Pop Culture With Elizabeth

Let's All Watch ‘Dawson's Creek'! Episode 8: "The Boyfriend"

I can’t believe it’s 2012 – what does this mean for all of us?  Has anyone seen John Cusack? Okay, then we’re probably still good.  I’ve finally stopped gorging myself and doing nothing for long enough to sit down and watch some television, so it’s time to forget all about “the future” and remember “the past”.  As in the mid ’90s, as in “Which Spice Girl would you be?” As in, LET’S ALL WATCH DAWSON’S CREEK, EPISODE 8″ “THE BOYFRIEND”.

Guys, I don’t want to speculate, but I think one of the characters is about to get a boyfriend.  Fingers crossed it’s Dawson.

(For the record, I love James Van Der Beek – he’s very handsome, appears to be a fantastic father and is a hilarious and lovely man.  However, I separate him totally from Dawson, who – because of Van Der Beek’s excellent acting skills – is a petulant, self-obsessed spoil sport with a bouffant hairstyle and no genitals.)

Hahahaha, I just remembered which episode this is.

Dawson is in his bedroom watching scrambled porn on television which, thankfully, has very little to do with scrambled eggs.

Why do we always think tilting our heads will help us to see things more clearly?

He gives up and starts watching American Movie Classics, because he’s predictable and has no autonomy.  Joey climbs in the bedroom window (Hi, Sam – Clarissa reference) and begins comparing her sleepless nights – caused by her sister’s newborn baby –  to a recent murdering spree in a nearby city by a man who was clearly insane.  Over-exaggerate much?  I like how they’ve made Joey look “tired”, using “eyeshadow”.

She snuggles up to Dawson and they have a conversation about how difficult it is to be a geek and still get the girl.  Joey falls asleep.  As does humanity.

Next morning, Mr and Mrs. ManMeat (the Leerys) are having a strained conversation at breakfast.

Okay.  Hold up.  Why have they got a huge wooden block instead of a table?  Can’t they afford chairs?  Or is that a special buttering block or something that you guys have in America?  The couple nearly bump into each other as they move around the kitchen, and for some reason this makes them both really sad.  It’s as though their physical clumsiness with each other is representative of their emotional clumsiness.  Deep.

Pacey is sitting by the water on a bench discussing how dull Capeside is with an unknown man.

I’m pretty impressed Pacey was up early enough to a) Go down to the water, b) Find this bench and this man and c) Get bored enough to talk about being bored.  Especially considering he’s universally known as a layabout-drop-out.  Hey!  Do you think this unknown man is the boyfriend the episode is named after?

Oh no, now I remember, THIS is the boyfriend the episode is named after.  This chill bro, in his groovy patterned shirt and leather jacket, with his 6 o’clock shadow at 8am, his vintage red convertible and sassy attitude… this is the 15-year-old Jen Lindley was dating before she met Dawson.  Yes.  FIFTEEN.

Pacey looks about 4 years old in comparison.

Ex-Boyfriend makes some pithy remarks to Pacey about how cute he is, and then asks him for directions to the high school.  Pacey suggests the guy gives him a lift so he can show him.  Ex-Boyfriend declines and speeds off.  I think this is what they call an establishing scene.  And this scene has established that Ex-Boyfriend is most definitely, without any doubt, despite everything we know to be true and good about the world, FIFTEEN.


Um, I kiiiiinda want a scrunchie…

At Capeside High, Jen and Dawson greet each other with all the romance of two old people sneezing on themselves at a nursing home.  “I like your vest,” lies Jen as they walk down the corridor, reluctantly holding hands.

They also always hold weird bits of each other, for example, here Dawson is holding Jen’s little finger as they discuss that evening’s “bowling date”.  Snort.  I like Joey’s book – Spanish IS fun!

Uh oh, look who’s just arrived.

Look at him, standing there in the sun by the lockers, looking all 15.  What a tool.

Jen and her blowdry suddenly get very flummoxed, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Joey and Dawson.

Jen greets Ex-Boyfriend: “What the hell are you doing here?” (I’ve always wanted to greet someone with that). Ex-Boyfriend looks really pouty and sad. “I drove all night to get here to see you”, he says, fifteen-ally.

Psst, guys, you’re being watched by an Oompa-Loompa with no genitals.

Jen sneaks out of school with Ex-Boyfriend to go for a drive, while Dawson gets harassed by another incredibly believable 15-year-old who wants Jen to come to his BBQ.

Dawson fantasises about being a real Oompa-Loompa and using his candy-based knowledge to melt this guy in a vat of caramel.

Oh wow, look!

Darn, I really thought they were going to make that jaunty fella into more of a character.  But no, we’re back to these chumps.  Yawnfest 2012.

Jen and Ex-Boyfriend are having a heart to heart, which ends with Jen asking him to leave.  Complaining that he’s “super tired” and that he has no hotel money (what do you expect, he’s only 15, guys), Ex-Boyfriend says he will leave in the morning but needs somewhere to crash for the night.  Then Dawson shows up looking all unattractive and jealous in the vest that Jen lied about liking.

Jen convinces Dawson to let Ex-Boyfriend stay at his house and explains who he is.  “He’s mister got-caught-doing-it-in-your-parents’-bed,” whines Dawson. Anyway, the end result is that Dawson gives in.  #ofcourse.

Later that night, post shower, Ex-Boyfriend is staggering around Dawson’s room, calling Jen “Jenny” and asking Dawson if he’s “a film buff”.  Dawson, working hard on his PC surrounded by a coterie of film-buff related objet d’art, can’t resist looking up and announcing proudly, “I’m a director, actually.” Vomit.  Then Ex-Boyfriend finds this:

Dawson’s E.T. doll.  Now, I don’t want to be too much of a super nerd, but this is definitely a different E.T. doll than the one shown in previous episodes.

Look, this image is from episode 7:

See?  This one is bigger and softer (that’s what she said).

I know this might make me a sad loser, but not as much of a sad loser as Dawson, who has two E.T. dolls.  Oh, sorry, I mean “collector’s items”.  Funny, I don’t remember them being sold as “collector’s items” to 6-year-olds at Universal Studios when I went.

Ex-Boyfriend reveals that he has no plans to leave the next day, and in fact is going to stay until he has won Jen back. Dawson has a tantrum.

Okay, is Dawson wearing a wig?

The next day, apparently after a sleepless night pacing since he is still wearing that awful hairy vest, Dawson bursts into Joey’s house.

Joey is still looking super tired.

Um, kiiiiiinda want her cardigan.

Dawson spills out his woes with verbal diarrhoea, and obviously Joey is entirely unsympathetic. “Oh, so that’s who that cute guy was outside school.”  Dawson becomes desperate, huffing, “Well, all of a sudden Mr Smooth rides into town and bowling starts to sound pretty lame.”  Janeane Garofalo Joey wittily retorts, “Dawson, bowling always sounds lame.” YES! SHE’S BACK.  Joey manages to smooth over Dawson’s concerns and we get treated to a gnarly guitar solo and this stock footage of water.

I love water!!!!

Dawson and Jen have a weird walking together around the garden confrontation where Dawson uses the line, “I thought you wanted a break from all those guys who sexualised you way too young.”  No, really.

Dawson then demands that Jen go to Cliff’s party with him tonight, and Jen says that she’s feeling confused and how would he feel if his ex-girlfriend showed up and wanted him back?  Dawson shouts, “I don’t have an ex-girlfriend, you’re my one and only girlfriend!” and Jen looks like she’s trying not to laugh.

Joey goes to the video store where Pacey is working.  He has his feet on the desk and is laughing at a horror movie (that’s sooooooo Pacey).  Joey rents a copy of The English Patient because it was on cable the night before and sent the baby to sleep.  While there, she not-so-subtely quizzes Pacey on whether or not he thinks Jen will return to Ex-Boyfriend (he’s 15).  Pacey uses her vulnerability to try to needle her into saying she has “raging hormonal feelings of attraction” for Dawson, to which Joey replies…

There’s a scene now where Dawson’s parents return home from their climbing trip and have a huge fight.  It’s a major bummer.

Hey!  More stock footage of water!  And this time there are boats!

I am loving this woman’s sassy outfit outside The Ice House.  White suit ahoy!

Joey is running around at work, trying to deal with customers who don’t know what they want.  Pacey shows up and asks her out to the beach party (eeeek!) but Joey refuses him with her usual sarcastic charm.  This scene has been re-dubbed very badly so the whole time they’re talking, there is an over-enthusiastic voice actor shouting, “THIS ISN’T WHAT I ORDERED” over and over again.  Anyway, Joey’s sister tells her to go, so go she does.  Capeside’s answer to Cinderella.

Pretty gorgeous setting for Jen and Ex-Boyfriend to have a heart to heart.  I love this exchange between Ms Lindley and the 15-year-old.  I’ve set it out so it looks like a Hollywood script, act it out at home!


So let me get this straight.  You are leaving me for a guy with an E.T. doll?


It’s a collector’s item.


It is a doll.


(sighs, as if resigning herself) I really should go to that beach party and find Dawson.  And his genitals.  (looks up to the heavens) Where are they?!

But before she goes, this happens.


Anyway.  Awesome beach party!  They’re playing Blink 182 ‘What’s My Age Again?’  I think we all know the answer to that: it’s 15.

Cool kids:

Oh look, another cool kid.  With a mullet.  And a goatee.  Yep, just your standard 15-year-old:

Over on the porch of Cliff’s big beach house, Dawson finds Joey and they share witty banter about being JV footballers and cheerleaders.  Then Dawson suggests they ditch the party and go back to his to watch a video.  Joey agrees and looks really smug.

But uh oh, while on the way to getting a couple of soft drinks (why?  Surely he has a fridge at home?), Dawson gets ambushed by a blowdry in a leather jacket.

Which leaves poor Joey alone.  Well, alone until she gets hit-on by another 16-year-old.  We will call this one THOR.

Realising that Dawson has left her all alone while he traipses over the sand with Jen, Joey takes the tankard offered by THOR and begins to get royally drunk.  It’s TV drunk, though, so she tells Pacey she loves him and dances really badly.

Over on the sand, Dawson and Jen are patching things up when Ex-Boyfriend shows up and drops the truthbomb, “We had a goodbye kiss.”  Jen gets really upset, but not as upset as Dawson, who implies that Jen is a woman of loose morals who is pre-disposed to kissing everyone.  Jen storms off, leaving the pair of them looking sad and forlorn.

Meanwhile, THOR and Joey are getting a bit too close for Pacey’s comfort.  I love scenes like this where we see the inklings of feeling from Pacey about Joey.  Best. TV. Romance. Ever.

Pacey does the obvious thing and punches THOR out cold.  Pretty impressive, since I think THOR must be made of metal or kryptonite or some other gumpf.

Ahh, the metal-induced hand cramp.  I know it well.

Of course Dawson trundles over just in time to take the credit, leaning over Joey as she looks up at him and whispers, “You’re my hero.”  Poor Pacey.

Suddenly it’s dark and Pacey and Dawson are carrying Joey home.  While Pacey goes to make sure the baby doesn’t wake up Joey’s sister, Dawson gets her all snuggly on the couch and tells her all about how terrible his life is and how sad he is and how she is really important to him.  Bet she got drunk just so she wouldn’t have to be sober through all this.

Joey stirs and – hilariously – murmurs something about The Ice House and an order without ketchup, but then she does this:


Pacey meanwhile totally steals the scene by acting out The English Patient to the baby, and making us all fall in love with him and his boyish sense of humour.

Then there is a really boring scene where the Leerys dance together to try to re-kindle what they have.  It’s really dull.  The only good bit is when Mrs Leery/Manmeat tries to kiss Mr Leery/Manmeat and he puts his finger on her lips and says, “Not yet.  These things take time.” Laugh. Out. Loud.

On the way home in the boat (don’t get me started), Pacey tries to convince Dawson that the kiss between him and Joey was based on more than just drunkeness.  Dawson is in complete denial and says that he loves Jen in the proper way, Joey is just a friend.  Whatever, bring on Season Three, I say.

When Dawson gets back to his room, Ex-Boyfriend is in there, angrily packing up all his stuff.  He explains that he’s leaving because Jen has decided she wants, “the nice guy”.  I assume he means Dawson, although “nice” definitely isn’t the adjective I would have chosen.  Dawson looks really pleased with himself and peers out the window to see Jen standing on her own on the dock.  He goes down and tries to kiss her.

But uh oh.  All is not well.  Jen doesn’t want to be kissed.  Instead, she makes a really sad speech about how difficult her life is…

“I’m a girl who has never stayed home on a Saturday night, I’ve never gone stag to a school dance.  I’m pretty, I’m luckyI’m fortunate, and I’m still way too unhappy most of the time.  I told Billy today that it’s over with us and now I have to say the same thing to you”.

I imagine the decision to dump Dawson was made slightly easier by his choice of opening sentence, “Now we have exorcised the ghosts of ex-boyfriends past.” Dork.

Dawson gets really upset and mean with it.  He sobs that Jen is really horrible for making him fall in love with her and then ditching him, and that she “toyed with the emotions of the boy next door”.   Changing his tack slightly, he says they can fix it and it will all be okay, and as his desperation builds, so does the Ben Folds Five track playing in the background.  Then he calls her a big smelly tramp and storms off.

But he does look back.

But then he carries on walking.


Roll Credits.

(All images screengrabbed from my beloved DVD)