The Best Episodes of Charles in Charge
Last Updated: Nov 22, 2018
Charles, a college student, moves in with the Pembroke family. He doesn't pay rent in exchange for taking care of their children and the house. The Pembrokes' work (due to low ratings) transferred them to another city. The Powells then move in. The family consists of a mother, two daughters, a son, and a retired military grandfather. If I am not mistaken, the father is in the military and only shows up every once in a while. Charles was attached to the Pembrokes and did not want to stay on in the house to take care of the Powells. But alas, he formed a connection with the family and stayed. For the next four years, Charles takes care of the children and the house, becoming in essence a part of the family. At the same time, the audience witnesses his family problems with his elvis obsessed mother, and the rigors of being a college student with his odd party obsessed best friend Buddy.
#1 - Runaround Charles
Season 3 - Episode 20
Charles becomes frantic when he makes too many commitments for one evening. Having promised to speak to Sarah's class, chaperon Jamie's birthday party and go out with Julie Fletcher (Courteny Gebhart) , Charles seeks Buddy's help in order to successfully proceed with all three activities. Together, Buddy and Charles strategically schedule the events of the evening, arranging just enough time for everything. As the plan takes form, all seems under control, but shortly the chaos begins. Charles' speech is postponed; Jamie's party starts early, and Julie becomes impatient and curious about why she has to wait with Buddy. The hilarious antics that occur confuse everyone, but Charles finally solves the problems by sending Sarah's class, Jamie's party and Buddy to the pizza parlor, while he and Julie stay home.
#2 - Her Brother's Keeper
Season 2 - Episode 25
There are two very lovely ladies Charles and Buddy would like to date if they can find the time between studying for their physics final and taking care of the Powell household. When Stephanie (Cheryl Arutt) and Joyce (Michelle Johnson) come over for a "pre-date," Joyce suggests the boys get together with her brother Duane (David Knell) who loves to help people out with physics but who is a little backward in the social department. A trade is worked out: Duane will help them with physics if Charles and Buddy help Duane "loosen up." The fact that gorgeous Joyce will be eternally grateful if the boys can pull her brother out of his shel doesn't hurt their enthusiasm for the deal. The physics part proves to be easier than the social part, however, especially when Duane thinks honing in on the two couples is part of his education. Things start to look up when Duane calls from jail.
#3 - Lillian Putts a Round
Season 2 - Episode 24
Charles' widowed mother Lillian comes into town for a five-day visit, complete with motherly advice and using her favorite nickname for her son, "doodlebug." Charles is afraid that his responsible position in the household will be undermined by his mother's attention to him, which he thinks is caused by her dependence on him. He encourages her to develop an outside interest. What he doesn't count on is what develops when she takes him up on it and ends up with an attractive man she met at the golf club. Charles can't stop sneezing (a childhood symptom of anxiety) and takes to bed, too sick to eat, while his mother goes out and has a wonderful time. Buddy keeps popping in and out performing new jobs he is forced to get to replace the allowance he lost when his grades dropped. He gets into more trouble than it is worth and he decides the bringing up his grades instead might be easier.
#4 - Mama Mia
Season 2 - Episode 16
Just when things are going real smoothly for Charles, his mother, Lillian comes to town for a brief - or maybe not so brief - visit. That's good, and it's not so good. Every son loves to see his mother, and Charles is no exception, except Charles' mom won't let him grow up. He's a dutiful son and appreciates her loving intervention, especially when she offers to baby-sit the Powell kids so he can go to a party. But the sparks fly when Charles gets home and Walter Powell is beside himself because he saw his three grandchildren coming out of a violence-ridden film he had strictly forbidden them to see. Charles knows it's his mom who's guilty, but since she was standing in for him, he takes the blame. Needless to say, there are some hard feelings between Charles and his mom, Lillian, Lillian and Walter, and Walter and Charles, but in the end everything gets worked out, and Charles, (or is it his mom,) is back in charge.
#6 - Hero Today, Gone Tomorrow
Season 3 - Episode 17
When Charles and Buddy foil an attempted holdup at the pizza parlor, their names appear in the local newspaper. They can't resist capitalizing on their new found popularity with the girls at the sorority house. The holdup man is released on bail, and the boys change their tune, remembering that he threatened to get even with them. A strange man then calls to say he'll be coming to the house. Everyone joins in barricading the doors and windows. When the caller, who turns out to be a reporter, arrives to interview Charles and Buddy, he is pounced on. Charles and Buddy decline the interview and send the reporter away. It is only when Jamie sees the same criminal on the 6 o'clock news arrested for another robbery, then everyone breathes easier. They realize the only thing they had to fear was, of course, fear itself.
#7 - Berkling Up Is Hard to Do
Season 3 - Episode 19
This is just not Charles' day. He's trying to prepare for the new school year, but Buddy needs his help in planning their end of summer party, Adam has the jitters about starting junior high, and, worst of all, both Jamie and her too-possessive boyfriend, Steven Berkle (Michael Rich) , ask his advice about romance. Charles tries to give good advice, but everyone misinterprets what he suggests. Soon he's taking the heat for all the misunderstandings, even breaking up a wrestling match between Steven and Brad (J.D. Roth), a football player Jamie begins to date. Finally, Charles has a heart-to heart with Jamie and enlists Sarah to help Adam, solving everything just as Buddy shows up with his party goers in tow.
#10 - Getting In
Season 3 - Episode 16
Charles and Buddy decide to pledge a fraternity, and must put up with a series of humiliating tests and activities during "Hell Week." Just before the final initiation ceremony, one of the frat brothers informs Charles that they will be accepting him but rejecting Buddy, despite Buddy's status as a legacy. Charles must now decide if he wants to join the group or stay loyal to his best friend.
#11 - Dorm Warnings
Season 3 - Episode 3
When Charles is named Student of the Year, local newspaper reporter Pat Walker (Barbara Rhoades) arrives at the house to interview him. When various family members overhear part of their conversation, they mistakenly conclude that Charles wants to leave the family and live in the college dorm where he would have more fun. Walter, in his typically tactless fashion, tells Charles if he wants to move out, he won't be missed. Charles takes the hint and moves in with Buddy. The fun of constant parties, however, soon wears of f and when Charles learns the kids really didn't want him to leave, he decides to move back with the Powells.
#12 - Dutiful Dreamer
Season 3 - Episode 18
When the Powells learn their house is to be sold and Ellen loses her job, Charles takes to bed with a sneezing fit and falls asleep. In his dream the family members transform into different characters; Walter becomes Long John Silver; Lillian, Auntie Maine; Ellen, Mae West; Jamie, Cinderella; Sarah, Scarlett O'Hara; Adam, a punk rocker; and Buddy an effete 18th Century landowner. Charles appears in his own dream as the Godfather and stumbles onto an idea to help the family out of their dilemma. When Charles later awakes, a chance remark by Buddy makes him wonder if it really was dream after all.
#14 - The Blackboard Bungle
Season 3 - Episode 23
Charles seems to be the only one excited about his new post as teacher's aide. Jamie resents his sitting in on her class, and the teacher, Marvin Merken (Jerry Van Dyke) , a burnt out man living on the hope that retirement comes before insanity, can't understand why anyone would want to teach. When a nervous Charles must cover for Merken, Jamie can't resist heckling him and he assigns her detention. The next day he tries to repair the damage and encourages discussion among the students. Merken enters, during the debate, horrified to find Charles encouraging the students to talk. Jamie, having cooled off overnight, sticks up for Charles' methods and the rest of the class agrees, resulting in Charles getting a good recommendation and Merken softening his attitude.
#15 - The Pickle Plot
Season 3 - Episode 11
Unable to decide on a college major and faced with a tuition increase, is determined to convince his Uncle Joe (John Astin) that he should be made the heir to his business. The promise of a steady income and a beautiful secretary convince Charles to quit school and accept Uncle Joe's job offer, even though the results of his aptitude test reveal he'd excel at anything he'd try. When he breaks the news to Jamie, Sarah, and Adam , Charles realizes that his real love is teaching children and decides to major in education.
#18 - Five Easy Pizzas
Season 3 - Episode 15
Charles calms Lillian's fears about an upcoming trip out of town, saying that he's more than able to manage the pizza parlor himself, even though she's just hired a new chef, Dine (Vito Scotti). What he doesn't mention is that an important food critic is to pay a visit. On the appointed night Charles rounds up the entire Powell family to fill the parlor and things go well until Buddy, intent on giving Dino "cooking tips", drives the temperamental chef to quit. The supply of pizzas runs low and as Charles tries to guess who is the mysterious "Roving Gourmet," he valiantly hops from table to table trying to save the last slice of good pizza for the critic. When the review comes out, Charles is relieved to learn the critic not only loved the pizza but also enjoyed the Marx Brothers style floor show. The good review even lures Dino back. . .with a raise, of course.
#19 - May the Best Man Lose
Season 3 - Episode 25
The kids each must find a gladiator to represent their class in the school's stunt-filled quiz contest complete with pies in the face and a dunk tank; Sarah draws Charles , Jamie gets Buddy. Meanwhile, Adam recruits the dumb but musclebound Herman (Mark Venturini) , who threatens to beat everybody up if he doesn't win. Tired of always coming in last, Adam convinces Buddy to throw the match so Sarah can win, then talks Charles into letting Buddy win. The plan almost works, until the girls call them on their obvious attempts to lose. Ironically, the boys are stumped by the last question and Herman actually wins. When Charles and Buddy accidentally drop Herman into the dunk tank, they do some fast talking to escape the humorless hunk's clutches.
#20 - A Date with Enid
Season 1 - 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 re caulked. 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.
#22 - The Buddy System
Season 3 - Episode 12
When Buddy's new girlfriend unceremoniously dumps him, he sinks into a bout of depression. Under the circumstances, Charles requests that everyone be especially nice to Buddy. Walter suggests they instead enroll their downhearted friend in the confidence-building class taught by ex-military officer Harry Hileman (Dick Gautier) . Unfortunately, the class works too well , and Buddy becomes pushy and obnoxious. Eager to get the "old" Buddy back, the family attends the class with him and profess their affection for him. When Buddy proclaims that he, too, loves the family, Hileman proudly congratulates him on graduating with honors. Relieved, everyone goes back to insulting Buddy. . .as usual.
#23 - The Boy Who Loved Women
Season 3 - Episode 22
Confused by the pidgin instructions that came with a new stereo component rack, Charles is frustrated trying to assemble the unit. Meanwhile, a 14 year-old fast talker named Mark (Adam Carl), who's been dating Sarah can't resist asking Jamie out. The girls eventually find out, war is declared, and guess who gets the blame? Though he feels inadequate at fixing things because of his problems with the stereo rack, Charles sets out to repair the rift between the two sisters. His hilarious attempts at getting the two girls and Mark together in the same room at the same time never quite work, yet the girls manage to straighten things out on their own. If that doesn't shock Charles, the stereo rack is finally assembled by Adam and Buddy.
#24 - Meet Grandpa
Season 1 - 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.
#25 - The Wrong Guy
Season 1 - 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.