Dark and stormy night at the Leery house and Gretchen has taken Joey’s old spot and is watching some old farty gangster flick with Dawson. And the movie was actually made by resident old fart Brooks, the same jerk who’s been tormenting Dawson about his boat.
Dawson says he wanted to hate it but thought it was genius. Probably only because he’s pretentious enough to value shitty vintage things no one else has heard of. Gretchen, being far more likeable, thought it was a pile of meh. But then she says she likes Dawson being this opinionated and irritating. Go back to college. No shortage of hipsters there for you to find charming somehow.
Dawson questions why Brooks would quit filmmaking and then Gretchen asks why Dawson quit making movies.
At the Yacht Club, Mrs. Valentine is berating Joey for studying on the job. Joey says her shift doesn’t start for 15 minutes. Mrs. V also manages to insult Joey about three more times: She mentions Bess and gets her name wrong, references the illegitimate Alexander and says she tries to forget Joey goes to school with her son. This is all in less than 30 seconds. What a cunt.
A man named Walter approaches and Mrs. V talks about this networking party he’s throwing and how Joey won’t have Saturday off any longer. Joey protests but Mrs. V don’t give a damn.
Joey then says that actually she’ll be there as an invited guest and Walter then gushes about her and Mrs. V looks like an ass, and Joey suggests Drue to take her place waiting tables.
At the Leery restaurant, Dawson’s finishing up his final essay for college admissions. Why he’s doing that in a busy restaurant surrounded by people working is beyond me. His mom asks him to get off his ass and help out. Gretchen asks about the annual party and Mitch and Gail look uncomfortable and say they haven’t done the party in awhile. Dawson jumps in helpfully to inform Gretchen his parents’ marriage has been on the rocks this past while.
Gretchen insists they have the party and offers to do all the work. Mitch and Gail acquiesce because why not.
At Jen’s house, she’s knitting. And there’s some really bogus camera work that whisks around the corner and focuses on her unevenly. Was some random bum handed a camera? I thought perhaps it was to indicate some character was videotaping, but no. It’s just Grams and Jack not filming anything.
Grams is still pissed at Jen for the drugs situation a few episodes ago. Jen wants to see a movie and Jack says it’ll be a way to celebrate finishing his college application essays, which he’s sick of writing. He asks Jen about her progress and looks like Jen’s not started. And now she doesn’t want to see a movie anymore.
Jack leaves and Jen resuming knitting. He asks Grams to get Jen going on her college applications but she’s like, pfft, n’ah.
Dawson approaches Brooks out of nowhere while he’s dining out, and starts talking about movies so he can segue into how much he liked the old gangster movie he made. As soon as he starts calling it a film noir, I roll my eyes so hard. According to Dawson, it seems if it’s a film noir, it’s gotta be good! To be honest, I’ve never cared for them.
Brooks is not comfortable with all Dawson’s fawning, and then gets harsh and tells him to beat it when it won’t stop.
At some shop, Joey is trying on a dress and talking to Gretchen about taking Pacey to the networking dinner. Her dress strap is falling down and she makes no meaningful effort to fix it and it’s driving me crazy. Couldn’t the wardrobe department have dug up something that fit?
They talk about the Leery party, which it looks like Joey’s going to miss because it’s on Saturday night too.
At the guidance counsellor’s office, she tells Dawson his essay ain’t getting him in nowheres and now he has to rewrite it.
At the school, Pacey’s trying to get out of going to the networking party so they can go to the Leery Christmas party instead. Uh, are he and Dawson even on decent speaking terms? Joey says no because she wants to get into college.
At Jen’s house, Grams is opening a mailed box of presents from Jen’s parents. Jen doesn’t want them and says Merry Effing Christmas. Awesome. Grams then says she should start her college essays and Jen rants that Grams gave up on her and wrote her off so there’s no telling her what to do now. And she shoves her Christmas presents in the fridge?
Gretchen and Dawson are talking about his essay and she gets all meta saying he wants to get a film deal to make him famous enough to bag a girl from the WB. She also tells him to go back to Brooks for some insight. Yeah, good luck.
Grams and Jack are walking along a dock and talking about Jen and Grams says she’ll need his help getting through to her.
At Brooks’ house, Dawson lets himself in and the old man is pruning a bonsai while listening to ancient-sounding Christmas jazz on probably the first radio ever made. It’s been my personal observation that elderly peoples’ fondness for the technology they’re comfortable with doesn’t extend to relics from their childhood, more like the last bit of newness they could get used to before the world of electronics became unmanageable and scary. That old thing belongs in the house of someone born in 1875. Or, again, a hipster.
Brooks begrudgingly agrees to dispense with this advice Dawson wants. He starts by saying if Dawson can’t do better, he may as well write applications to McDonald’s. Then when he says he quit filmmaking, Brooks sarcastically says “Now that’s a tragic loss for the arts.” Brooks is growing on me. I kind of love wiseass curmudgeons. He also scoffs at Dawson’s “crisis of faith”.
Dawson then leaves very upset, as though he expected more from the man who’s been verbally abusing him for months.
It’s Saturday night now and Joey & Pacey are at the dinner. Her dress strap appears to be in good working order. Everyone else is at the Leery’s.
Gretchen finds Dawson in his room, avoiding the party to brood instead. She gives him a booming pep talk and then insists he try her egg nog. That’s not a euphemism for anything. There really is egg nog.
At the dinner, Joey is stuck talking to this obnoxious overachiever, who thinks Drue is cute and calls him over to take a drink order. He exposes Joey as a waitress. In what world is a teenager having a part-time job at a yacht club embarrassing? The annoying girl leaves.
At the Leery party, the guidance counsellor congratulates Jen on handing in her applications on time, which she obviously did not do.
And this is supposedly December in the north-eastern United States and the front door is wide open and people are outside without coats.
At the dinner, Walter wants to know more about Joey, who’s doing nothing to sell herself. He asks her about her art background and if she’s been to the new Guggenheim. She says no, but has always wanted to go to New York. Mrs. V scoffs and Drue corrects her and says it’s in Spain. Okay, but there is a Guggenheim in New York, so…?
Joey can’t shake off the simple error while Walter is revelling over the architecture. Pacey then pipes up and says he saw a picture of it in a coffee table book and it looks like an artichoke. He repeats this several times.
I think it looks more like a crumpled-up piece of paper pretending to be a pyramid.
But Walter bursts out laughing. Joey doesn’t look at all relieved.
At the Christmas party, Brooks shows up with a book Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which he says explains things better than he could. He then actually apologizes. And we get the story:
He directed his last movie starring his best friend and his girlfriend. They fell in love and Brooks realized it but still had to finish directing the movie.
Dawson invites him into the party as he tries to grump his way home, and with no further prodding he accepts and goes in, but not before asking Dawson why he wants to make pictures. He says he can’t explain the things you love.
At the dinner, Pacey is still cracking up Walter who wants to know why Pacey hasn’t applied. Pacey remarks that for his left-leaning parents it’s Yale or nothing.
Joey then tensely asks Pacey to talk outside and she unleashes this nonsensical rambling rant on him about how he just lied (Who the fuck cares?) and why he’s trying so hard to impress these people (For her, d’uh?)
Walter interrupts her bullshit to try and introduce Pacey to the dean, which he goes and does. Joey stays behind and sulks because the best she could do with Walter was claim she was an “average teenage girl” and “there’s not much to tell.”
At the party Jen confronts Jack about the college essays and Grams says she knows Jen hasn’t applied because she doesn’t want to ask her parents for help. Then Grams is like no matter how much you suck, I’m helping you go to college because love. Jen’s heart melts, everyone’s happy.
At the dinner, Joey is outside crying (In a spaghetti strap dress and light shawl in December in northeastern US), and here comes Walter, about to walk into some teenage drama shit.
Joey says she’s not used to this swishy stuff and she blew it. Walter says no one’s grading her on her social skills, which is a blessed relief because hers are the worst. Then he tells her Pacey talked to the dean all about her and said amazing stuff. And after she had just yelled at him.
At the party, Jack tells Jen where she applied to and says he went through her computer to get material for her essay. Apparently he came across her diary and he says, “I didn’t know you still had those dreams about me.” Jen looks embarrassed and gets more egg nog. Uh…
Grams runs into Brooks and is still giving him grief for chewing out Dawson over the boat. And then he sort of starts to flirt with her the way only a grumpy old man can. And Grams puts him off with a whiff of hope the way only a prim old widow could.
Dawson calls Brooks out for flirting with Grams and then tells him he’s over his crisis of faith and wants to make movie about Brooks. And the old guy is egocentric enough to love the idea, even if it’s coming from a 17-year-old amateur.
At the Yacht Club, Joey finds Pacey and hugs him. He says apology accepted, which is very gracious. Except Joey is like, “I was going to apologize?” Jesus Christ, woman. Pacey’s like, “Yeah, for bitching me out earlier?” And then she throws his white lie in his face.
Joey, now that Andie is gone, you are the official fucking worst again.
Pacey nonetheless compliments her ass off. And she calls off her attack. Actually says she’s sorry. They talk some mush and get out of there.
At the Leery party, Gretchen and Dawson are under the mistletoe and kiss. Pacey and Joey arrive and are there in time to witness. Dawson manages thus to get them both back in one swoop.
MVA: Jen, “That, my dear, is the external manifestation of Grams’ extreme disappointment in me for that whole ecstasy incident.”