Jennifer Love Hewitt has gotten a big career boost from Party of Five (Fox, Wednesdays, 9-10 p.m.). She’s currently screaming her ample lungs out in the horror smash I Know What You Did Last Summer. But not all the actresses who’ve played girlfriends to orphaned brothers Bailey and Charlie Salinger (Scott Wolf and Matthew Fox) have been so lucky; most of them aren’t even on the show anymore. When it comes to women, the approachably handsome, seemingly sensitive Salinger brothers are Party animals — each has averaged more than one new squeeze per season.
Since almost nobody watched Party for its first few seasons, a recap of the Salinger siblings’ active love lives seems in order. When Party premiered in ‘94, high-schooler Bailey and twentysomething Charlie set their sights on the same woman: Kirsten (Paula Devicq), nanny to their baby bro, Owen. While Bailey endured an intense crush, notorious flirt Charlie merely toyed with Kirsten’s affections. At first, Kirsten was just a device to drive a wedge between the Salinger boys, but she would develop into a major character. The spats were finally resolved when Bailey found a female his own age, rich girl Kate (Jennifer Blanc, whose Picasso-esque features made an odd match for Wolf’s Tom Cruise-ish good looks). There was only one hitch: Kate didn’t want to put out, and Bailey couldn’t wait.
The two soon split, and Bailey moved on to Jill (Megan Ward, whose winsome charms were wasted on NBC’s sci-fi misfire Dark Skies). Bailey, who’d always been The Reponsible One, went wild with Jill — he lost his virginity to her, and then he lost her when she died of a drug overdose. His grief led to his own drinking problem, which led to an alcohol-related accident that nearly killed Bailey’s next honey, Sarah (Hewitt). Why Sarah puts up with such crap from Bailey — he slept with his slutty college roomie, Callie (the trashily alluring Alexondra Lee), while dating Sarah — is one of Party’s great questions, but the winning Hewitt makes it credible.