Dude, I’ve not written a review in THREE weeks. I feel so lost.
Pacey is lugging up a Betamax machine up from “the halls of obsolescence” for Dawson. All his mom’s old news clips are in beta and he’s going to be doing a project for her. Pacey exclaims his disbelief over Dawson doing news instead of fiction, and uses too many words. Dawson says this might be an in with his mom’s work to get his stuff on the air, then it’s right back to doing what he wants to do.
Pacey’s like, this could change your genre; real life is more compelling. Dawson says that real life is “interesting,” but it’ll never be as dramatic as a “well-conceived narrative.” This is coming from the guy who can’t stop writing about his failed teen romance.
Pacey reminds him he’s been living a dramatic and far-fetched life. I think these opening shots in Dawson’s bedroom have been the writers’ way of either making fun of the show or patting themselves on the back. And when factored with the epic prop fails that make the show look ridiculous, it’s hard to say which.
Dawson says his documentary subject is going to be Jack, the newly out gay football player. He puts the beta tapes in the machine and turns out his mom taped over her work, like any good professional would do.
And look! There’s Joey’s mom introducing her to Dawson for the first fucking time. So… this would have been in the late ’80s. They had a Betamax camcorder in the late ’80s? And this already-obsolete piece of equipment was brought out for this specific occurrence? Just for fun I looked up how much one of these would have cost and adjusted it for inflation. We’re looking at around $3,300 US. Money well spent! And it just happens to be the first video Dawson plays. Yeah, this is totally believable. OMG, then the camera switches shots:
Professional editing on a home movie taped on beta, over mom’s work clips. Amazing. Slow clap.
Little Joey pushes over little Dawson and runs away in a streak of symbolism. Dawson watches the film fondly.
Cue the credits.
At Jen’s house, Grams is disgruntled that Jen is wearing ripped black fishnets with her cheerleader uniform. Jen says in an effort to make a statement about the objectification of women, she’s wearing said trashy fishnets. I don’t understand what message this might be except for “Look at me.”
Grams says when she was on the pep squad she relished the chance to wear her uniform and show her spirit. Jen says Grams was showing more than her spirit and Grams’ look at the camera is priceless.
At school, Joey and Pacey briefly bond over hating school spirit amidst a sea of balloons and streamers and he asks her to cut class. Joey’s like, n’ah. And in the background is that “School, now do as you’re told” banner from last season. Recycling weird shit there, props department.
Pacey attempts to convince her to come with him without telling her what he’s got in mind. He succeeds with very little effort, with Joey insisting she hates him.
On the football field, Dawson is interviewing Jack. Jack says the only thing he knows less about other than football is being gay. Then Mitch pops over and tells Jack to get to practice. Dawson gets set to interview his dad, and Mitch is like, no, get an extension, I got shit to do.
During this practice, a bunch of players are loafing around on the grass, doing half-assed stretches, looking at Doug Flutie’s old discarded mouthpiece. Jen walks up and says that’s gross. Henry, the poor lovesick bastard who’s in possession of it as a good luck charm, looks mortified. Jen says he needs his head examined, and leaves.
Then Henry crawls over to Jack and says Jen’s voice is like music and her name is fire in his loins. And no one turns their head to pay more attention to this affected failed-Shakespeare nonsense. Jack suggests Henry just say hi.
In the school, the cheerleaders inform Jen she needs more iron, and also that they’re auctioning off her kisses in a silent bid auction.
My high school was many things, but I can’t see it ever allowing something like this. Jen’s like oh hell no. I’ll do car washes and I don’t even know what pep is, but this is too far. And she quits in front of a large interested crowd and storms off, away from girls who call her “Jenny.”
Andie zooms out of a class and runs right into some guy carrying a folder labelled ETS. He’s like, back off, lady, keep your hands where I can see them. Andie asks if he’s with the Educational Testing Service, and I wonder how many other people would ever know what the ETS is. She fishes about why he’s there and gets all FBI on her and informs her it’s confidential and says “breech of security.”
He wants to know where he can find the principal and Andie says she wants to apologize for her “recalcitrance.” And he’s like, “Recalcitrance?” all suspicious. I had to look that word up: “having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline.” She’s like, oh, I meant repentance. Because recalcitrance really rolls off the tongue.
Pacey and Joey are now walking to the outskirts of Capeside and Joey’s calling it a death march. Apparently they first went to the post office to pick up a package and now are walking out of town. Pacey wants them to hitchhike. Actually he wants Joey to do it because she’s more likely to be successful. She’s like no, you sexist toad. And then I saw this freeze frame and chuckled.
And just as easily as he seduced her into cutting class on this boring endeavour, he talks her into hitchhiking and he flies into a bush as she flags down a car. Well, this is a stupid idea. Oh, and look, it’s her principal. Ha! He offers her a ride back to school. Womp womp.
Pacey emerges from the bushes with a silly tale about a biology assignment. The principal laughs, and it turns out Pacey’s carrying poison oak.
It’s nightfall and Dawson catches up with his dad in the locker room and wants 10 minutes for an interview. He seems completely unaware this is for the actual news. Dawson reminds him he told him about all this already. And now that Mitch is paying attention, he ain’t happy. He says football is a head game and he can’t have his star player distracted.
Father and son square off, Mitch saying he’s worked too hard (Though is having a news story about a player really a problem?) and cares very little that not sending in a news segment is pretty much blowing a significant opportunity and burning a bridge with this station. He says some other great shot will turn up.
Dawson asks if Mitch is telling him not to do the story. Mitch says he doesn’t have to because he knows Dawson will make the right choice. He seems to place a lot of undue morality on this topic.
The next day, Dawson goes to see Joey at the marina. She immediately makes jabs about Eve. He’s like, save it, she and I aren’t talking. He’s there for advice. He tells her his dad problem and she’s like, uh, isn’t a national news story more important than a high school rivalry? Dawson says, yeah, but basically his life sucks and this will be a huge blow to his ego. Joey calls it a Greek drama. I call it a lame excuse for conflict.
Joey says you can fight your dad and earn his respect, or fight him and lost him forever. Shit, Joey. Get some therapy.
Dawson says if he does it, it’ll kill Mitch. Joey offers an unhelpful comment about Freud. Before he leaves he gives her a VHS, presumably of the professional home movie he found earlier.
At Jen’s house, she wakes up to a bunch of people who won’t let her quit.
Well, they’ll let her quit being in charge, but they still need her lips because someone paid $500 and stipulated it had to be Jen. And even Grams is in on this shit, suddenly happy to whore out her unwilling granddaughter in the name of school spirit.
Jen’s like, eff this noise, I’m not for sale. Then suddenly it’s all, “What are we going to tell the CCHPC? The who? The Capeside County Home For Parentless Children. Capeside has a fucking orphanage, y’all. How many orphans can a small town have that would necessitate an institution to house them? Dawson’s Creek just went Dickens on us. So now it’s pucker up or the children don’t get seconds of gruel.
At school, Andie is browsing random pamphlets and is approached by the principal. He vaguely mentions a “disciplinary matter” that he wants to discuss at length with her on Monday. Andie shits her pants.
In his office are Joey and Pacey, who bicker. Joey hopes a deer tick crawled in his ear and laid eggs. The principal drops a box before them and opens it. They’re horrified and say no way. I’m guessing mascot costumes. Are they mascot costumes?
Jack sees his sister sitting in the middle of a stairwell like an asshole with lots of people navigating around her, and asks her what’s wrong. She’s like, whatever could you mean? And Jack points out she’s sitting in the middle of the stairs. He drags her up and says he’s going to meet with Dawson about his interview, which he’s feeling pretty great about.
Andie, in typical piss-on-other-people’s-happiness-because-she’s-steeped-in-her-own-bullshit fashion, tells him it could blow up in his face.
She then– okay, what a cunt– in a fit of self absorption, she’s outlining how disappointed their father, their massively homophobic asshole father, will be with everything out in the open. She’s thinking of being exposed as a cheat. But she’s saying this shit to her recently out brother who’s taking a big leap for himself.
Jack, to his credit, does not punch her in the face. He’s like, uh, what? Dad knows I’m gay. Andie then snaps out of her narcissism stupor and dials it way back and says she just wants him to be careful and consider consequences. And with her brother’s confidence in tatters, she walks off.
At the Leery house, there’s Dawson’s story on the news. Jack talking about how no one cares he’s gay, and then the opposing coach making some offensive comments about lipstick. Dawson asks his dad what he thinks and Mitch says he’s now going to lose the game. Atta boy, Mitch.
Mitch then says that beforehand, no one knew about Jack and now he’s got a bullseye on him. Dawson points out Mitch never explained that and Mitch was like, uh, it was obvious! Face-palm. Mitch said it was about losing focus. Now it’s about Jack being a target. Mitch goes on about losing the game now, and Dawson’s like, get a grip, the team never wins.
Then the conversation becomes something else and they start laying out their issues with each other, namely about Mitch not talking to his son since he became a coach. And Mitch calls him self absorbed and self righteous and says he should look out for other people. Then Dawson calls himself the parent in the relationship. And that ends the fight and they retreat.
Next day at the game, Jack is making great catches and he’s getting pummelled down. And there’s the gay bashing, “limp-wristed homo.” Dawson and Jen are watching the game, and Dawson’s feeling pretty shitty and asks her if Jack’s abuse on the field is all his fault. Jen says yes.
Jen tells him to chin up; his crushing guilt has nothing on the fact she has to kiss some slob later. Everyone on this damn show is so self-involved.
On the field Joey and Pacey are getting out… mascot costumes! Or rather, one costume. It’s a mule. And Joey says that since she’s not earning money at work to be here because of Pacey, she’s not being the ass end.
Hey, whatever happened to that package? What was it?
Anyway, he then infers he’ll barf if he’s the rump, and she gives in yet again with very little fight. For someone she supposedly hates so much, he has a lot of sway over her.
At home, Andie is practicing in the mirror this pathetic speech about why she cheated. She cites losing Pacey after going to the psychiatric ward, and of course mentions nothing about her cheating on him being the sole reason he dumped her. Of course the reality is, she’s Type A and has bad judgement. Andie sucks.
During the game, Capeside’s team is losing badly and Mitch is trying to rally them during half time. It’s not going well because Mitch is not very inspiring. Dawson barges in with a plan to obscure the numbers to hide Jack from the other team. The second part of his plan involves the cheerleaders, who are now in the dressing room and not on the field during halftime.
Back on the field, the numbers are poorly muddied, and the boys’ faces are coated in thick makeup and they’re winking at the other team. Henry says, “Try and find the homo now.” Sigh.
After the break, Capeside is up 21 points and trailing by 3 with seven seconds left. So they’ve weirded out the other team to near victory.
And Jack makes the touchdown. Suddenly the piles of players willing to crush his bones are missing, despite all the mud on his number having come off. But that’s TV, folks. The principal bounds up to Mitch to congratulate him on his imaginative game strategy and Mitch happily takes all the credit.
Andie runs up to the principal and wants to confess, and before she does, Principal Green tells her he wants her to be part of a student disciplinary committee. And like a massive hypocrite she says she’d love to. When he asks what she was going to say, she brushes it off and solidifies herself as a big cheat.
Now it’s time for the big kiss, and Jen, your shit doesn’t fit.
And here comes the mule with a football player on it. And since Joey’s the back end, is he riding her? The mules collapses, so probably. Pacey, you unchivalrous ass. Ha! See what I did there?
And the winner is Henry. He sold Flutie’s mouthpiece to get the $500 for the kiss. Now the crowd is goading the kiss on. Henry says she doesn’t have to, and that’s all Jen needs to be okay with it and plants one on him. Oh, look at that, he’s in love now.
And Jen’s been crowned homecoming queen. She looks super psyched about it.
Jack’s on the bench and his sister marched up, full of cheer now that things are coming up Milhouse for her again, and she’s like, see? All you need is a positive attitude! God, I hate this chick. Jack’s like, what about all that disgracing the family shit? And she goes, oh, don’t worry about that. I’m just relieved it’s over! Meaning her own shit, of course.
Then she asks who won the game, and the look Jack gives her says it all:
This boy is a saint.
And then out from under the costume are two kids we’ve never seen before. Joey and Pacey somehow weaselled these two unknowns into being a mule.
Pacey, meanwhile, is showing Joey his boat. It’s a piece of junk, but it’s his new project. And the mystery package contained a sign with his boat’s name, “True Love”. Then Pacey gives Joey a sander and tells her to start sanding. And she does it. Seriously, Pacey has this girl wrapped around his finger.
Evening time, Dawson is waiting for his dad outside of the field. They have a heart to heart where Mitch talks about how he felt when Dawson was born. I dunno, this conversation is not very direct. Mitch sort of apologizes/advises. Dawson takes it happily. I guess things are resolved. I don’t really care.
Dawson offers to play a game of catch with the football. Mitch is like, let’s leave the football where it belongs. Then he throws it away. What?
Cut to a clip of the home movie and there’s little Dawson catching a football. Joey’s watching the movie, looking happy. There’s plenty more footage of them doing all sorts of stuff. Was this all the same day? They’re wearing the same clothes, mostly. Who thought to document their first play date in its entirely on Betamax?
And that’s it.
Most Verbose Articulation Pacey: “Dawson Leery eschewing the ephemeral world of make-believe for the gritty realities of real life? Has the world spun off course? Was the Dali Lama spotted at Black Angus?”