Nighttime at the Leery house and Mitch is knocking down Joey’s entry ladder in dramatic fashion. He says there’s been a lotta sneaking around at night and there’ll be no more of that. Dawson protests the loss of the ladder by telling his father he’s a sexual being, get used to it. Yep, that’ll be a winning argument. Dawson says Pa oughta let nature take its course and leave the two teenage lovebirds alone in his bedroom. Mitch isn’t interested in his 15-year-old son impregnating the neighbour girl, so no dice.
But once Mitch leaves an unruffled Dawson alone in his room, there’s Joey. They kiss, back comes Mitch, out goes Mitch with Joey, and Dawson is grounded. And may I say Joey looks unremarkably unperturbed over being escorted out of her boyfriend’s house like this.
At the Potter house, Bess and Joey are talking about the Icehouse needing a health inspection. Bess wants Joey to pop over and see about it but Joey says she has school. 1. It’s nice to see Bess actually with the baby and 2. Bess mentions the baby’s sitter, finally. For awhile last season I was wondering if the writers forgot about this plot line.
Joey agrees to go, and Bess adds a few more restaurant cleaning requests on her while the baby cries. Joey looks severely annoyed, but says nothing.
At Dawson’s house, Dawson’s still insisting his dad should be onboard with him getting it on because that’s what Mitch was likely was doing when he was a teenager. Mitch is like yeah, and the thrill of getting away with it was what made it fun. Dawson’s like, so you want to add more excitement to my sex life! Thanks! He leaves, Mitch is stumped, and I’m weirded out.
Then he and the Mrs discuss whether they want that open marriage Mitch suggested last episode and looks like the answer is no.
At the high school Abby and Jen are chumming around and talking about a couple of boys they see in the parking lot. Abby’s thinking Jen needs to get on this Dawson-getting business already, and Jen looks about 40 years old with that haircut.
In school, Andie is bugging Pacey for notes he doesn’t have because he didn’t do his homework. Then she’s on him, hysterical and neurotic, about missing assignments leading to homelessness. I think I’m supposed to find this quirky and cute, but I’m already exhausted. Pacey gives her a reality check that you’re not likely to become a hobo if you do poorly in school one day, especially if you’re well off.
In class the teacher calls on Andie and she has to pass on the question and another guy answers, a fat dude with glasses who knows his shit. Abby is rolling her eyes because knowledge and education is for losers.
Now the teacher begins a project assignment that happens on TV all the time and never in real life: coupling students up in pretend families. Usually there’s some sort of egg involved, but this is about economics.
The pairings are as follows and of course tailored for maximum drama: Pacey and Andie, Abby and the smart guy she hates for no reason, Dawson and Jen, the parking lot boys as a homosexual couple, and Joey as a single mom. I’m thinking small town America would actually lose their shit over a teacher assigning students to pretend to be gay or single moms, especially in the ’90s, but this is TV so here we go.
In the cafeteria at lunch Joey is moaning over the project and while she’s saying it’s crap because it reminds her she has no idea what she’s doing with her life, any asshole can see she’s irritated that Jen is Dawson’s partner. Very reminiscent of the BS “I didn’t go to France because it was the easy way out!” schtick she pulled a couple episodes ago.
Anyway, here comes Jen. She and Abby sit down to lunch and Abby thinks Jen can turn Dawson’s head because he’s a 15-year-old horny boy. Smarty-pants, whose name is Kenny, approaches Abby about the project, and she tells him to do the assignment for her, get lost. Kenny looks sad and leaves.
Now it’s evening and Joey and Jack are at the Icehouse after close and Jack is mopping and doing a terrible job. Joey takes over and sends him to do something else. Bess says she can help Joey with her economics assignment and Joey’s like, no you can’t, I’m supposed to be successful. Shit, Joey. Bess says even if she’s not rolling in cash, she is like a single mom (Do we even know what happened to Bodie?) and can budget. Joey says no way, I’ll find someone else.
Next day Pacey and Andie are in a coffee shop working on their assignment. Pacey wants some Viper and Andie says they’re over-budget. But he’s insistent for some reason. Does he know he doesn’t actually get the car…? That it’s just pretend? Anyway, Andie says he can have it if their imaginary five-person family can find a two-bedroom apartment and already this makes no sense. Andie says they’re going to go look at apartments AKA waste real landlords’ time.
At Dawson’s house, Gail is being dropped off by some dude who pulls up onto the lawn (???) and gives an almost-too-friendly kiss goodbye. My goodness that is a short skirt. Anyway, Mitch sees and isn’t happy. Gail says whatshisface from accounting gave her a ride home. Is is standard to give your co-workers in accounting a kiss goodbye? Anyway, Mitch is back on the open marriage thing. He thinks if he just knows his wife is out with whoever then he can stop thinking she’s lying about it. And that sounds like a dumb idea, but that’s where this conversation is going. He thinks Thursdays should be about seeing other people.
Dawson and Jen are doing their economics project at the Lindley house and talking about their pretend kids’ college educations. Jen’s trying to segue this talk into something romantic and Dawson’s hedging and staying on task. Jen’s saying they’re compatible, but how great we can still hang out! But also, wow, it’s like nothing’s changed since they were dating! And Dawson’s starting to wig out, being a one-woman sort of dude, and hits the dusty trail but not before Jen gets in one last innuendo.
Pacey and Andie are looking at a massive dump– yes, they are really looking at apartments. 12 of them! Then they get into a really stupid fight. Pacey, who doesn’t understand that motivation should come from within and that he’s only hurting himself and now Andie, argues why try if his family doesn’t like him? Andie, whose fault this isn’t, starts to apologize, and Pacey cuts her off and starts yelling at her: she’s rich and has no problems and yadda yadda. Andie storms off in a huff and Pacey realizes he was being a dick and the landlady pokes her head out and actually wants to know if this pair of teenagers want to rent the place.
Joey is now interviewing a career woman who claims a few years ago she was at home raising kids, but went back to school and now she’s teaching art and working as an interior designer. Actually, she looks like a boss. Um, so a few years ago (Three, four?) she didn’t have credentials and now she has two professional jobs? Were the ’90s really this flush with job opportunities for inexperienced moms who opted out, or am I just jaded by the current economy? Either way, looks like this show set up more unrealistic expectations for Gen Y than Twilight.
Now the career lady is wanting to pick Joey’s brain about what should be obvious design flaws in a restaurant plan, and I’m thinking if you need a teenager’s help on this maybe you finished your design schooling a little too quickly.
Now Abby and Jen are in a coffee shop discussing Jens’ lack of success with Dawson. Kenny’s there and Abby asks him what he thinks of Joey (She’s hot) and then gets mad at him when he says they should be working on their assignment. Jen’s smirking, apparently finding Abby’s verbal abuse of this poor guy funny. Abby then convinces Jen to tart it up and throw herself at Dawson.
At the Leery house Gail has prepared a romantic meal, but since it’s Thursday, the date night with others evening, Mitch has made other plans.
Dawson and Joey are hanging out on the porch and Joey says her project is done. Also, career lady said Joey could intern at her company. Her company. So she is a boss. Stay-at-home-mom to student to owner of interior design firm and art teacher in just a few years. Well sure, why not. This is TV after all. Totally realistic. And the small town of Capeside can support a commercial interior design firm– okay, okay, I’ll stop, I’ll stop.
Anyway, Gail comes out and says since it’s Thursday, she’s going out and she doesn’t know when she’ll be back. Dawson and Joey start getting busy on the porch and Jen swings by in a sexy dress. She says, “If I’ve interrupted something, I can come back later,” in a way that suggests she’s not sorry and won’t be leaving. Joey leaves and says “Nice dress.” Jen gets very obvious and wants to go to Dawson’s bedroom.
At the Icehouse the two parking lot guys-now gay couple are arguing like old marrieds and leave. Joey tells Bess that career lady has great ideas about how Bess can lower her overhead costs. So on top of being a design business phenom, this woman also knows enough about the food industry to offer advice? Bess is annoyed, obviously, and Joey is affronted that Bess isn’t excited some stranger wants to make changes at her restaurant.
Bess is pissed that Joey blew off work that night when the Icehouse got swamped, and now health inspectors are coming in the morning and there’s tons to do to get ready. Joey is mad because she’s expected to help with the baby, the house and the family business, which I suppose she thinks should all be on Bess even though Bess is not her mom and they’re both in this together. Man, I was on Joey’s side when I was a teenager. I’m so old. But come on, Joey, you asshole. Quit blowing off work. Bess angrily tells her to go home and Joey goes ahead and does.
Pacey walks into the Icehouse and asks for a coffee even though he knows they’re closed. Jack makes him one and Pacey asks Jack about his sister: Is Andie on meds? What’s her damage? Jack says they’re not as rich as they seem and he’s not working at the Icehouse for shits and giggles.
There’s a montage of Mitch walking around a bar, getting no attention, and Gail drinking a cup of coffee alone in a cafe. There’s something about this scene which is really weird. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but it really looks like it’s daytime in the cafe. Old people are having cups of coffee, there’s what appears to be natural light filling the room the way a large window would.
In Dawson’s room, the assignment is done and now Jen has set to work attempting to seduce him. It’s hard to tell if Dawson is uncomfortable because he’s aroused or because it’s an embarrassing display of desperation. Let’s watch. Or I’ll watch and then tell you about it.
She presses her boobs together, massages him, rubs her body on him and then gets into his bed and asks to spend the night. Then when he says she should go, she’s like what? We can’t hang out? Then she tries to suggest Joey’s giving Dawson ideas about her, and that’s when he’s like, come on! He calls her out and asks if she doesn’t find it humiliating to throw herself at him. She’s like, no, I get you’re with Joey, I just don’t respect your relationship and I’m an option. He’s like, who is this nutjob? And Jen kisses Dawson and out she goes to a song, “Alone again.” This show really does beat you over the head with obviousness.
Mitch and Gail are now getting into bed and going over their nights apart. Gail lies and says she went out for drinks with a friend and now Mitch seems anxious.
In the morning, Bess drives up to the house, having cleaned up all night, and fires Joey. Joey apologizes and Bess is like, no, this is my mess, don’t worry about it. Joey says she’s not fired and they make up. But I’m doubting any of this will translate into her being a better employee. Though I’m wondering if Joey took care of Alexander all night? Does he have an all-night babysitter…?
At school, everyone is handing in their projects and Abby gets in one last dig at poor Kenny and he gets no justice. Andie hands in her share of the work, Pacey marches in late and hands in a complete assignment.
After school Abby tells Joey and Dawson to get a room when she sees them kissing.
Andie and Pacey make up and he reveals his version of the project has them buying a Viper and stuffing the family into a one-bedroom apartment.
Ooooh, and there’s a certain someone in the parking lot! She’s baaaaack.
Most Verbose Articulation: Dawson “So, by restricting my access to Joey what you’re really trying to do is liven up my sex life?”