney Bob Loblaw.
( Amazon.com Editorial Review )
This three disc includes all 26 episodes from the second season and clocks in with a running time of 9 hours and 48 minutes.
Season two opens with a disoriented CHARLES ( former Happy Days star SCOTT BAIO ) coming home from a two week camping trip only to find a new family living in the house. The Pembrokes have cleared out but in addition to subletting their home, they’ve sublet Charles, too.
Charles slips seamlessly into life with the Powells. Ellen Powell ( Sandra Kerns ) is a working mom with a breezy attitude whose husband is stationed in the navy overseas. She has no trouble handing authority for her three children over to the college sophomore.
Charles soon becomes an indispensable part of the family thanks to his unnatural knack for coaching studious Sarah ( Josie Davis ), glamour girl Jamie ( Nicole Eggert ) and scheming son Adam ( Alexander Polinsky ) as they negotiate their way through life in their new town of New Brunswick, New Jersey.
The family is completed by retired navy man Walter Powell ( James Callahan ). This rough but loving grandfather has some hilarious lines in these episodes such as “Underneath this tough exterior lies…. a very tough interior.” When Charles‘ college loan is cancelled, Walter offers : “For every cloud, there’s a silver lining. Of course, for every ocean, there’s an enemy submarine.”
Rounding out the cast is best friend Buddy Lembeck played to the hilt by Willie Aames of Eight Is Enough fame. Buddy is scene-stealingly funny as the flakey sidekick in tight white jeans with a libido on overdrive.
When Charles‘ widowed mother Lillian ( Ellen Travolta ) comes to town, the Powell children delight in watching him squirm as she nags him to take his vitamins and calls him “Doodle Bug”.
Each episode provides lots of laughs with smart writing and a cast that works well together. Scott Baio and Willie Aames have great chemistry and are a joy to watch as their characters cheerfully plot to woo one shapely duo after the next, all in the name of a hot double date.
This popular TV show had a five season run from 1984 to 1990. I didn’t watch the series then but I can say that the show stands up well now. The one-liners are still funny. Plus, the retro fashions of leggings, big sweaters, loud patterns and huge shoulder pads ( especially on Lillian ) provide unintentional humor 20 years later.
My two children ( ages 8 and 13 ) wandered into the room as I watched and would not budge despite my pleas for them to finish their homework. By the fifth episode, we were all singing the catchy theme song.
Every parent knows it’s hard to find television shows that are clean enough for the kids and interesting enough for the adults. CHARLES IN CHARGE walks that fine line skillfully. When there are very funny sexual innuendos, they sail right over my eight year old’s head.
CHARLES IN CHARGE is a warm-hearted show but not cloyingly sweet. I recommend this dvd to anyone who enjoyed this series the first time around or who’s looking to escape all the reality television shows on air. It offers what few shows do today : a truly funny sitcom.
( “Site News – Advertorial : Charles In Charge, Season 2″ posted by TVShowsOnDVD.com Staff and paid for by Arts Alliance America )
Although Charles ( SCOTT BAIO ) was the star of the show, I really have to give Willie Aames some extra credit. Buddy Lembeck is my favorite character on this show. The ratings for the show didn’t do too well in the first season. But the show really improved at the start of the second season with the Powells. Everyone thinks that they are way better than the Pembrokes and way funnier. I personally think that whenever Mr. Powell and Buddy were in a scene together, those scenes would always be hysterically funny. He would always call Buddy by his last name, never by his first name. It was always “Lembeck”.
( brettfern )
A lot of people think that CHARLES IN CHARGE went down in quality over the years. I think that some of the funniest episodes were in the later years, I preferred the Powell years to the Pembroke season. I thought that stupid Buddy was better than normal Buddy. It gave him and Walter some great lines to exchange with each other.
I’m glad the producers decided to give this great show another chance after it was cancelled by CBS. It must have been good to run another four years in syndication.
( taz765 )
There have been tons of jokes about CHARLES IN CHARGE over the years but this show never claimed it was rocket science. It was what it was and that was a nice little family show where the family was close and loved each other. Willie Aames was great on this. He and everyone else made me laugh. Can’t ask for more than that.
( Jagger1966 )
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Charles is assigned his first task by his employers, working married couple Stan and Jill Pembroke, to take good care of their rambunctious kids Lila, Douglas and Jason for the night. But when the lovely Gwendolyn Pierce momentarily visits and ultimately says yes to his jittery invitation for a date, it’s all that he can do to keep both his heart and home from quickly going to pieces before the evening is over.
ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT
Charles becomes the unwitting central protagonist in an emotional tug-of-war between his amorous new girlfriend Gwendolyn and his amoral best friend Buddy right after she discovers that the guys have been spending much of their leisure time at a jaunty hot spot for singles known as The Lamp Light. When this vehement quarrel inevitably escalates, he must find some way to cool things down or risk losing one of them permanently.
Charles reluctantly volunteers to attend an immediately scheduled parent-teacher consultation meeting on behalf of Douglas who negatively feels that he was unfairly denied student justice after obtaining a harsh lower grade for his knowledgeable yet quixotically eccentric book report.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Charles is left snowbound by a winter storm and unable to travel back home for Christmas so the Pembrokes warmly invite him to share in their own joyous noel festivities despite the arctic reaction of the clan’s visiting grand matriarch ( Rue McClanahan ) towards him because she keenly questions his presence and employment within their household.
Charles has to juggle and resolve three simultaneous quandaries : first, choosing either Buddy or Gwendolyn to go with him to a Bruce Springsteen concert via free tickets he luckily won in a radio program competition; second, negotiating to peacefully settle a dispute between Lila and her parents when Stan and Jill vigorously object against their young daughter’s illicit use of make-up; and third, advising Douglas and Jason on what they should do about a lost canine that the boys enthusiastically hope to keep as their own pet.
Charles tries to finish an important school research paper with Buddy’s loyal help just before a key deadline amidst an extremely contentious marital squabble between Stan and Jill that Lila and Douglas quick-wittingly take naughty advantage of but which also gravely upsets Jason as a vexing omen of their family’s break-up.
Charles must judiciously calm the quivering fears of Buddy, Gwendolyn, Jason, Douglas, Lila and her girl classmates ( one of whom is a young Christina Applegate ) during another overnight sleepover when a violent blizzard knottily traps all of them inside the Pembroke house with little nourishment, heat or electricity while Stan and Jill also get stuck at a movie theater where their car remains deeply buried under snow in the parking lot.
CHARLES “R” US
Charles and Buddy jubilantly initiate the groundwork for an ambitious business venture which franchises his unique brand of domestic service by training college students as household helpers to other families in the neighborhood. But the duo soon learn that they may need a helping hand themselves especially when their most promising recruit turns out to be a quirky yet kind-hearted acquaintance from his past ( Meg Ryan making her second guest appearance on the show ).
CHARLES’ SPRING BREAK
Charles discovers that there may be no such thing as a real vacation away from the Pembroke family when he, Gwendolyn and Buddy attempt to enjoy a kinetic spring break trip accompanied by a lively group of friends, but unfortunately their quaint hotel is pandemoniously overbooked and they all must be crowded into one single room together with a jovial foreign businessman.
THE WRONG GUY
Charles offers his support and guidance to Lila when she foolishly decides to go out with a boy of questionable character whom Stan and Jill initially mistake for another more trustworthy young lad ( Matthew Perry ) while Douglas seeks necessary advice upon receiving his very first kiss and Jason energetically joins a humorous photo competition.
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Charles returns from a jaunty two-week hiking vacation only to discover the Pembrokes leaving immediately for Seattle and an entirely new family, the Powells, currently subletting their home. Frantically urged by Buddy to get an off-campus apartment, he must decide this personal quandary about whether or not to continue staying on and helping around the house with the kids.
THE LOAN ARRANGER
Charles finds himself compelled by government budget cuts to apply for a necessary student loan from an irascible bank officer ( Ben Stein ) who mercilessly rejects his scholarship qualifications. However, a valiant and kind benefactor unexpectedly provides him with timely economic deliverance from academic jeopardy.
Charles keenly implements the original rules of bartering written in his term paper by convincing Sarah to type her brother’s homework assignment, Jamie to lend her younger sister a video camera, Walter to loan his eldest granddaughter a navy jacket, and Adam to wash the family car. But this situation descends into farce thanks to Buddy’s questionable procurement of concert tickets in exchange for babysitting the university mascot.
A DATE FROM HECK
Charles plans an idyllic home-cooked dinner with a beautiful foreign exchange student, asking Buddy to take the Powells out for a musical concert, but he is ultimately surprised to learn that the voluptuous nymph will also be joined by her grim father ( Kenneth Mars ) and other queerly bizarre kinfolks on their romantic date.
MOMMA MIA !
Charles is visited by his ebullient mother Lillian ( Ellen Travolta ) who regales the Powell brood with jovial narrations about the quirky misadventures of her own cute little “doodlebug”. But when a party invitation turns up, he agrees to let her take care of Jamie, Sarah and Adam who knowingly trick his mom into going out with them and seeing a violent horror flick that they’ve been strictly forbidden to watch.
Charles suffers from mental exhaustion and takes the weekend off upon Ellen’s compassionate insistence while Buddy prepares to accompany him on a relaxing beach junket. But when Jamie, Sarah and Adam desperately seek his help because an outsider absconded with their grandfather’s war medallions during a frenetic yard sale, he must lead them in negotiating for the quick recovery of Walter’s valuable military keepsakes.
U . F . OH , NO !
Charles tries to quell the fears of Jamie, Sarah and Adam who believe a ghostly alien is lurking in the darkness and haunting them at night but then he and Walter are also virtually jolted by their own kaleidoscopic paranormal encounters after which he inevitably comes across the real source of these unearthly manifestations.
THE CASE OF THE MOCK TURTLE MYSTERY
Charles defends Adam in a mock trial judged by Walter because the youngster is accused of unintentionally killing Sarah’s favorite pet turtle when he negligently left open their backyard gate through which the small reptile could have quietly escaped and mysteriously vanished without a trace.
A JOB FROM HECK
Charles suggest to Ellen that Jamie be allowed to look for a part-time job so the young girl can keep up and maintain her expensive fashion tastes but she ironically volunteers to get paid as a newbie waitress at Sid’s Pizza Parlor, his quintessential dating hangout which is later revealed to have also undergone a startling change in business ownership.
Charles and Buddy scheme to help promote the grand opening of Lillian’s newly financed restaurant venture when they disastrously lose an important check for a key sum of money, quixotically oblivious to the unwavering efforts of Jamie and Sarah trying their best to assist them by introducing three highly talented friends who are members of a jazzy neophyte singing group.
TWICE UPON A TIME , Part 1 and Part 2
Charles is jealously bewitched, bothered and bewildered by the unanticipated reappearance of his first love, the captivating Gwendolyn Pierce ( Jennifer Runyon ), who naively accepts his impulsive marriage proposal but thereafter vaguely hesitates and ostensibly delays the formal announcement of their engagement, which kindles his quiescent suspicion that she may not be genuinely ready to commit.
Charles faces erotic temptation in the devilish guise of Ellen’s visiting married cousin ( Kay Lenz ), a lusty older seductress who naughtily sets her kinky sights on his virile young body, unabashedly offers him an indecent proposal, and just simply won’t accept his qualm-filled rejections.
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Charles graciously invites the Powells to spend the Christmas holidays together with him, Lillian and Buddy at a remote mountain log cabin out in the deep woods but his effervescent vision of a jolly kindred noel is frostily quashed by an unexpected snow storm, a predatory bear and an absent can opener.
Charles wins a national scholastic prize and becomes the interview subject of a known female journalist ( Barbara Rhoades ) whose vigorous questions about his special role inside the Powell household triggers the family’s genuine concerns that his duties might be interfering with his ability to enjoy a more normal university student’s life.
Charles and Buddy secretly go undercover to investigate a local modeling school where Jamie has enrolled in optimistically following her neophyte dreams of celebrity stardom because they keenly suspect that the vivaciously reassuring proprietress ( Nita Talbot ) is a quick-witted con artist.
THE EXTREMELY ODD COUPLE
Charles tries to settle peacefully an ongoing feud between his mother Lillian and his employer Walter by giving both of them concert tickets for a jazzy night of swing music but later finds himself uncomfortably right smack in the middle of another knotty quarrel involving a vehicular collision at the Powell driveway that he personally witnessed.
Charles agrees to serve as a temporary fill-in writer on a love advice column where he reads a letter from a young girl having boy problems who sounds suspiciously like Sarah. But when his mature and intelligent counsel to her gets unknowingly substituted in print for a more juicy and vulgar recommendation, he and Buddy try to quietly keep the current day’s newspaper out of everyone’s hands.
SARAH STEPS OUT
Charles persuades Ellen to grant the children more autonomy and independence but this lenient policy eventually culminates in Adam feeling quite jittery after he views a horror movie, Jamie streaking rainbow colors into her blonde hair, and Sarah going out on her first non-chaperoned date with an unscrupulous and knavish young trickster ( Scott Grimes ).
Charles is very much surprised to discover that his assigned essay inadvertently got mixed up with Sarah’s class poem, resulting in academic kudos for him but a negative lower grade for her, which obligates him to fix this botched quagmire and clarify matters honestly with the girl’s understanding teacher and his own jaded college professor ( Jack Riley ).
Charles joins Buddy in pledging a campus fraternity where both endure a series of kooky hazing initiation tests after which he must choose whether or not to victoriously become an accepted member within their organization despite the fact that said group’s leadership will also be rejecting his quirky best friend.
Charles suffers a mysterious illness when the Powells receive bad news that Ellen lost her job and their house will be sold. Going into a deep slumber, he unconsciously experiences a quixotic reverie inhabited by absurd characters who offer him the vital key to finally solving the clan’s troublesome predicament.
Charles asks Buddy for help in meticulously scheduling his necessary presence at three overlapping events: Jamie’s birthday gala which he must chaperon, Sarah’s class where he is a featured speaker and a romantic date with a lovely coed. But their quicksilver plans get jumbled and fall apart thanks to various unforeseen delays and setbacks exacerbated further by an inquisitive youngster ( Mark Paul Gosselaar ).
WHERE THE AUCTION IS
Charles naively volunteers to sell himself at a charity slave auction hosted by Lillian as part of a sorority fundraising jubilee where a gorgeous lady onlooker purchases him but afterwards reveals herself to be a delegated buying agent of the Powell kids Jamie, Sarah and Adam who eagerly take quick advantage of his mock inferior underling status.
THE BLACKBOARD BUNGLE
Charles attempts to qualify as a junior teacher’s aide for one of Jamie’s senior instructors, a grizzled veteran educator ( Jerry Van Dyke ) who lives on the hope that sweet retirement comes before ultimate madness and doesn’t know why any smart newcomer would pursue this frustrating occupation.
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NO NUKES IS GOOD NUKES
Charles wants to make a good impression during the surprise homecoming visit of the children’s father Naval Commander Robert Powell who is also Ellen’s husband and Walter’s son. But his loyal efforts at keeping their joyful family reunion quietly unencumbered are greatly put to the test when Sarah is arrested for protesting nuclear weapons on her dad’s military aircraft carrier.
ROOM AT THE BOTTOM
Charles moves from the guest room to the basement in the Powell household as a direct consequence of Walter’s new home remodeling plans to include extra office space for Ellen and a larger recreational area for the kids.
Charles is assigned to tutor a couple of neanderthal football jocks on American history and successfully prepares them for their exam questions, thanks in large part to Walter and Lillian who knowledgeably reminisce about their own generation’s vibrant era while she begins planning to operate and manage a unique 1950’s style retro diner.
A STING OF PEARLS
Charles is entrusted by Walter with the important responsibility of safely hiding a lovely pearl necklace that will be a special gift for Ellen’s upcoming birthday during a troublesome visit by the children’s alluring former babysitter who may be secretly plotting to discredit him and take back her old job.
Charles becomes the unwilling love object of a persistent female camp staff member’s ardent infatuation even though he already has a steady girlfriend ( Erika Eleniak ). His naughty juvenile delinquent little cousin Anthony ( Justin Whalin ) knavishly resurrects the prickly ghost of Chachi Arcola from “Happy Days” by quipping “Wah, wah, wah!” in one memorable scene, thus allowing Scott a vintage opportunity to poke fun at himself.
WALTER GETS A DODO
Charles randomly plays amorous matchmaker when he introduces navy man Walter to the outgoing and fun-loving sister ( Marcia Wallace ) of his queerly eccentric and vainglorious college professor ( David Agrew eerily doing a keen and uncanny impersonation of the late great humorist Jack Benny ).
STILL AT LARGE
Charles and Buddy accidentally learn that Jamie’s favorite teacher ( Sally Struthers ) is a notorious wanted fugitive hunted down by the F.B.I. They go undercover in drag disguise at a women’s group meeting to collect key evidence and to verify the real truth behind her questionable outlaw past.
CHARLES SPLITS , Part 1 and Part 2
Charles suffers a jolting head injury which drastically alters his virtuous personality and unwittingly transforms him into Chaz, an egocentric mercurial lowlife knave whom Buddy, Lillian and the Powell family conspire to get rid of by bringing Charles back to his normal sensibilities.
CURING THE COMMON CULT
Charles and Buddy must act quickly to save Jamie and other brainwashed teenagers who have joined a pseudo-religious group where they’ve virtually fallen under the dangerous influence of a nefarious con artist masquerading as a knowing and enlightened spiritual leader ( Charles Nelson Reilly ).
THE ORGANIZATION MAN
Charles uses a digital pocket organizer to help schedule his loaded quota of intricately jumbled activities such as taking care of Lillian’s diner while she’s away visiting relatives in Brooklyn, making a birdhouse with Adam for his wood shop class, guiding Jamie in cooking a meal for her school assignment, and keeping a watchful eye on Sarah when she dates a nice young boy ( Jerry O’Connell ).
Charles is visited by his mother’s sister ( Ellen Travolta in a dual role ), a kooky cosmopolitan socialite who jauntily breezes into the neighborhood and encourages Jamie to pursue her idealistic quest of becoming an actress, even offering herself up as a temporary guardian as well as a place to stay in her luxurious urban residence when the young girl finally moves to New York City after she graduates from high school.
IT’S A BLUNDERFUL LIFE
Charles feels tremendous guilt after he prevents Walter from buying a jackpot winning lottery ticket in a sincere effort to discourage gambling as a vice among the children. A quixotically surreal nightmare reveals to him what the future existence of the Powell family might be like if he wasn’t around. Donny Most, who played Ralph on “Happy Days”, makes a delightfully unexpected guest appearance in this 100th episode of the show.