Season 4, Episode 16 “Mind Games”
Before we get to the episode, can we just talk about how amazing it is that this show centered an entire episode around senior superlatives? I know the writers are determined to include some sort of “classic” high school trope in every episode this season, but this is a seriously deep cut.
We open on Pacey and Joey in the school cafeteria, adorably basking in post-virginity bliss. They are having a problem that is even more classically high school than the senior superlatives: they can’t find a private location to have sex again. Joey gets dangerously close to sex-positivity in this scene, especially when Pacey jokes about having sex right then and there in the “boiler room,” and she gets this saucy look on her face:
But of course, who better to kill everyone’s happiness than Drue Valentine. He stands on a chair and starts announcing the results of the “hotly contested” senior polls, and literally no one cares to even turn around. That might be the most realistic portrayal of high school this show has ever done.
Drue’s little heart can’t take this lack of attention paid to his antics, so he immediately tries to start drama. As Pacey and Joey continue to be adorable–kissing each other’s hands, laughing, whispering to each other–Drue starts to announce the class couple: “Those two people so in love they make the rest of us want to puke on a daily basis…” Joey and Pacey hilariously grin like, “That’s us! We make everyone want to puke on a daily basis!”
But of course, the class couple is actually Joey Potter and Dawson Leery. Womp, womp.
Joey responds to this by physically pushing Drue against a wall, because as Nerdy Spice and I have noted many times, they flirt literally every chance they get. Drue jokes about some “dimpled chads” who are still holding out for Pacey and “some Ms. Jacobs chick” (ha!) which just makes Joey hit him harder. He then says he’s moved that so many people still care about Dawson and Joey after all this time [Was this an early instance of a show doing meta-commentary about the more rabid parts of its fandom? Because you just know the Dawson/Joey people were throwing frothing fits before Chuck/Blair fans made that a mainstream activity. –Nerdy Spice], since they went out for “about as long as the Spice Girls were popular.” (Hee! Drue is on fire this episode!)
Joey exposits that Drue “obviously rigged this thing,” which is a relief, because it would be SUPER annoying if everyone in their class became stand-ins for the stubborn D/J shippers. Joey starts flipping her shit about how she and Dawson are NOT A COUPLE, they are JUST FRIENDS, and it sounds weirdly unconvincing, maybe because she recently made him believe that she’s “saving herself” for him (ew). Meanwhile, as Joey talks about wanting to protect Dawson, the man himself walks over to calmly say that the practical joke was “pretty funny,” and that Drue is “just trying to get a rise out of us.” Joey calms down and lets Drue go, because when Dawson is the mature one in a situation, it’s well past time to take a step back.
Pacey isn’t too bothered by the whole thing, either, since he’s too busy trying to find a suitable place to boink. He very badly tries to cover with Gretchen by suggesting she get drinks with Doug, and she immediately deduces that the only reason he would ever suggest that is that he wants to have sex with Joey. (Aw, poor Doug!!)
Later, Joey comes over to his place and attacks him with kisses while he fake-protests. It’s suuuuper cute. He’s all, “You have no respect for my feelings, we don’t even talk anymore!” and she says, “Pacey, we’ve been talking for nine months, we’ve been doing this for two weeks.” Wow! Does Joey actually… like sex? That’s completely shocking, not least because Pacey doesn’t even know what the female orgasm looks like. [No, we’re never going to let that go. –Nerdy Spice)
Then, Joey’s face totally falls when she realizes that Gretchen isn’t coming home because she knows they’ve had sex. Woops! She then has the most awkward conversation with Gretchen of all time, where she asks Gretchen not to tell anyone because “there are some people who this information would only hurt them and bring back painful memories.” Wow, um, she does realize she’s talking to Dawson’s girlfriend, right?? She has so much nerve. Gretchen takes this like a champ, and gently reminds Joey that she and Dawson are “just friends.” Joey quickly recovers and says of course, she just thinks Dawson should hear it from her. Or… he shouldn’t hear it at all because it’s none of his damn business. That would work, too.
Gretchen gets her back a little, though, when she casually tosses off that she’s going to Dawson’s for the night. Joey looks more than a little shook, Pacey examines her nervously, and then Joey gives him one of her patented Joey Fake Smiles/Grimaces.
While Joey and Pacey try to convince themselves that Dawson and Gretchen aren’t having sex, Gretchen watches a movie with Dawson and accidentally reveals that she has a toothbrush and pajamas in her purse. This immediately kicks off a conversation about whether they’re ready to have sex (two shots!), as if it’s physically impossible for her to spend the night with her serious boyfriend without getting naked. I mean, she brought pajamas, not lingerie or even a nice nightie. Doesn’t that tell him anything??
Anyway, they make up for that illogicality by having a perfectly nice, healthy conversation about sex. She tells him about her first time with her high school boyfriend, they laugh about it together, and he tells her that he thought everything was perfect with Joey, but she wanted to wait, “which was fine.” It’s honest, open, and direct–pretty much the opposite of every conversation about sex that D/J have ever had.
Then it takes a weird turn, as it always does when D/J is involved. He tells Gretchen that when Joey and Pacey got back, he was still “clinging to the insane notion that Joey and I were destined to lose our virginity to each other.” (Yeah, maybe because she inappropriately told you about her sex life with her boyfriend, or lack thereof.) This is all fair enough, since Joey was his first love, and Gretchen agrees. But then, Dawson goes to a whole new level of inappropriate, and says–to his GIRLFRIEND–that he now wishes they had sex on the boat, or would have sex now, to “hammer the last nail in the coffin of Dawson and Joey.” Um, has everyone just forgot that Gretchen is Dawson’s girlfriend this episode, including Dawson? Why do they think it’s okay to say this shit to her?
But of course, Gretchen is weirdly saintlike, and only gets upset when she finds out that Joey lied about having sex with Pacey. Which is a problem, to be sure, but definitely not the only problem with this conversation.
When we return from commercial break (literally in my case, because Hulu is the fucking worst), Gretchen is sitting like, ten thousand feet from Dawson on the couch. Dawson looks bemused, like, “What? All I did was tell you that I still kind of want to lose my virginity to my ex-soulmate. What’s your damage, Heather?” Gretchen says all of these cryptic things about why she has to leave, about how she was “really wrong” about something. I know she’s supposed to be talking about Joey’s feelings for Dawson, but really, couldn’t she just say, “You’re clearly not over your ex, see you at the next Christmas party?”
The next morning, Pacey and Joey have that post-coital glow thing going on. Joey is wearing Pacey’s bathrobe, and when she gives him a grocery list so she can make pancakes, he says, “When I said that whole thing about ‘tell me what you want,’ I didn’t really expect the request to come in writing.” (Just in case we were still under the impression that Pacey isn’t generous enough in bed. 😉 )
For once, no one inappropriately brings up Dawson and spoils the mood, but they don’t have to, because he actually shows up to spoil it himself. He comes in as Pacey is leaving to look for Gretchen, which seems a little weird, considering that P/J established that it’s early in the morning. Joey hides in the bathroom as if she’s Pacey’s mistress, which is silly on several levels, not the least of which that–again–you can spend the night with someone without having sex. Yeesh.
When Dawson leaves, Pacey and Joey have this very great, subtly awkward moment, where she clearly feels guilty about hiding, and he knows that she’s being deceptive, but can’t really say anything about it, since it’s her right to keep her sex life a secret from her ex-boyfriend. It’s a tiny moment that has little dialogue, where everything is said in their expressions.
Drue finds Dawson to mess with him a little more about the yearbook stuff, and gleefully says that he and Joey are clearly not just friends, that they are not over each other and have “mortally wounded each other’s psyches and doomed all future relationships.” I know this is supposed to be fodder for the D/J shippers, but it’s pretty fucking dark. Like, “Yeah, of course, all I’ve ever wanted is someone who will mortally wound my psyche!”
Gretchen returns to the house while Pacey is still getting groceries, and she is not having any of it. She immediately starts dropping truth bombs on Joey, who innocently says that “everyone was worried about you.” Gretchen responds, “Everyone meaning Pacey and Dawson. Because that would pretty much be everyone, wouldn’t it?” Ha! Love it. It reminds me of the moment on Friends when someone knocks on the door and they all start counting to see which one isn’t there.
Gretchen says she wishes she were here “last year” (not technically “Last Spring,’ but reverent enough to earn a shot!) so she could see how they all got into this “mess” in the first place. She tells Joey that the lies they’re all telling to protect each other “won’t solve anything” (word), and confronts Joey about lying to Dawson. Joey tries to pull the “I just want to keep my private life private” card, but Gretchen tells her it’s “not fair” to Dawson, or to Gretchen, who is trying to have a relationship with him. Joey snottily responds that Gretchen is right about one thing: “You weren’t here Last Year [shot!], and you don’t know what it’s like, so there’s no way you could possibly understand.” Gretchen tells her that she has to tell Dawson the truth, if not for Dawson or Gretchen, then “for Pacey.” Ooh, burn.
Sidebar: I agree with Gretchen that Joey was wrong to lie, but I don’t really agree with her on anything else here. It’s wrong that Joey is actively lying to Dawson and keeping him on her hook, but if anyone should be mad about that, it should be Pacey. And if Gretchen should be mad at anyone, it should be Dawson, for caring this much about whom his ex-girlfriend sleeps with (and ASKING her, no less). I get Gretchen’s frustration, but the answer is not to shame a teenage girl into talking about her sex life with her ex-boyfriend. Gretchen is actually being very immature here.
Case in point: she’s evasive with Pacey about why she fought with Dawson, and Pacey figures out that the fight had something to do with him. In a horribly misguided attempt to be “honest,” because she just so sick of all the phonies around these parts, she tells Pacey that Joey lied to Dawson about having sex. UGH. What is her problem?? Joey, Dawson, and Pacey are literal children, what’s her excuse??
Anyway, Dawson asks Joey to meet him in the yearbook office, and they have a heart-to-heart. She laments that there’s a lot they don’t know about each other’s lives, and that they used to be able to tell each other everything. Newly Mature Dawson says, “I don’t know if that was such a good thing,” and then genuinely apologizes to her for asking whether she had sex with Pacey. He’s two for two on maturity, until he admits that he’s ruining his relationship with Gretchen by “mentioning [Joey] every thirty seconds,” and then expresses his insecurity that he’s “not the guy who gets the girl” because he “didn’t get [Joey].” Um, AWK.
But then he sort of makes up for it by changing the “Class Couple” in the yearbook to an adorable candid photo of Pacey and Joey holding hands in the woods. Where he got that picture, I’ll never know, but it sure is pretty.
Gretchen finds Dawson at the restaurant, and he, thinking that she’s about to dump him, says that he’s sorry “if I made you feel like I’m not over Joey.” (Um, IF??) She stupidly replies that that’s “not what [she] thinks,” and says she values his honesty, because she’s all about honesty these days, if you haven’t heard. They make up, and he gives her a toothbrush, which he intended as a parting gift when he thought she was dumping him. That’s actually pretty cute.
Joey and Pacey have one of those talks where they lament that everything is always about sex while bringing sex up every two seconds. (That’s two shots!) Joey says she kind of wishes they had done it on the boat, “while they were alone,” aka sans Dawson, and then asks Pacey if he misses when they weren’t having sex, when everything wasn’t about sex. He says that time never really existed, because, yeah, literally all these two have ever talked about is sex, with brief interruptions for inappropriate mentions of Dawson. But in all seriousness, I feel their pain. I remember thinking that once I had sex, it wouldn’t be such an all-consuming force in my life, when that really just comes with adulthood.
Pacey asks Joey if she thinks they’re doing something wrong, and she immediately says no. He almost confronts her about what Gretchen said, but then thinks better of it. She asks him to walk with her a little more, because they “never do that anymore.” It’s all very sad, but on the bright side, the setting and the lighting are ridiculously gorgeous:
So much happened this episode! And yet, sort of nothing happened. It’s kind of the quintessential season four episode: nods to an obscure high school tradition, lots of love triangle hijinks, and lots of drama to recap even as nothing really advances the plot. I love it.
I guess we should quickly talk about Jen, who has a simultaneously tragic and annoying plotline (I guess “tragic and annoying” pretty much sums her character up, though, doesn’t it?) with her dumb, smug therapist. In their session, we find out a little bit more about her early sexual history; we already knew she was around twelve years old when she first had sex, so it was likely statutory rape, but now we also know that she was drunk the first time, “and the second, and the third.” If we got to see an arc where she actually dealt with these issues, I would be really interested in seeing that. But since this is the 90s, she doesn’t get to call it “rape,” or even one of the less threatening variants, like “nonconsensual” or “assault” or “taken advantage of.”
And, since this is a teen soap at heart, the plotline forgoes focusing on her trauma and instead focuses on her inappropriate crush on her therapist (take a shot!). She drags poor Jack around to literally stalk the therapist at his office and follow him around, pretending that it’s all so she knows if she can trust him, but then making goo-goo eyes at him and getting all disappointed when she finds out he has a girlfriend. I know transference is a real thing, but it would take a much better show than Dawson’s Creek to handle it correctly. Even the otherwise-wonderful In Treatment occasionally had dialogue that sounded like a bad porno.
The only good thing to come out of it, as usual, is some adorable Jack/Jen banter. There are lots of gems about the absurdity of Jen’s stalking scheme, but my favorite exchange is when Jack concludes that the therapist must be gay because he’s reading Anne Rice: “You party all night with the eternal youth and a great wardrobe, what other segment of the population does that appeal to?” Jen: “How did you manage to surpass me in knowledge of all things gay?” Jack: “Sex and the City.” Hee! I love Pacey and Joey, but Jen and Jack really are the OTP of this show.
- Aw. I guess this is what Drue’s infamous “warm, wondrous glow of two people who have had sex” looks like:
- Pacey suggests that he and Joey check into the B&B using “assumed names” and then going at it in Joey’s house, and she answers, completely seriously, that there are “no vacancies,” rather than, “would we also wear purge masks, because my sister is the f-ing proprietor.”
- Drue wants to skip the “boring” categories like “the ‘most likely to eke out a miserable existence on the edge of suburbia’ crap,” but I think those are full of drama. It was so weird to me when someone in our class was voted “Most Likely to Be a Teacher at Our Podunk Public High School.” Like, is that supposed to be a compliment?
- I love that everyone audibly gasps when D/J are announced as the class couple. I want to say that no one would ever care about their little love triangle this much, but I guess we care enough to devote hundreds of hours to it, and we don’t even know them, so…
- I feel like we’re supposed to think Joey is all mad at Drue because of her secret feelings for Dawson, but maybe she just enjoyed having an excuse to grab him by the collar and lean in real close because she totally has the hots for him. —Nerdy Spice
- I love Drue’s timely political commentary. “Remind me to tell him about the dimpled chads for him and some Miss Jacobs chick.” He is SO 2001 right now. —Nerdy Spice
- But lay off the Spice Girls, Drue. In my book they’re STILL popular. Or at least, every time they step out of the house, someone sends me the Vulture article about it. —Nerdy Spice
- When Gretchen figures out that Pacey and Joey did it, the closed-captioning renders Pacey’s response as: “What? No. Heh heh heh.” Way to make things creepy, closed captioners. —Nerdy Spice
- Gretchen says that Pacey must have had sex because “there are only two things that make a man this happy, and the other is free beer.” Ugh, gross. Gendered stereotypes aside, that’s your little brother!!
- Oh my GOD, Jen, with the cool-girl internalized misogyny. You are literally the WORST. You are complaining about how other girls get lobotomized the day they hit puberty WHILE YOU HIT ON YOUR THERAPIST. —Nerdy Spice
- Actually, the dweeby therapist is kind of cute. But he’s age-appropriate for me, so it’s not as silly. —Nerdy Spice
- It’s actually super cute that Dawson didn’t tell Gretchen his parents were going out of town because he was afraid it would sound like “the world’s worst come-on.” [Oh, sure. Better to just whip out your script and tell her you’re having “climax issues.” –Nerdy Spice] We’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Dawson is his best self with Gretchen. He’s all of a sudden very gentle and, dare I say it, emotionally mature.On the other hand, his hair has reached Ross Geller levels of crunchiness, so we still make our making-fun-of-Dawson quota for the day. (Take a shot!)
- Dawson says that with Jen, he was so young that it “wouldn’t have occurred to him to ask” for sex. Um, except when you broke Pacey’s nose because you were so angry that she wouldn’t have sex with you, or when you literally crawled into her bedroom and asked her to have sex with you. Except those times.
- OF COURSE Dawson thinks that asking Joey whether she had sex with Pacey is “pretty adult, especially for us.” Well sure, if you’re grading on that particular curve.
- Jen is going to therapy THREE TIMES A WEEK?! I hope her parents are paying for that and not Grams’s retirement fund. Jesus. —Nerdy Spice
- Jen mentions “Promise Keepers,” which I had never heard of, but were apparently a homophobic Christian men’s cult founded by a football coach. The nineties were so weird! —Nerdy Spice
- It is so cute that Jack calls Jen a “matchmaking noodge” and pronounces it so it rhymes with fudge. Do you think he’d never heard the word spoken out loud? I guess it’s in character — they don’t seem to know any Jewish people. —Nerdy Spice
- Jack makes a crack about psychiatrists because of his “family history,” and all I can think is, yeah–where is his mother? How long has it been since we’ve seen her??
- OMG, of course the therapist’s girlfriend’s poem is called, “So It Will Never Crumble.” Of course it is.
- I love that the only person who would ever say that Dawson and Joey are “far and away the more compelling relationship” is Drue, who is an agent of chaos/really just wants Joey for himself.
- I can’t figure out what’s more hilarious: The fact that the poem’s first lines are “Dr. Addle Addle through the accident of mitigation discovered the formula for contrition. / This is my bathroom”; or the fact that the closed-captioners were like, “Fuck this,” and captioned the entire thing as “[Reading poem].” —Nerdy Spice
- Jen and Jack make this face at each other, like, if you guys think this is bad, try getting an MFA in creative writing. I spent YEARS listening to shit like this. —Nerdy Spice
- Drue has tried my patience recently what with the misogynistic incel crap, but when he declares Dawson and Joey the most compelling couple, I believe this is when I must disown any affection I feel for him. —Nerdy Spice
- I knew I liked Gretchen. Watching her call Joey on her bullshit is admittedly really fun. –Nerdy Spice
- Gretchen says sex is like brushing her teeth. What a weird mental image. —Nerdy Spice
I love the little scene with Joey and Pacey on the couch, where Pacey faux-complains about being treated as a “sex object.” If I have one complaint about the P/J relationship this season, it’s that they hardly ever get a chance to just be happy in between big romantic moments and angst sessions. And after all of their (read: Joey’s) angst about sex, it’s nice to see them just enjoy each other (for all of five minutes, then the trouble starts again).
Most cringeworthy moment:
People say a lot of cringeworthy things to Gretchen this episode, but the winner/loser is probably Dawson telling her that the final nail is not yet in the coffin of his relationship with Joey. Way to drop any pretense that Gretchen isn’t a rebound.
Most wrongly-used five-dollar word:
Jen tries to call her shrink’s office “anal-retentive” but it comes out “anally-retentive,” which is weird, since they always claim to have knowledge of “all things Freud.”
Eight, plus two for Dawson bringing up sex with Gretchen in the process of trying to avoid it.
Season 4, Episode 17 “Admissions”
By Nerdy Spice
In this episode, everyone gets into college and Mr. Brooks’s storyline finally has an actual effect on the main characters, now that he’s, you know, dead.
I’ll just make this announcement now: Just pretend this portrayal of the college admissions process makes sense because like any other teen show, it resembles no college admissions season in real life, OK? In this world, no colleges have figured out how to use a little thing called Electronic Mail yet even though it was 2002, and the Ivies send out their acceptances on random dates instead of on the same date as all the others.
Jen and Jack got into five schools in common and, like any good codependent relationship, are only considering the ones they can both go to. (Meanwhile, for some reason, Joey hasn’t heard from any, which allows her to make her favorite Self-Pitying Face for a little while.) They spend some time arguing about which one to go to. In classic teen show fashion, the prime candidate is the one place we all know they won’t pick, in this case because it will take them too far away from the other characters. Imagine if Jen and Jack had gone to the University of New York though! They could’ve shared a fictional alma mater with Felicity. Jen tries to persuade Jack that “New York sucks,” and they have a big, epically silly fight in front of everyone, but then immediately make up in an absolutely sweet scene where Jack declares that it’s more important for them to go to school together and they end up roughhousing on the dock. As usual, Kerr Smith really can’t help having way more chemistry with Michelle Williams than he ever did with male actors:
In therapy, Jen learns that her Parent Issues are why she doesn’t feel excited about going to New York City for college. Shocker. (And, shot for blaming everything on her parents!) Jen’s therapist decides that the key to all Jen’s issues is her Last Conversation with each parent. I love how in fictional therapy, the therapist always comes up with some puzzle for the character to solve that they somehow know will magically solve all the patient’s issues.
So Jen spends her episode trying to solve the mystery of her last conversation with her dad, since we all know when Jen last talked to her mom (I guess we’re supposed to think there haven’t even been Christmas or birthday phone calls since then?). In order to loosen the Pyschic Blockage, she visits Drue and asks him about their last night together in the city, but Drue acts like a big jerk and starts telling a lascivious, obviously false story about Jen “ravaging” him and her mom joining in. It’s especially awful because he knows she doesn’t remember the night, which would make any normal guy feel terrible, presumably, since hooking up with a girl too drunk to remember is pretty bad.
When she leaves in tears, though, he looks kind of guilty, and he shows up at her place that night to apologize and tell her what really happened. The basic story is that a wasted Jen brought Drue, who had a crush on her that she was aware of, back to her place after she’d already been caught in her parents’ room by Billy, and purposely got caught by her parents making out with him, and had a giant fight with her dad, who apparently called Jen a slut–yipes. Drue remarks sadly that none of that evening was “about” him and her. “I used you to provoke him,” Jen realizes. “That’s why you didn’t want to talk about it.” Then she apologizes (shot for things getting unfairly blamed on girls!), and Drue, who does look genuinely brokenhearted, just jokes that he figured she was a lesbian.
While I don’t disagree that IN THEORY someone could be described as wasted but still be in the position to consent to using someone else sexually for her own purposes, it’s a very uncomfortable story to listen to. Drue just gives her the Sad Puppy Eyes (and they ARE really sad… I’m such a sucker for Drue’s secret soft side, ugh) and we’re supposed to take it at face value that Jen was the aggressor and Drue the victim. But the story is seriously creepy–Drue actually says that she “waited for me to clumsily make a move” (so… he made the first move while she was wasted) and she “didn’t seem that into it” (so… she wasn’t even excited about the sexual activity she was doing while wasted). The story could just as easily be spun as “Jen was getting drunk and purposely putting herself into situations where she risked being date raped because she was sad about something.” Drue could easily have misunderstood the whole thing, but we’re supposed to roll with it because of course boys can tell the difference between “drunk and consciously planning to have sex with me for her own purposes” and “too drunk to say no” [/sarcasm]. So for the purposes of canon, Drue is not a date rapist, but in real life, I can’t see any other way to interpret this.
Anyway, Jen goes back to therapy and says that the fact that she had a big fight with her dad isn’t exactly a revelation since they always fought, and she still doesn’t know what the fight was about. Dude gives a speech about how she’s been on a self-destructive path to convince herself that everything that happened to her was her fault, but she’s actually “a beautiful, innocent young woman who’s meant to shine in this world.” Uh… should therapists call their patients beautiful? [Especially when they know the patient has sexual/daddy issues? –Janes] And, shouldn’t he point out that when she had sex at twelve years old OF COURSE it’s not her fault because she was a child who was raped? Ugh.
Anyway, the resolution is that Jen and Jack go stare at a fish for thirty minutes to hypnotize Jen into remembering stuff in order to forgive her parents and be able to go to New York (another shot for blaming everything on Jen’s parents!). Apparently this was also this therapist’s idea, although we never see him suggest it because he’s too busy telling Jen to shine or whatever. (“It’s only since you’ve started seeing this psychologist that I’ve started to think that you may in fact be… crazy,” Jack says. Heh.) It’s actually kind of a funny scene. But it doesn’t increase my faith in this therapist’s abilities.
Side note: When I started watching this episode, I thought that Drue and Jen getting caught was the Deep Dark Secret Jen was trying to remember. All of a sudden I’m beginning to foggily remember what it really is, and I fear it is going to get soooooo much dumber.
Meanwhile, Dawson gets rejected from NYU. He mopes until Gretchen comes over and suggests he use the inheritance from Mr. Brooks to make movies. (Actually, what she says is that Mr. Brooks used “life as a teacher” instead of film school, and Dawson says, “So you’re saying I could use the money from Mr. Brooks to make my own movies?” which doesn’t entirely make sense.) Luckily, his parents arrive at Joey’s celebration barbecue (more on that later) with a nice fat envelope from USC.
For her part, Joey gets into Worthington. She manages to turn this all into a Big Catastrophe, because she hates nothing more than having to act like her life might actually be good. First she feels guilty about Dawson, then she tells Pacey that it’s “surreal” because “nothing like this ever happens to me” (girl, your boyfriend is PACEY WITTER, don’t tell me nothing amazing ever happened to you). Pacey brings her home to look at the letter and make it real.
Miraculously, Bessie and Bodie are around today (hi Bodie!), and they want to throw a barbecue to celebrate Joey’s success (awwww). Joey and Pacey are dispatched to get groceries and two giant bags of coal, which Pacey struggles to lift out of the car. Joey offers help, but Pacey doesn’t want to “Erase my bumbling superhero status.” Hee! Then, while he’s carrying the giant bags on their way into the house, she suddenly decides to start a conversation About Us. Like, girl, you couldn’t have done that before he was struggling with two heavy bags of coal?!
However, rather than being annoyed, Pacey remains his own adorable self. He just tells her that it’s not a day to talk about negative things but a day to celebrate an amazing accomplishment that she’s worked so hard for.
But of course, it wouldn’t be Dawson’s Creek if Joey were allowed to be unmitigatedly happy. As soon as she gets in the house she finds mail from the bursar’s office telling her that her share of the tuition is fifteen thousand dollars. “I knew this was too good to be true,” says Joey. Somehow, then, she and Bessie end up back in the guidance counselor’s office (isn’t it, like, evening and they’re getting ready for a barbecue? What day is this?!) learning that the success of the B&B got in the way of their financial aid. Joey says she refuses to graduate sixty thousand dollars in debt, announces for like the eightieth time that dreams don’t always come true, and leaves.
Side note: When we all first watched this episode, I think the general consensus was that Joey was a little bit crazy. Turning down one of the top schools in the country over an unwillingness to take out loans was considered patently stupid, since college loans obviously pay for themselves, right? Of course, now we know that those student loans were destined to become a millstone around millennials’ necks, especially those without upper-middle-class families to provide a cushion, and that the Dawson’s crew was going to be only two years out of college when the Great Recession was going to hit, and oh by the way you can’t discharge those suckers in bankruptcy so you literally are stuck with student loans for the rest of your life. All of a sudden Joey’s stance doesn’t seem so extreme, at all. Of course I still don’t get why the guidance counselor doesn’t tell her to at least call Worthington, explain the situation, and ask for more money since she can’t go without it. Colleges do sometimes negotiate, which wealthy families tend to know, and it’s the counselor’s job to provide that kind of knowledge to kids like Joey who have no way to know that negotiating is an option. But instead she basically just throws up her hands and lets Joey leave. What a dummy.
Anyway, Joey–true to her repressed personality–refuses to cancel the barbecue or tell anyone that she’s upset. Dawson arrives grinning and holding a cake that says “Congratulations,” which is legitimately kind of adorable (is Dawson-with-Gretchen by far the best Dawson? Or am I just getting soft in my old age?). Then she runs into Pacey in the kitchen, who’s grinning cutely, and tells him the “cruel irony.” But she won’t tell anyone else because she doesn’t want their pity. Fair enough; she’s been pitying herself enough for everyone. (Ugh, I’m sorry, I’m being mean. It’s just that she has been SO NEGATIVE even before the financial aid thing that I lost patience.) So she goes outside and puts on a happy face for everyone. Pacey, though, confesses to Gretchen, who’s in her usual role as Person Who Notices Whenever Anyone’s Upset, that Joey can’t go to Worthington and that he’s secretly happy about it.
When Dawson gets his fat envelope, Joey can’t do for him what he did for her; she goes inside the house and bursts into tears. (See, this is why you shouldn’t keep things bottled up. Get thee to the Secretly Sexy Therapist and work on that, Joey.) Dawson notices she’s gone and follows her inside, and when he hears what’s going on, the Chords of a Great Idea begin to play. He offers her Mr. Brooks’s money, saying that it was to “do something great.” He gets Joey to promise to think about it, but when she comes over later it’s to refuse again. She thinks it’ll ruin their friendship (Dawson argues that “If our friendship can survive Last Summer” [shot!], “it can survive anything”). He also tries to play the mom card on Joey (shot!), saying that he’s watched her go through so much pain in her life, and Joey gets all offended that he’s pitying her. I guess she’s the only one who gets to play the card.
Dawson goes over to Pacey’s house and persuades Pacey to work on Joey because they can’t imagine her being happy anywhere but Worthington (once again, he swings for “nice” and hits the ball to “way overbearing” instead, and yes I know I completely messed up that sports metaphor). Gotta love when the menfolks get together to decide what women should do with their lives! Pacey works on Joey himself. She’s managed to come up with probably the most realistic solution–to take a year to work and declare herself financially independent so she gets more aid–but he argues that a year could easily become years and she’ll be trapped here. He doesn’t give the slightest hint that he feels conflicted about her leaving–just supportive all the way. Yay Pacey!
But Joey has one more roadblock that she has to clear: telling Dawson that she lied about “that very personal question.” Oh, God, it’s so awkward. I mean, I understand–no one wants to take sixty thousand dollars from someone who is laboring under a false impression–but it’s so so awkward that the question of Joey’s virginity is so deeply intertwined (see what I did there?) with the question of the Giant Pile of Money. She apologizes unnecessarily for lying and Dawson just gives a bitter laugh, but he shows up later and tells her she underestimated him, and that nothing will change between them (even if they meet “people who we’re meant to love forever”), and offers her an envelope with the money, which Joey finally takes. He tells her that he wants to hear all about her amazing time at Worthington.
And you know, I actually sympathize with Dawson here–he got all this money which he didn’t really earn, it was just given to him, and it makes sense that he would feel like he should give it to someone with much less privilege than him, and someone he cares about. But it is VERY BAD to give sixty thousand dollars to someone whose virginity you are so inappropriately obsessed with. And I can’t help but wonder if when he’s in his twenties, struggling to get funding for an indie film, he’ll start thinking about how much he gave to Joey, and get bitter.
Also, finally, Joey and Pacey have a truly honest conversation. Joey tells Pacey that she lied to Dawson (“I don’t know why I lied,” she claims, like maybe you lied because you knew Dawson would punish you inappropriately for it), and Pacey tells her that he was secretly glad when he thought she couldn’t go. He asks her to promise that if the day ever comes when he’s holding her back (“and it may come sooner than either one of us think”), that she’ll “cut him loose”, but she cries and says she won’t promise to let him go. He puts his arm around her, but he looks worried. Dun dun dunnn.
- Joey and Dawson get called into the principal’s office at the same time because their families apparently decided to pull them out of class and read their results to them over the phone. (The secretary who has to handle all of these messages and calls does not approve of this MO any more than I do.) “I guess this is it, another life-altering moment,” Dawson says as he and Joey prepare to call home to hear the contents of their envelopes. He doesn’t explicitly point out that they’re growing up, but eh, it’s worth a shot.
- Joey actually tells Pacey Dawson’s results before she tells him her own. Shot for inappropriate fixation on childhood boyfriend!
- Check out Pacey’s reaction, which is to pick Joey up and swing her around in delight. The man has his insecurities, but he knows how to react to a girlfriend’s good news, even when they both secretly know it’s going to take them farther away from each other:
- Pacey convinces Joey to cut class, just like he did back in season 3! Awwww. –Janes
- Jack and Jen somehow acquired promotional videotapes, like actual VHS tapes, about each college. Did those things supposedly get mailed to you? Or did the library just like stock them? So many questions.
- Is the “University of New York” that Jen and Jack get into supposed to be NYU? But Dawson gets rejected by the real NYU, so is it supposed to be CUNY? And why did they bother fictionalizing the name when they don’t end up going there? So many questions. –Janes
- (That parallel structure was not planned, btw. It just happened. –Janes)
- Jack has an actual gay moment in this episode, where he giggles over a “queeny professor” talking about the history of the Statue of Liberty from one of the college videos, and sticks his tongue out in sheer delight. I love it!
- In this universe, there’s a fake Harvard (Worthington) but Andie also goes to the real Harvard while Joey’s at the fake one, and there’s also a fake NYU called “University of New York” that Jack and Jen both get into, even though the real NYU also exists in this universe (which we know because it rejects Dawson).
- Katie Holmes is so cute when she says “admittance,” pronouncing it with a hard t.
- Dawson tells his mom she shouldn’t be “running around answering doors in your condition.” I feel like it is nice to get up to open the door instead of letting your pregnant mom do it. But it is not nice to lecture her if she does decide to do it herself. For the second time in this episode, going from nice to sexist in sixty seconds!
- There is simply no way to make scenes about helpful therapists interesting. Jen stalking her therapist was at least shocking, but now that the dude is just, like, helping her talk about her problems, I can’t help but feel like he’s a cheap device for telling us Jen’s thoughts instead of showing them onscreen. That said, Michelle Williams’ does a great job with body language, showing how badly Jen wants to escape the conversation rather than admit how rejected she feels by her parents.
- Sure, it’s an amazing accomplishment to get into Worthington, but Joey has an even more amazing skill: she can roll down the neck of her turtleneck hands-free! Here’s her facing Pacey in the kitchen, neck unrolled:
And here’s her the very next moment, with the neck rolled down:
- Um, even if Joey weren’t secretly upset about the financial aid, it would be kind of rude for Mitch and Gail to bring Dawson’s college mail to Joey’s celebration. Way to steal her thunder. –Janes
- When Dawson finds Joey crying in the house, he asks her what’s wrong: “Did you not get in? Did you get waitlisted?” Yes, Dawson, Joey is throwing herself a giant barbecue for a school she secretly didn’t get into. What?!
- I really like when the show highlights the differences between Dawson and Joey that arise from Joey’s relative lack of privilege. When Joey finds out about the financial aid, she is (justifiably) defeatist, because in her world, sometimes you just can’t do what you want, because it isn’t practical. When Dawson finds out, he says “there has to be a way,” because in his world, there always is a way. That makes his offer to give her money a little bit less hideously inappropriate, since he really doesn’t need it. –Janes
- Case in point: Dawson tells Pacey that Joey shouldn’t lose this opportunity over “something as stupid as money.” Oh, yeah. That stupid “money” thing that’s completely abstract and doesn’t actually affect anyone’s lives as long as they’re scrappy and optimistic enough. Shut up, Dawson. –Janes
- Okay, I get that Dawson is all Super Evolved now, but he has a romantic picture of Joey and Pacey hanging in his room?? That seems a little much. –Janes
- Pacey greets a morose Joey with, “You could always sell a kidney.” Heh.
- For those counting, I see at least three ribbed turtleneck sweaters in this episode, one on Jen, two different ones on Joey.
- After confessing the truth to Dawson, Joey says she should’ve told him the truth. Um, no, you should have told him to mind his own beeswax!
- It’s super cute when Joey says that she can’t promise to “let Pacey go,” but couldn’t she have just said that there’s no way he could ever hold her back? 😦 –Janes
- The cinematographer is going full portrait mode in this weird shot: –Janes
- The whole money thing is wildly inappropriate, but it’s sweet when Dawson tells Joey that nothing could ever change their relationship, even “meeting people who [they’re] meant to love forever.” What a nice preview of the series finale! –Janes
- I don’t like that the show is suddenly pretending that Dawson and Pacey have reversed roles, and that Dawson has become the more supportive one to foreshadow the inevitable D/J reconciliation, but I do like that that’s the show’s main criterion for whom Joey should end up with. –Janes
When Pacey’s carrying the coal for the barbecue and Joey brings up the question of their future, he deflects in possibly the cutest way I’ve ever seen. Joey says she’s been ambivalent because “It’s kind of weird to get your dream.” Pacey responds with a big grin, “I know it. I say that every time I look at ya.” Ummmm, how does he do it?! Any guy who can come up with a line that good on the spot while grocery shopping is definitely a “superhero.” Not even a bumbling one!
Most cringeworthy moment:
It’s obviously the scene where Joey finally Tells Dawson the Truth (that he doesn’t have any right to know in the first place). She says she lied because they were finally in a good place and she didn’t want him to think “nothing had changed, and that…” Dawson completes the sentence, “That I was the most important person in your life.” Um… so Joey’s devoted boyfriend is only the most important person in her life if they’re Doing It, otherwise Dawson still wins? God, that is so phallocentric. And false. And the whole dynamic between Dawson and Joey is SO FUCKED UP. She basically thinks that he wouldn’t have offered her the money if he knew she’d lost her virginity to someone else, and his reaction (“So you didn’t give me the chance to understand”), followed by the bitter laugh he gives when she says she never meant to hurt him, pretty much seems to confirm that.
Most wrongly used five-dollar word:
Seven shots: for misplaced blame, Joey’s Mom Card, and mentions of Last Summer and Growing Up.
Season 4, Episode 18 “Eastern Standard Time”
We open on Dawson and Gretchen having a boring night in Capeside. Gretchen asks Dawson what he’s thinking, and he immediately says, “Joey.” Good lord. Take all the shots.
It’s Senior Ditch Day (once again fulfilling their quota of one obscure high school tradition per episode), and Gretchen reminisces about taking some road trip to nowhere for her Ditch Day a million years ago. Dawson responds by pulling her away from the Game of Life (in case you weren’t clear on the metaphor, Dawson helpfully says, “We’re going to abandon Life for a little while.” Subtle, guys) so they can take an aimless road trip of their own. That’s exactly as boring a premise for an episode as it sounds, but Dawson acts like they’re going to Paris (or on a three-month sailing trip, for that matter). “Don’t you feel it, the absolute urgency of this moment?” he says. No, Dawson. No, I don’t.
They, of course, get a flat in the middle of nowhere, and walk six miles to the nearest town, which compiles every stereotype of quirky, remote Southern towns (also, when did they get to the Deep South??). There’s the heavily-accented mechanic named Irv who named his truck Eleanor Roosevelt and an unfriendly diner that is out of everything but mystery meat. The show clearly thinks all this is very charming, but it’s like watching paint dry.
Anyway, they end up stranded again after Irv swindles them, and Gretchen obnoxiously withholds food from Dawson until he “figures out a way to get them moving again.” Like, girl, you could figure out a plan of action, too. It’s certainly not like he has more life experience to draw upon! And then she gets all turned on when he builds a fire, because you know, “man make fire, grunt grunt.” It’s all very sexy. /s/
They start making out, and the reason for this interminable road trip becomes clear: they may be about to have sex. Gretchen puts it on pause to make sure Dawson is really ready, and Dawson does the only thing he could do at this moment: mention Joey (shot! OMG shot!). He says that this horribly boring trip was a metaphor for
their horribly boring relationship how he always expects things to be perfect, but he has to, um, settle for them being imperfect? “I still think that everything should be perfect, and that Joey and I should have slept together for the first time… [but] I gotta let go.” Wow. Um. That might be the least romantic thing anyone has ever said.
Somehow, this horrific pick-up line doesn’t immediately derail things, but eventually Gretchen comes to her senses. She stops things in the nick of time, and says that “When we go there, it won’t be because you have something to prove to yourself.” The next time we see them, Dawson is snoozing by the fire, and Gretchen is quietly weeping. They’re clearly about to break up, just like another couple we all know, but more on that later.
In my favorite plotline of the episode, Joey and Jen take a trip to NYC for their Ditch Day (yay, girls’ trip!), and Joey is adorably touristy when they get to Grand Central. She obsesses about their itinerary, asks Jen if she knows her way through the “maze that is Greenwich village” to get to her fake college interview, and finishes off with, “You don’t want to be late. This is a very fast-paced city, you know.” Aw. She stops just short of stopping Jen in the middle of Grand Central to stare at the ceiling.
Joey accompanies Jen to a funky coffee place to meet her friend, Typo, a charming, flamboyant black artist type (because black people only exist in NYC, apparently). He calls Jen the “princess of Soho, love of my life,” reacts in horror that Joey has never been to Manhattan because “where does [she] buy all of her clothes?”, and is generally wonderful. He and Jen reminisce, and he’s over the moon when he finds out she got into Fake NYU. Joey states the obvious: that Jen should definitely go to New York for college, because New York is the best place in the world, but Jen is all dour and traumatized and says “They say you can never go home again,” like she’s straight out of a Willie Nelson song.
Jen also lies terribly about her “meeting with the admissions guy” at Fake NYU, and Joey seems to buy it at first, even though no one in the history of the world has ever met with the admissions guy at a college after getting accepted. Joey finally gets suspicious when poor Jen uses three different names for the admissions officer, and Jen admits that she’s going to see her dad. Joey sweetly drops her anal-retentive itinerary and offers to go with her for moral support.
They find Jen’s dad at an office labeled “Warner Saks & Lindley,” which sounds just as hilariously evil as it should. Joey pulls Jen aside and articulates all of the reasons the writers had her accompany Jen on this trip: Joey knows exactly what it’s like to have a big “revelation” and visit your feckless father in order to confront him once and for all. She tells Jen that this may be one of the most “seminal moments” of her life, and she should know what she wants to say, if only so she doesn’t make Pacey steal his dad’s car and drive her all the way back (okay, she doesn’t say that last part, I just love remembering that scene). I know it only lasts for this one episode before they start fighting about Dawson again, but yay, girlfriends!!
Jen promptly has a breakdown in the bathroom–which I totally respect–and Joey asks, “What happened to you, Jen?” SUCH a good question. Jen starts to tell a story about how, when she was a girl, she was on her way to Capeside with her mother, when her mother suddenly agreed to let her stay behind and spend the weekend with her dad. She doesn’t get to finish because a rando rudely interrupts their convo by going to the bathroom–such a real struggle.
A secretary (who clearly has no idea that Mr. Lindley has a daughter) lets them into the office. Jen’s dad puts on a big, very fakey show, calling Jen “angel” and giving her a big hug. Jen is disarmed, so Joey haltingly says that Jen got into Fake NYU, and Jen’s dad throws his weight around, telling his secretary to make fancy lunch reservations in thirty minutes and exclaiming that “his daughter” got into college, which is a “big event in any father’s life.” He’s clearly trying to play the part of a father, and it’s super awkward.
At lunch, Jen tries to talk to her father, but he’s laying it on so thick with the “sweethearts” and “honeys” that she gets gaslit and loses her nerve. Then Jen’s dad starts creepily flirting with Joey right in front of Jen, waxing poetic about how NYC is like an “intense romance” and “surprises [him] every day.” Ugh. Joey is really getting an education about what it’s like to live in New York City, or at least what it’s like to date New York finance bros on Tinder.
It all ends exactly how you’d expect: Jen’s dad has an “emergency” at work and needs to leave. He tells them to “order anything else they want,” flirts with Joey a little bit more and touches her shoulder, then says to Jen while he’s already walking away: “I love you, you get more beautiful all the time, etc etc.” He doesn’t actually say “etc, etc,” but he might as well have. Joey looks awkward, and Jen is crushed.
Jen takes Joey onto a roof and shows her the sights (including the World Trade Center, just six months or so before 9/11). Joey is cutely wonderstruck, and says, “This blows my mind. You blow my mind.” Awwww!!! Jen genuinely thanks Joey for coming with her. She says, “I needed you,” and Joey says somberly, “I know.” For a second, it seems like Jen and Joey have actually gotten over all of their insecurities about each other and will actually be friends. That doesn’t happen, but at least this episode passes the Bechdel test! (For maybe the first time this season?)
Jen continues the story about her father, telling Joey that she spent that weekend wandering around the city, sleeping on park benches, in clubs, and then in the dorm room of a guy she met at a bar. She doesn’t say it, but I’m fairly certain this was her first time. Joey asks her why she didn’t go home to her father, and she says, “I did.” Jen goes back to confront her father again, just like Joey did in the first season finale, and Joey says she feels like she’s not going to see Jen again. This would actually be a really interesting send-off for the character, but alas.
Jen finds her father, not working on an emergency, but drinking himself into a stupor. Jen finally confronts him about that weekend that she didn’t go to Capeside: she came home and found him having sex with a friend of hers, a teenage girl who lived in an apartment downstairs. Jesus. Jen says that he “saw [her] standing in the doorway,” and must have known that that was why she started acting out. “My life got uglier and messier, and then you sent me away. You made me feel ashamed. You punished me for all of these things that were beyond my control.” He looks sort of stricken, but not enough to actually admit what he’s done or apologize, because he’s the worst kind of person.
Sidebar: This scene was actually pretty affecting, but it doesn’t sit quite right with me. Obviously, it would mess you up to find your dad having sex with someone just a little older than you, someone who’s basically still a child. And Mr. Lindley (do we ever find out his first name?) is clearly a terrible father. But the function of this entire plotline is basically, “Look! It’s not Jen’s fault that she’s so slutty, it’s her dad’s fault!” First, none of this is in any way her fault, because she was a child and because she was raped. And secondly, even if she had had consensual sex very young, that wouldn’t be her “fault,” it would just be something that happened, something for her to decide whether it was right for her or not. It wouldn’t have any bearing on her morality, and it wouldn’t need this elaborate, Freudian justification.
Back in Capeside, Pacey is stuck at school so he can take a test, and Drue joins him after being threatened with bodily harm by his mother. Drue asks Pacey to ditch their afternoon classes after “their attendance has been duly noted” which is, um, not how that works. (The writers misunderstand high school attendance almost as much as they do the college admissions process.) Drue hits Pacey where he knows it will hurt, and asks where Joey is while Pacey is struggling with his test.
The thought of Joey having adventures in New York without him, plus the added insult of hearing the other kids talk about how “easy” the test was, drives Pacey straight into the arms of Drue. They abscond to a local dive bar, which Drue, nice guy that he is, chose because it’s right next to the community college, which is “an increasingly likely alternative” for Pacey. Nice.
Drue claims the bartender doesn’t care if your ID is fake, but once the boys get super drunk and belligerent and Drue runs out his tab, he actually cares a lot. He catches Pacey in a lie about his identity, and Pacey gets all macho and in-his-face, and then he and Drue just CRACK UP. Most of this plotline is super depressing, mostly because of Joshua Jackson’s really excellent portrayal of Pacey’s increasing desperation, but this is funny:
The next time we see the boys, Pacey is in the back of a police car while Drue throws up outside of it. Doug comes to pick him up, and starts to go off on him, and Pacey’s simmering anger finally boils over: “This is my whole life right here! This is all I get!” he yells at Doug as he drunkenly pushes him away. It’s so, so sad.
We see a very dramatic close-up of Pacey’s face in the back of Doug’s cop car, which very clearly says “rock-bottom.” His face fades into Joey’s at Grand Central, waiting anxiously for Jen to make their train (which she does), and without either of them speaking each other’s names the whole episode, we know that their relationship is about to crumble.
- Wow, literally fifteen seconds in to the episode and we’ve already got an inappropriate Joey reference. Well done, Dawson. –Nerdy Spice
- Gretchen wants to “use her body” to hitch a ride (ew) and Dawson nixes that idea because, “Have you ever seen The Hitcher?” Um, A) I love that movie, so glad he referenced it, and B) It’s the hitchhiker who’s the crazed killer in that movie, so it really doesn’t apply in this situation. Take five shots for an inaccurate reference!
- I love Joey nerdsplaining to Jen that New York is such a fast-paced city. –Nerdy Spice
- How many times are they going to say the full name “University of New York”? That should be its own freaking shot. –Nerdy Spice
- Omg, Pacey struggling with his test when everyone else is done breaks my heart. –Nerdy Spice
- Pacey’s face when he finally succumbs to the dark side and goes with Drue breaks my heart even more:
- Wait, Drue starts a tab with a hundred-dollar bill? WHAT?! –Nerdy Spice
- DAWSON THINKS IT’S RUDE TO ASK SOMEONE WHAT THEIR SERVICES WILL COST. AND, he condescnedingly explains this to Gretchen. Never date an eighteen-year-old, guys. I guess this is really Gretchen’s fault. –Nerdy Spice
- Ewwwwwww, what is Mr. Lindley doing touching Joey’s arm and talking about her taste buds?! –Nerdy Spice
- Wow, this is by far the happiest I’ve ever seen someone look at the idea of “Midtown.”
- Yes, Dawson. The best way to get your girlfriend to sleep with you is to tell her that it’s time for you to let go of your ex-girlfriend. –Nerdy Spice
- I’m really torn on this Jen thing. On the one hand, it does really annoy me that the root of her trauma is just that she saw her dad having sex. On the other hand, the girl was apparently nineteen years old and I guess it makes sense to be kind of fucked in the head when you realize that your dad sees young girls as sex objects instead of as children. But like, I feel like now we’re blaming the dad for being gross (and nice touch having him basically grope Joey on his way out of the restaurant), instead of blaming the guys who raped a drunk twelve-year-old Jen. Blaming things on the dad for something creepy but legal is… a cop-out. –Nerdy Spice
- Wait, why are Jen and Joey taking Metro-North if they live in Cape Cod? When they get out in New Haven, that’s going to be a hell of a cab fare driving four more hours up the coast. –Nerdy Spice
No contest (mostly because this wasn’t that great an episode): Joey supporting Jen through her confrontation with her father, especially when she just looks at Jen and says, “You blow my mind.” Their entire relationship has been defined by Joey’s insecurities about Jen’s worldliness for so long, it makes sense that it would take Joey getting into a hoity-toity school to put her differences with Jen aside. That doesn’t last, of course, but it was nice to see the show finally highlight why these two should have been friends all along.
Most cringeworthy moment:
This is intentionally cringeworthy, but I can’t get over how creepy Jen’s father was with Joey. I think I understood when I was a kid that he was a generally creepy guy, but I don’t think I got how much he was overtly creeping on one of Jen’s friends. Gross.
Seven, mostly for wildly inappropriate mentions of ex-girlfriends.