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September 12, 1994 was a day that changed a lot, for both viewers of the FOX entertainment network and for the Salinger family, who lost their parents to a car accident and had to learn to depend on each other to get by.

Aside from launching the careers of Matthew Fox, Scott Wolf, Neve Campbell, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, Party of Five gifted us with one of the most perfect — and in 2014, I can safely say most underrated — opening credits of all time. Nearly every frame is seared into my memory, and I am willing to wager I'm not alone among people who watched the show.

Now, we can talk about how "Closer to Free" is the best TV theme song of the 1990s (or, okay, second to the "Go, now! Go!" theme for My So-Called Life), or that by all rights The Bodeans should have taken The Rembrandts' place as the most dominant CD in the resold-as-used rack at your local record shop. But for now, it's those indelible images from the Salingers (and various hangers-on) that I would like to present. Mostly in GIF form.

First of all, THAT HOUSE ...

Neve Campbell's Julia Salinger spinning around with baby Owen, the world's first sentient sack of potatoes ...

Charlie (Matthew Fox) and Bailey (Scott Wolf) showing more coordination in sanding... something... than most professional dancers...

Then there's Scott Wolf's perfect, Tom Cruise-ian face ...

And Neve Campbell's perfect hair-brush-back-of-exquisite-angst...

And the classic Neve Campbell Laugh where it looks like she's allowing joy to accidentally escape her face for three seconds before she crams it all back in and returns to looking pensive...

Bailey's air guitar...

Sarah's (Jennifer Love Hewitt) ballet spins...

Claudia's mad hot violin skillz...

Michael Goorjian's also-perfect face, though it was a face that was besieged by troubles and angst and creeping turtlenecks...

Bailey and Will slapping fives like the world is about to come to an end and they have two, maybe three more slap-fives left before this whole blue marble floating through the universe ceases to be...

Sigh. Happy anniversary, Salingers. Happy anniversary, Party of Five.

 

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