Today’s post is brought to you by guest blogger Alek, a delightfully cynical writer, who has taken up the noble mantle of Dawson’s Creek reviewer for the week. Enjoy!
I’m not going to lie: I intentionally watched NONE of the preceding episodes in this season, hoping to draw on my cloudy memories of the plot from so many years ago. My first impression? This is some top notch dinner theatre acting. A+.
This episode opens with Dawson screening his completed [second?] film for Joey, and she reacts by immediately jizzing in her pants. After a Kubrick-level orgy of verbosity (are they fucking kidding?), I’m having serious doubts that anything in Dawson’s tear-fuelled teenage life could go this well. And of course it’s a dream. Because nobody likes Dawson or his shitty movies.
Suddenly Joey starts giving all credit to Jack, and Dawson’s fragile manhood collapses in an almost-visible way. Jack comes climbing in through the window to make out with Joey, and I’m thinking that Dawson missed the memo about the guy until he exclaims, “But, YOU’RE GAY!” Nope. He got it.
Credits roll, and WHAT THEME SONG IS THIS?! I feel robbed. Even more so because I don’t live in dreamland Capeside, where it’s apparently always sunkissed dusk in mid-autumn and nobody ever gets fat.
Cut to Capeside High’s Screenwriting 101 class, which is definitely not something that was offered in my high school. What is this, a liberal arts prep school? I thought Joey was supposed to be poor.
The teacher appears to be the same age as her students, and she’s leading them in the brainiest teenage discussion ever. Jen says that something is saccharine, and I’m like, “How old are you, Jen?” And then I realize that she’s probably about 35. Nevermind, Jen. Go on criticizing Capra. My bad.
Dawson runs into his dad in the hall, because he’s apparently teaching there now. He’s all, “You can call me dad,” which adds another layer to the mystery of how Dawson is not a total social pariah. All I can think is that Dawson’s dad definitely lifts a lot more than any of my high school teachers. Damn, Mitch. Dawson makes a shitty life = film allegory, flexing his piss-poor creative muscle (Mitch LIFTS, guys), and declares that his only certain desire in life is to be a filmmaker.
Joey, meanwhile, is trying to turn Jack into her gay BFF by judging the smalltown cafeteria boys, but, girl, look at the sweater you’re wearing. “Remember how we were dating? How weird was that?” Guys, this is fucking awkward.
Pacey is hanging around with wacky Andie, being Capeside’s most tolerable fake teenager, and I think they’re talking about a carnival or something? Andie wants Pacey to take her to the fortune teller, and to do the Captain Skippy tent, which sounds both terrifying and demonic. He acquiesces when she leans in and whispers what MUST be an offer of sexual favours.
And the carnival is happening! Joey is selling her shitty art with Jack, and she’s still trying to make gay BFFs happen. Stop it, Potter; it’s not going to happen. She tells Jack that she’s thinking about kissing, because the show runners want us to remember that Joey is extra virginal. Dawson shows up, and I think he’s wearing jogging pants. Jack is definitely judging.
“Dawson seems a little moody lately,” says Jack. Dude, are you new?
Andie is having a dead serious talk with Pacey about this fortune teller business. I wonder if she’ll be disappointed when she finds out that she’s just a glorified day player? Inside the fortune teller’s tent, Joey is going first, because she wants to know more about the kissin’ that the rest of these totally legitimate teenagers are doing. It’s $5 a reading, which seems like a bargain until you realize that the fraud is pretty much listing names and then talking about some kid who borrowed Joey’s pencil in kindergarten. Still, high point in the captivating drama so far.
Finally, things get tinkly and ethereal, and the fortune teller starts talking about Joey’s love life, pretty much explicitly talking about a love triangle. Thanks for coming out, lady. It’s almost as if she’s channeling the show runners and their need for emotional exposition. Satisfied that she’s earned her $5, the psychic lights up a cigarette indoors.
Dawson is hanging out with his film teacher at the carnival, and I’m detecting some inappropriate, Pacey-variety sexual tension. They’re talking about his film, and he casually refers to his dad as Mitch, ‘cause he’s a cool guy like that. Dawson tells the young lady that she’s inspiring, and she talks about being in “the business”, which explains why she’s teaching high school in Buttfuck, Massachusetts.
Joey’s complaining about the psychic’s reading to Jack, and they arrive back at her tent to find a regulation hottie checking out her terrible art. His name is Colin Manchester — I shit you not — because Capeside is the whiteness capital of New England, and that’s saying something. Judging by the way Colin and Jack make eyes, I’m pretty sure it won’t work out for Potter.
Jen is hanging out with Grams, grand mistress of bitchin’ sweater vests, at their own booth. Everyone in Capeside makes shitty crafts, because it’s MASSACHUSETTS, PEOPLE. An old lumberjack character named Whit Hubley (NOT KIDDING) comes up and makes clear his intention to get all up on Grams’ sweater vest business, because it’s about time old Evs gets a little romance. They apparently knew one another 30 years ago, which was about the time most of these high school students were born. Grams turns down Whit’s dinner invite. After he leaves, Jen comments that the old fella is sexy, which maybe hints at the wild sexual proclivities that got her sent to this shitberg seaside town.
Joey visits Colin’s tent. He offers to buy her hot chocolate, while Jack is basically giving her the creepy thumbs-up from about 10 feet away. They’re drinking in a private little spot, and Colin actually asks, “Are you aware of how beautiful you are?” before touching her face and turning into everybody’s least favourite guy on OKCupid. The more he talks, the less attractive he is. But then he says that what he really wants to do is photograph her, because — I’m telling you — this guy only wants the D.
Whit comes back for Grams. He won’t take no for an answer and brought her a rose. It’s like this is a retirement community for PUA dickbags. Grams concedes, but then Jen observes that she’s wracked with widow’s guilt. Grams admits that she’s closed up shop downstairs and has become all insecure about *the body*. The solution, Jen declares, is a makeover (isn’t it always?).
Andie is getting her banal fortune told, but a candle goes out and things get ominous. Next thing you know, she’s marching out past Pacey, silently angry.
Joey tells Jack that Colin wants to do a shoot with her. She’s all about keeping it mysterious between artists and expanding her horizons, and neither myself nor Jack have any idea what the fuck she’s talking about. He insists on coming along to guard her chastity.
Dawson has convinced his poor teacher to sit through a screening of his film, presumably using his wily charms (HA). She seems unimpressed with his film, or maybe she’s just really uncomfortable with this whole goddamn situation like I am.
Jen is giving Grams a makeover, but apparently they live pretty nearby, ‘cause I think this is all still happening during the carnival. I’m really disappointed that there isn’t a makeover montage.
At Joey’s photoshoot (how long is this day?), Jack and Colin are picking out costumes, and Joey complains that she looks like a drag queen. That’s what happens when you let your smalltown gay BFFs pick your outfit, honey — you look like Liza Minelli. Jack is shouting cheesy motivational lines at her, and Colin declares that she looks like a diva (as heterosexual men are wont to say). There’s an almost romantic moment when Jack leaves, but it doesn’t pan out because WE ALL KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING.
Grams’ makeover is complete, and she looks like a poor man’s Jessica Lange. Jack wouldn’t approve of this dye job.
Pacey, meanwhile, has decided to harass the fortune teller for whiny Andie’s sake (UGH). She tries to get all philosophical about it, which is rich for a woman who was talking a lot about a borrowed pencil. She proceeds to psychoanalyze Pacey in an accent which is starting to sound less and less consistent with every additional minute of screentime.
Elsewhere, Colin wants to ask Joey something. I am literally waiting on the edge of my seat for him to ask her if Jack is single. AND HE DOES. VINDICATED. There it is. Jack can GET IT. Joey — ever the faithful beard — runs off to tell Jack that Colin is THIRSTY, and takes the opportunity to knock his gaydar. He gets pissed off for good goddamn reason. You don’t say that shit, Joey Potter.
Jack gets gay panic because Joey is trying to set him up. He becomes really righteously indignified about exchanging numbers with a hot college guy, and I cannot wrap my fucking head around it. I could’ve been buried under the luggage at the back of the closet and I’d still hit it with that guy.
Back at Dawson’s deeply uncomfortable film screening, his teacher is squirming like an extra in a Vagisil commercial. He asks her for her honest opinion, and — well, shit — she lets him have it. “It’s a preposterous soap opera about a bunch of teenagers who talk too much,” she tells him, which is SUPER FUCKING META. She’s admittedly harsh, and she claims it’s for his own good, but lady: he’s a high school student cutting a full-length movie. I’d be impressed if he’d made anything other than a lip-synced music video with in-camera cuts.
Jack and Joey have a heart-to-heart about his sexuality. He basically explains that he’s not ready to go full gay. Bitch, please. You are a teenage boy. You would have sex with literally anyone. He concludes by giving her a kiss on the head, which is some kind of trite emotional payoff. I dunno.
Dawson is walking around crying (OF COURSE HE IS), and he sees what I’m fairly certain is his father going home with the film teacher. This can’t be helping Dawson’s crippling narcissism, Mitch. Dawson then turns his parted blonde sadness towards Jack hugging it out with Joey, and this further upsets him because he still hasn’t figured out how this whole gay thing works.
Andie finally tells Pacey what the psychic said. Apparently, she was informed that her shitty life is only going to get worse, which is a pretty terrible $5 carnival trick. Pacey reassures her to little avail. These two have a dearth of actual chemistry, and I’m trying to remember if this b-romance lasts for very many episodes.
Joey tells Colin that Jack isn’t coming to meet him, and he’s vaguely emotional about it? ACTING! He’s apparently on the rebound, reaffirming my belief that Jack is MISSING OUT. Joey asks about the break-up. His murky answer is supposed to speak to the complexity of break-ups, but sweet merciful lord, whatever. It all wraps up with Joey getting another tender kiss from a gay man, and that can’t be especially rewarding right now.
Jen finds that Grams has been stood up by Whit, because he had to go home to his wife. GEEZUS, Capeside men. Grams is sitting there feeling like what I’m sure she’d describe as a painted whore, but it turns out that she’s grateful for the makeover. It’d feel even better if you didn’t get your colour from a box, Grams.
Dawson visits the psychic with the ubiquitous Eastern European accent. She reluctantly agrees to read his fortune after-hours, and tells him some junk about his soulmate (barf). It’s honestly like the build-up to the movie Fear, and I’m pretty sure Dawson is a serial killer. And then the psychic disappears? Fuck me, that was pointless.
Now it’s time for a musical misery montage, and goddamn if we haven’t earned one. Dawson destroys the scale Capeside he’s built in his bedroom (SERIAL KILLER), while Joey lurks on his property. She has second thoughts and leaves, which seems like a good way to avoid becoming the first few panels of his skin suit.
The big finale finds Joey arriving home to find a mysterious man on her porch. When he turns around, she gasps, “Daddy?” and I have literally no interest in seeing where this goes.
MVA: “We creeksiders may be provincial, but we’re not stupid!” That’s not just verbose, that’s anachronistic and altogether too French country.