Dearest Friends. We live in a world where most people have to work long hours to make a living, spending their days in jobs that, while fulfilling, don’t allow them all the TV-watching they desire. Therefore, most people can indulge only in a “shallow watch”, where you keep up-to-date on the most current shows and box sets but have little chance to revisit the shows you once loved and would, if you had the time, watch again. Friends, I’m basically a bum. I work from my home, I have the hours and inclination to stare at a screen. Inspired by the excellent posts by Karen Belz on Saved By The Bell, I have decided to watch Dawson’s Creek for you. So let me be your eyes. Share this journey with me.
Come with me now as we travel back in time to 1998, to a small town in New England called Capeside, where a gang of guys and girls with an over-developed vocabulary are waiting for us. Cue panpipes and the sound of rippling water…
That is a NICE house. Let’s slide in through the window, just like Joey did a thousand times before us.
Hey, doesn’t this remind you of that boy you were best friends with when you were in your early teens? The one whose bed you used to sleep in? You know, the one who you had to row your boat across the creek to visit? What do you mean, you didn’t live near a creek? Whatever, I like Joey’s pajamas.
While Dawson and Joey discuss why E.T. lost out on an Oscar to a film about Ghandi (DAWSON LIKES FILMS, OKAY, HAVE YOU GOT THAT?), look who pops up on the telly!
It’s Dawson’s mom! I seriously don’t remember her having hair like that.
As Joey puts on her shoes to leave, Dawson becomes incredulous, “You’re not gonna spend the night? You always spend the night”. Joey’s response? ”Things change Dawson, evolve. I have breasts and you have genitalia.” Dawson scoffs, “How do you know?!”
Err… It would actually explain a lot if it turned out Dawson Leery didn’t have genitals. Am I right or am I right?
Urgh, look how gorgeous Katie Holmes was/is:
The argument continues with Dawson uttering the unforgiveable line, “Don’t get all female on me.” Joey’s response is to jump onto the bed and playfully beat him up. The sexual tension is boiling over like lava and we’re only three minutes into the first episode. (Yeah, three minutes – it’s going to be a long post, I hope you guys packed a lunch.)
Oops, didn’t mean to leave the mouse cursor on Joey’s bum.
They decide to forget their genders and just go to sleep but you can’t help feeling that something has changed. By having this conversation, they have set in motion a chain of events that will alter their lives forever (echo: ever ever ever ever).
In the next scene, we find Joey sunbathing on a pier. It all seems pretty innocent but Oh my God, what is that? Oh sweet, sweet mercy.
Oh, phew. It’s just one of Dawson’s dorky movies (Again, Dawson likes films, okay?) Here he is being dorky:
Oh dear. I must have wiped Dawson’s terrible haircut from my mind. What is that? It looks like curtains but he’s tried to push them back off his head and it’s long in the back. It’s not a mullet but it’s not the million miles away from being a mullet that it should be. And don’t even get me started on the necklace. The only time a piece of metal should be attached to a leather thong is in a seedy strip club in 1982.
Oh, Pacey was the monster! Yay! We love Pacey! He bursts onto the screen with this fantastic piece of dialogue:
Joey: “You did it again, you grabbed my ass!”
Pacey: “Oh, like you even have one.”
Miaow, this cat’s got claws! Oh, look who it is…
Accompanied by some late ’90s guitar rawk – the lyrics of which growl “hey, pretty girl” over and over again – Jennifer Lindley saunters across the grass with all the elegance of a drunk giraffe. (shout out to my friend @Hen_is for noticing that!)
While Pacey and Dawson lose their s**t over this hot chick from New York (who took a yellow cab all the way to Capeside which, let’s be frank, is a completely unnecessary expense), a lifetime of hatred is born in the brunette Miss. Potter.
Later, Dawson and Pacey are discussing whether or not Dawson should try to “nail” Jen. There is an added dimension of comedy here because we know Dawson doesn’t have sex until like, season 34. As they walk into Dawson’s house, they hear the sound of breaking glass and rush into the living room… only to be met by this completely gross image:
Eww, it’s a wicker coffee table. Eww.
Mitch Leery’s face really makes me laugh in this screengrab:
Dawson is obviously disgusted by his parents’ outward show of lust because he has no genitals. Conversely, Pacey delights in hearing Dawson’s mom call her husband ‘Mr. Man Meat’. Guys, I think we have a new name for Mitch Leery.
Oh look, it’s the only time we ever get to see Joey rowing her boat across the creek. It’s like in computer games where they only make you do a long journey between two places once, and then after that you can just skip straight across. #nerdalert
Err, who the hell is this walking out of Joey’s hippy house?
Okay, it turns out they had a different actor for the part of Joey’s sister’s boyfriend in the pilot. This incarnation of Bodie Wells only appeared in one episode. What happened to him? Why was he replaced? Where is he now? On Wikipedia they don’t even recognise that there were two Bodies. Hey, the plural of Bodie is Bodies, so there were two Bodies, one of them disappeared… MISSING BODIES. Okay, I am pretty sure this is a huge conspiracy and I’m probably going to be assassinated for even mentioning it. Whatever.
Meanwhile, Dawson and Pacey are working their shift at Screen Play Video (Once again: Dawson likes films, okay? Have you got that?) and the creator of the show just manages to squeeze in the poster for his latest ‘Scream’ movie. High five Kevin Williamson for your meta stylingz.
While Pacey debates whether or not Dawson should now be known as ‘Man Meat Junior’, we have another “Who is THAT?” moment as Ms. Tamara Jacobs enters the store. Is it just me or does she look exactly the same as Jen but 15 years older? Clearly Mr. Williamson has a thing for blonde blowdries and short summer dresses with sling backs. And on his women, too! (Ba bum ching!)
Ms. Jacobs comes out with some fantastic one liners as she tells Pacey what type of movie she would like to rent: “I’m in the mood for romance”, “Oh no I’m vintage all the way” and guess what she picks?! The Graduate. FILM REFERENCE, LOLZ.
Dawson finds Jen looking sultry in the sunset on the pier and runs over to her like a douchebag. He’s clasping a selection of videos which he uses to crowbar into the conversation that he’s a budding film-maker. (DAWSON IS A SERIOUS DIRECTOR, OKAY? HAVE YOU GOT THAT?) He invites Jen into his studio (his bedroom) and talks her through his Steven Spielberg posters, groan. Jen casually asks Dawson if he is familiar with obsessive reality disorder. (JEN HAS BEEN IN THERAPY, OKAY? HAVE YOU GOT THAT?)
“Wit”, responds Dawson. “We like that around here”. 90% of the time Dawson sounds like a chubby Mayor from the 1950s.
Oh crap, look who it is:
Joey waits till Jen has left before climbing through the window. She finds Dawson watching footage of his mom and her co-anchor on the news, playing it over and over again as he tries to suss out whether they’re sleeping together: “She says her ‘b’s too softly. They’re totally doing it”. Joey has a go at him for looking for trouble in his perfect life (JOEY’S FAMILY LIFE IS FAR FROM PERFECT, OKAY? HAVE YOU GOT THAT?)
The next day, Jen sits with her grandad who is really poorly. We then have the first sighting of this old sour puss:
Grams (who must have been born old) tells Jen some home truths about the other teenagers in the area:
1. Dawson Leery is “trouble”. (He wishes!)
2. Joey Potter is what they call “the wrong element”.
Jen announces that she’s an atheist and Grams is nearly sick over the scrambled eggs.
At school, it turns out Ms. Tamara Jacobs is actually Pacey’s teacher! Oh my goodness! Awkward! In Science, Jen tries to make friends with Joey but it doesn’t go as planned. Maybe Joey just feels uncomfortable because she’s wearing a super weird white faux-leather jacket. Joey reveals that her dad is in prison for trafficking marijuana, her mother is dead and that Grams hates her family because her sister has a black boyfriend. Whoa, truth bomb!
After finding out that Ms Jacobs is going to the cinema that evening, Pacey and Dawson hatch a hair-brained scheme to go too, inviting Jen for Dawson. Those two are wild! Somebody call the police!!! Dawson then invites Joey which, to be fair, is a bit dumb. Anyway, look at these ’90s head/hair accessories! A scrunchie and a backwards baseball cap!
ARRRGH LOOK AT DAWSON’S AWFUL DATE OUTFIT:
MY EYES, MY EYES!
Why would you wear a cream, white and pale blue ensemble unless you were a new age meditation therapist who had recently lost their mind?! Pale linen trousers are fine when worn by silver foxes on the beach in adverts for dentures. They are not fine for a teenage boy’s first date. Bless you, you utter dorkfest 1998.
Then follows a very odd conversation between Dawson and Mr. Man Meat.
“Play safe,” says Mr. Man Meat
“The condom chat is premature,” says Dawson No Genitals. Yeah, you can say that again, am I right?
Dawson gets really upset that everyone is suddenly talking about sex all the time and argues that if it’s so important, then why hasn’t Spielberg ever had a sex scene in his movies? Groan times infinity.
Okay, two questions: are they all wearing white or pale colours to highlight their virginity (which is discussed at length during this date)? And what has Joey got sticking out of her trousers? Is that a gun?
Once again, I apologise for leaving the mouse cursor on Miss. Potter’s rear end.
Inside the cinema, Joey can’t keep her eyes off Dawson and Jen, for which I can’t blame her:
Yes, because that is definitely the hand of a 15 year old boy.
Due to Dawson No Genital’s freaky man hands (probably), Joey loses it and starts questioning Jen about whether size matters to her, so Dawson grabs her and yanks her out into the foyer so they can have a sexual tension argument.
Meanwhile, Pacey spots Ms. Jacobs and tries to seduce her with Reese’s Pieces (other seduction foods are available). Her date turns up and somehow Pacey gets punched by a goober behind the three of them. All together now: That’s soooooo Pacey!
Dawson and Jen walk back to her house where she lists his best qualities, the highlight being: “You have clear skin”. Then, on the pier, THIS HAPPENS.
You know how he gets her? By uttering the line used by jilted girls with low self-esteem the world over: “I’m the best sex you’ll never have!”
Afterwards, Ms. Jacobs runs away, looking like she’s about to vomit.
Dawson gets home to find Joey hiding in his closet. They talk about the fact that maybe they both like each other but they’re not going to let it go any further than that. YEAH, RIGHT. Joey decides not to stay over because they realise they can’t talk about how many times Dawson “walks the dog”. Oh yes, of course, I remember that chapter from The Rules.
As she is leaving, Joey spots Dawson’s big hair mom kissing her co-anchor after he drops her off after work. It’s like, so unbeliveably bad, you guys.
Dawson would have seen but he was inside watching a film BECAUSE DAWSON LIKES FILMS, OKAY? HAVE YOU GOT THAT?
Images: All screen grabbed from my DVD.