Season 2, Episode 13 “His Leading Lady”
By Nerdy Spice
This episode starts with Dawson and Joey doing their favorite thing: platonically hanging out as if their friendship has a hope of knitting back to normal when actually they are both completely not over anything that’s happened. Dawson, however, puts on a good enough show that Joey’s almost convinced.
First he casts Devon, the nude model from Joey’s art class (also known as Rachael Leigh Cook), as the fake Joey in his movie. Joey doesn’t appreciate everyone’s open discussion about how her life is now on display in this movie. Nor does she appreciate Devon’s acting methods, which involve creepily standing a few yards behind Joey and writing down everything she does. Since Joey is still the feisty Original Joey, this leads to one of my favorite Joey lines: she narrows her eyes and says angrily: “She’s too short to play me.”
Pacey finds Andie’s medication bottle in the trash and demands to know the truth about it. She declares the therapist says she doesn’t need it anymore, which is quickly belied by her getting really angry at everyone and dumping Pacey. After some stalkerish shenanigans, Pacey convinces Andie that he can help her feel better because he loves her, and they make up. We see Pacey’s worst (and simultaneously best) quality, which is that he becomes stronger when the women in his life need him.
Meanwhile some stuff happens with Jen, and it’s not that interesting, but we might as well go over it: Grams introduces Jen to a Young Christian Gentleman named Ty who is destined to become another Full-Lipped Handsome Blondish Dude That Mistreats Jen. He keeps hitting on her by massaging her shoulders during Dawson’s film shoot like he’s George W. Bush or something. She agrees to go out with him to what she believes is a party, but when they arrive it’s not exactly bumpin’, and she finally realized she’s been stealth-Bible-studied. Since, as we all know, Jen is an extremely cranky atheist, this was a poor choice on Ty’s part.
- Dawson totally ruins the non-awkwardness of his and Joey’s first post-breakup movie night by crowing about the fact that their first post-breakup movie night is not awkward.
- Joey, complicated woman that she is, is clearly upset that Dawson is so “together” about their breakup, but tries to pretend she’s glad about it.
- Pacey reads Cosmo and starts checking out his own butt in the mirror. Ha! Reading a women’s magazine and getting insecure about your butt: we’ve all been there. Though not everyone concludes, like Pacey does, that their own butt “belongs in the hall of fame.” It’s totally adorable.
- “Careful, Dawson. Stronger men have been crushed by what I think,” says Devon when he gives her his script. Since there’s no man whose ego is less strong than Dawson’s, I’d say he should be careful indeed.
- Devon doesn’t like the script: it’s heavy-handed and overly verbose. So Dawson gets all cold and tells her she’s not right for the part; she’s a little “small.” Wow. Devon points out that if he can’t take any constructive criticism, he’s never going to make it—and Dawson actually listens, which again just demonstrates that he was a much better character when the show was still in the mode of letting him learn lessons.
- When Devon auditions, she and Dawson act out the scene from after Joey’s beauty pageant when Dawson finally thinks Joey is pretty and she tells him it’s just makeup. It’s almost word-for-word, except the Joey character is named Samantha and she says “cosmetic enhancement” instead of lipstick [also “resides on” the wrong side of the creek, instead of “from” – Janes], just to really drive home the fact that these kids use Big Words.
- Pacey, wearing what appears to be a non-ironic navy velvet button-down that even I, an inveterate velvet lover, am not sure I can approve, confronts Andie about her pills. Andie tells him they’re hers after some denial, but then says her therapist wants her to try therapy instead so she won’t be taking them anymore.
- Dawson is having a great time directing this film because he gets to explain the nuances of what he felt for each beautiful young woman in his life at great length, and the unfortunate Chris just has to listen because he’s doing it under the guise of “character development.”
- When Dawson tells Joey that Devon was the model in her art class, Joey says, “Oh right. The clothes threw me at first.” Yikes. At least Jen can feel better that Joey just indiscriminately slut-shames any woman in Dawson’s vicinity. – Janes
- Devon thinks that Sammy and Wade are “soulmates who will be forever connected by an overpowering transcendent love.” Shot!
- Jack immediately sees that the movie is bothering Joey. She insists, somewhat bitterly, that Dawson is over her and that everything’s going to be fine. Then she kisses him and stares pensively over his shoulder like every TV character who has ever lied ever.
- There’s a Film Shoot Montage, which is a subgenre of the general Hard Work Combined With Fun Montage—always a good one.
- Dawson tells both Chris (who’s playing “Wade,” the Dawson character) and Devon how they feel after “Sammy” kisses fake Jack (while staring longingly at Joey from across the set, of course). He of course goes into deep detail about the “excruciating agony” of the situation to Chris (as well as the lack of “self-dignity” [[sic] – Janes]) but then tells Devon how confused she is—and how frustrated and lonely she feels that “Wade” doesn’t see her potential despite the fact that she’s believed in him her whole life. All snark on Dawson aside, this shows how he’s managed to overcome said excruciating agony and actually examine his own fault in the breakup and respect Joey’s own complicated motivations for both the kiss and for moving on. That’s a feat that even adults of a less self-centered nature than Dawson are not always capable of when they’ve been cheated on.
- Devon—who’s started calling Joey “Sammy”; ha!—wants to know what Joey looks like when she’s angry, because, she says, “I personally am not angry by nature.” Joey refuses to get drawn in—for about thirty seconds. Then Devon starts asking both her and Jack how they handle a relationship where Joey is still in love with someone else, and Joey loses her temper and says she sees through Devon’s “pathetic attempt to masquerade bitchiness as research.” Then, when Devon leaves, Joey narrows her eyes and tells Jack, “She’s too short to play me.” Probably my favorite line of this season. [Definitely the most intentionally funny line of the series. – Janes]
- Andie starts yelling at Devon for mistreating a prop [Devon’s acid “Get a grip, prop girl,” is also a gem. – Janes], and when Pacey calls Andie on it she declares that she’s overwhelmed and he’s the only “expendable” thing in her life. Pacey tears up and says she doesn’t mean that, but she yells that he should back off. Poor Pacey!
- Joey has to stand around while fake Dawson and fake Joey argue about her kissing someone else. Awkward! Not having witnessed Dawson’s scene where he explained how she was feeling so perceptively, she feels, rather deservedly I suppose, like the bad guy. She finally yells at Dawson for reliving everything out in public in such excruciating detail, and says that even if he’s moved on, she hasn’t. Which of course only leads to the reveal that Dawson definitely isn’t over it and is clinging to the movie as the one reason to keep living.
- Dawson says, “You have a new boyfriend, you’ve found your art passion, you have a whole new life. What do I have?” “A self-obsessed movie,” Joey retorts. Hee!
- [You know, Dawson is definitely self-obsessed, but I’m actually sort of on his side for once. Joey did dump him, and I think artists reserve the right to write whatever they’d like about people who hurt them. It’s good enough for Taylor Swift! – Janes]
- For some reason Grams shows up to the set and says she’s proud of Jen for being in charge of it all and for being a “A woman movie producer!” she chuckles. She thinks it’s a wonderful time to be a woman since Jen can do or be anything she wants “without a man by your side.” Then she tells Jen she deserves to have a nice time with Ty. So, kind of undercutting your message there, Grams.
- Dawson finds Pacey moping by the lockers. As soon as Pacey reveals what happens between Andie and him, Dawson asks, “Did she mean it?” This scene is a rollercoaster: first it sounds like Dawson is going to spout some kind of misogynistic tripe about Andie not knowing what she wants. Then he advises Pacey that if Andie means it, to let her go, so you’re like, “Oh, he’s actually being mature for once, and is going to advise Pacey that he doesn’t own his girlfriend and has to accept it if she doesn’t want to be his girlfriend anymore.” But THEN Dawson concludes that it’s the only way to get someone back. Theeeeere it is. He didn’t mean actual letting go, he meant that other kind of letting go. The fake, manipulative kind.
- Giving as good as he gets, Pacey declares that he wants Andie and Andie needs him, so Dawson’s advice doesn’t apply.
- Pacey brings a flower to Andie’s house and she slams the door in his face. His response is to go around the back of the house and climb up to her window with the rose between his teeth. “You need me, McPhee,” he declares. “One shove and it’s a long way down, Pacey,” says Andie, then tells him he’s acting like a psycho. I mean, yes, but pot, meet kettle. He does, however, win her over by saying that his “adulation never wavers.” Finally she starts crying and says she just wants to feel better, and he promises he can help her because he loves her, and they make up. It’s all very dramatic, if you care about Pacey and Andie, which of course, no one does.
- Devon points out to Dawson that it’s pretty weird that he made the movie match reality so exactly, but then changed the ending. Then she tells him he has potential as a director, which is the obligatory sucking-up-to-Dawson moment that every episode must contain: shot!
- Joey and Dawson both wait around until everyone is gone so they can have a heart to heart. Joey apologizes for coming down on him so hard and says it’s hard to watch their intimate life being reenacted in front of so many people. Dawson apologizes for hurting her (well, he apologizes if he hurt her, which as everyone knows is the weenie’s version of apologizing, but at least he sounds sincere while doing it?) and says he’s been trying to work through his feelings and “figure out how to be without you” but that he’s just pretending that he’s over her. In fact, he’s been wanting to pour his heart out to her (which is his way of saying he wants her back as his full-time emotional labor provider).
- Joey says it’s been just as hard for her, and that it’s “tearing [her] apart, too.” Then she promises they’ll always be connected and that their lives are “destined to be intertwined.” I think that’s the first time they use intertwined in this way, but it definitely won’t be the last. Take a shot for our intertwined soulmates!
- Dawson sends Joey and Jack happily off after his shoot even though they offer to help him clean up, and tells them—seemingly genuinely—to have fun. Growth!
Everything about Devon’s interactions with Joey cracks me up. The best scene is when Devon shows up to the Ice House to study Joey’s mannerisms [aka goes full-on Jared Leto on her – Janes] and creeps her the eff out. After giving her order, she gives Joey an intense gaze and brushes her hair back from her face in the same way Joey always does. It’s totally hilarious, especially Joey’s answering glare. Then, when Joey sends Jack over to deal with the creepy customer, Devon ups the creep factor even more by asking Jack to tell her everything he knows about Joey, disconcerting Jack to no end. Hee!
Most wrongly-used five-dollar word:
I was going to point out that Joey says that she sees through Devon’s “pathetic attempt to masquerade bitchiness as research.” Close, but masquerade is an intransitive verb. But Janes caught one I missed: Dawson saying “self-dignity,” which… not a thing.
Most Cringeworthy Moment:
Dawson interrupts Joey’s art class to give her his new draft of his screenplay (just another moment in a long string of instances where Dawson, in classic entitled fashion, acts like Joey’s art is a cute little interruptable hobby that he can ignore whenever his Very Important Film Career is at stake). Then he stares at the model Joey’s trying to sketch out and announces, out loud, in the middle of the class he’s interrupted: “She’s naked.” What a complete doofus!
Three shots, for one instance of unjustified praise to Dawson and two classic references to the primary Dawson and Joey tropes, “soulmates” and “intertwined.” (You’ll notice that this episode’s cringeworthy moment doesn’t revolve around sex, which is unusual. Somehow this episode managed to focus on emotional drama without awkward sex talk for forty whole minutes—hence the low shot count!)
Season 2, Episode 14 “To Be Or Not To Be”
This iconic two-parter feels like an entirely different show. It’s heartbreaking, sensitively written (by Williamson and future Everwood and Flarrowverse super-producer Greg Berlanti, both of whom are gay), but most of all groundbreaking. In 2018, it’s old hat to see a teenager come out on TV, but in 1998, on a major network, on a show for kids, it was quite literally unheard of. It paved the way for the first gay kiss on network television in season three, which, in turn, paved the way for countless coming out storylines and gay relationships to come.
Dawson’s Creek might seem like an unlikely vehicle for such an important storyline [But really I think it was consistently making a genuine attempt to portray unusual teen experiences like mental illness and homosexuality, even if much of it seems ham-handed and insensitive to our modern eyes… people just didn’t take it that seriously because it was a show for girls about kids –Nerdy Spice], but luckily, the writers were firing on all cylinders for these episodes. Jack’s coming out begins with a poem, a poem with homosexual overtones that a sadistic teacher forces Jack to read for the class. The poem itself is heartbreaking (“I’m afraid / Not of what I am but what I could be”), and Kerr Smith, who is not always the most versatile actor, gives an amazing and natural performance (especially since he doesn’t have to actually kiss any men…. for now).
Smith and the writers do a great job of portraying Jack’s denial, his fear of losing the love he has in his life, his deep-seated despair over being born “different.” But the way the writers handle the reactions of those around him is arguably even more impressive. “To Be or Not to Be” has all the markers of a morally unambiguous morality play, especially when Mr. Peterson’s caricatural villain takes the screen. But other than Mr. Peterson and Jack, there really aren’t any good guys or bad guys here, just a bunch of ill-equipped kids trying to handle Jack’s revelation the best way they know how to. Pacey jumps to Jack’s rescue in a way that kind of makes it all about him, but also clearly has Jack’s best interests in mind (plus, his stand against homophobia was so progressive for the time, we can forgive him a little self-righteousness). Joey (understandably) feels insecure and unsure of the best way to support him, since it would seem to be her job as his girlfriend to assume he’s not gay, but ultimately finds a healthy balance between supportive and direct. Even Dawson, who’s never found a situation he couldn’t make all about him, manages to step aside and support Pacey, Joey, and Jack without getting caught up in petty grudges.
The only person who comes close to 90s “issue of the week” type of homophobia is Andie, who says she would be “disappointed” if Jack were gay, since their family has already been through enough public humiliation. As terrible as that is (and as annoying as it is that she’s forgiven so easily), even her reactions are very thought-out and realistic. She admits in the end that she was making it all about her, that she and their family had been through so much suffering, she didn’t think they could take any more. It’s shitty, but very true to Andie, who has been established as a Little-Miss-Perfect type who lives and dies on keeping up appearances (kind of like a teenage, poorly acted version of Bree van de Kamp). And because her motivations are so well thought-out, it feels organic (if not redemptive) when she has a sweet mea culpa moment with Jack, calls his poem “beautiful,” and says sadly, “You were terrified and I had no idea.” Everyone in this episode (except for Mr. Peterson) has motivations that are wonderfully complex and rooted in character, which allows for this important subject to be treated with the gravitas it deserves.
All right, let’s get to it. If you’re watching along with us, grab the tissues!
- Jack creates a beautiful and elaborate replica of Capeside for Dawson’s movie, and Dawson says it will be “perfect for establishing shots”–and then the show does some establishing shots! Take a shot for extremely on-the-nose meta references!
- Jack is supposed to write a poem for class (THE poem that will reveal he’s gay) and Dawson scoffs, “It’s a poem. How hard could it be?” What an ass. I hope someone comes up to him someday and says, “It’s a movie. How hard could it be?” -Nerdy Spice
- Ty is so creepy. First he describes himself as a lion hunting his prey, a llama (aka Jen), then when she turns him down he says, “I thought most women admired persistence.” Yuck!
- If this isn’t a burgeoning serial killer look, I don’t know what is:
- Jen tells Ty that she can’t go out with him because he’s religious and their “ideologies” would clash too much. There are many reasons not to go out with Ty, but your atheist “ideology” (which is technically not even supposed to be an ideology) is a fairly dumb one. (Take a shot!)
- Pacey’s poem is “Ode to a Sports Car.” Hee! He promises that they’re more interesting than a Grecian urn. Well… can’t argue with that. –Nerdy Spice
- In case you were interested, here is the full text of Pacey’s hilarious and adorable sports car sonnet (courtesy of Dawson’s Creek Wiki):
ODE TO THE SPORTS CAR
Shall I compare thee to my favorite Porsche?
Thou art almost as lovely as its shine
Thou surely art more lovely than some Borscht.
and lovelier still since my dear you’re mine
How do I find the words to say “you drive?”
I’m grounded cause I stole my father’s car
I’m grateful that your car is still alive
without it you and I would not get far
So even though you drive like you’re on crack
I like to watch your face behind the wheel
and though we may be dead before we’re back
I still think you’re the only thing that’s real
I’d choose you o’er a sports car any day
but both would be ideal I have to say!
- HEE!! The author-name word search in the fateful classroom where Pacey and Jack have their English class, has “BIG” right before “DICKENS” on the top row. Get it?! –Nerdy Spice
- “Juicy Joey, Perky Potter”? “Spielberg Stud”? The flirting is REALLY painful as Dawson and Joey try to guess each other’s, and I quote, “online handle.”
- Andie admits she’d be disappointed if Jack were gay. Pacey gives her an automatic, disapproving “Jeez, Andie.” I like that he’s not so besotted he can’t call Andie out on her homophobia. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do what he should probably do and just kick her to the curb already. -Nerdy Spice
- Ty calls incessantly to harangue Jen about going a date, insisting that he’s really a “party-boy” under his “Sunday school veneer.” Dude, maybe Jen is rejecting you not because you’re a square, but because you’re a stalker. Just a thought.
- Jen and Ty are going out on a date that starts at 10? In CAPESIDE? Even during the summer places on the Cape are pretty much winding down by then. -Nerdy Spice
- To divert from the homosexual content in his poem, Jack plays the dead brother card, which he must have learned from Joey. Shot? -Nerdy Spice
- It’s so incredibly, ridiculously evil when Mr. Peterson tries to make Jack read his poem again, and yet I kind of believe it. Usually, the portrayal of high school teachers as literally sadistic is a little cartoonish on this show, but when you add the perspective of a closeted small-town gay kid in the 90s, it seems like this kind of power trip could happen. (Especially since Greg Berlanti, the openly gay super-producer who wrote this episode, has said that the poem plotline was based on his own coming-out story.)
- Aaaaand then Mr. Peterson tells Pacey venomously that he’s “been waiting to fail [him] all quarter” and he’s a cartoon again.
- I love how Pacey stands up for damsels in distress and for closeted friends in distress. His savior complex is so equal-opportunity! -Nerdy Spice
- Jack’s models of the town are actually amazing. I wish he had stayed all artsy instead of becoming a weird football-playing fraternity-joining jock after coming out. -Nerdy Spice
- Dawson declares Jack’s poem “The elephant in the room syndrome.” But…. it’s not a syndrome. It’s an elephant. (A gay elephant, Dawson adds oh-so-maturely, after mansplaining what “elephant in the room” means.) -Nerdy Spice
- Joey says Jack gave “a thousand reasonable excuses [for the poem] that make perfect sense, except… they don’t make sense.” As a woman who has experienced a boyfriend’s coming out before, this rang so terribly true.
- Joey thanks Dawson with a lingering kiss on his cheek. I feel like people give each other Meaningful Kisses on the cheek on TV a lot more than they do in real life. Like how many times have you ever thanked your ex-boyfriend for anything by giving him an awkward yet meaningful kiss on the cheek? I’ll tell you: never. Because it’s weird. -Nerdy Spice
- “In my lifetime, Pacey, I will never be ashamed of you,” Dawson says. Awww! I completely teared up at that. -Nerdy Spice
- It goes without saying that no one cares about Andie and Pacey’s relationship, but their fight is actually super organic and well-done. Andie is more wrong, obviously, especially since she was so cruel to Jack at first, and because Pacey is definitely on the right side of history here. But it also rings true when she says that Jack is “innocent,” and has no control over what’s happening to him, while Pacey chose to ride in on his white horse and spit on someone’s face. I wish that they hadn’t resolved this conflict so easily, because if two people have such different sets of morals, not to mention very different answers for what the word “supportive” means, that should probably serve as a real reckoning for whether they should be together.
- I love this episode. Everyone keeps talking about real questions like what’s right and wrong, and the big conflict is provided by Pacey’s conscience. And everyone has real reasons for feeling the way they do, complicated ones. I just really like that. -Nerdy Spice
There are so many great moments, but nothing could ever beat Jack reading his poem. The emotion is so raw and real even now, and at the time it aired, this moment was nothing short of revolutionary.
Most cringeworthy moment:
I would say that it’s when Andie says she’d be “disappointed” by Jack being gay, but I actually think her cruelest moment is when she just ignores Jack as he comes in from his terrible day at school. Andie and Jack have been through so much together, and they don’t really have parents to support them. Of all people, Andie should be the one who’s there for Jack no matter what, especially since he’s always supportive during her mental health issues, no questions asked. While verbalized homophobia is, of course, hurtful, that silence and abandonment might be even deadlier.
Most wrongly used five-dollar word:
Pacey says that he assumes Mr. Milo is about to yell at him for an academic “impropriety.” Mr. Milo responds, “Impropriety is not the word.” No, no it isn’t.
Most 90s soundtrack moment:
Their soundtrack game was on point this episode, so it’s hard to pick. “Slide” by Goo Goo Dolls and “Smoke” by Natalie Imbruglia are both great contenders, but the winner has to be “Only Lonely” by Hootie and the Blowfish, which plays right after Jack assures Joey he’s not gay, while he gets that over-the-shoulder-pensive-face that serves as TV’s universal shorthand for “this character is lying.”
This two-parter is very thoughtful and has a ton of gravitas, so we won’t be taking nearly as many shots as usual. This episode we only took two and a half shots: one for Jen’s weirdly staunch atheism, one for a meta-reference, and a half-shot for Jack turning the tables on Joey and playing the dead brother card.
2×15 “That is the Question”
By Nerdy Spice
In the second half of this epic two-parter, Jack is still blithely pretending he’s not gay, and Joey seems to be getting tired of being Capeside’s best-known beard. At Dawson’s suggestion, she offers to cook a romantic dinner for Jack, complete with candles and a printed menu. But when Jack and Andie’s dad shows up at school, alerted by the school to Jack’s drama, he has to postpone it. Mr. McPhee is incredibly mean to Jack, demanding that he say he’s not gay. (And Andie tries to get Jack to forgive their dad for his abusive homophobic nonsense because she wants him to come back and make their lives better, because Andie SUCKS.) At first Jack plays along, but finally when Mr. McPhee’s about to leave Jack stops him and, in a completely heart-wrenching scene, says that he is gay–and that Mr. McPhee knows that and has always known. He breaks down crying, and Andie finally steps up, a few days too late, to support him. Jack’s last painful task of the episode is to dump Joey right when she thinks they’re about to have a romantic date.
Meanwhile, Pacey’s moping around finishing out his suspension, still in a fight with Andie for not supporting him in his moral crusade against the mean teacher who bullied Jack. Pacey comes back to school only to find that the mean teacher is failing him for no real reason, and that Andie is ostentatiously ignoring him. They both dig in their heels, but Pacey does make progress on one front: he gives the principal a document proving that he’s in violation of almost every single part of the code of conduct for teachers. (All except for the ones that Miss Jacobs was in violation of, I guess!) Eventually Jack thanks Pacey for standing up to the sadistic teacher, and Pacey and Andie make up. I personally don’t think Andie gets raked over the coals enough for her status-quo-loving, homophobic-dad-defending actions, but I suppose the world has progressed since then.
When Jack ditches her for dinner, Joey immediately calls Dawson so they can join Jen and Ty on their naughty outing to Ty’s favorite bar. This allows Ty to showcase his truly heinous views on homosexuality via a mixed-metaphor-strewn rant about how Jack is a “fruit fly” but also a “duck” who chooses to “quack,” and how ducks don’t have to quack if they don’t want to. So Jen dumps him—with the surprising support of Grams, who is in the process of morphing into the pearl-clutching yet essentially decent person she becomes in later seasons. But later, Ty wins by whipping out a classic conservative sophistry: he declares that he’s open to hearing Jen’s views and argues that his willingness to reconsider his intolerant views should be matched by Jen being willing to reconsider her tolerant ones, like there’s some kind of logical rule that if you’re open-minded, you should somehow also be open-minded to narrow-mindedness, judgment, and hate (and by “open-minded to hate” they often mean “let hateful people into your vagina”). Frankly, treating his horrid nonsense as if it’s even worthy of consideration is, in itself, a tacit denial of the full humanity of gays. And Jen totally falls for it. Which is totally realistic, but ugh! I hate when people dress up their vitriolic irrational hatreds in calm reasonable-sounding language to make it seem like a legit point of view!
- Dawson walks into his room and finds Pacey, Katie Holmes’s first love, watching Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes’s first husband (as Jerry Maguire, a “renegade moral crusader” just like Pacey). Unintentional meta reference – shot!
- “Joey gets the bed,” pleads Pacey when Dawson tries to kick him out. Heh.
- Joey and Jack have an awkward run-in in the middle of a school awash with rumors that Jack is gay, so Jack jokingly suggests that he and Joey have sex in the middle of school. He’s surprisingly cavalier about being bullied for his supposed homosexuality, considering he pretty clearly already knows he is gay.
- Joey is rocking another hella-cute messy bun and an epically weird and thus covetable sweater. I would 100% wear this to work if I could find it.
- Dawson acts like he’s a big hero for giving Joey support over her relationship problems. Then Joey acts all surprised because she clearly misses when Dawson was all bitter and sad over her. It’s all SO dysfunctional.
- Every time my partner (who has only seen the pilot), starts watching Dawson’s with me, he gets one of the guys mixed up, especially the guest stars. In the last batch of episodes, he was convinced that Chris=Jack, and there was no convincing him otherwise. This time, he was shocked to see that Dawson and Jen were back together, because the guy who plays Ty looks so much like James van der Beek. The casting director (slash the 90s) really had a type. -Janes
- “Consider this. Hello is typically followed by one thing. Good-bye,” Andie says at the end of her fight with Pacey. Wait, who actually follows “Hello” with “Good-bye”?
- The first time Ty and Jen went to this bar, he ordered two martinis without even asking her. When Joey and Dawson join, he tries to order for all four of them. Dick.
- Jen makes this hilariously delighted face when Ty gets up on stage and starts accompanying the singers on the piano, like Oh my God he plays the piano, too! Which is exactly the face that anyone would make in her shoes, TBH. Who here hasn’t dated someone just because they played an instrument really well? …Oh, is that just me?
- Dawson, sandwiched between Jen and Joey at the bar, immediately ruins the nice moment by commenting on the “irony” of the fact that he’s sitting there single next to two women who dumped him and are now dating other people. Except, of course, that this has nothing to do with the definition of “irony.” Irony would be if he had dumped them and was now single. His situation is probably most accurately described as “to be expected, and well-deserved.”
- Andie is, or acts, incredibly excited to have her absentee dad home, and gets all excited about having dinner together, her father seeing her crazy mom who will be just so happy to see him, and herself making the honor roll. She’s just practicing for her future as an over-educated Stepford wife, I guess. She’s already got the clothes and the hairdo.
- Everyone keeps acting all surprised that Ty, a Christian, is willing to go to this bar where there’s… gasp!… alcohol and Devil Music. I mean, what do they think real-life Christians do, just sit around all day listening to Jessica Simpson albums?
- Jen: “How can you think homosexuality is wrong?” Ty: “I never said it was wrong, I said it was a choice.” Jen: “So you think it’s okay?” Ty: “No. I think it’s wrong.” Um… okay. Good talk, Ty. -Janes
- “The gay movement has been nothing but medically and morally damaging to this country,” Ty claims. Wow, I didn’t realize what this meant the first time I saw this, but by “medically” he means AIDS, right? What a heinous human being.
- Poor Joey. She asks Dawson so pathetically, “Am I sexual?” She’s worried that Jack is keeping his distance because she’s not sexual: “I’m Joey Potter, virgin at large.” Hee! Dawson promises her she’s sexy and then says, “Your sexuality is in everything you do, from your wit, your intelligence, your anger, your feistiness.” Then he tells her she’s blossoming and it’s sexy. It’s sort of annoyingly condescending, but also kind of sweet. (Ugh, I know, I’m so easy.)
- Also–Joey calls Jen a “sex machine” when, again, she’s only had sex with one person the whole damn series. Take a shot! -Janes
- When Mr. McPhee is trying to leave his children with their mentally ill mother (again), he tells poor Andie, “Don’t get emotional.” So he’s not just a homophobic, deadbeat asshole, he’s a sexist, homophobic, deadbeat asshole. Neat. -Janes
- Pacey actually feels guilty for ruining Mr. Peterson’s career, and apologizes—and then Mr. Peterson tells him that the stunt he pulled was the best thing he’s done all year. And THEN tells Pacey it wasn’t compassionate to get him fired. Well, I bet if you ask all the budding gay poets this guy was going to bully in the future, they might say it was pretty fucking compassionate.
- Jack asks Joey to see her that night, but by acting as if he’s making a regular dinner date. Word to the wise: don’t arrange to dump someone on something they think is a date. It’s actually better to tell them “We need to talk” and let them drive themselves crazy all day, rather than blindsiding them after they spent all day being excited for a romantic date.
- Andie and Pacey meet each other halfway, finally; Andie apologizes for failing him, and Pacey for “[being] self-righteous to the point of alienating everything that I care about.” I personally think Pacey has nothing to apologize for except possibly for not taking into account Jack’s feelings about it before acting. Frankly the world doesn’t need any more people who countenance homophobia just so that they don’t risk rocking the boat. It needs people who get mad and make waves, like Pacey.
- Then Andie—nudged to take her turn apologizing by Pacey—makes an excellent speech about the bundle of wonderfulness that is Pacey, including: “a partner, someone who I can be proud to love and who’s proud to love me back in spite of all my faults.”
- Poor, poor Joey is setting up for the rescheduled romantic dinner she offered Jack when he shows up all sad and ominous. “This time, just be honest, please,” she says in a trembling but determined voice. Great acting. So Jack comes right out with it: “This morning I told my father that I was gay.” He also says he cares about her and can’t stand the thought of losing her. Poor Joey cries and says “I know the rest,” and thanks him for being honest. They join hands—or at least, Jack holds Joey’s index finger—and Joey smiles a little. It’s nice to see Joey stepping up for Jack—she’s hurt, but she knows it’s not his fault.
- At the end we get a post-breakup montage: at the McPhee House of Sorrows, Andie is eating her own dinner when Jack comes home for a nice hug from his proud big sister. And over at Dawson’s, a similarly sibling-like relationship provides comfort to Joey, who climbs into the window and cries onto Dawson’s chest.
Jack’s coming-out scene with his father is immortally painful and sad. “Think about the way you treated me and the way you treated Tim,” he cries. “Because he was the real son, and I was different.” It’s really upsetting how sympathetic Andie is to homophobic viewpoints—and it’s also very real, more real than having every single kid in this circle be on the right side right away. Yet it is heartwarming to see her stand up for Jack at the end.
Most wrongly used five-dollar word:
Dawson may not know how to use irony, but this one’s definitely ironic: the English teacher utters the sentence, “From now on, people, your grades will be subjective whim to my personal tastes.”
Most cringeworthy moment:
While at the bar with Jen and Ty, Joey and Dawson share a close dance, where Dawson once again brings the conversation back to himself: poor Joey’s trying to figure out if her boyfriend is gay, and he just starts trying to manipulate her into liking him again by asking if she knows Jack as well as she knows Dawson. Joey deftly parries this by saying that she knows Dawson is enjoying them being there together as friends. Well played, Joey. Now just try to find a so-called soulmate who doesn’t constantly badger you to admit your feelings for him at inappropriate times.
Only two shots, for the slut-shaming and accidental meta-reference to Tom Cruise! Weird.
Previous installment here.