Here we go, a bunch of nice establishing shots and some classy music…maybe piano flowing into a flute solo?
We begin with Dawson Leery and Joey Potter in bed together discussing movies. The first words spoken on the series are from Joey, (let’s face it, this is her show). And how fitting: “I’ll be right here”. And she is until…well, you know, spoilers.
Dawson’s mom, Gail Leery, makes a brief appearance on tv, and they make fun of her hair (so we know they are real teenagers). Joey puts on her shoes, and Dawson is sad because he wants her to sleep over with him, as she has since they were 7. Joey reminds him that they are 15 now, and that shit don’t fly no more. She has breasts and he has (more) genitalia. Besides, they start high school Monday.
He makes the compelling argument of “Don’t make me start calling you Josephine” coupled with a tickle fight, and she stays. Dawson, you are one smooth operator.
Roll credits, where these kids have more fun in these few minutes than I had my entire high school experience. How is this fair? Oh c’mere, I can’t stay mad at you guys! Besides, all these pastels are so soothing…
doo doo doo doo do doo do do do doo doo doo doo dooo doo ooh
More establishing shots, (I hear seagulls!): Capeside.
A monster tosses Joey off the dock and into the drink—wait, that’s no monster, It’s Pacey Witter, acting. Joey and Pacey bicker while Dawson waves his camera around and chastises them for their inability to follow his instructions, and whines that at this rate he might not be done in time for the big film festival!
Enter Jen Lindley, straight out of a yellow cab, to the tune of Bodeans’ “Hey pretty girl”. Pacey immediately decides he’d like to hit that, and strides toward her as she stretches (from the long cab ride, not so we look at her boobs, obvs). The boys drool on her while Joey hates on her and the guys.
Dawson and Pacey go to his house, where Dawson’s parents are going at it in the living room on the (wicker!) coffee table. In the middle of the day. Mom calls Dad “Mister man meat”. No wonder Dawson is…troubled.
Joey canoes home and her male guardian/stepfather-esque figure, Bodie Wells, makes her try something out of a saucepan, which Joey describes as orgasmic. Not how I would talk to my stepdad, but what the hell do I know? Sister, Bess Potter, comes out very pregnant and mad that Joey didn’t put the clothes she borrowed back. She swears that she’s gonna knock her silly. Raising your teenage sister is not easy, okay people? She calls the sauce orgasmic too. I guess gross runs in the family.
Cut to the video store with Dawson and Pacey where Pacey makes fun of Dawson and some blond chick who obviously got lost on her way to the set of clueless.
Next Pacey macs on “somebody’s mother” who is casually knockin’ about town in lingerie. Introducing Tamara Jacobs. She tosses out some lines to Pacey like “I’m in the mood for romance” and other thinly veiled yuck. Then she asks to rent the graduate. OH FOR EFF SAKES.
Jen is sitting on a bridge with the sunset all around her and “As I Lay Me Down To Sleep” by Sophie B. Hawkins swelling in the background. How could Dawson not fall in love with her?
We find out Jen doesn’t do the whole God thing, in stark contrast to Evelyn “Grams” Ryan. Oh, conflict! She thinks Dawson is kinda young to be so ambitious. Mac daddy Dawson comes up with a new pickup line: would you like to see my studio? WHICH IS JUST HIS BEDROOM, Y’ALL!
Jen flirts by making up a psyc diagnosis: obsessive reality disorder (come on guys, would it have killed you to crack open the DSM?) and diagnosing Dawson with it. Joey comes up her ladder and sees Dawson’s already got Jen in his room. Thankfully, before she throws herself off the roof, Grams calls Jen home (out the window, not on the telephone). Cue the close ups: Joey looking wistful and Dawson looking pervy.
Dawson asks Joey if she thinks his mom is sleeping with a coworker because of the way she says “Back to you Bob” with soft Bs, and he replays her throw to Bob a hundred times.
Jen looks in on her sick grandpa (we know just how sick he is because of the 90 million pill bottles on his bedside table). Jen looks at the big scar on his chest and Grams gets all up in it when she sees Jen sitting there. We see Grams is a real cold fish when she can’t say anything nice back when Jen says she is glad to be there.
Jen asks Grams about Dawson, and she says stay away, he’s trouble, same goes for Joey from down the creek. That floozy has been crawling in his bedroom window for 10 years. Also they don’t go to church.
Grams is pissed when Jen won’t say grace and demands to know, “Is there some reason you don’t want to thank our Lord this morning?” Jen drops the atheist bomb. This is going to be good.
Cut to Capeside high. Crank I Get Knocked Down by Chumbawamba. HIGH SCHOOL IS FUN!
Clueless video girl, who has a name, and that’s Nelly, meets Jen. She talks about church and partying in the same breath. Jen says she likes to have a good time substance free and Nelly hates her now. Now Jen needs a cigarette even though she quit. Dawson walks her to class.
Everyone goes to first period:
I swear to God Pacey is crossing his eyes and has a book on his head (isn’t he just the archetypal class clown?) when who walks into class but Tamara (she put on some clothes for her teaching gig). She makes Pacey call her Miss Jacobs during school hours.
Jen figures out that she and Joey have bio together, even though Joey nearly dives under the table so Jen won’t sit with her.
Dawson, the self entitled little yahoo that he is, comes to talk his way into the 5th period film lab even though priority goes to upperclassman. And he gets shot down (which he is obviously not used to).
Jen wants to know if Joey and Dawson are an item. Joey is forced to say no, while she defends herself against Grams’ accusations. We get a little Joey back-story: Her dad is in jail for drug dealing, and she lives with her sister, who is pregnant from her black boyfriend (This might have been a bigger deal in the 90s), When asked about her mom, she says she “had this cancer thing that got her” (and if this line didn’t break your heart, then you don’t have one).
Lunchtime, at the cafeteria: Jen and Dawson are people-watching and giving classmates stories that are more interesting than their real lives. Dawson asks for Jen’s help (with his movie), saying, “I’m having a climax issue”, and we all roll our eyes right along with Joey.
Pacey takes another run at Tamara, and recommends the Summer of 42 as she eats her lunch at her desk, but she’s going to the theatre tonight. This gives Pacey an idea, and he runs to Dawson for help stalking the faculty. Dawson then introduces us to the alarming euphemism: walk your dog, but ultimately is forced to agree. Far be it for him to ruin Pacey’s shot at losing his virginity in a high level fantasy fashion
Dawson invites Miss Teen New York to the movie in an effort to cockblock some jock quarterback. Then he asks Joey to be wingman. She suggests that she might prefer an evening slamming her fingers in a car door. but his please please please pleases convince her, or maybe she can’t resist the backwards cap.
Jen and Grams fight some more about church, and we get a hint that Jen has a dark past, “I know what happened in New York, church will do you good.”
Jen says she’ll go to church if Grams will say penis (no dice). Then Jen smacks her on the bum and heads for the movies. (Dafuq just happened?)
Dawson’s Dad, Mitch Leery, is playing with barbies wearing scuba gear (he is restaurant planning, okay?), and watching mom on tv. (which he says is the best foreplay). Dawson is pissed about everyone having sex on the brain and asks “Does that mean we have to go hump the coffee table?”
Bess teaches Joey how to lipstick to the tune of Good Mother by Jann Arden. Bess grabs Joey’s chin, and squeezes her lips out in what might be the first public appearance of duckface. She makes her blot, and reminds her to reapply every half hour (lipstick technology was really lacking back then, I guess)
Jen notices lipstick right away (who wouldn’t), and asks what shade (wicked red). Joey then has the audacity to ask Jen what hair colour she uses (buuurn). Dawson threatens her life. Then Joey asks if Jen is a virgin (because Dawson is, and that could be clumsy). Joey says she lost her virginity to a trucker named Bubba.
Dawson tries to get the nerve together to go in for the handhold as the movie starts. Of course Joey ruins the moment by asking Jen, “Are you a size queen?” Dawson threatens Joey’s life again and drags her away.
Cut to a most painful scene where Pacey seems to have convinced himself that he is on a date with Tamara, and demands to know “Who is this guy?” when her date shows up (FYI: it’s Benji). Now Tamara was only renting a movie, and Pacey gets punched in the face after spilling his popcorn on her lap.
Dawson and Joey fight in the lobby. First she’s mad about Jen and then she’s mad because his life is too perfect and he needs to grow up.
Jen won’t let Dawson walk her to the door. He gets no action because Grams is creeping on them. Jen says she will pretend they kissed (Weird, I don’t get it?)
Pacey, looking like he could use some emergency medical care, runs into Tamara on the bridge and calls her out on her cockteasing. Like any psychologically sound adult, she starts making out with him…and then runs away. See you in school Miss Jacobs.
Dawson comes home and Joey is hiding in his closet, “hanging with the clothes”. She admits she wigged out. He apologizes for being an insensitive male.
Of course, Dawson also comments on the lipstick. Yes, teenagers, the world truly does revolve around you, and every microscopic decision you make. Everyone will notice the slightest modification to your appearance.
She says their relationship will change, and when Dawson says it won’t she asks, “How often do you walk your dog?” He gets all pissy, and says “goodnight”
OMG They’re playing “I’ll Stand By You” by The Pretenders! I’m already weeping along with Joey and the song when Dawson screams his preferences out the window (Usually in the morning with Katie Couric). This odd little oedipal overshare means everyone is happy and laughing again.
Yikes, but then Joey looks up and there’s Dawson’s mom kissing (Back to you) BOB!
Most Verbose Articulation goes to Joey: “I just think our emerging hormones are destined to alter our relationship and I’m trying to limit the fallout.”
Runner up, Pacey: “Listen , I have three menstrually diverse sisters, okay? Cosmo is my savior.”
That’s the pilot. Next week Jenn will take you through episode 2!