The Great Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project: Season 5, Episodes 16-18

We’re rewatching all of Dawson’s Creek in honor of its twentieth anniversary. Will require some mind-numbing. Drinking game rules can be found here.

Season 5, Episode 16 “In A Lonely Place”

By Janes

Ugh, Joey kisses Creeper again???? I knew that she kissed him once, but the subsequent makeouts were totally Eternal Sunshine’d out of my memory.

We open on a throwback teaser of Dawson and Joey watching a movie in her bedroom, as a signal that we’re about to get back on board the D/J train. Dawson invites Joey to a movie screening, ostensibly to protect her from any other vaguely Oedipal muggers. But Jen is immediately jealous for no real reason, so I guess we’re supposed to think this is a Residual Love kind of invite.

Joey, for obvious reasons, never made it to Professor Creeper’s house the night she was mugged. And she’s so desperate to explain herself, she plants herself on the floor directly across from his office, when there are benches in clear view down the hall.

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Really, Joey?? If you cared that much, why didn’t you just call him on the cell phone we saw you use last week? Not that I want this to work out or anything, but the mugging was like, two days ago!

When she tries to explain that she was mugged, Creeper echoes all of our thoughts and tells her to leave it alone. But not because he was about to commit a huge moral transgression, because it would ruin the “writerly effect” of “the assignation made but never kept.” Ugh. If only Joey knew how many of this type of pretentious douche she would meet in her college years (and then in New York City, for that matter). The spell would be broken immediately.

He proceeds to make a slew of increasingly absurd comparisons to nineteenth-century literary heroines, including Jane Eyre, Lily Bart, and Fanny Price–all of whom are nothing like each other, and even less like Joey. Jane Eyre is at least a plucky orphan of some sort, but he actually claims Joey is like Lily Bart because she has “principles” and would “perversely refuse to marry for money,” when it’s literally the opposite–Lily Bart didn’t end up with her true love because she wanted to marry for money. Take fifteen shots for the worst English professor of all time!

That night, Joey and Dawson see Professor Creeper at the movie screening. He’s on a date, and makes a show of kissing her in front of Joey. Gross. (Although, at least the woman is age-appropriate, so that’s an improvement, I guess?) Even Dawson sees that Joey is jealous. When he says, “Teachers have been known to kiss people from time to time,” Joey subtly answers, “Yeah, lots of people.” Way to be cool, Jo.

Joey confronts Creeper outside of the movie, and he gives her yet another interminable speech about how painfully literary their relationship is. He says it’s just like the ending of Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, where the best things that ever happen to you are the things that didn’t happen to you, because then they’re “written on your heart with a sort of sweet sadness.” Ugh. Joey rightly calls bullshit, but then she tells him that she would love for him to go on thinking of her as a “nineteenth-century heroine,” so it’s kind of a wash. And then she kisses him again! [As Lorelai Gilmore would say, “What is she, just out of prison?”  —Nerdy Spice]
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Joey tells Dawson everything, and shockingly enough, he handles it with humor and grace. He acts shocked, but in a funny way, almost like a girlfriend. “You kissed your professor??” he says with a huge smile on his face. Then when Joey tells him that she went over to Creeper’s house to hook up with him, and frets that it’s not “Joey-like,” he says good-naturedly, “I think we have to come up with a new definition for the word ‘Joey-like,’” and praises her for taking a risk. Guys–is Dawson…. nice??? This is rocking my world.

Meanwhile, Audrey comes up with the most contrived reason for a break-up yet. (And on a show where people have broken up over sending drug dealer fathers back to jail, that’s saying something.) She claims she doesn’t want to be with Pacey because Joey’s mugging was some sort of karmic punishment for their betrayal, but I prefer to think it’s because he didn’t call her in a timely manner after they had sex. It’s not consistent with Pacey’s character, but it would at least make sense on her end.

So she deals with it by going to a concert with Jen, who has to interview a terrible band (named Veneer, ugh) for her stupid radio show. They start flirting with two of the guys, and I think we’re supposed to think they’re cute, but they are CREEPY. In the immortal words of Katherine from Veep, they both have “police sketch of a rapist” face.

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Audrey’s guy (left) actually turns out to be nice–albeit unavailable–while Jen’s (right) is just as creepy as his face and hair. He speaks in this low, creepy voice, continuously asks Jen whether she has a boyfriend, and gives Jen one of those classic pick-up artist speeches about how she doesn’t have enough “passion” in her life. At one point, he actually says this line: “Life is supposed to make you feel. Art is supposed to make you feel good.” Ughhhhhh, I can’t.

But since the writers have suddenly decided it’s time for Dawson and Jen to start having problems, Jen is actually buying what Douchey Musician is selling. She openly flirts with him, refuses to tell him whether she has a boyfriend, and basically agrees with him that she doesn’t have enough passion in her life. I never thought I’d say this, but poor Dawson! He actually hasn’t done anything to deserve this!

Anyway, Jen is being an asshole for no reason, but that certainly doesn’t justify sexual harassment–which, predictably enough, is what comes next. Douchey Musician decides that since Jen hasn’t explicitly said she has a boyfriend and/or run in the opposite direction, it’s an appropriate time to try to kiss her without her permission. And then when she says she has a boyfriend, he says she’s “lying” and moves closer to her! He really does have rapist face!

While Audrey and Jen are at the concert, Pacey goes to a gay bar with Jack, and there’s this whole stupid thing where Jack doesn’t tell him that it’s a gay bar and Pacey is actually weirded out by it. So disappointing. (Not as disappointing as Jack, though, who when Pacey comments that the bar “doesn’t seem very gay,” replies, “I know, that’s why I like it.” Yay, internalized homophobia!)

However, this does lead to a few amusing moments, like when Pacey realizes this food critic in the bar is hanging on his every word because he’s hot. He says, “I think I just realized what it’s like to be a really hot woman.” Jack responds, “You’re not that hot,” and Pacey gets all affronted. Completely untrue, but funny. Then, it turns out the critic thinks that Jack and Pacey are together, and proceeds to hit on Jack, which leads to a hilariously-delivered Pacey rant: “I know I’m not gay, and you know I’m not gay, but he doesn’t know I’m not gay. As far as he’s concerned, you’re my boyfriend!!” Hee! I knew that Enlightened Pacey would return to us soon enough.

Pacey catches up with Audrey after the concert, after the Non-Douchey Musician has convinced her that God doesn’t care if she has sex with Pacey. They make out, and it’s semi-cute.

Less cute: Dawson and Jen, who are finally starting to realize they have zero romantic chemistry. They lie in bed together, and Jen sadly asks him, in so many words, if they’re passionate about each other. He’s like, “Um, is something wrong?” and she replies, “I’m just tired.” Ouch. They’re not long for this world.

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  • “Does Jen know about you and this Pauline Kael person you’re always referring to?” Joey asks, like, does Jen know about you and how close your upper arm is to Dawson’s right now? —Nerdy SpiceA young white woman and a young white man (Joey and Dawson) sit against a bed, shoulders touching.
  • Now Audrey’s convinced that it’s her fault that Joey got mugged. We’re really hitting the karma theme hard in this season, aren’t we? —Nerdy Spice
  • Pacey asks if he and Audrey can just “hang out” without having sex to appease the karma gods, and Audrey says that, unlike Joey, she won’t subject herself to some kind of “platonic torture test.” (And then she hilariously screams out, “I’m just not that kind of girl!” Take a shot for her awesomeness!) That’s well-adjusted and all, but wow, she really doesn’t belong on this show.
  • I COULD NOT be more angry about how Professor Creeper refuses to let Joey talk and explain that she had a near-death experience on Friday, while providing the most absurdly male-centric summaries of feminist nineteenth-century literature I have ever heard. I literally clenched my fists at the screen the entire time. —Nerdy Spice
  • Aw, Pacey says “pimping” instead of “primping.” Cute! (And the writers actually acknowledge that he got it wrong! So it’s cute on purpose!)
  • Jack’s face when Pacey admits he didn’t call Audrey is classic:Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 8.05.23 AM
  • Really don’t care about Jen’s dumb concert or, well, anything about Jen, but YAY for Busy Phillipps and Michelle Williams strolling around arm in arm! It’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship! —Nerdy Spice
  • Audrey very significantly mentions that Dawson is at the movies with Joey, as if Jen should be jealous about it, which seems super weird. Dawson and Joey are, in fact, flirting, but going to a movie with your friend (your friend who just got mugged, no less) is still super innocent.
  • Audrey claims four lefts is a circle. Ummm nope. If you’re talking right angles, four lefts is 450 degrees. —Nerdy Spice
  • What I think is the most misguided about this entire professor storyline, is the fact that it ends entirely through his choice and not through Joey’s. So basically, she learns nothing from the experience, except that he’s a dick, but doesn’t even get the satisfaction of rejecting him for being a dick. —Nerdy Spice
  • Jen is such an asshole! She starts her interviews with talking to the band about how opening must suck because no one wants to watch them anyway. —Nerdy Spice
  • “God doesn’t want me to be a nun,” Audrey declares. Heh. I see what she did there. –Nerdy Spice
  • I want to make fun of Dawson’s pretentious references to Godard and “French cinema,” but at least now he actually sounds like a film student.
  • Pacey is explaining to a famous food critic that carbonara is made with raw egg yolk? This is approximately like when Dawson’s teacher who had actually been working in Hollywood was impressed that he knew Charlie Chaplin. —Nerdy Spice
  • I’ve lived my entire life having never made a scene in the middle of a movie, and suddenly, after rewatching this show where they have showdowns in movie theaters on the regular, I’m starting to wonder if I’ve lived my life all wrong. —Nerdy Spice
  • Oh my God, Joey. JUST INTERRUPT HIM AND YELL “I WAS MUGGED.” I can’t deal with this shit. —Nerdy Spice
  • Wilder says in five years “I’m going to seem like the biggest dork you ever met.” Sure, if by “dork” you mean “serial harasser”?  —Nerdy Spice

Highlight:

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Jen and Audrey link arms backstage! When I first saw this season, I remember thinking that these two already have more friend chemistry than Busy ever had with Katie Holmes. Besties!!

Most cringeworthy moment:

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Definitely Douchey Musician sexually harassing Jen. He puts his arm on the back of the couch, inches closer to her, and then leans in to kiss her while she is visibly cringing. It’s painful.

Drunkenness level:

Sixteen, mostly for the stupid comparisons to nineteenth-century heroines.

Season 5, Episode 17 “Highway to Hell”

By Nerdy Spice

On stage, a young white woman with brown hair (Joey, right) holds the mic, singing towards a young white man with blonde hair (Charlie, left) and a guitar.

I am SO EXCITED. There is little to look forward to in season 5, other than Mitch’s hilarious death of course, but this episode, in which Joey goes on the road with Charlie’s band and sings Joan Jett, is a definite landmark. Don’t even ask me and Janes how many times our aunt (who is generally much hipper than we are, and watched Dawson’s before either of us) mentioned this scene when it first came out. (Answer: A lot.)

Audrey sums up the entire episode pretty well: “Let’s just enjoy this for what it is. Wacky road trip hijinx with a motley crew and their collective sexual tension.” So, yeah. Charlie’s band’s lead singer is unavailable, so he begs Joey to go with them to a gig, singing at a place called “The Drunk & The Dead.” Audrey convinces Pacey to drive the two girls to the gig, only for Charlie to “accidentally” miss his other ride and wheedle himself a ride in the back of Pacey’s sweet ride. The two of them nearly get into fisticuffs over Charlie insulting Pacey’s driving, until Audrey drags Pacey into the bushes, cavewoman-style. Pacey claims that he’s just down on Charlie because Charlie hurt Jen and made out with Audrey for the film, which… I’m so sure.

It’s all very retro, and all the winky-winky lines about how the boys are buying into macho stereotypes doesn’t really help (Audrey: “You’re both very masculine, and the girls are impressed, can we just go now?”). They just make you wonder why, if the writers knew all of this was dumb patriarchal nonsense, they didn’t just write a different episode. But, they didn’t.

Joey starts off very weak, to the point where the crowd is actually heckling her. “It’s kind of like watching figure skaters fall,” Pacey says, while Audrey, supportive friend that she is, grimaces with the effort of trying to look like she’s delighted by the terrible performance. But then Charlie swoops to the rescue, you know, as men do, by bringing his quite serviceable voice into a duet of “I Hate Myself For Loving You.” Now, Joey’s not a good singer, and the camera is having way too much fun lingering on Katie Holmes’s thrusting pelvis while she awkwardly dances, but… this scene is amazing. Joey and Charlie have lots of fun, sexy chemistry, they both look like they’re having a great time, it’s a great song, and it’s my favorite scene of the season.

That night, the four of them end up staying in a motel due to Audrey’s desire to ravish Pacey. Pacey goes out to get her a cupcake in celebration of their first night together that’s not in a dorm room, but before that, he goes to have a quick moonlight chat with Joey, who–of course–has ended up in a room with Charlie because the motel just so happened to be out of double rooms, and thus is waiting by the pool due to her well-documented fear of sex. He tells her she could break Charlie’s heart, which delights the lady a bit too much. On his way back, he runs into Charlie, who marvels at his ability to “wrangle” (ugh) two such high-maintenance women. “High-maintenance is just another way of saying high-quality,” Pacey says–quite truthfully, at least in Charlie’s usage; it’s a line that’s always stuck with me, to the extent that I didn’t even remember its original provenance.

Later that night, Joey slips into bed with Charlie, just like it’s 2002 and he’s Dawson:

A bed is seen from above. A young woman (Joey) sleeps on her side facing away; a man sleeps on his stomach, head resting on his hands.

Except of course that in this case she really does want to jump his bones.

Now, speaking of Dawson, he takes Jen and Jack home with him for Lily’s birthday party. Jen, still shaken by her encounter with the sexy band guy who accused her of not having passion for Dawson, is being totally cranky in that completely unreasonable Jen way. First, Grams walks in to their room and seems surprised that they’re not Doing It (more on that later), and when Dawson jokes completely neutrally that it made him feel old, Jen basically accuses him of being a gross horndog (completely unreasonably–shot!). Then when he does ask if she wants to have the sex, she says she doesn’t want to take off her outfit and then gets mad at him for accepting her refusal too easily. Holy shit, she is the worst. Sometimes high-maintenance really isn’t a word for high-quality. Sometimes it just means that you’re an asshole who should be kept far away from other human beings. Dawson, however, mildly refuses to be drawn into a fight with her.

But Jen will not be dissuaded from ruining everything. She nearly chokes Jack to death over breakfast by announcing that she’s going to dump Dawson while he’s got a mouthful of Cheerios; then back in Capeside, she runs off with him the first chance she gets, ditching Lily’s party. When Dawson is disconcerted to find his mother has brought an eligible male “friend” to the party who seems awfully familiar with Lily and uncomfortably eager to make friends with Dawson, Jen basically refuses to provide any sympathy. She not only lectures him that his mom is moving on, but lectures him to prepare himself for this possibility and to just talk to her.

I’m usually happy to cast Dawson as a controlling creep when it comes to any woman in his life, but it’s so completely human to be upset that there’s another dude in the picture acting like Lily’s stepfather about six months after Mitch’s death. He knows he shouldn’t say it to his mother, and he wants to talk to Jen about it precisely in order to keep good boundaries with his mom. He’s behaving utterly sympathetically and correctly in this situation. And he’s getting NO support from Jen whatsoever. It royally sucks. (And honestly, Gail does seem a little heartless. For Christ’s sake, it’s been less than 200 days.) [Ha! I think Gail should do what she needs to do, but she at least should have warned Dawson before he came over. And yeah, Jen is being a humongous asshole. –Janes] It’s actually incredible that Dawson’s head doesn’t explode from rage, and that his tone at most borders on “contained irritation.” He even apologizes and says he didn’t mean to attack her, finally living up to every formerly unsupported notion of himself as a heroically kind soul.

Later that night, hanging out with Lily, Dawson opens Joey’s present to Lily (she dropped it off with him because she was originally supposed to go to the party, but cancelled to go sing with Charlie’s band)–it turns out to be a sketchbook of Joey’s memories of Dawson’s family. A little weird, but very sweet to put all that effort in. This naturally leads to a montage, though it’s so Mitch-heavy (and Dawson-and-Joey-heavy) that even my montage-loving heart fails to melt. Dawson, seeming genuinely at peace, tells his mom that he’s glad she “found a friend.”

Then he finds Jen on the steps of the high school (with Jack, who quickly clears the scene), and she essentially dumps him, even though she posits that it’s not just her. There’s also some very weird retconning where she acts like he’s been her One True Love since she got out of that cab, which… no. After they agree that they’ve broken up, they cuddle on the steps, finally returning to the sweet supportiveness that brought them together in the first place.

A young couple (Dawson, left, Jen, right) sit on some steps, the woman's head on the man's knee, and his arm around her shoulders.

  • Charlie announces that they’re getting paid $500 for this gig and Joey goes, “Wow. That’s a month’s worth of hair gel.” Hee!
  • “I’m flattered. Really. In kind of an obligatory way,” is how Joey responds to Charlie’s romantic line. Hee, she’s witty in this episode!
  • Charlie tells Joey that he’s not trying to flirt with her–and then licks his lips. Oh, Tristan. –Janes
  • I love how proud of himself Pacey looks when he announces that there’s not a lot of blood running through his brain right now.A white brunette man (Pacey) is seen grinning, resting his head on a pink feathery pillow.
  • “I hope you’re decent, as I’ve already entered the room,” announces Grams, who has apparently changed A LOT since the pilot. More than any of these little ones who claim to be evolving so much. Also, heh–should we have a shot for when Grams is the MVP of a scene?!
  • But then, like, when she finds them fully clothed and wrapping presents she says, “Oh, I thought you were… well… let’s move on,” but like, if she actually thought they were Doing It right that minute, why WOULD she have walked into the room? What a perve!
  • Grams tells Dawson that Joey is at the door for him, and then he proceeds to ask Jen if she wants to have sex. Does he really expect Joey to wait at the door while he and Jen have sex? How quick are his quickies?? –Janes
  • Dear Joey Potter: If you RSVPed to an event, even a super lame event like a one-year-old’s birthday party, you can’t just cancel on a whim! She doesn’t even apologize, which I guess might make it OK — we know she needs money, so she could have used that as an excuse, but instead she’s just like “Whatever, not coming, kthxbye!” RUDE.
  • “What about that Matrix movie? I mean they used a lot of that new digital technology didn’t they?” fumbles Dawson’s mom’s awkward new boyfriend, trying to bond with Dawson. Hee! That was amusingly awkward.
  • When Pacey pulls over to the side of the road with no warning, I can’t help but think of the time he did that with Joey in season 3. If only he’d just gotten out of the car and laid a big wet one on Charlie. That would’ve been a much more interesting episode.
  • Now it’s my turn to laugh: “He’s giving you a ride because he happens to be a decent person, why did you find it necessary to speak?” Hee! Charlie makes Joey so much wittier! –Janes
  • My partner, after seeing CMM on the screen: “Is that Tristan? Did he leave Gilmore Girls for this? I thought he left to do Evertree.” –Janes
  • I like that Jen doesn’t even think about breaking up with Dawson until she’s patched things up with Jack. She needed a replacement best friend, and now she realizes that that’s all Dawson ever really was. –Janes
  • Joey seems to have absolutely no weird feelings about watching Audrey use sex to control Pacey. Does she not remember she lost her virginity to this guy literally a year ago? Ugh, shot for rewriting history.
  • Joey compares Charlie to a “chesty blonde.” Shot for a very weird way of calling Charlie hot.
  • “Please tell me we’re just stopping here for directions,” Joey says.
  • “Never turn on your stylist, Joey! Never!” Audrey says amusingly. Shot for Audrey’s funny line, but I mean, as Janes pointed out when we talked about this episode, couldn’t she have given Joey a more interesting top? Audrey looks great in this episode with a black scalloped top, and Joey’s just wearing a white T-shirt.
  • Pacey’s ostentatious yawn while Audrey says they’re too tired and need to stay in the motel is hilarious.
  • Pacey refers to Joey as Joayyy in his convo with Charlie, take a shot! –Janes
  • Joey doesn’t even take her SHOES off when she gets into bed with Charlie. Just in case the fact that she is still in her full regalia, belt, jeans, makeup and all, doesn’t clue him into the fact that they’re not hooking up, I guess?
  • I think the saddest thing about the Jen and Dawson breakup is that their sad moment of cuddling on the steps of the school doesn’t even end the episode. Instead it’s Joey and Charlie shacking up in the motel. Like, you know your relationship was just a Temporary Obstacle for Dawson and Joey when your breakup doesn’t even rate pride of place for a pensive ending.

Highlight:

Duh, the song! Here, relive it in all its glory:

 

Most cringeworthy moment:

Before Joey and Charlie shack up in the motel, he too comes to find her for a moonlit chat by the pool. However, his way of flirting is to inappropriately ask about her number of sexual partners, and then lie about his. Joey points out that he left out Nora, who he cheated on Jen with, and teases him for his “tired routine meeting its end.” This is when I realized who Charlie is. He’s Barney Stinson! He’s basically a hot dude who gets all the ladies, but then falls in love with one smart brunette because she “sees through him,” except that all the ways she sees through him are SO OBVIOUS that the rest of his victims would have had to be literally unconscious (or, you know, created to reflect unrealistic male notions of the intellectual capacity of “hot girls”…) not to see through him. That trope drives me nuts, because it basically implies that it was OK for the guy to treat the other women badly because they were stupid and therefore Not Worthy of his hot self, and that it’s reasonable for a woman to be swept off her feet just because a guy treats her less shittily than he treats all the other women.

OK, rant over.

Drunkenness level:

Six shots, including one for Joey calling Charlie the “drummer with the mystique” who gets all the girls, and of course one for the not-at-all-subtle meta reference to Joey’s feelings for Charlie implied by the lyrics of their duet.

Season 5, Episode 8 “Cigarette Burns”

By Janes

Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 8.16.33 AM

Now that Jen is out of the way, we need another obstacle to delay the inevitable D/J reunion, so: enter Charlie. Joey suddenly has a huge crush on him, supposedly because he was sooooo great in Dawson’s movie. I mean, it’s been obvious for a while now that Joey has feelings for Charlie, but what a weird reason to cite. Charlie just did a sexy Joan Jett duet with her, they slept in the same bed together, and–you know, he has those abs. All of those would be more plausible reasons than CMM’s mediocre acting chops.

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Anyway, Joey does herself up for Dawson’s movie screening (to the extent that Audrey immediately notices, which is cute), pulls the “Oh, Charlie, I didn’t see you there” trick, and generally acts like a lovestruck teenager. He doesn’t fail to notice, and starts to pull the “I’m just a sensitive spiky-haired guitarist you can bring home to Mom” schtick again (shot!). For a while, everything is actually going his way, and she teases him that he likes her and “wants to take [her] out on a proper date.” He makes a spectacular miscalculation, and responds that actually, he wants to “take [her] into the bathroom and do ungodly things to [her].” Ew! Creepy! Joey makes a quick exit, and there’s this weird moment where he’s like, “Huh? What? Did I just blow it?” Um, YEAH you just blew it, buddy. Are we supposed to think that Mr. Smooth Indie Rocker Guy (as he calls himself) honestly believed that that’s what she wanted to hear?

Actually, almost every male character has a creepy and/or misogynistic moment this episode (except Jack, which is a refreshing change of pace). Dawson meets a pretty woman at his film screening, hears her break up with her boyfriend over the phone, and scoffs that she’s a “handful.” Gross. Then, when she cutely confesses that she loves Hardball and has no idea why, he calls her a “sentimental drama queen with really crappy taste in movies.” First of all, who says that to a stranger?? If he’s trying to neg her, he waaaaay overshot into insult territory.  Second of all, she was telling him her guilty pleasure movie, so there’s no reason to think she has “crappy taste in movies.” He’s just being a sexist asshole for no reason. Third–really? Dawson is judging her for being “sentimental” and liking super earnest movies? His favorite movie was E.T. until like, a month ago.

Because this season is super into karma, it turns out that this woman is a super famous film critic (of whom Dawson is actually a huge fan, but somehow has no idea what she looks like). I actually like this twist, until Dawson flirts with her to get back in her good graces and she makes out with him to make her ex-boyfriend jealous. Because I’m sure that’s how prominent film critics behave.

Next (and least surprising) on our list of creepy men is Oliver, who spends the episode drooling over Jen. He asks her out with Dawson’s blessing, but she immediately rejects him before he even has a chance to get the words out (and who could blame her?). Then, weirdly, the Piano Plinks of Sympathy play while he talks about “not being the kind of guy that women look at and say, ‘Whoa. Check him out’” and that he’s going to “blow her mind in a million different ways.” Yuck. And then at the end, she smiles at him and says “Oh my god” like she has some fun little secret! Did the writers want this to be an actual thing? That would have been even worse than C.J.

The men are on such a roll this episode, even Pacey isn’t immune. He gets all insecure that Audrey is too good at sex, and inappropriately asks her how many guys she’s slept with. She clearly doesn’t want to tell him, but can’t just tell him it’s none of his business, which makes me sad. Pacey is still referring to their relationship as an “arrangement,” but he thinks he’s entitled to know the intimate details of her personal life? GTFO of town.

Anyway, Pacey is about to ask Audrey to be his girlfriend when she tells him she’s been with 27 guys (gasp! The horror!) and he proceeds to crash his car. Subtle. Audrey heavily implies to Joey that she actually slept with more people than that, and eventually tells Pacey she actually slept with 57 people. He’s so horrified, he actually spits out his drink. It’s all very vaudeville.

But just wait, because it gets even more infuriating. Pacey finally gets over himself and tells her that his insecurities are his own, and it doesn’t matter how many people she’s slept with. Fine. Good. But then–twist!–it turns out she’s only had sex with five people! The entire thing was just a test, and she’s just a “makeout slut”! Because women who have sex with lots of people are gross, haha, get it?

This is ridiculous on so many levels. There’s the obvious sexual double standards, and the squicky implication that Audrey needs to be at least a little pure to be a viable love interest. But even putting those things aside, this is the kind of “twist” that makes all of her actions this episode nonsensical. When Pacey first asked the question, she compared herself to Madonna and Lady Chatterley (shot!)! And she not only lied to Pacey twice, she basically lied to Joey! Absurd. That would never happen between girlfriends.

In adorable news, Grams has a black boyfriend named Clifton Smalls! Of course, since he’s black, he only lasts for like, two episodes, but–at least she’s not overtly racist anymore? Small victories?

  • I love how Joey makes this face while talking about Charlie and Dawson has no idea she has the hots for him: —Nerdy SpiceA young white woman with brown hair (Joey) looks dreamily off to the side, smiling.
  • I wonder if we’re supposed to think that Joey is projecting her feelings for Dawson onto Charlie, especially since she talks about it right after crying over Dawson’s movie because she’s finally seeing her “best friend” achieve his dream.
  • Of course Oliver is deluded enough to think this dumb snow movie is actually “the best movie ever made.” Of course he is.
  • “You can actually see Charlie in all his glory. It’s enough to warrant its own credit in the main titles,” Dawson avers. Hee! It’s been a long time since we had SUCH a great euphemism. Kudos to all involved. (Two shots for sexual euphemism and Charlie objectification!) —Nerdy Spice
  • Pacey, post-coitus: “Where did you learn how to do that?” Audrey: “National Geographic.” Two solid euphemisms in a row! (Shot!)
  • I literally cackled out loud when Audrey asked Joey whether to tell Pacey about her past sexual partners, and Joey said, WITH A STRAIGHT FACE, “Honesty has always worked for me.” Oh yeah? Did that work with Dawson when you lied to his face about having sex with Pacey? Let’s fix that for you, Joey Potter: “Giving men the power to push my boundaries by asking inappropriate questions and answering them due to my misplaced sense of obligation and socialized feminine desire to please has always … led me to tears and suffering.” —Nerdy Spice
  • It also makes me really sad when Joey encourages Audrey to be sensitive to Pacey’s “fragile male ego.” She, of course, doesn’t connect it directly to her own experience (shot!), but it makes perfect sense that she would think this was good Pacey advice.
  • Joey has a RAGING case of Charlie Mentionitis. Wow.  —Nerdy Spice
  • I always think that I remember nothing about season 5, but as soon as this guy appeared at the door I was like “Clifton Smalls!” I mean they say this guy’s name SO MANY TIMES. I have no idea why. But it’s burned into my memory forever, apparently. (Seriously, I don’t even remember Charlie’s last name, even though I’ve seen him in like six episodes recently. I don’t even think I know Audrey’s last name! But I knew Clifton’s on sight!) —Nerdy Spice
  • Why does Dawson say his favorite movie is Run Lola Run? What happened to Spielberg? In fact, this whole scene where the movie critic patronizes Dawson over the “phase” he’s in where he wants to make artsy films of his friends going to the bathroom doesn’t even make sense, because Dawson has always been beyond that phase, or rather, he’s never entered it; he’s always believed that film snobs failed to appreciate sentimental movies like Spielberg’s. It’s like someone who’d never seen the show was writing this whole scene. —Nerdy Spice [Yeah seriously. I don’t even like Run Lola Run, but no one who cites that as their favorite movie makes a dippy romance whose dialogue sounds like low-rent Lifetime. –Janes]
  • Umm what is UP with this hilarious wipe transition from Pacey’s car driving away to Oliver standing in the theater? What was the point of that? Who decided to do that? I am so amused right now. —Nerdy Spice
  • Joey says it’s nice that Charlie’s acting like a real person rather than a “hipness quotation.” WTH is a “hipness quotation”?
  • OMG, when Dawson recites the critic’s review of Almost Famous, I was like “Wow, he remembered that for so many years!” And then she’s like, “Wow, that was last fall!” We’re so old!!
  • It warms my feminist heart to watch Joey draw boundaries when Charlie gets all gross with her. Of course, she immediately forgets about them five minutes later, but for one moment, I really enjoyed it. —Nerdy Spice
  • Jen rejects Oliver by saying: “I don’t think there’s a possibility of anything happening between us right… ever.” LOVE that mid-sentence course correction when she realizes “right now” is a terrible way to end that sentence with someone as un-self-aware as Oliver. —Nerdy Spice
  • Omg I forgot how annoying the end of this was. I thought Audrey was gonna be one or two above Pacey. And it turns out she’s slept with two fewer people than him! Of course this show wouldn’t let a woman worthy of love hit too high a Number. Sigh. —Nerdy Spice

Highlight:

Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 8.13.00 AM

Clifton Smalls and Grams have the cutest DTR talk ever. When Jen sputters, “Young lady, do you have a boyfriend?” Clifton Smalls says he is, then looks at her and says, “At least I think I am,” and she confirms. Adorable!

Most cringeworthy moment:

The male characters were all disappointments this episode, so it’s hard to pick. But I’ll go with Oliver’s hilariously deluded “I’m going to blow your mind in a million different ways that you haven’t even imagined yet.” In real life, he would definitely end up murdering her.

Drunkenness level:

Six shots, mostly because we don’t have a “creepy men being creepy” shot.


Previous installment here.

Next installment here.

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