Saturday, August 6, 2011

Season 1, Episode 2: Dance

First of all, what is UP with the teachers at Capeside High?

We have Mr Gold, the film teacher who, in the pilot episode, bluntly explained to Dawson why an overwhelming sense of entitlement and a “lifelong passion for film”are not enough to make him bend the rules and allow a freshman into a film class intended for sophomores. Basically, Dawson was told in the pilot that with demand for the popular class running so high, he's gonna have to wait a year to take the class.

This episode, Dawson has found a loophole: he just happens to have 5th period as his study period, but the library is just so crowded and “sweaty”. God knows I hate a sweaty library. He's good to spend study period with Mr Gold, if that's cool with Mr Gold.

Oh. coincidentally, 5th period is when Mr Gold teaches the film class that he wouldn't let Dawson into.


So instead of Mr Gold saying “No, suck it up in the library, Princess, learn to follow the goddamn rules because good things come to those who wait”, he decides the best way to teach Dawson a valuable lesson is to let him into the class, but with the proviso that Dawson must PRETEND NOT TO EXIST. He cannot ask questions or participate or LEARN; basically, Mr Gold SUCKS as a teacher all round.

Then there's Ms Jacobs.

It's not...normal for a 15 year old to walk into English class and say to his teacher “We really need to talk...about how your tongue was in my mouth” (at least, it wasn't at my school). Poor, poor Pacey. He's just trying to get some clarity and closure but DUDE. When your teacher (a huge red flag right there) pretends that she can't remember pashing you but then hijacks your English lesson to give you a veiled yet incredibly unsubtle message in analogy form, bumming out innocent students on the way: “Yes Nelly, that would be the OBVIOUS interpretation of Wuthering Heights but here's my interpretation that is basically a secret coded message for that one student in the class I inappropriately tongue-kissed..” then you should probably just cut your losses because she's a CRAZY FUCKED UP PERSON.

Ms Jacobs eventually says roughly this to Pacey, mentioning 10 years of therapy, how badass it was that she BROKE THE LAW and how they can NEVER do it again...before promptly grabbing Pacey and playing the old tonsil-hockey with him again. PACEY! I'm pretty sure teenage me thought you were SO COOL and swooned at how romantic the situation was, like OOOH forbidden love, but adult me wants to shake some sense into you and have that nightmare fuck-up of a teacher ARRESTED. Also, Dawson's Creek? Wow, I didn't appreciate at the time what a bizarre and inappropriate storyline this was.

So anyway. With the pilot out of the way it feels like a proper show now – there's a proper title sequence with the full theme song!

And we have a proper episode title this time: DANCE.

Also known as the episode that reveals (as early as second episode in) exactly why pretentious wannabe filmmaker Dawson Leery would be better off staying at home watching John Travolta dance films on a Saturday night LIKE HE PLANNED instead of going to the big school dance to try and win Jen's affection when he finds out she's going to be there with Cliff, a jock who asked her out.

(Cliff is played by none other than Scott Foley, which is awesome in itself. YOU CAN NEVER WIN Dawson!.)
He'll always be Noel off Felicity to me. Even though I've seen maybe 2 episodes of Felicity in my life. Oooh, next project?

The story, in a nutshell:
Filming continues on Dawson's monster movie. Joey refuses to kiss Pacey – the girl just can't see what's good for her, because she is clearly in love with a clueless, and I mean UTTERLY OBLIVIOUS Dawson. Actually, EVERYONE seems to be utterly oblivious to the fact that Joey is practically throwing herself at Dawson: she spent all of last episode obsessing about his genitals and hiding in his closet, and much of this episode is an extension of the pilot's open disdain and scorn for everything related to Dawson's feelings for Jen.

 Joey's growing on me. This line made me snort. 

Also? If Joey claims to be so worried about her and Dawson's burgeoning sexuality messing up their friendship, she should probably a) stop sneaking into his house and b) stop spying on him and c) wear a little more than just a bikini top. JUST SAYING, JO. (Oh yeah, hangover from last episode: master spy Joey knows that Dawson's tv news anchor mother is having an affair with her co-anchor, and in this episode keeps it from mentally fragile Dawson but confronts the mother about it, using her own tragic background: dead mother, jailbird drug smuggler father, "YOU'RE THE ONLY FAMILY I KNOW" as guilt inducer. Message: don't mess with Joey).

Anyway. Faced with Joey's insubordination Dawson makes a series of decisions that make me seriously question his film-making abilities. He doesn't tell his lead actress to just man up and do what the script requires (e.g. pash the Pacester), nor does he go the cheapest, simplest route of just cutting the kiss; instead he instigates a radical rewrite to replace Joey with Jen in the film as “the beautiful cousin”. When she and Pacey seem to enjoy their screen kiss a little too much HE FREAKING CUTS THE KISS (crazy eyes alert) and has a barely repressed rage-gasm and can't see what we can all see being foreshadowed:

Clearly, Dawson's going to have a huge nervous breakdown at the dance, you guys. He has an excuse though:

But before he lets the beast loose he does some vital preparation. He is (in his own deranged imagination at least) going to end the night by kissing Jen. So obviously, he needs to seek advice on this matter from a trusted buddy. Joey? Doubt it. The only advice the girl has to offer involves leather and Crisco (seriously, they try and sell Jen as the bad girl, but increasingly I'm convinced it's Joey who could kick Jen's ass in all aspects of badass bitchery). Pacey? Pacey, this whole episode, is dealing with his own issues with who his friends think is a “mystery woman” but who we know is Ms Jacobs, and so is a friend in absentia to poor, deranged Dawson.

New question:

Why doesn't everyone call Dawson Dork-son? This guy asks his dad in the awkwardest way possible about 'the mechanics of kissing girls' – he wants tips on technique - which Man Meat responds to with a horrific story about Chapstick (which in this episode gets horribly clunky product placement and after seeing Mitch and Gail eat face, I'm NEVER USING THAT PRODUCT AGAIN). Plus, honestly, with adult eyes, there's a creepy tension between Dawson Dorkson and his dad.


Practice pashing on your hand in the privacy of your room.


The creepiest part is that as this whole sick scenario plays out, Joey is spying from the staircase, and as Dawson pecks the macabre papier mache Joey, real Joey clearly imagines he is dryly kissing her Chapsticked lips. According to Dawson's Creek: this is romance.

Was I retarded when I was a teenager?

The Great Dorkson Meltdown

I don't know if my favourite part is BEFORE he goes to the dance, when he's lying on his bed with Joey (thought that was sposed to stop, hmmmmm?) and obsessing over what might be happening between odious jock Cliff (SCOTT FOLEY!) and Jen at the dance – he makes up a whole elaborate scenario, freaking out Joey on several levels,

then starts thrashing up and down manically because his THOUGHTS ARE PHYSICALLY PAINFUL,

or AT the dance, where Dawson's epic moodswings eventually push him over the edge.

Dawson decides to be The Man and basically challenge Cliff to a duel. He actually practically slaps him in the face with a glove, it's that awkward and poserish – he's trying to cut in at the dance and says something like “manly step aside because I'm here now, JEN YOU CAN HAVE ME”.

HAHAH it's hard to hate Dawson when he makes himself look like such a dick. When Dawson descends into his Manic/Emo Melodramatic Meltdown mode, it's actually amazing. Because you know how like, in Say Anything, there's that moment when John Cusack plays the song through the boombox over his head – like the big romantic gesture? Dawson is like that but he gets it so so amazingly wrong, and it's spectacularly awkward. Dude practices kissing on mummified heads with his dad for god's sake. And then he beats himself up over it and has to talk it out for 10 million years, and then, GUTTINGLY because there is no justice in the world, HE GETS THE GIRL ANYWAY.

Sort of. He meets up with a fuming Jen after the dance and tells her (I can't even type it without laughing) that he wants to be her “boy adventure”.
New question: how did the actors - who were ADULTS - not crack up laughing?

Dorkson's defective, right?

She's like “So...I'm interested. What do I need to do?”

Dorkson's beady little eyes light up and he says “Kiss me?”

BURN, Dorkson. Jen's excuse for not kissing him is another vague allusion to whatever happened in New York (she was moving “way too fast” apparently and if she kisses him she might “stumble and fall”. I CALL BULLSHIT ON THAT ONE. If Dorkson was any kind of a man, he would say “These arms are strong, I'll catch you”. That's what Pacey would do).

Time to pick your allegiance as a heartbroken Joey(still spying)

witnesses Dorkson dancing in the street with Jen, who, if you think about it, just really insulted him, because she had no problem kissing Pacey.

TEAM JOEY all the way. I kind of love her bitchy dark side, and you know what? SHE COULD SO take Jen in a fight.

1 comment:

  1. Oh God, I cracked up at "I want to be your boy adventure." I'm still snorting here, trying to not to laugh too loud because my boyfriend is asleep.