I’m not going to even bother with an intro. If you don’t know what this is or why we’re here, you need to get with the programme. IT’S THE ’90S GUYS.
So this episode is called ‘Beauty Contest’. Since Ms. Joey Potter is the Queen of getting riled up about anything even remotely superficial, I imagine Colonel Sarcastic Face and Madam Smirk will be appearing frequently this week (on her face).
Joey and Dawson are watching a documentary on “entomological sexual behaviour” because that’s what teenagers do. A standard conversation about the difference between insects and humans leads to the arrival of Colonel and Madam, flying through the open window and landing splat on Ms. Potter’s visage, “People go on whatever supermodel the media has decided is this month’s perfect specimen”. Dawson disagrees, pointlessly, as Joey is like a dog with a misguided and insecure bone (available at all good pet shops in the “troubled puppy” aisle).
NEXT DAY: The gang is at the Icehouse talking about the Windjammer Days, which sounds delicious! Oh no, it’s not a food it’s a seasonal, “celebration of wealth”, Joey explains, which all culminates with a beauty contest. Ms. Potter is very incredulous about the whole thing. #ofcourse
Oh, but Dawson’s mom is one of the judges, wow! I wonder if that will have any significance to the story later down the line? Probably not, so let’s just forget about it completely.
Dawson goober-ishly suggests that Jen should enter the contest to be Miss. Windjammer. Honestly, the more I think about it, the more that title seems to imply a bowel problem that renders you with a lot of excess gas that has nowhere to go. Stinky.
Dawson says to Jen lamely, “You’re beautiful, no one can dispute that”. Urgh, that’s tantamount to a guy proposing to you by saying, “I’ve researched 3’556 women and you’re the most compatible partner for me. Here is the data, cross-referencing intelligence and the optimum width of hips for spawning”. SAUCY! Joey walks off all emotional because for some reason she’s in love with this bizarre man-child.
Jen notices Joey leaving and wriggles out of the conversation as quickly as possible. This leaves Pacey with the opportunity to discuss Dawson’s strange courting technique. ”You need to get over Jen, man” Pacey says, cliched-ly. ”I think I am over her” Dawson squeaks pathetically, “But getting her back has become a hobby”. A hobby?! Do people still use the word hobby?!? Even if they do, surely they never use it in the context of trying to win back an ex-girlfriend? Unless they’re practicing to be a…stalker. Wow maybe Dawson is a stalker! In fact, now I think about it, I’m sure he is. I will prove it to you guys throughout the rest of the episode.
MEANWHILE: On the other side of the Icehouse yet again Jen is trying to become friends with Joey. I don’t understand why Jen gives a rat’s ass about Joey. The sarcastic tomboy has only ever been mean to her. And when I say mean, I mean really mean. Mean mean. Joey basically galumps about Capeside calling Jen a Barbie with no brains and trying her hardest to split up Jen’s relationship with creepy Dawson. Maybe it’s a case of friends close, enemies closer, but I gain a whole load more respect for Jen when she stops sucking up to Joey in season 2. Just saying.
Look at Jen’s, “Let’s be friends!” face, it’s kind of cute:
Although, man, she is frying her hair. Accept curls into your life Lindley!
Anyway, Joey grudgingly decides to try to become friends with her arch-rival. She says, “We don’t have to braid each other’s hair do we?” in this really cool way where she moves her mouth as little as possible so it sounds like she’s saying “wedding half brie chudder wee?”. Mmm brie chudder wee. Yummy.
The next day in the cafeteria Jen is continuing her charm offensive towards Ms. Potter, “You’re one of the prettiest girls in the school”, she gushes. Joey looks at her like she has a turd on her face and murmurs, “It’s okay, I know I’m not pretty”
“I was so intimidated by you when I was dating Dawson!” Jen admits, desperately, “You should go for the Miss TrappedFart beauty contest! I’ll coach you!” I think Joey’s look here sums up her feelings perfectly:
However the prize is $5000 which would be pretty handy for Joey-My-Family-Is-Really-Poor-And-It’s-A-Defining-Part-Of-My-Personality-Potter.
In fact, she’s convinced!
Here is Jen leading her into the pageant registration. Thanks to Jen’s oddly grown up outfit this could be a still from a ’90s cop show. With Joey being the runaway who accidentally witnessed a gruesome murder and Jen the bitter Detective with a dead fiance and something to prove.
Pacey is stealing the scene at the registration desk. He’s demanding to be allowed to enter since he wants the money so he can move away from his super awful Dad. I don’t think $5000 would get you much more than a dog kennel, even in the ’90s, but let’s just go with it.
Dawson obviously has wormed his way into being involved with the Miss. TrappedFart contest – he’s covering it for, I dunno, a documentary? His mum’s News channel? Researching potential stalkees? YES! That must be it!
Err, where did he get this film crew from?
When Dawson finds out Joey is entering the pageant he finds it HILARIOUS and keeps needling her and saying how FUNNY it is. Then they get to re-enact the famous exchange from Pretty Women, only instead of Richard Gere saying “I’ve never treated you like a prostitute” it’s fluffy-locks Dawson saying, “I would never laugh at you”. To which Joey/Julia reply: “YOU. JUST. DID”.
I really hope I get to have an exchange like that someday with someone. I feel like it would be really satisfying.
I love Pacey’s smirk here:
Also if you’re a fan of background actors, as I am, this is a great episode to check out. So much attempted focus-grabbing on the part of all the pageant contestants. I would have thought it would be embarrassing to appear on a TV show as a young woman with a trapped fart, but I guess you have to take what you can get – this is Hollywood!
I really wanted there to be a montage of Jen and Joey getting ready for the pageant, but there wasn’t one because:
a. This wasn’t made in the ’80s.
b. The script writers obviously get paid by the word.
However, for your enjoyment I have compiled some of the images from Joey’s preparation night which I’ve put below. I suggest you put on some ’80s saxophone music and just scroll up and down the page really quick. A DIY montage if you will!
Oh. That’s the only bit of preparation they do. Great teaching Jen…
OVER AT THE LEERY RANCH: Pacey is doing his own prep, which entails singing ‘New York New York’ to Mr. ManMeat (Dawson’s dad) and Dawson. Pacey’s singing is pretty hopeless, but that’s not what grabbed my attention. No, it was the weird bust the Leery’s have on their fireplace and all those tankards and nautical accoutrements just tossed onto the shelf.
Who needs that many tin jugs and stuff? And couldn’t they have placed them a bit more artfully? As for the bust, that’s just creepy. Hey, maybe it’s part of Dawson’s stalking kit. There’s probably a camera behind her eyes that he uses to film all the girls who come to his house. All the girls. For example Jen…and Joey…and…
Oh, I seem to have reached the end of the list.
Pacey asks Dawson when he’s going to wise up to the fact that he and Joey are in love with each other. Dawson is incredulous, “She’s like my sister, it would be incestuous”. Pacey looks really annoyed, “So you don’t want her, but you don’t want anyone else to have her either?”
I get tingles up my spine because I love it SO MUCH when Pacey and Joey *spoiler alert* become a couple.
Dawson is conducting the Pageant’s pre-interviews because it really helps the narrative of the episode move along. He asks Joey where she wants to be in ten years and she says, “On a boat to Antarctica”. Dawson gets really upset, “Wouldn’t you miss people? Family? Friends?” (he means him FYI). Joey shrugs, “Yeah sure, but that’s life. Everything changes eventually”. I don’t think Dawson has ever realised this before. He probably thought Capeside would always be the same, always with the same friends around, and him splitting his time between watching E.T. on VHS, having completely unwarranted opportunities to shoot segments for the local News, and stalking girls.
OMG IT’S TIME FOR THE MISS TRAPPED FART PAGEANT!!!!! Wow Joey looks so gorgeous.
(I’m not being sarcastic. She’s a babe).
Pacey is getting nervous. While Dawson helps him put on his waistcoat he asks, “Do you think I’m a total dweeb for doing this?” Dawson replies, with a hint of jealousy, that he thinks Pacey has balls of steel for entering the contest. This may not be a compliment as since Dawson has no balls of his own, he probably doesn’t know what they’re made of under normal circumstances.
Look at the ball-jealousy burning in Dawson’s eyes:
We speed through all the other entries into the Miss. TrappedFart contest until we get to Joey. Dawson is stunned by how beautiful she looks and has to look at her through the camera, I guess to make sure this magical mystical woman is real. That or he needs it for his stalk file.
To add to the realism of the moment Dawson looks through the camera they’ve done this:
Thanks guys. I don’t think my teeny tiny imagination would have been able to picture what it would look like to peer at someone through a camera if you hadn’t done that. Film cameras are so rare, they’re impossible to get hold of. In fact many of us have no idea what they look like, let alone how to use them. It’s not like they formed a huge part of all of our childhoods. Yeah, those wacky home video shows in the ’90s were just full of dead air where people called in and explained what the funny thing that happened to them looked like in real life because they didn’t have a camera.
Jen is watching her masterpiece from the wings, and looking very pleased with herself, until Pacey comes over and drops the bombshell that maybe she did her job a little too well. Jen’s smile suddenly vanishes as she notices how Dawson is looking at the Class A Stunner that is Miss Josephine Potter.
LATER: Pacey is really funny and droll in the pageant. He’s really top drawer. He goes over to Mrs. Leery to ask how he’s doing and she tells him he’s hilarious and handsome but he’s never ever going to win. Way to crush a dream Big Hair! But I guess this is the world of beauty contests baby! You’re not going to change anything here!
Oh um can you all just look at the outfit of the woman in red below?
Now the moment we have all been waiting for. Will Miss Joey Potter please come to the stage, we’re ready for you to sing.
For her talent Joey is performing ‘On My Own’, because she’s, like, on her own in her life and stuff. She does a lot of finger-twisting and shrugging, and looking up coyly throughout the song to display simultaneously that she feels awkward and that she’s sad inside.
It’s terrible. Here are the best/worst moments of the song.
I think maybe they don’t get a lot of singers in Capeside, as everyone seems to think Joey’s performance was outstanding. Maybe they don’t have music in Capeside. Wait, is this where they set ‘Footloose’?
Pacey is next up and he’s doing magic. Dawson goes to get him and Pacey asks him whether he ever thought Pacey could actually win, or was he just using him for a News story? Dawson avoids the question and tells Pacey not to do something stupid (so I think that means Pacey is going to do something stupid).
He decides to change his act to a Dramatic Interpretation of ‘Braveheart’. It’s well good.
He must carry blue face paint around everywhere just in case he’s in a Miss. TrappedFart Pageant and wants to make a point about being excluded using Mel Gibson as inspiration.
For her last question in the Pageant Joey is asked what message she would give today’s youth. She says she’d tell them not to sell out or judge people on a superficial basis. It’s really rousing and emotional. It makes Mrs.Leery cry through her big fringe and Dawson looks like he wants to take Joey home and cut her into little pieces.
Unfortunately Joey’s speech isn’t enough to get her first place, she wins second though, and a free trip to a hair barn! I assume that’s what they call Mrs. Leery’s hair in Capeside. It’s certainly large enough to house a couple of horses.
However, although she didn’t win the Pageant she won the boy. He walks her home and says she “left him speechless”, while poor ’90s Cop-show Jen looks on.
Oh, Dawson also gets to deliver the truly romantic line, “My palms are sweaty”.
Joey gets upset with him though because he only says nice things about her when she’s got loads of lipstick on and loads of hairspray. And she thinks that tomorrow when she’s back to normal he’s not going to think she’s beautiful anymore. She runs off into the night leaving Dawson sad and lonely and lacking in genitals.
Jennifer shows up at Dawson’s house where she asks him if he would possibly, maybe, um..like..go out with her again? Dawson says, “You’re kidding” and then looks like he’s going to vomit.
WHAT A CHARMER.
Poor Jen gets all flustered and sad. She says, “Well you know where I am” and Dawson looks like he’s trying not to giggle. The bastard. After she leaves, Dawson sits on the step in a moment of disbelief – two girls after me??
Then there are some close-up shots of Dawson and Joey smiling as they realise they’re in love with each other.
That’s it for another week kids. Stay cool, stay safe and always ask, “What Would Joey Do?”
Answer: POUT/SMIRK/BE SARCASTIC
(But that’s why we love her).