‘Party of Five’ 1×03 Review: Living for the Moments

I remember feeling two distinct things when this reboot was announced: joy, because it felt like it was a story that needed to be told, and  a great deal of apprehension. How do you put these kids in a situation where they have to truly fend for themselves if they can just call their parents whenever they need to? This is 2020, after all. Technology rules our lives.

Plus that’s without even going into the would they actually cast latinx actors, hire latinx writers and care to faithfully represent a culture that’s supposed to be what the show is all about.

And then, “Long Distance” finally addressed my apprehension with the story-line head on, and like everything this show has done in it’s first three episodes (and before, when they DID hire the latinx actors and writers), it absolutely worked.

This isn’t an easy journey for the Acostas, and it’s different from the journey the Salinger’s went on in the original show, but that’s the way it had to be. Click To Tweet

So, join us as we discuss the sibling dynamics, Vanessa, and what separation really does to you as we talk “Long Distance”:

WHAT VANESSA WANTS

PARTY OF FIVE – “Long Distance” – (Freeform/Tony Rivetti) NIKO GUARDADO

The most hilarious (in a bad way) thing about Emilio and Beto “fighting” over Vanessa (if you can even call what they’re doing fighting), is the fact that neither of them mentions that it doesn’t really matter what they want – all that matters is what Vanessa wants, and she’s made that clear. She isn’t a prize to be won, not a reward for good behavior. She’s a person, with her own wants and desires.

Of course, it isn’t on Emilio to mention this. Vanessa made a choice, and he doesn’t really owe Beto an explanation for something he didn’t even know Beto was thinking about. Except, for Beto, it’s hard to see this clearly, to realize he’s being unfair to his brother, and to Vanessa too. Beto is just too caught up on what it feels to lose one after another after another.

But then again, we are not in this journey because the characters are perfect. We don’t expect them to be. We’re in this journey because it’s just that, a journey. And when it comes the romantic part of it, as long as both Emilio and Beto respect what Vanessa wants, then I’m perfectly fine with however this weird-ass love triangle ends up going.

Though, if I’m being honest, it’s hard for me to see Emilio and Vanessa lasting – at least, considering what we know now. We’ve seen her have sex with Emilio, and connect with Beto, which says A LOT. Besides, Beto isn’t going to be 16 forever, and I really hope we’re here for enough of this journey that we can really invest in where this is going.

THE MOMENTS IN BETWEEN

PARTY OF FIVE – “Long Distance” – (Freeform/Tony Rivetti)NIKO GUARDADO, ELLE PARIS LEGASPI

The conversation between Beto and his mom was heart-wrenching, just as the conversation between Gloria and Valentina was, but in the end, I feel like they all did – or at least tried to do – what they had to do for these kids to be able to move forward.

Not forget, of course not. Their parents are alive. Rafa might not remember them as well as the others, but no one is going to forget them. This isn’t a question of mourning them and then just letting them go, but this is a matter of balance. Their parents are still gone, far away and as unfair as that is, that’s reality. And the only way they can all move on and have some semblance of a normal life is by trying to actually live.

It especially sucks for Valentina, of course, because she’s a kid. Lucia and Beto, and especially Emilio, are older, and they can process better. Rafa is too young to even understand what’s going on. But Valentina is in that age when she needs her parents the most, where she’s figuring out who she is, what she wants, and she doesn’t have them.

But Valentina isn’t alone, and what Beto is doing, what they’re all doing is simply the best they can under the circumstances. Hard to blame them for that.

I JUST WANT TO GIVE EMILIO A HUG

PARTY OF FIVE – “Long Distance” -(Freeform/Tony Rivetti) BRANDON LARRACUENTE

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m also the oldest in my family, but I basically want to give Emilio a hug 24/7. I wish everyone would cut him some slack, because he’s trying, really really hard. And no, he doesn’t have everything figured out, and yes, he’s still an immature kid in many ways, but he is trying. What else can we ask of him?

The latinx community is both incredibly welcoming, and super, super harsh. It’s a dichotomy I’ve experienced from the inside and have always had trouble understanding. We’ll open our house up to friends and friends of friends, we will be there for our family, unconditionally, whenever they need us. We will go out of our way to help people, over and over again, even to our own detriment sometimes. And yet, we will also hold them up to impossible standards and judge them for not getting everything right.

You take the good with the bad, I guess.

That’s a little bit of what’s going on with Emilio. He’s damned if he does, dammed if he doesn’t. Except, in this case, he has no choice but to do, over and over again. No matter what the rest of the world – or his family – has to say.

So, yes. Hug. I volunteer.

Things I think I think:

  • Something else is going on with Matthew, and I’m super interested in knowing what it is. I’m also super glad he’s around.
  • We barely saw Rafa this week. Who was taking care of him?
  • I’m glad they haven’t dropped the “good immigrant vs bad immigrant” comparison, even if there’s a different component to it this week.
  • How’s that pizzeria making so much money?!
  • Something doesn’t add up.
  • Would this show feel as relevant if Barrack Obama was President? What about Hillary Clinton?
  • I will never get over how good the makeup/wardrobe department on this show is at making these kids look like KIDS, while still looking good enough for TV. So often teenage shows just make the kids look like freaking supermodels, and it’s super hard to relate to people who always look perfect.

Agree? Disagree? What did you think about “Long Distance”? Share with us in the comments below!

Party of Five airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.

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