Charles in Charge - Season 1

(ended 1990)


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Episode Guide

  • Meet Grandpa
    Episode 22
    As usual, the Pembroke house is buzzing with activity. Charles and Buddy are trying very hard to find themselves summer jobs and are ecstatic when their summer job applications are accepted by a hotel at a summer resort in Pennsylvania. Jason, in the meantime, is brought home by his parents after undergoing knee surgery. At the hospital all he did was watch soap operas, which now affects his life in a very dramatic way. Douglas is trying to change his image of "skinny kid" by putting on some weight and is eating everything in sight. And, in the middle of all this coming and leaving, Jill's father "drops in" from Alaska, announcing to everyone that he is thinking of retirement, and for some reason he is having a very difficult time recognizing all the children in the Pembroke household.moreless
  • Meet Grampa
    Episode 21
    Jill's father arrives from Alaska only to be greeted by mass confusion.
  • Mr. Brilliant
    Episode 21
    Jill Pembroke gives Charles two tickets for a ‘Knicks' game. Charles is so excited about this special treat, and because Mrs. Pembroke always does such thoughtful things, that he thinks of a way to do something special in return. In a conversation with Buddy, the name Max Ziegler comes up. It does not mean much to Charles, but it does to Jill. Max and her went to high school together and she has been following his brilliant career ever since graduation. She thinks of him as a genius and Charles decides to call Ziegler, a.k.a. ‘Mr. Brilliant' to invite him for dinner. When Stan Pembroke finds out who the quest of honor is, he becomes quite upset, but decides to go along with it to make his wife happy. And, just as Stan predicted, Ziegler turns out to be an unpleasant, opinionated and condescending person, who ends up on the door step when Stan and Charles have taken as much as they think they can. While trying to cope with the presumptuous visitor, everybody is also looking out for Howard, the chameleon Jason is taking care of.moreless
  • The Wrong Guy
    Episode 20
    Charles and Buddy are excited about their very first bachelor party. At the same time, a young man whom her parents cannot stand has asked Lila out. Lila is quite desperate to date him and asks Charles for advice and for approval. Unfortunately, his support backfires on them. Lila tries to make her parents see how phony the other guy is they want her to date, and that the young man of her own choice is not trying to impress them with all sorts of lies —— he is honest and sincere. Douglas also has serious problems when he is kissed for the first time by a girl in his class.moreless
  • Charles and his friends, Buddy, Gwendolyn and others, save and scrape together as much money as they possibly can to spend a few days of rest and relaxation in' sunny Florida. But unfortunately, as it often happens, all sorts of unexpected problems come up just before they leave and it seems that, once in Florida, Charles cannot get off the telephone with Douglas. The poor kid has fallen prey to a "junior blackmailer" and is in desperate need of money.moreless
  • Charles 'R' Us
    Episode 18
    No matter how hard Charles and Buddy try, between them they do not have enough cash to even think about going out on dates. There has to be a way for them to make some extra spending money. Buddy's idea of finding household helpers and training them, then placing them for a small fee may be the answer to their cash shortage. What if they could offer somebody with the Good Charleskeeping Seal of Approval? Who would be better suited to find other Charleses than Charles himself? Buddy and Charles set up appointments with prospects from their college, and Mr. and Mrs. Pembroke give them permission to hold the interviews at the house. After some exhausting screening of a number of prospects, they decide on Megan Harker. They even give her the ‘torture test', which she passes. Charles can honestly recommend her to the Wilson's for the live-in helper's job. After he offers Megan his congratulations, he tells Buddy that Megan will be the only graduate from Charles ‘R' Us school. No amount of money could pay them for the ‘torture test' they had to pass. Buddy gets the honor to walk Megan over to the Wilson house where she receives their approval as well.moreless
  • Snowed In
    Episode 17
    Mr. and Mrs. Pembroke went to the movies and, on their way out to the car, they realize that in the meantime an incredible blizzard hit the city, leaving them unable to return to their home. There, Charles, the kids plus a bubbling group of Lila's girlfriends are trapped with no food in the refrigerator and no heating. Gwendolyn and Buddy come to Charles' rescue to entertain these starving kids and teenagers with a game of monopoly and some scenes of "Romeo and Juliet" which need to be rehearse for school anyway. But the pleas for spaghetti and other nutritious foods become more and more insistent and nobody knows for certain when their ordeal will end.moreless
  • 1/30/85
    Charles is in charge of the Pembroke children when their parents are off on a week's vacation in Jamaica, their first one without the kids. Grandma Irene also arrives to help take care of things. She brings with her a very innovative sample of merchandise, a new kind of pizza, which she plans to launch with Charles' assistance. The offer she makes him is very tempting and Charles almost accepts it but backs out in the end, realizing that he does not need a new job. He has one already that brings him enough money to go to school, which is really all he wants. Grandma Irene decides that it would give her more privacy if she moved into an apartment close by and that she also is more than capable to handle her new pizza-selling campaign by herself.moreless
  • Jill's Decision
    Episode 15
    Charles has a million things to do before he meets Michelle Harris for coffee at the Lamplight. He hopes she will agree to have dinner with him soon -- maybe that night? Since Jill is suddenly called oh a special assignment that goes with the promotion to arts and fashion editor, Charles has to watch the children for the rest of the day. That means he will not be able to take Michelle out to dinner, but Buddy comes up with an excellent suggestion -- Buddy will pick up the seafood dinner at the restaurant, and Charles and Michelle can have an intimate dinner at home. Easier said than done - Jason is in a school play and has a problem with laughing when he comes to a certain line. Lila needs lessons in throwing a good softball - that is, not throwing like a girl. Douglas is invited to a party and just has to know how to dance. He doesn't want to look like a jerk. When Charles and Michelle finally sit down to dinner in the kitchen, the children come in and interrupt them. Charles apologizes to Michelle and tells her that it was not planned that way, but she explains that she loves it. She comes from a large family, and she is really having a wonderful time. When Jill and Stan come home, Jill announces that she has made a decision - she wanted the promotion alright but not at the expense of missing out on spending precious time with her family. Promotion and added responsibilities can wait until her children are older and don't need her as much.moreless
  • Mr. President
    Episode 14
    Charles can't find anything wrong with having a little fun in college, but Gwendolyn has a different opinion. She feels that whoever becomes class president will have an effect on campus life for the rest of the year! Why should Elliot Pembroke be able to turn college into a "fun—'til—you—drop" circus? Gwendolyn urges Charles to run for president against the fun-loving Elliot because he is running unopposed. Furthermore, the person running for office should be bright, caring, and responsible -- like Charles! With elections only a few days away, he agrees to run and challenges Elliot to a debate. When he loses, he follows the good advice from Stan and Jill to organize his campaign. Charles invites the opinion makers - the movers and shakers - to the house for a meeting, to listen to problems and to address the issues. Gwendolyn becomes his campaign manager, and Buddy agrees to help. Finally, the election results are in, and the best person won. Charles happily offers congratulations to Gwendolyn, Madame President.moreless
  • The Commotion
    Episode 13
    Charles is pushed for time; the strain shows on his face; he has to meet a deadline for his school paper. His scholarship depends on it, and he has been assigned to write the paper with someone -- his friend Buddy Lembeck. He needs to concentrate, but the noise around him is deafening. Lila has a loud conversation with her girlfriend on the telephone. Stan and Jill are arguing, and Jason and Douglas are trying to put it on tape. Furthermore, Buddy shows up and tells Charles that he has finished with his part of the assignment. Gwendolyn wants to buy a used car and she would like for Charles to look at the car for her as soon as possible —- like that night! Jill rushes out of the house to review a new Chinese restaurant but comes back soon, and then resumes the argument with her husband. In the meantime, Douglas made Jason disappear through what he calls a scientific experiment. Then Charles has to explain to Douglas that you can argue with someone --or disagree -- and still love each other. And that is exactly what is happening with his parents. There is no end to all the commotion, and Charles knows he is in trouble until the Pembrokes decide to go out to dinner and give Charles time to finish his school paper in peace.moreless
  • Accidental Puppy
    Episode 12
    Charles, Buddy, and Gwendolyn have just returned from two days camping out in line for tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert. They feel that it was a worthy life experience spending the night with fifteen thousand people sleeping with their heads on the curb, but it did not get them tickets to the concert. They still would give a lot to get tickets —— but how? Charles is still occupied with his problem when Jason and Douglas come in the back door carrying the dog. They blame each other for ‘killing' the dog. All the while, the dog is very much alive, and both boys want Charles' permission to keep it. Charles agrees that they may-- just long enough until the rightful owner has been found. In the meantime, Jill and Stan have to go to a wedding, Charles has to make decisions on how to sort dirty laundry, and what to do with the two Bruce Springsteen tickets he just won by phoning alocal radio station. Buddy and Gwendolyn are making it very difficult for Charles to decide who is to go with him to the rock concert. Finally, Charles convinces the two boys that they cannot keep something that may be very dear to someone else -- they return the dog to the owner and get a $20 reward. And Lila gets to go to the Bruce Springsteen concert with Charles.moreless
  • 12/19/84
    It is Christmas Eve and the Pembroke household is buzzing with activity. Grandma Irene, Stan's mother, is expected for her yearly three-week-stay with her grandchildren. Jill is cleaning an already immaculate house and wonders why her mother-in—law's visit still upsets her in the same manner it did fifteen years ago! Charles is trying to console Jason who is depressed and sad to see him go. Charles plans to go home for the holidays; he will spend his vacation with his parents in Vermont. The phone rings, and Charles' dad informs him that they are completely snowed in. This news makes Jason suddenly feel much better, but Grandma Irene becomes more and more jealous of Charles. She has a long conversation with her son, Stan, and both explain their feelings to each other. Stan succeeds in helping his mother accept that Jill has her career, Charles is an important part in the children's lives, and that by no means this arrangement should make her feel insecure towards the attention the kids give to Charles. Her grandchildren love her very much and always will.moreless
  • Friends And Lovers
    Episode 10
    Charles and Gwendolyn decide that college itself puts enough pressure on them and they do not need the additional ones of a serious relationship. There will be plenty of time for that once they have graduated. Charles explains to Stan and Jill Pembroke that, since they are so secure in their relationship, it will only help them appreciate each other more if they go out with other people. Then Gwendolyn has to cut her chemistry studying time with Charles short because she has been asked out on a date that evening. Charles begins fighting the first symptoms of a very serious jealousy attack. Enters Buddy who wants to help his friend overcome his sorrows and doubts, but the young ladies they meet at a gathering of foreign students do not seem to fill the gap Gwendolyn has left in Charles' life. Mr. and Mrs. Pembroke also offer good and sound advice, but nothing helps much. Charles and Gwendolyn realize how much they care for each other and promise to remain friends forever.moreless
  • A Date with Enid
    Episode 9
    Charles has his hands full. It is pouring rain outside and everyone in the Pembroke household is confined to the house. Stan gave everyone assignments, and he is trying very hard to catch up on all those things that get postponed. There is the fireplace that needs cleaning, the bathroom that has to be recaulked. However, all these projects get interrupted when Douglas thinks he has found the love of his life in Enid, Lila's friend. The two young girls are very busy with Enid's beauty treatment. Enid d thinks she needs a great deal of improvements. But these beauty treatments can become sticky, and Charles must lend a helping hand, It is time for Stan to have a man to men talk with his son about the woes of first love and when Enid triumphantly comes down the stairs, Douglas realizes that the "new" Enid is not the girl he has a crush on. In the end, Jason's wish comes true, the entire family goes to Pizza Play land to conclude an activity filled day.moreless
  • Trick or Treat
    Episode 8
    In Charles estimation, Diana Marks is a classy lady, and she has agreed to go on a Halloween date with Buddy. They had only talked with each other for a few minutes and suddenly Buddy is worried that Diana won't like him when they have to spend the evening together at the annual Halloween party given by a classmate. Buddy doesn't want to disappoint her, and he is worried that she might consider his costume not original enough. Charles is trying to be a good friend and agrees to meet Diana at the student union before the date. Charles approaches Diana, drops a book in front of her, and she picks it up and hands it to Charles with a smile. Gwendolyn witnesses the exchange by chance and is shocked and concerned. At that moment Buddy comes by and tries to explain what is going on. From then on things get a little confusing. At the end though, the evening might still turn out alright for Charles and Buddy. After all, this is Halloween -- Douglas explains -- it is a special night. You can knock on peoples' door, and even though they don't know you, they smile at you and give you candy. And all you have to do is wear a mask. Charles and Buddy look at each other and instantly decide to go out into the night -— Halloween night! They are sure that their respective date is still waiting for them.moreless
  • Discipline
    Episode 7
    Stan Pembroke comes home expecting Jill to be dressed and ready to go to the Vice Presidents reception but the Pembroke home has suddenly turned into ‘Little Crisis Central.' Lila and Douglas brought home grades from school that they are not very happy about. Even Charles and Buddy are grumbling about too much homework and too much pressure. Jill feels that she cannot just walk out of the house and leave the children without at least talking about their individual problems, but Stan maintains that he has confidence in Charles --Charles has his trust and he will resolve the problems, whatever they are! That is why Charles and Douglas have to go to Doug's school and Charles has to face the boy's teacher. A stunned Charles meets an absolutely gorgeous and fashionably dressed young woman —- Ms. Susan McCoy. It turns out that she is also very knowledgeable. And during their meeting the other Pembroke children drop in, they are able to benefit from the valuable lesson the teacher is giving them. Ms. McCoy tells them that teachers are mostly trying to teach students discipline —- and how it helps them later in life! They all realize at the end of their meeting that it was a rewarding afternoon.moreless
  • Slumber Party
    Episode 6
    Charles and Gwendolyn had a fight over something rather trivial, and suddenly he feels he doesn't want to deal with the whole WOMEN issue. He's had it with women! He looks around the Pembroke house and realizes that Lila is having all her girlfriends over for a slumber party. He is trapped in the house full of women, and although Buddy drops in and has agreed to stay with him, they are outnumbered. When he and Buddy finally escape to his room to be alone, they find that they are not alone there either.moreless
  • Cousin Elliott
    Episode 5
    Charles comes home triumphant from a softball game. He is so happy with life, his job, school...Lila is getting ready for a survival trip to which Douglas was hoping to go also, all hidden in her duffel bag. Unexpectedly cousin Elliot shows up at the Pembroke house. His ideas of how to deal with children, what is permissible and what is not, does not necessarily coincide with Charles' opinions. The children drink coffee, overeat on ice cream to the point of stomach aches, Elliot even plans to take Lila - who is only fourteen years old - to a dark, smoky night club. Charles is undecided. Should he step in and stop all the "fun" or should he not get involved at all? His friend Buddy had told him that blood is thicker than water, and Elliot is family. In the end, Charles does put his foot down, and to his amazement finds out that Mr. and Mrs. Pembroke were just letting him go through this experience by himself, since they knew all along how things were going to end, and that you cannot simply say ‘yes' to everything and then not be present to accept the consequences.moreless
  • War
    Episode 4
    The Wilsons would like to hire a young lady to take care of their children. Mrs. Pembroke suggests that she spend some time with Charles to see if she's up to it. Much to Charles' embarrassment, Jane (Meg Ryan) turns out to be a very pretty girl who has heard many great things about him. The kids do not usually manage to get into big fights. But because Jane believes that they should settle their differences their own way, things get completely out of hand. This time their fight escalates into clothes swiping, chemical warfare and mental torture. All this action is being taped by Lila who has a very important school assignment. When Mr. and Mrs. Pembroke return from their trip, they find Jane in the kitchen, thinking. She realizes that children are capable of much more than she ever dreamed possible and that a "normal job" would probably be a better idea.moreless
  • 10/17/84
    Mr. and Mrs. Pembroke are spending the evening out and Charles is baby-sitting. He is busy preparing for Gwendolyn's visit, with whom he plans to study. Buddy shows up unexpectedly and wants to go to The Lamplight with him to look at girls. After all that is what guys should be doing on a Saturday night.. Gwendolyn is enraged when she finds out that Charles occasionally hangs out there with his friends. Buddy and she argue heatedly and it just makes matters worse. Meanwhile the children —— Lila, Jason, and Douglas —— are also home on a Saturday night. They are watching special election results, which unfortunately do not turn out as expected, and Michael Jackson's appearance at the victory party is cancelled. When Mr. and Mrs. Pembroke come home, they help calm things down a bit. Charles realizes that Gwendolyn is very sensitive and not perfect after all, and Buddy is also a special friend who makes the college years fun!moreless
  • 10/10/84
    Charles is put in the awkward position of helping and encouraging Lila, Jason and Douglas to seek out new and exciting extracurricular activities. The end result is that Jason dreams of soccer stardom; Lila sees herself as a cheerleader; and Douglas eyes the school band —— specifically the triangle instrument. Jason returns home battered and bruised and not on the team, Lila does have the cheerleader personality, while Douglas made the school band and gets to play the triangle. Stan and Jill are upset at the frustration and humiliation Lila and Jason have gone through -- and Charles is asked to straighten out the situation. Meanwhile, Gwendolyn Pierce is trying to get Charles to join the college school play, and Buddy wants him to join the swim team. Charles sets Gwendolyn and Buddy aside and coaches Lila the technique of being an exuberant cheerleader. When she succeeds, she decides to remain with the student council. He learns that a school bully would not allow Jason to try out for the team and has Jason face him. When matters are resolved, he explains to Gwendolyn and Buddy that his extracurricular activity is taking care of the kids!moreless
  • Pilot
    Episode 1
    Scott Baio stars as Charles, a nineteen-year-old college student and live-in family helper to three energetic children on the pilot episode of MCA TV International's "CHARLES IN CHARGE." The story was written by series producer Michael Jacobs and directed by Alan Rafkin. Jill and Stan Pembroke are a working couple whose uncertain schedules propel them into hiring a nineteen-year-old college student, Charles, to move in and help them with their three children: Lila 14; Douglas, 12; and Jason, 10. It appears Charles has the perfect arrangement while he attends school and does some growing of his own with the helpful advice of his best friend, Buddy Lembeck. Charles becomes ecstatic when his dream girl, Gwendolyn Pierce, a campus beauty, accepts a date with him. However, Jill and Stan have to go out for the night, leaving Charles in charge. Buddy comes up with the perfect solution -- invite Gwendolyn to spend the evening at home with him and the children. She accepts and sends Charles into a state of nervous euphoria. Charles specifically has to keep an eye on Lila who is helping her school heartthrob, Alexander Morgan, with his homework. Charles plans a quiet evening to impress Gwendolyn while he desperately tries to keep his three charges in line. Both Charles and Lila's dates go awry when Gwendolyn and Alexander feel they are being treated like objects...reputations...rather than people. It is up to Charles to convince Gwendolyn that his intentions are sincere and trustworthy.moreless