Opening scene, in Dawson’s bed as per usual, he’s watching bugs have sex. He’s using the video as a visual aid for his biology term paper. I don’t remember doing shit like that in high school, but this is TV.
Joey and Dawson then get into a conversation about how mating is instinctual, but not for humans according to Joey. She says dudes these days are conditioned to like who the media tells them to like, which is amusing because she’s gorgeous and has nothing to worry about there.
Dawson is like, isn’t there some kind of instinctual urges when you like a guy, Joey? And she doesn’t answer, but it looks like she’s thinking the answer is yes.
After the opening credits, the fab four are talking about the town’s annual beauty pageant (Which Dawson’s going to be filming) and since Jen’s there and she’s new in town they’re explaining it to her. She tells everyone her mom used to enter her in beauty pageants when she was a kid. And then Dawson starts encouraging her to enter to become the next Miss Windjammer, waxing poetic about the baton-twirling skills she must have, and her million-dollar smile (Which actually, we don’t see much of, do we?) and Joey skulks away from the conversation all annoyed.
Jen’s not interested, even despite the $5,000 prize and trip to New York and she also leaves the conversation, unwon by Dawson’s obvious attempts at wooing her back. If you call laying it on obnoxiously thick to the point of sarcasm an attempt.
Pacey calls him on it once Jen leaves and Dawson’s like, meh, might as well try being an ass since nothing else has worked. Pacey tells him to get over it and Dawson says he thinks he has but continues to make Jen uncomfortable with these weird overtures as some sort of hobby.
Jen and Joey are now talking about Joey’s chances of being able to afford college on scholarships and bad tips. Jen wants to be friends now that Dawson’s out of the way. Joey gives her some ice and Jen walks off defeated yet again. But this time Joey relents, sort of. She doesn’t want to wash hair or paint nails or anything else she’s seen on TV because I guess she’s never had a female friend before because she’s sort of an asshole.
At Capeside High, Pacey is tossing things out of his locker, looking for a pen in a way unlikely to discover a pen. Dawson reaches in and finds it immediately and asks Pacey if he’s okay. Pacey’s in a mood because his dad spent the morning giving him hell for failing school, skipping classes and stealing his car. Dawson offers his place for the night to get away and turns out Pacey’s actually looking to move out permanently. Dad’s suggested he become emancipated. He shows Dawson an apartment ad he’s been looking at.
But it’s no good because even at $250 a month for a roach hole, he can’t afford it on his video store wage. So Pacey starts musing about that $5,000 prize and Dawson reminds him it’s just for girls. Pacey says “Once again, sexual discrimination rears it’s ugly head,” because life is terribly unfair for the straight white men of this world and he’s sick of it. He also considers entering a beauty pageant would piss off his father.
In line at the cafeteria Jen is telling Joey she’s gorgeous and Joey’s like, no I’m not, so stop it. And she really seems to mean it. Oh teenagers. Jen says she was always afraid when she was with Dawson that he would suddenly realize how hot Joey was. Joey thinks she’s too tall to be pretty (And you know, maybe she’s mistaking all that social ostracism as bad feedback for her attractiveness).
Jen’s trying to talk Joey into entering the pageant but only starts to get through when she talks about the money she could win.
And the next scene is Jen taking Joey to register herself and we hear Pacey arguing about the constitution at the registration desk. He’s arguing sexual discrimination and he wants in that damn beauty contest. Dawson’s there too and he’s excited because he’s now covering a story about gender equality.
He thinks Jen’s there to enter and she says, no, just as a coach. He asks who she’s coaching, even though Joey is right there and filling out paperwork. Damn, buddy, you are really unobservant. He then says Joey entering a beauty contest is hilarious. Womp womp.
Obviously this insults Joey and she gets mad and Dawson says it’s only funny because he knows she hates this sort of stuff. He wants to know why she didn’t tell him and she says it’s because she knew he’d be an ass. He apologizes, but then starts to laugh again and Joey cuts him off. Dawson’s like, I’d never laugh at you! And Joey’s like, you just did!
Pacey’s sitting amongst the female Miss Windjammer wannabes and a girl named Hannah sits down near him. They seem to know each other. He puts down her privilege and she makes fun of him for being poor. And at some point he makes yet another gay-reference insult. This is sort of a habitual thing for him.
A lady comes to talk to the candidates for orientation, making it clear the rules will be rewritten next year to exclude dudes. Hannah continues to insult Pacey and he asks the girls to vote her as Miss Congeniality.
Evening at Jen’s house, and she’s trying to teach Joey to walk in heels with a book on her head. One decent attempt, but Joey’s already annoyed and looks like she wants to quit. She asks Jen why she’s doing this. Jen thinks she means the heels training, but Joey wants to know why Jen’s trying to be friends when Joey’s been such a C U Next Tuesday.
Jen says she’s never had female friends and from the looks of it, neither has Joey (Yeah, no shit). Joey wants to know why she doesn’t hang out with the cool kids instead and Jen says it’s ’cause they’re dumb. She thinks Joey’s self esteem needs an overhaul.
Now we’re seeing Pacey practice his singing in front of Dawson and Mitch Leery. Mitch wants to know if Pacey can do anything else since his performance is kinda crummy. Pacey then says he has a dress in mind for the evening wear, but Dawson says if he wants to win, he should take it seriously. Think of the press! Pacey’s like yeah… I just care about the money.
At Jen’s Joey and Jen are discussing their individual Dawson situations while gazing out the window at his house. Joey says he’ll always see her like he did when they were kids.
Back at Dawson’s, Dawson is asking Pacey if he’s talking to Joey because she’s been avoiding him (Probably because he laughed at her). He says he misses her and Pacey’s like, yeah, ’cause you love her, d’uh. Dawson says he cares about her like a sister and can’t get past that. And now Pacey’s irritated because Dawson told him not to pursue Joey and he’s like, so you don’t want her, but no one else should have her either? And Dawson’s got nothing to say to that.
At the competition, Dawson is interviewing the candidates and one girl says she might like to work with– and this is verbatim, folks– the crippled or retarded children. Or maybe become a model. Dawson keeps a straight face.
Joey and Jen arrive, and Joey’s wigged out that Dawson’s doing the interviews. Jen tells her not to worry because it’s a small thing for the judges.
Pacey’s working on a magic act (He does magic?) and Hannah is back to antagonize him some more. He offers her a roll in the hay to help her skin…?
Dawson’s now interviewing someone who’s been accepted to Juilliard but will not be going till she’s done a tour with the Peace Corps. Well heck.
Back to Pacey and Hannah, apparently their history goes back to grade 6 when she stood him up. She asks if Pacey really thinks he has a chance to win and he says if he helps her lose then it’ll be worth it.
Joey sits down for her interview and Dawson asks, “If you could commit one act without consequence, what would it be? She says she’s rob a bank so she wouldn’t have to be here. He asks her to get serious. What example would you want to give your kids? Treat others the way you want to be treated. Who are your role models? No one. Where do you see yourself in five years? Tunisia or Africa (Uh, Tunisia is in Africa) or Antarctica.
Dawson’s perplexed that she wants to go so far away. Won’t she miss family and, ahem, friends? Sure, but whatever, Joey says, life changes, deal. People die, move and grow up. And just like that, she ends the interview and leaves.
Now the Miss Windjammer pageant has begun. Joey’s getting her makeup done. She says, “Everyone’s going to laugh at me,” and now all I can think about is Carrie.
Jen says Vaseline will keep her lips from sticking to her teeth when she smiles and Joey’s like smiling?! I have to smile? Wha…? Oh Joey.
Dawson goes to visit Pacey, who has his own dressing room in a closet, and Pacey tells him not to make any jokes about coming out of the closet. And that’s the second gay joke he’s made this episode. I’m telling you, Pacey’s got a fixation. Although, yes, this was the ’90s, when you could be a homophobe without looking like an asshole.
Pacey wants to know if Dawson thinks he’s an idiot for entering and Dawson says he’s got balls of steel. Then he gives him Vaseline for his teeth, courtesy of Mrs. Leery. What for asks Pacey. Damned if I know says Dawson.
In a breathy intro, the candidates are brought out in their evening wear. ’90s evening fashion is a little cheesy. Now it’s Joey’s turn, she looks great and when Dawson sees her he looks like he’s about to mess his pants.
Pacey’s with Jen and taunting her about Dawson eyeing up Joey, asking if she’s experiencing any dumper’s remorse in the 6.8 seconds it’s been since Joey captured Dawson’s attention. Jen unconvincingly says no. Pacey says it’s human to suddenly want what you’re about to lose to someone else. And then it’s his turn on the stage. Jen’s got a nauseas look on her face and the crowd is loving the novelty of Pacey.
We breeze through the talent portion and interviews. The sharp lady who wants to work with cripples and retards says she’d help the governor lose 30 pounds in 30 days. Miss Juilliard Peace Corps is playing something complex and dramatic on the piano. Pacey’s charming the crowd with great answers.
Pacey sneaks over to Mrs. Leery, who’s helping judge the contest, to see how he’s doing. He’s a hit, she says, but has no chance of winning because the club would rather die in a sea of flames than crown him Miss Windjammer. He’s bummed and walks off.
Joey’s turn to sing on stage after one last pep talk from Jen. As she walks up, Dawson approaches Jen and says she did a great job. Jen takes the opportunity to tell Dawson she and Joey are becoming friends, but also that she misses his friendship, and more. But it’s too late. Joey’s singing a song from Les Miserables, On My Own. Subtlety =/= this show. Her singing voice is overly cutesy at first. But no matter. Dawson is pretty much falling in love right now.
After Joey’s done singing, Dawson goes to get Pacey, who flails his cards. He’s like, you didn’t think I could win, did you? And Dawson’s like, come on, obviously no. Then Pacey’s saying since he’s got nothing to lose, he’s going to tank the show.
And even though it was his turn, and even though he left his closet wearing a suit, he managed to find some blue face paint, inform the announcer he was changing his act, and strip down to his vest to do a Mel Gibson’s William Wallace act.
Now Joey is walking to the dressing room and she overhears some shit from Hannah about how if she wins it would be a charity case because she lives in her trailer and her sister just had an illegitimate black baby. Shit, man, there’s that emphasis on the black part again. Have I blocked out how racist the ’90s were in comparison to now?
But the girls aren’t done. They bad mouth Joey some more, Dawson witnesses the bashing and Joey runs off. Dawson runs after her, and she’s fuck this, I’m done. Dawson tries to convince her that the reason the girls were badmouthing her was because she’s a threat to them. Joey’s still not going back and Dawson gives her this passionate speech about how proud he is of her.
And the speech worked because Joey’s back up there answering interview questions. When asked about the advice she’d give today’s youth she uses it as a way to give a subtle ding to Hannah about not judging people based on material things.
After the break, it’s time to find out who won this shindig, and it’s not Hannah. She gets second runner-up. And there’s smug looks everywhere. The prize is tickets to a matinee at a theatre that can only be used on Tuesday or Thursday. Seeing as that’s during school hours, it seems like a booby prize.
First runner-up is Joey. She wins a free day of beauty at a place called “Betty’s Hair Barn.” Sounds swanky. Since she hates things to do with hair and nails, this no doubt will be put to good use.
And the winner is the very deserving and accomplished, unnamed-till-now Roberta, the one with the mad piano skills and the Juilliard acceptance. Well, that seems fair.
Dawson and his mom meet Joey outside and Mrs. Leery lets Joey know she had her vote and gives her a kiss. Rather generous considering all that ongoing snarky attitude Joey gave her about the affair. Maybe that awkwardness has worn off? …or maybe the writers just forgot about it. Who knows?
Mrs. Leery leaves and Dawson and Joey get cozy and Jen watches and looks crushed. That girl really needs to get a grip. You didn’t want him earlier that day! How fickle.
Anyway, Dawson’s telling Joey in a very roundabout way that he’s attracted to her now. Which is what Joey’s been waiting for all this time. And because she’s incapable of being happy, she says there’s something not right about the whole thing. And then Dawson’s like, I thought this was what you wanted.
OKAY, wait. His whole thing was how they were just friends and stuff. Now he’s basically admitting to knowing her feelings all this time? Shit, he opened this episode prodding Joey about, “Isn’t it instinctual when you want a guy (AKA me)?” Oh, man. Douche!
Anyway, back to Joey. She doesn’t seem surprised Dawson knew about her feelings. However, she is upset that Dawson is finally seeing her physical beauty now that she’s made an effort towards it and she thinks he should have been more, I don’t know, cerebral about falling in love with her as a person without all that stuff. You know, Joey, that’s great. But he’s a teenage boy and they like shiny things.
Dawson wants to talk about this new buzzing romance between them and Joey’s like, nope! Now that you want me, I don’t want you because you might stop noticing me later. I can’t wait for you to process that now you like me! And just like that, in a verbal swirl of over-analysis, she’s gone and Dawson is left wondering what the fuck just happened.
Pacey approaches Hannah outside and offers sincere condolences for her third place finish, which Hannah accepts. She then opens up about her less-than-stellar home life in which her family pays her no attention. The two laugh over their crummy families and my guess is that bonding moment is the last we’ll see of Hannah.
Outside the Leery house, Jen asks Dawson how his news coverage went, but his mind’s really on other things. She then jumps right in, tells Dawson she doesn’t know why she dumped him in the first place and asks for another chance. Dawson didn’t see that coming. He’s shocked and actually not that interested now that he has some Joey to muse over. Jen leaves with a flea in her ear.
The episode closes with Joey looking at herself in the mirror, the song she sang in the baby voice playing till the credits.
Most Verbose Articulation: Dawson: Except, I’m afraid, your God-given ability to relieve yourself standing up has rendered you ineligible.