Jen is leading Dawson through Gram’s house and she’s covering his eyes and walking behind him, which beats him wearing a blindfold because this way she can push him right into a doorframe.
She sits Dawson down and is like, “Surprise!” and because she doesn’t get how surprises work, there’s nothing in front of him. She hands out back to school items befitting an elementary school student: binder paper, pencils, sharpener, eraser and… an ET Trapper Keeper. I’ll remind you all the year is 2002. Laptops have become affordable and ET is 20 years old. Where in the hell did she even locate an ET Trapper Keeper? That looks like someone glued a picture of ET on a binder.
Jen is all condescending and shit about Dawson going to college, and he asks her when her radio show is and she looks at the clock like, oh… yeah, it’s soon! She’s been on the job all of five minutes. Get your act together and go to work.
They make a lunch date and start kissing like they don’t live together and see each other every single day and Jen doesn’t throw out his toothbrushes. As he leaves, she’s all cutsey, “Don’t forget your Trapper Keeper!” Seriously, making him take that shit with him. Then it’s, “Have a nice day, sweetheart!” in the tone of voice I use with my 4-year-old. As he leaves she whisper-giggles “So cute!” to herself. Fucking hell, lady, is infantilizing your boyfriend sexy? Gross.
Skipping Jann Arden. Why oh why can’t I at least have the original theme?
In Joey’s dorm room, Elliott is giving her shit for liking the professor’s trashy book because she finds him attractive and Joey’s rolling her eyes. Elliott asks her out in very awkward fashion. He’s good looking, but he’s got a pretty girl in glasses thing happening where we’re supposed to believe he’s not hot because of his dorky hair or outfit or something.
Joey accepts and Audrey walks in on them and makes everyone uncomfortable by demanding to know if everyone is naked while dramatically averting her eyes. She then zeroes in on Elliott and calls him out for using hair products and he promptly leaves ’cause Audrey is a dick and no one likes her. She’s seriously worse than Andie.
She then taunts Joey who threatens to bite her. Joey could say something about not being rude to her guests, but is friendly and leaves. Audrey lays down on Joey’s bed with her shoes on like some sort of animal.
At the frat house, Jen walks in and all we get is a view of her legs as we see boys turn their heads and whistle. Have these gentlemen never seen a woman before or…? Jen asks Jack what their damage is. Jack is like, they’re looking at you. Okay then.
She’s there to deliver mail (There’s certainly a lot of it) and points his attention to a letter from the school that has put him on academic probation. Because she reads his mail. Federal offence! Jack’s all BFD, I failed a few classes. Jen gives him shit but he’s not having it and she leaves.
We get a bunch of flashy shots of the school Dawson’s at, and he shows up wearing one of those sheepskin coats that were so popular back then. When he goes inside, some loud dude calls him out.
It’s Oliver (apparently) and Dawson doesn’t look jazzed to see him. Oliver starts walking Dawson around talking about people loudly right in front of them and everybody obviously hates this guy. After he insults his third victim, Dawson’s all fuck this, I’ll introduce myself before you ruin my life.
At the radio station, Audrey is calling Jen asking inane questions about boys taking phone numbers and why is a booty call called a booty call? Jen tells her she doesn’t have to use her full name every time she calls. I bet she calls all the time. Pain in the ass.
But Jen doesn’t want to talk about her situation; she tells Audrey instead that she’s “lost the love” and starts talking about negative energy and while doing so is arranging tiny red bears and flowers around her work station like some hippy.
At the frat, Jack is looking for teammates for a game, but gets in shit from a senior brother for being on academic probation because freshman failing out makes the frat look bad. Dude suggests Jack study instead of play and Jacks all petulant, “I don’t see you studying!” Counter: “That’s because I’m not on academic probation.” Burn.
The look on Jack’s face, tho.
Legit looks confused here, and mad, like he just found a turd in his shoe: “But why? Who would do this? How could they?! I don’t get it!” Only his confusion is about why he should study and not fail his university classes. We all face our own battles, buddy.
During a film screening (Is this a class?) Oliver plops a screenplay as thick as Gone With The Wind on top of Dawson’s lap and says he wants him to direct it, so why he’s in film school I do not know. Then he compliments the ET Trapper Keeper and who knows if he’s sincere or not because he’s just that kind of guy.
At Joey’s school, Elliott leaps behind her, demanding to know her thoughts about Indian food for their date Friday. Joey thinks he’s weird, probably because he’s acting weird. The professor shows up and tells them they’re late for his class when he is obviously also late. Elliott flees.
Prof thanks Joey for some work she did and says he’s taking her out Friday. She immediately accepts despite just confirming her date plans with Elliott. If this is written as forgetfulness, I just can’t.
And immediately: she forgot. I’m gonna go back and count the seconds since Elliott brought up the Friday night date and this new Friday night offer.
Literally 50 seconds. The most organized person on the show with the best memory for holding grudges can’t remember this information for less than a minute. Seems legit.
At Grams’ house, Jen is washing the dishes and Dawson is staring at the script and it’s been a week. He’s read it, he likes it, has idea to improve it but doesn’t wanna direct it because it’s not his own work. The fact Oliver is a douche doesn’t seem to come into it. He says he doesn’t want to commit to a film right now, which considering he just started school is maybe wise.
But Jen don’t care none. She thinks he should do it. She leaves because her producer wants to talk to her. Maybe because she’s doing a shitty job. That’s why I’d want to talk to her.
Back at Joey’s dorm, Audrey has brought in Pacey to help with Joey’s two-date problem. So… it’s been a week. Has she been sitting on this problem all this time? And is her most recent ex-boyfriend who she lost her virginity to, and who effectively dumped her via public humiliation at prom really the best person to ask? Like… it happened half a year ago at best. He’d be dead to me.
Anyway, Audrey thinks the group outing with the professor could end up like a date with the two of them wrapped up together “like squid.” This woman is a vulgar mess. That is the nastiest way to describe anything. She says bedding the professor would be just fine. Pacey’s like, oh yeah, I’ve been there! Yes he has. But they think she should go out with Elliott because Joey doesn’t have any friends and doesn’t do anything.
Then Audrey drops a radioactive awkward bomb on the room and suggests Joey’s not ready for a boyfriend, which Elliott has the potential to be. Pacey backs the fuck up and starts jittering around in the background because he’s the elephant-sized ex in the room.
Joey says she is ready to be with someone new and Pacey rushes Audrey out the door.
At the frat, Jack’s arriving with an A grade on his quiz and his frat brother is happy and apologetic for being hard on him about his probation. And Jack’s a dick about it and isn’t quick to accept his apology. But his brother suggests a party and Jack gets this smug look on his face and is happy.
In Dawson’s class, people are looking at the ET Trapper Keeper and he’s like, “It was a gift.” He’s actually using the damn thing. Damn. Oliver approaches Dawson with a preliminary shooting schedule and Dawson says he’s can’t do it; it’s complicated. He does offer a note, though, and now Oliver wants more notes, and wants to do them over lunch. Dawson says he has lunch plans with Jen, but Oliver says “bring your notes,” and Dawson says okay. So, is Jen coming or is he cancelling? The suspense!
At the restaurant where Pacey still works even though he quit, Jen is in the kitchen, eating garnish and lamenting the fact her producer thinks she sucks. Now that she’s happy, she’s lost her edge. Pacey offers such gems as “everybody hates happy people,” and, “I like to get my advice from people more dysfunctional than I am so I can feel better about my life.”
She wants Pacey to make her mad, but she gets a phone call. It’s Dawson. She calls him her little pumpkin. Barf. Also? That’s what I call my son. Chick’s got parent issues. Buying her boyfriend childish school supplies, calling him little pumpkin.
At Joey’s dorm, she picks up the phone and there’s a knock at the door. It’s Elliott, wanting to know if they can meet at 7:00. Joey then starts to break their plans and– wait for it– says she’s coming down with something. And she looks and sounds perfectly fine and will be out in town all night and almost certainly will get busted and this is so cliche I’m fucking dead.
Elliott doesn’t at all look like he believes her, but takes the explanation and walks away sadly. Joey lays down and feels bad because she’s a shitty TV trope.
Jen’s reading fashion magazines and porn looking for, I don’t know, something to make her angry or edgy and wouldn’t you know it, she’s not finding inspiration this way. Dawson comes home and she’s frustrated he’s made her so happy that she’s become boring and it’s hurting her show. But she’s wrong there. She’s not boring. She’s unbearable.
Dawson asks if Oliver can come to dinner and Jen is excited he might do the movie, but then confused about why he should join them when Dawson says he’s not doing the movie. In the end, Jen okays it and Oliver pops up like an intrusive ass, all “See? I told you it’d be fine!” And now I doubt that.
At the bar, Jack is drinking and his frat brother is being friendly but giving him some ribbing about his probation and that senior brother laying into him. Everyone knows because of course they do and Jack is pissy. He seems intent on getting drunk. Somehow he doesn’t understand he’s caused his own problems.
Outside the restaurant, dinner with the prof has ended early. It started at 6:00. So basically, she could have totally made a movie with Elliott. Prof offers to walk her to the dorms and she links arms with him, and that ain’t cool. On the walk back they’re talking about his work and he’s being falsely modest and she’s kissing his ass.
At dinner with Dawson, Oliver and Jen, the guys are discussing the script and Jen’s trying to get a word in ’cause she read it too and Oliver keeps cutting her off even though he’s the one intruding on their plans. Probably this irritation will make for fine radio in the morning.
Back to Joey and the prof, Joey references his wife as the inspiration for the girl in his book, and he’s like what wife? She tells him she recalls he said he had a wife and kid. He then– and this is something else– reveals he sometimes lies to people and says he has a family to get out of things he doesn’t want to do.
He calls this form of lying “making up characters”. Yes, just like those guys with girlfriends in Canada. They’re not pretend girlfriends; they’re characters. And Joey doesn’t seem to care as much as a normal person would about this, she wants to talk about this girl in his book. Seriously, Joey? Now she’s probing into personal shit, like did he love her? Why did they break up? This is your professor, lady. Boundaries. He says she was crazy. Beware the man who describes his exes that way. He says he was 21 and crazy was good, but now he wants something else. Joey asks what that is. He says coffee, then asks her for coffee, and this is soooo inappropriate and Joey fucking loves it.
Back to Jen and Dawson, Oliver can’t handle any more criticism and leaves in a huff. And Jen is sitting there gobsmacked.
Now the prof is asking Joey about her dating life. I hate this guy. And she wants to know what the point of dating is if you have to put so much effort into something that may not work out. And I’m thinking she must not enjoy sex, making memories or experiencing periods of joy and contentment because that is the stupidest fucking question ever. I mean, why go to an interview if you can’t guarantee the job? Or write a book if you can’t know it’ll get published? Why even have a pet if you’re going to outlive it?
Joey complains that the right guys never make her stomach go flip flop, and I’m thinking her problem is she equates anxiety with love because who the hell wants a flip flopping stomach all day? Sounds like a question for a therapist, Joey.
The prof asks who makes Joey’s stomach flip flop and she replies, “people who shouldn’t.” And they kiss. Saw that coming. They awkwardly break apart and agree to go separate ways back to their homes. She says goodnight and walks away extremely slowly.
At the bar in Pacey’s restaurant, a frat brother talks to Jack about his probation and Jack is grumpy. He thinks the brothers should not worry about how his grades affect the house. But they care a lot. They tell him not to get emotional and say he’s like a chick. Jack throws a chair and gets in the guy’s face. The brother says Jack was supposed to help clean up their image but is actually a disappointment. Jack socks him in the face.
A fight ensues and Pacey is holding Jack back, and Jack smashes a bunch of glasses and cuts his hand and the brothers leave.
Joey arrives back at the dorm to a gift basket with Vicks products and a homemade card outside her door.
Well, I’ve been spelling Elliot’s name all wrong this whole time. But that’s IMDB’s fault. One T it is. She looks like she feels pretty shitty. I can’t stop imagining him getting out some magic markers and spending his Friday night drawing this card. Though the video’s a bit fuzzy. That could be construction paper. In which case she’d have no choice but to dump him because the line between cute and weird is a thin one in this boy’s case.
In Jen’s room, Dawson says he’s sorry for how he handled the night before. He then says he thinks he wants to direct the movie after all because even though Oliver is obnoxious, he has a unique voice, and he feels ready for a new challenge.
But Jen doesn’t want to listen to his life plans. She’s pissed because Dawson cancelled their lunch, invited Oliver to dinner which infringed on their personal time, and then allowed him to talk over her all night. She said a sex scene in his script was gratuitous and Oliver just wants to look at tits in the flesh and he should just go get a lap dance.
Dawson immediately apologizes and Jen realizes her ranting powers are back and forgives him.
At Joey’s dorm, Audrey is doing yoga (I never see her doing anything school-related ever) and Joey tells her she kissed the prof and dumped Elliot by returning his gift basket of remedies. That’s cold. (See what I did there? HUH? Swish.)
Joey says she pulled away from the kiss because she got scared, and then went on this weird thought train about her life following her here and she wants to be someone else and I don’t see what any of this has to do with why kissing your prof is bad pancakes.
Audrey gives her a sort of seize the day pep talk, but it sounds like a sleep with the professor pep talk, so fuck you, Audrey. Like, bonus points for the no judgement but literally encouraging this is ridiculous.
At the radio station, Jen is back to herself, but she’s eating Chinese food while dispensing advice and if I had to listen to chewing sounds over the radio, I’d be turning the station so fucking fast.
At Pacey’s work, Jack shows up with a cheque for the damages he caused. Pacey tells him he could’ve gotten fired. He then tries to talk to him as a friend, relating to him, wanting to talk about how things have been going, bringing up the deteriorating grades and behaviour. Jack cuts him off, “What do you want from me?!” And Pacey’s like, well, you’re flunking, drinking and fighting with guys who left you bleeding in a bar. Jack says he has to go.
Dawson meets with Oliver and admits he’s excited about the script and they talk and Oliver shows some emotional complexity, which is out of nowhere. Dawson agrees to direct the movie and Oliver says he want to play the lead and who knows how that’ll play out. Probably horribly.
Hopefully another year won’t pass before I do another one.