Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Dawson's Creek - 214 - To Be or Not to Be...

Original air date: February 10, 1999

Here it is, the episode where Jack turns out to be struggling with his sexual identity. Now, I have to admit, I was pretty damn shocked by this episode when it first aired because I thought that his questioning sexuality came out of nowhere. However, on rewatch I have to say that it might have been set up pretty damn well, even though I still question why he was adamnant about going after Joey if he was so unsure but I digress. Let's get started, shall we?

We open the episode up in Dawson's room where Dawson, Pacey and Jack are all hanging out and admiring Jack's handy-work on a model of Capeside. I have to admit, I'm pretty damn impressed too because I can't believe he was able to whip something that detailed up on like zero budget and in, what I presume to be, a small amount of time. But TV magic, I suppose and maybe there are teens out there who really are that gifted...and I envy them.

See? How much free time does Jack have?

Pacey mentions that he has to leave because he needs to work on an assignment for English that is due the next day. Jack says that he hasn't started it either. Pacey leaves but Jack opts to stay. Awkwardness ensues. Dawson is actually being pretty cool about everything in this episode, maybe his character is finally growing up a bit? He tells Jack that the situation is awkward but that he really appreciates Jack's help on his film. He then asks Jack about the assignment for English and Jack explains that they have to write a poem and asks Dawson for writing advice. Dawson offers up this bit of wisdom:

Dawson: Listen to yourself, you know? I mean poetry is a chance to give the world a peek of the innermost private part of yourself that you'd, in other cases, just stifle.
Jack: So just listen to myself?
Dawson: Yeah, I never know what you'll hear.

We'll soon see how well that works out for Jack.

The next day, Pacey is greeted by his academic counselor, Mr. Milo. Pacey thinks he is in trouble again but Mr. Milo instead gives him kudos for pulling his grades up. Apparently Pacey has managed three "B"s and two "A"s. Yay for Pacey doing well in school and getting encouragement.

Pacey immediately goes to find Andie, sweeps her off her feet and kisses her deeply.


Joey and Jack look on uncomfortably. Jack because watching your sister make out with someone must be really uncomfortable and Joey because she has secret, unresolved feelings for Pacey and is insanely jealous of Andie. What? That's my head cannon.

Clearly jealous

It's the truth

Andie asks Pacey what the kiss was for and Pacey tells her it's "just 'cause." Jack tries his hand at getting a "just 'cause" kiss from Joey but she won't have it. Because she's a hypocrite. She totally kissed Dawson in public and she's kissed Jack in public before too but whatever, it serves the plot for this episode for her to suddenly be shy about kissing in public.

Dawson walks up to Jack and asks him some crap about his movie because the writers needed Dawson in this scene but they kind of have no use for him in this episode. Then, they all split up to go to their respective classes. Jack and Joey say goodbye and kiss...wait a sec. Did she not just say that she didn't like PDA? They can't even keep consistency/continuity in one scene?? Ok, ok, I guess what she meant was mega kissing/groping is ick-snayed in public but not casual pecks? I guess I can see that.

Joey takes this opportunity to make sure she still has her hooks planted in Dawson as well by chiding him for only being nice to Jack because he's doing work on Dawson's movie. Dawson responds with what is the most hilariously unintentional Joey-burn ever:

Dawson: Well, some people are capable of moving beyond those petty, long-behind rivalries to higher ground.

Oh hai, clever insight into the Joey/Jen dynamic. It's too bad the writers were not actually intending it that way though because the two of them playfully walk off together after that but I will always take it to mean that Joey is incapable of getting over her rivalry with Jen and taking the higher ground, because she sucks.

Meanwhile, Ty is harassing Jen about why she hasn't called him after their fail-date. Dude? Read the room, could you not see that she was bored/uncomfortable through out the entire time she had to listen to your bible club? Apparently not because he has to ask her if she was "freaked out by the bible talk". Jen says that she was. He tries to tell her that his bible studying is not all that he is and she says that it's still clear that religion is really important to him and it's not her thing so she sees it as an inevitable obstacle in their relationship. Ok, there are so many things that make me love Jen more than I already do in this scene but it's mainly these two things.

1) She's mature enough to see the compatibility issue with Ty and tries to end things before they get too serious.

2) Ty then gets all insistant that she doesn't know him that well and that they should go out and then goes on to say that he won't give up and that he thought women liked persistence. Her answer?

Jen: Well, that just goes to show how little you know about me. I'm not most women.

Fuck. Yes! I love this quote because guys always get trapped in the "I don't understand women/what do women want" crap and you know what? I can't tell you what "women" want because we are not all one being. We are people and we all like different things, get to know us and what we as individuals want, that is how you impress us. And women, same thing goes for guys.

In English class, Pacey excitedly hands in his poem to the crusty teacher who is now going to be turned so fucking, moustach-twirling, evil that it will make your head spin. I pray that no one actually had a teacher this menacingly awful in real life because he's just ridiculously awful. Anyway, he comments that Pacey's cursive writing is awful and then says that his lack of presentation will get him a "D" or he can choose to lose points by handing it in late if he rewrites it and gets it to him tomorrow. Really, dude? Way to encourage kids, I get that chicken scratch is hard to read but wanting to take that much of his mark for that is ridiculous. Thank god students now type everything on their computers these days.

Pacey whispers to Jack about the teacher being unfair and Jack agrees. Since Jack has my fucking luck, the teacher, Mr. Peterson, hears him and immediately starts to pick on Jack. He asks him how his poem went because his deficient grade depends on it. Jack nods and says it went fine so Mr. Peterson tells him to read it in front of the whole class. Of course, Jack is mortified because no one else has to read theirs and it's very clear that Jack doesn't want anyone else to hear his poem. Mr. Peterson insists and Jack has to relent. Here is his poem:

Today was a day the world got smaller. Darker. I grew more afraid. Not of what I am, But what I could be. I loosen my collar to take a breath. My eyes fade and I see... I see him. An angel of perfection, His frame strong. His lips smooth. I keep thinking what am I so scared of? And I wish I could escape the pain but these thoughts, They invade my head, Like shackles of guilt...

It's pretty obvious what the poem is about and Jack can't finish. He runs out of the room, crying. Pacey, bless him, gets up to go after him but Mr. Peterson forbids it. Pacey relents but as Mr. Peterson tries to continue with class, Pacey just does this:

Because he's a bad ass

Joey and Dawson continue to flirt with each other in computer class until they over hear a conversation between two extras. They are talking about what happened in Mr. Peterson's class and damn, news travels fast in Capeside. Anyway, they are going on about how Jack cried in class because he had to read a poem. The poem is about a guy so they automatically say that he's a homo, this upsets Joey because if Jack is gay, he is no longer a useful tool for her to make Dawson jealous. Aahhh, my Joey hate is strong today.

Dawson surprises me again in this episode by being a decent friend and all around decent person. He goes to talk to Joey after school and asks if she's talked to Jack about what happened at school. Joey makes a few snippy comments about the rumours she's heard and Dawson is surprised by how flippant she's being. She claims it's because it's all a big joke and Dawson ask if it is. This upsets Joey because she thinks Dawson is insinuating that Jack is gay. I actually think Dawson has a point, whether or not Jack is gay, he is still going through a tough time and could use some support, not someone who makes light of the situation. But Joey uses it against Dawson because even though Dawson's been considerably cool about her and Jack dating as of late she still can't help creating conflict so that she can feel like two guys are fighting over her again:

Joey: Oh, I'm not being defensive, Dawson. Why don't we just say what this conversation is really about? Your passive-aggressive way to highlight some flaw in Jack that would get us to break up!

Nope, he was trying to get you to talk to Jack and see if he's ok. So, Dawson was doing the right thing and you are making everything about yourself...again.

Meanwhile, Pacey and Andie are studying at her place when Jack comes down. Andie immediately stops talking and ignores him. Jack is leaving to go to work and Pacey is the one who says goodbye to him. Pacey then calls Andie out on her frostyness. Andie complains about Jack writing a poem that could be so easily misinterpreted in the first place and it wounds me on so many levels because I usually love her but she is just awful in this scene. She's basically blaming Jack for being victimized by both Mr. Peterson and the student body. I guess it does fit with her character though, as she said, she needs/craves normalcy in her life and wants to blend in and as she sees it, Jack has made that harder for her.

Pacey tries to explain to her that Jack wasn't intending to humiliate himself and that maybe there is a deeper issue that he's struggling with. Andie looks irritated and asks what Pacey is trying to say. Pacey says that she should talk to her brother and ask him. She refuses and is adamant that he's not gay. So, Pacey changes tack and asks her how she'd feel if, hypothetically, Jack were gay.

Andie, NOOOOOOO!!!!
Oh, Andie, why must you hurt me so and writers, why must the two main characters so freaked out by Jack's possibly being gay be women? In my experience, guys have a harder time with accepting someone as gay than girls do, at least back then. But in this episode, Dawson and Pacey are painted as sympathetic and understanding towards Jack while Andie and Joey are...not. It's sad to me.

Pacey is disappointed in Andie's admission of disappointment and she shoots back that she doesn't need to be attacked for a hypothetical feeling about a hypothetical situation that is not in the realm of possibility. Pacey tells her that for Jack's sake, he hopes she's right about it being impossible. Awww, Pacey, you rock! But Andie, you've earned yourself a pissed off Tyra:

Ty keeps persistently calling Jen and asking her out. Jen refuses until she finally caves in and gives him a couple of hours to prove her wrong. *sigh* I wish she hadn't caved in because this guy is annoying.

Back at the Ice House, Bessie has also noticed that Jack is upset and she urges Joey to talk to him but Joey says he doesn't want to. Why do I think it's because she doesn't want to ask? Oh, right, my blinding hatred of the character. Bessie encourages Joey to get Jack to open up and she does try. Jack sees through her and tells her that if she wants to ask him something, she should just ask it. Joey responds by making everything about her, by complaining that he "hasn't offered her any explanation as to what [he] wrote." Jack rightly counters that he doesn't owe her an explanation but Joey still tries to make it about her because she was so wounded that he wrote poetry about a guy and not beautiful, perfect, Joey who he is dating. Um, because not all poems have to be about a significant other? Jack gives us this explanation:

Jack: Alright, look, I sat down last night, before I went to bed, and for half an hour, I wrote what I was feeling. And one of the images that came into my head was masculine, nothing sexual about it, okay? It could have been me, it could have been the image of my brother. I don't know, Joey. But I do know that there was nothing gay about that poem. And as for the crying...I don't know. It hit a weird nerve as I was reading it. It just unleashed some stuff that I've been dealing with in my family. My brother's death...I don't know. It's the only explanation I can come up with and if it's not good enough for you then you can just believe what everyone else is saying.

It's actually a pretty solid one. Hell, I could buy his poem being about his brother and it would definitely explain the crying as it is hard to share something so personal to classmates as a close family member's death. He assures Joey that if he ever did write a love poem, it would be about her because he adores her and they hug.

Jen and Ty are on their date and this time, he's taken her to some type of Rat Pack-y night club because high schoolers are totally into Jazz and lounge singing, you guys. Ty knows a singer and gets them martini's and I'm sorry, I'm just really, really curious about how this guy is on first name basis with a singer at a club in a small town and can get drinks without being ID'd or someone recognizing him and reporting his ass to his parents and/or the cops. How is this happening? I thought the US was stricter with drinking laws than we are here, at least in small towns. The drinking age is 21 in Massachusetts, which is where I assume Capeside is supposed to be located due to the mention of Boston in the show but "Those under 21 can, however, consume alcoholic beverages on private premises with parental consent." So, does that mean that the lounge singer is Ty's mom and she owns the bar? Who the hell knows with this show. I think we are just supposed to be impressed by his "street cred" and buy into everything like Jen is.

Don't buy it, Jen!

The next day, Jack's poem is posted around the school and do you see what I mean by Mr. Peterson being mustache-twirlingly evil? The only copy of the poem was handed to Mr. Peterson, only he would have it. Keep in mind, this was back in the day when most assignments were handed in handwritten still but even if he did type it up, he would have only printed one copy. Either the students of Capeside hacked his computer, if he typed the poem, or Mr. Peterson deliberately made copies and handed them out to students.

Dude, you are a dick!

Just to emphasize my "Mr. Peterson is cartoon evil" point, he asks Jack to continue reading his poem to the class. To what end? Do you get off on torturing your students? Guys, I can't handle the evilness of this Mr. Peterson character. Anyway, Jack is incredulous but Mr. Peterson just twirls his mustache and puts on an innocent spiel about Jack leaving them high and dry the other day and then threatens his grade if he doesn't do as he's told. Jack asks him why he's doing this and I really want to know the answer but Pacey answers for the teacher, "because he can." Not. Good. Enough! I want to know what the hell happened in this character's life to make him such a miserable, evil human being as to force a kid to read a poem, which was never a requirement of the assignment and only he has to do it, that he's clearly uncomfortable reading and obviously humiliated him. I think he might be a sadist.

Pacey steps up and grabs the poem, offering to read it for Jack. Mr. Peterson is upset by this and demands that Pacey sits down but he refuses. Pacey then asks him what I want to ask this character, "What part of you is it that gets off on torturing students?" See? Sadist. Mr. Peterson then threatens Pacey with an "F" on his report card.

Pacey: You can't fail me! I've gotten a 'B' or better on every test we've had in this class.
Mr.Peterson: Well, I can. I've been waiting to fail you all quarter.

This is totally how the education system
works, bithces!

Now, what follows, may be the most epic thing ever put to the small a teen drama show...with nothing supernatural in it. You have to see it to fully appreciate the epicness, so here it is:

Oh god, YES! Pacey's just so badass!

I may need a moment to recover
Cut to Pacey, sitting in the Principal's office, saying that he refuses to apologize. Because he's just that badass. Mr. Peterson is crowing on about what a waste Pacey is. Thankfully, Pacey's guidance counsellor has his back and points out, rightfully, that Mr. Peterson is no saint as he made a student cry which caused Pacey's, albeit excessive, action. The principal is useless and dismisses them all because she has no fucking clue how to handle this and wants a day to consider what to do under the guise of giving Pacey a day to think about what he's done and reconsider his stance on an apology. This isn't stated in the show but I sure as hell inferred it because in reality, this would be a shitstorm for a principal to deal with. She has to look into the accusation that a teacher made a student cry and reprimand or possibly fire said teacher, on top of coming up with a suitable punishment for what Pacey did. It makes her look kind of weak and not at all in charge of her own school for her to wave them all away right now. 

Pacey comes out of the office to find Jack sitting on a bench. He thinks Jack is there to thank him but far from it. Jack tells Pacey he was stupid not to apologize and that he can fight his own battles. Pacey counters by saying he thought he did Jack a favour.
Jack: Well, you weren't. Look, I didn't need a hero. I recognize it's an addiction of yours but this is one instance when you just should have kept your nose out of it!
I'd be mad but Jack kind of has a point. Pacey is totally addicted to being the hero. He loves being the one to save the day because it gives him a sense of purpose but more importantly, it gives him the attention and adulation he craves from his own father but fails to get. That's deep, Dawson's Creek writers. Respect. 

Ty presses Jen for her opinion of how their date went. Jen says that he's the height of hypocrisy because he does everything he shouldn't do and then goes to church. Ty looks at it as something to go to church about and that his religion expects that he's not perfect. That's a fat load of BS and really pisses me off about some religious people. They act like they are the height of morality because they go to church but then they think they can do whatever the fuck they want as long as they confess to it on Sunday. If you are going to believe in the church, stick to your convictions, there is nothing that pisses me off more than people who use religion as some weird way to clean their slate so that they can "get away" with all the bad things they do. Ugh, this guy. I do not like him. But, of course, Jen seems to dig that he's a "rebel" or whatever. 

Andie and Dawson try to talk to Pacey about apologizing but Pacey is sticking to his guns on the issue. Andie is freaking out because Pacey spit in a teacher's face, which is pretty damn serious but I admire him for not budging on the issue because Mr. Peterson was just as much in the wrong. 

Joey meets up with Jack, who has been given a bunch of pamphlets on being gay and coming to terms with your sexuality. Joey is incredulous. 

Andie is still begging Pacey to reconsider so that he doesn't destroy what they worked for, getting his grades up. Pacey says that what he worked for and what she helped him become was someone who stands up for what he believes in and what he believes is that Mr. Peterson's actions were wrong. Andie is about to counter when she spots something off camera and is horrified.

The subtlety of high school wit, on display here
A crowd of people are staring as Jack tries to courageously walk up and use his locker. He looks like he might fall apart at any second. Joey looks like she's contemplating something before storming over to Jack and telling him to kiss her. He asks her why and she says "just 'cause."  

Oohh, story arch for this episode, complete
Later, at the McPhee household, Andie finally talks to Jack. She compliments him on how well he is handling public ridicule and Jack says it's something you just have to deal with. She finally apologizes for giving him the cold shoulder and she redeems herself from the Tyra gif:
Andie: I don't. When I first heard what happened to you in class, my initial reaction was resentment. Of all the possibilities, you know, I didn't even feel sorry for you. I just...thought, oh great, thanks, when things finally seemed to be slowing down in my life, and now I have to deal with this. And everything that has happened to us in our lives just made me so afraid. And I didn't think anyone could understand that, especially you. I mean you're so strong and independent and then....and then....I read this. Your poem. I kept one of the ones I tore down. It's a really beautiful poem, Jack. And I don't know if it means that you're gay or not and I really don't care. But I'll tell you what I do know. The person who wrote this poem...he's just as scared as I am. Jack, you're terrified and I'm your sister and I had no idea. I just wanted to let you know that I'm here for you. And I love you. And you're not alone.
Awwwwwww! You guys, she really owned up to her mistakes this episode and is going to stand by her brother no matter what his sexuality is. This is the Andie I know and love and she is awesome. They hug and make up. 

Joey also redeems herself for once by actually apologizing to Dawson. Like seriously, seriously apologizing for her behaviour without expecting an apology from Dawson. I was shocked, you guys. Shocked. I mean, it's not as heartfelt as Andie's apology but baby steps, right? 

She then asks Dawson for advice on her relationship with Jack which is awkward. She thinks he might be gay but doesn't want to ask him because then he'll know she's considered it and feel betrayed. Dawson says that relationships begin and end with honesty and that she has to ask him or she'll end up wondering or the problem will get worse. I've got to say, both Dawson and Joey are pretty good in this episode. Dawson more so than Joey but Joey at least is acknowledging her faults and wants to do better. Kudos, Dawson and Joey, hooray for becoming actual human beings. 

Dawson blows my mind yet again by supporting Pacey the next day as he awaits his fate outside of the principal's office. Pacey is nervous and is grilling Dawson about what he thinks. Dawson says he can't judge because he wasn't there so Pacey asks if Dawson would do the same thing he did. Dawson says he wouldn't, which is very truthful but you can see worry on Pacey's face as he asks Dawson if he would be ashamed of him if he can't apologize. Dawson says that he could never be ashamed of Pacey. Awwww, besties! Dawson is on fire as an awesome friend this episode. 

Pacey faces the principal, his guidance counsellor, and Mr. Peterson and explains that he regrets his actions but he does not regret its intention. He believes that what Mr. Peterson did in the classroom was wrong and he will not respect or apologize to him. It is pretty bad ass because that's how Pacey rolls. He don't take crap from authority!  

Why yes, I probably will use this gif a lot throughout these recaps
Andie goes to apologize to Pacey but Pacey is upset with her for not supporting him. He also accuses her of not supporting her brother either, which she didn't. However, she says she apologized to him and was coming to apologize to Pacey but she was struggling with it as she was coming to see him because Jack was innocent whereas Pacey brought on his problems himself. That's...not really supportive, Andie. Pacey asks her if she would have had him just let Peterson pick on her brother and in the middle of Andie saying there were other ways he could have handled it, Pacey tells her the reason why he felt he had to step in.
Pacey: When I knew the whole time that IT WAS MY FAULT. It was MY fault. Peterson knew that he couldn't get the best of me so he went after your brother. If I hadn't of instigated him that day...none of this would have happened. I did whatever I could to stop it. I had to stop it.
Andie is, of course, taken aback as she didn't realize he blamed himself for what happened to Jack. She asks him why he didn't tell her and he says it's because she didn't want to hear it, she just wanted him to clean up his mess. Very true but I don't like where this is headed. It's headed to me having feels that are not good because Pacey says he wants to go home and doesn't accept Andie's offer to go with him.  

Why? I don't like it when they fight!
Meanwhile, Joey abruptly asks Jack if he's gay and explains that there is no easy way for a girl to ask if her boyfriend is gay so she just asked it but assures him that he doesn't have to answer right away. Jack assures her that he's not gay and Joey is completely relieved, even though she does say that she would have dealt with it and understood if he was. She asks him to not write any more poems for a while, which might be hard if he's assigned to write another poem, but he agrees and they hug and make up. Everything seems to be fine because Jack is not gay...

Or is he!?

Stay tuned for the stunning, drama-filled conclusion in the recap for ...That is the Question.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Dawson's Creek - 213 - His Leading Lady

Original air date: February 3, 1999

Now that I've gotten the theme song rant off my chest, I guess it's time for me to recap the events of the episode, His Leading Lady. When we last left off, we learned a little bit about Pacey's complicated relationship with his father and his shitty home life, Joey and Jen kind of, sort of, made up and Dawson was boring and kind of douchey but apologized for it. Do we get to expand on Pacey's home life some more? No. Do we get Joey and Jen building a friendship? No. We get to see more of Dawson making his movie!


We open the episode up in, Dawson's room and what's this? Dawson and Joey are back watching movies together! And all the Dawson/Joey shippers rejoiced. It's only a matter of time now that they get back together and be soulmates for life!

Hold onto your hats, people. There is still so much angst to get through. Like Joey worrying whether or not Dawson is ok with them hanging out, Dawson obsessing over who to cast in the Joey role of his movie, Joey being pissed that Dawson is ok with their break up, and Joey being even more pissed that Dawson has "let her go."

You were never supposed to get over me, dammit!

Joey bails and acts like she's the one hurt by all this and I throw my hands up in frustration both at her character and the writers. Hello? Am I the only one who remembers that Joey is the one who dumped Dawson? Why the hell should I feel sad that Joey is sad that Dawson decided to move on? Joey crushed his heart and then jumped into the arms of another man, it is not fair that she gets to move on and have another relationship while expecting Dawson to not get over her.

Moving on. We cut to the next day as Joey is in art class. Dawson walks in because his movie is the most important thing ever and he doesn't have to pay attention to other people's schedules, least of all Joey's, or the other students, or the art teacher. No way, his film takes priority over school. He wants to give her his revised script, Joey doesn't care about that right now because she's in a college level class and Dawson is treating it like it's highschool. Dawson suddenly notices that the girl Joey is sketching is nude and behaves like a typical teenaged boy.

Hey, remember how I keep saying that Dawson's Creek is the show that embraced and showcased anything and everything popular? For a brief while, there was a popular young actress who got very big because of a movie, a movie I've already recapped on this very site, She's All That. That's right, our very special guest star this episode is none other than 90s girl,

Rachael Leigh Cook!

We next cut to Pacey and Andie hanging out in her room. Pacey is goofing around while Andie is, for some reason, getting ready for bed? I guess sleepovers aren't reserved for just Dawson and Joey. She's taking a while in the bathroom because she has to dramatically take her anti-crazy pills.

I don't always take anti-crazy pills,
but when I do, I take them dramatically

I find it funny just picturing her dramatically taking her pill every freaking day, just like that and then Jack walking in and being like "Andie, stop being such a drama queen and take the damn pill already!"

Anyway, they joke around together and then Pacey goes into the bathroom. In the trash can, he sees her empty bottle of anti-crazy pills which are also known as ZanX.

Pacey is confused

Dawson bumps into Rachael Leigh Cook in the college library and she informs us that her name is Devon and that she is actually a drama major. Dawson is super excited by this and tells her that he is making a movie. She says that she didn't know the college had a film school and Dawson has to admit that he's still in high school.

This girl is pretentious as hell but I laughed at this

Dawson gets all butthurt and tells her that it is his second movie and that this movie is funded by the Boston Film Festival. He gives her his script and asks her to read for the part of "Sammy" which is Joey's character. He also asks her to give her opinion on it. Risky move, Dawson. She warns him that stronger men have been hurt by what she thinks.

At the Lindley household, Grams walks in the door with a younger man. Grams introduces him to Jen as Tyson Hicks but he prefers to be called Ty. I'm guessing he knew who Grams was and that Jen was her granddaughter because I don't think he would have helped her carry her groceries all the way home otherwise. It's also really obvious that he wants Jen. Grams has told him about the movie Jen is working on and Ty wants to help out. Jen is all too happy to get more help as they are apparently short-handed.

Whoa, easy boy. Grams is right there!

Pacey is trying to get advice from Dawson on what he found in Andie's bathroom. Dawson sounds annoyed to me because they are not talking about his movie. I kid, I kid, he is actually making good points, one being that if Pacey is worried, he should ask Andie about it and talk to her. Pacey then explains that he doesn't want to confront her because she's been really stressed out lately and he doesn't want to make it worse. Dawson then gives more good advice by telling him that if Andie is stressed, then the only thing Pacey can do to help is try to help her relax. Dawson is actually being a good friend this episode.

I am shocked

They are in Dawson's room and Dawson is decorating it for the movie shoot. Pacey calls Dawson out on setting his life story in his own room being a bit...creepy. I agree but I get that he doesn't have a ton of money to be able to build a bedroom set so it makes sense.

Then we cut to Dawson outside, setting up a cardboard tv and what looks like some lawnchairs that are supposed to be his bed, I think? So, does this mean that Pacey shamed him into trying to create his bedroom outside? Because that looks really cheap and why would you do that if you have a perfectly good indoor location to shoot in? It looks so fake and how the hell would he be able to trick anyone into thinking the shot was inside when they would clearly be outside, especially if they happen to have to shoot on a windy day? 

Ok, ok, fine. You'll fix it in post

Devon has read Dawson's script and Dawson is anxiously awaiting her praise:
Devon: I didn't love it. 
Dawson: *disappointed* Really? 
Devon: I mean, all the angst and the over-analyzing and the hesitancy to act on...anything. I mean, I really had to search my psyche and call back my adolescence.
Devon goes on to say that she managed to break through all of his psycho-babble and get to the core of the character he wanted her to read for but Dawson has shut down because she didn't immediately praise him for his genius and splendor. He goes so far as to say that he doesn't want her to read for the part because he thought about it some more and says she's too small and the part isn't right for her. She responds by tearing him a new one.
Devon: So what you're saying is because I had an opinion of your script, you're not going to let me read for the part? Here's the cold, hard truth, Dawson. If you can't take a little constructive criticism. You're never going to make it. Good luck in high school. I'm sorry I wasted my time.
He realizes the error of his ways though and begs her to come back and read. She does and he thinks she's awesome or something and gives her the part. The next day, Joey is telling Jack that she has to leave work early to help Dawson out with his movie shoot. Jack is totally cool with it and asks if Dawson will keep them all day. Joey is confused by this and Jack explains that he will be helping too since Jen asked for his help. Joey is even more appalled by this news because she's a horrible person who likely enjoyed two guys fighting over her and is sad that they are not. Basically, Joey is Rachel:
But less funny and more infuriating

Joey then goes to take care of a table and surprise! It's Devon, who is creepily watching her and mimicking everything she does and says. I guess she's a method actor and doesn't care how freaking crazy she looks. Joey is creeped out and asks Jack to take over Devon's order for her. Jack goes over to Devon and she then asks him if he knows Joey. He says he does and then she asks him to tell her everything he knows about Joey. The scene cuts there and while Jack looks perplexed, I'm kind of curious as to whether or not he actually answered her or told her to get off the premises and stop being a creeper. 

Pacey has decided to confront Andie about the medication he found. She still tries to pretend it's her mother's but Pacey sees right through this and asks her to stop bull-shitting him. She tells him that she started taking the pills after her older brother died but that it doesn't matter because her doctor isn't going to prescribe any more and wants her to try therapy instead. Pacey thinks that therapy might be good for her and Andie tells him to butt out because she can take care of herself and that she is fine. He asks her if she would tell him if she wasn't fine and she reassures him weakly that she would. 

The next day, Dawson has a massive film crew assembled and they are doing rehearsals. Remember last season, when he made a movie with only help from Pacey, Joey, and Jen and yet this time he's got a crowd of crew and cast but he's short staffed? Confusing. Anyway, Abbie is late for rehearsals so Dawson asks Jen to read her she's basically reading as herself. That must be awkward for her. 

Joey sees this and looks pissed off because, I guess she is jealous that Jen was asked to read? Hmmm, remember last episode how Jen and Joey sort of made up and Joey apologized for lashing out at Jen for "taking what's hers?" Yeah, I guess we're throwing that out because Joey is jealous again. 

The scene unfolds much like the scene from the begining of episode 6 in season 1, where Jen has intruded on their movie night. Except Max Ford hilariously tries to turn it into a porno scene. Dawson tries to correct him by saying that his character is supposed to be interested in "Kim" and that "Sammy" is just his friend.  

Ahh, this show and it's meta humour.
I live for these moments in this show

Dawson tries to explain that he isn't ignoring her feelings, he's just "unaware" of them and Max still looks confused because this:  

Sorry, Dawson still is

Dawson spots Joey and waves excitedly. Devon also perks up and rushes over to them to meet her. They have an awkward introduction where Devon admits that Dawson told her that Sammy is based off of Joey and that she was studying her the other day. Then Dawson reminds Joey that she should recognize her from art class because he enjoys making people more awkward, I guess. Dawson further proves my theory by ditching Joey with Devon and telling Devon to study her mannerisms. Dude, you might have asked Joey's permission before giving some strange girl license to study her and copy everything she does for your stupid movie. Dick. 

Devon wants to ask Joey a bunch of questions which annoys Joey but Devon plows ahead anyway and annoys me by becoming one of those extra characters that serves to tell us what great soulmates the leads are.
Devon: Well, I think that Sammy and Wade are soulmates who will be forever connected by an overpowering, transcendent love...what do you think?
I think you can blow me, Dawson's Creek writers. Show me that they are soulmates and I will believe you but the more you keep telling me, the more I just don't believe it. 

Things with Dawson's shoot are going a bit sour and Dawson tells everyone to take a break. Jen advises Dawson that he should get the first shot done before calling breaks and then goes to deal with the issue herself. Ty had been manning the camera and she asks him if there is a problem, he uses the opportunity to flirt with her by saying that he finds it hard to concentrate with her around. She tells him to cool it but is clearly interested too. 

Jack asks Joey if she's ok with her break up with Dawson being put on screen for everyone to see and she claims to be fine with it. He then rightly says that it's obvious that Dawson isn't over her but Joey insists that he is. Jack seems ok with this and says that as long as Joey is over Dawson, that's all that matters.  

Joey looks like she's not over
Dawson though

Jen asks Ty out because she's badass and doesn't wait around for a guy to ask her and Ty eagerly agrees with the stipulation that Jen leave the date planning to him. She agrees. 

Both Max Ford and Devon are having a hard time understanding their characters' motivations because Dawson and Joey do not opperate like normal humans and trying to portray them is challenging. I sympathize with them. Dawson explains it as best as he can while giving Dawson and Joey shippers more to drool over as he goes over the pain he felt upon losing his "soulmate." 

Devon is intrigued by Dawson's explanation that Joey is an angry person and so she goes over to talk to Joey about it. She tries to provoke Joey into being angry so that she can study how Joey does it. She acts like a complete over the top bitch about it too by bringing Jack into the mix and asking him how it feels to be the "transition guy" and Joey predictably loses it. I don't blame her in this instance because Devon is really grating on my nerves at this point in the episode. 

Meanwhile, Pacey spots Andie freaking out over a lost hair clip that is a prop for the movie. She is hounding Devon about where it is but Devon has no idea and is clearly getting annoyed with Andie. Pacey pulls her aside and tries to calm her down but she only gets more upset and then she dumps him.  

Pacey is crushed and my heart breaks with him
A little later, they are filming the infamous Dawson/Joey breakup scene. This time, they nail it and Dawson is super thrilled. He's a little bit too thrilled with Max Ford though. I mean, just look at this:  

Will allwaaaays

Looove yooouuuuuuuu!!!

I love how in this screencap, it looks like
Devon is giving Dawson a "WTF?" face
as he stares longingly at Max

I think he's supposed to be impressed that the dim-witted, sex obsessed jock has nailed Dawson's complex (*snicker*) script and emotions but it comes across more like Dawson has just realized that Max is the love of his life. Then again, I'm pretty immature sometimes. 

Joey pulls Dawson away from his true love because she was way pissed with watching that scene and wants to let him know about it. She drags him into an empty classroom to unleash her fury. She berates him for wanting to relive the most excruciating moment of their lives and asks if he's punishing her or moving on. Dawson claims to be doing neither and then she chides him by asking if their relationship meant nothing to him and then makes a snide comment about him finding it so easy to move on. 

Uhhh, Joey, you moved on first. You know, you got with Jack two seconds after breaking up with Dawson? You really have no right to be this bitchy. Thankfully, the writers acknowledge this by giving Dawson a backbone for once:
Dawson: Wait a minute, wait a minute! Let's take a little refresher course, Joey! You broke up with me, okay? You have a new boyfriend. You found your art passion. You have a whole new life! And what do I have?
He storms out and leaves Joey alone to think about what a bitch she really is. This next scene is probably my favourite of the episode. Grams is helping with the clean up and begins to talk to Jen. You think for a second, that she is going to chide Jen for something but what happens is this:
Grams: You know, Jennifer. I watched you today and you know what I saw? 
Jen: Why do I feel a lecture coming on here? 
Grams: I saw all these young people working together as a team for a common goal and I was so impressed. Then I realized who was in charge of everyone and I was so proud. I found myself watching a beautiful, accomplished, young woman who just happened to be my granddaughter.
I think I have something in my eye

Ty walks in just as Grams mentions that Jen can be whatever she wants to be without a man by her side. You can tell Jen feels a little bad about the timing of things but Grams tells her to have fun and that she deserves it. 

I awwwww'd again
Dawson runs into a distraught Pacey in the hall who tells him that Andie has dumped him. Dawson asks if she meant it and Pacey says she did. Dawson then, fueled by his fight with Joey, urges Pacey to forget about Andie and move on. Pacey points out that Dawson has not exactly moved on from Joey but Dawson insists that he's trying to. I've got to post another quote here because what Pacey says to this is awesome.
Pacey: You know, Dawson, as text-book healthy as the letting go theory sounds, and, you know, it may work out for ya, it doesn't apply to me. I mean, this isn't just a case of teen romance gone sour. I know what I want. I want Andie. And she's hurting right now and whether she knows it or not...she needs me. I have absolutely no intention of letting her go.
Oh my god, does this ever perfectly capture the myriad reasons that Pacey is a better character than Dawson. Dawson just lets things happen to him, while Pacey has the guts to stand up and fight for what he wants. He won't mope, he will try his damnedest to win her back because:  

Suck it, Dawson
Jen and Ty are off for their date. Jen suggests they go get something to eat because she's hungry but Ty said he promised some friends that he'd stop by their place for a party but assures her there'll be food there. Jen says she's always up for a party and is really excited, until she gets inside and realizes that it's a bible reading party. 

Whomp, Whoooomp

Meanwhile, Pacey makes good on his word to win back Andie and appears at her house with a rose. She won't be so easily bought though and slams her door in his face. Undeterred, Pacey goes to climb up the trelice to her bedroom window, creating a Romeo and Juliet-esque visual. I approve and Andie's resolve to shut him out cracks a little too as she shows concern for his safety. 

He gives her the rose and tells her that he is not going to stay away from her or let her push him away. He is a member of the Andie McPhee Fan Club and his adulation never waivers, through the good times or the bad. Andie finally confesses that she just wants to feel better and Pacey reassures her that she will and he will help her. She asks him how he knows she will get better. 


Dawson's movie shoot has wrapped for the day and Devon and Chris invite him out for a bite to eat but he declines. Devon sticks around just long enough to pat Dawson on the back for showing potential as a film director which probably totally makes Dawson's day because he won over the bitch who criticized him earlier. She tries to invite him out for dinner once again but he again declines. 

Joey walks up to Dawson as soon as Devon is gone to apologize to him about being a complete bitch earlier. She admits that she was unfair and that she was uncomfortable with watching her private life being aired in front of half of Capeside. To Dawson's credit, he also apologizes for hurting her by writing his script about their lives but he thought that it would be cathartic to air out his feelings so that he could move on. He admits that despite trying to, he can't, he just wants his friend back. 

Joey confesses that the break up was hard on her too and this is something I've never gotten about Joey. Why did she have to break up with him then? From what I recall, he was trying to be supportive of her interest in art but she pushed him away. She said she just wanted to find herself and figure out her own identity without him and fine, I might be able to get behind that but then she starts up a new relationship with Jack. Isn't that just another distraction from finding herself? Why did she get with Jack if she still liked Dawson? If she wants to be with Dawson, what the hell is holding her back from being with him? It isn't the finding herself shit she went on about, she's not doing that anyway. She just comes across as a messily written character with very cloudy motivations. I guess you could attribute it to her being a teen and a ball of hormonal emotions but I guess I just never related to her because, even as a teen, I was never this messed up. I thought fairly rationally as a teen so her character was one I just couldn't relate to and I still can't. To me, there's just no real reason driving these two apart and even less of one connecting them back together. 

Jack walks up and interrupts them. Dawson thanks him for the help which is nice because it shows that he's maturing a little bit about the whole situation. Jack offers to stay and help clean up but Dawson tells them both to go home. The episode ends with Dawson walking through his film set as someone else cleans it up for him.

Pretty sweet deal for him

That was His Leading Lady. I like that we're finally starting to address Andie's problems again because the Andie/Pacey B plot was always the most compelling and interesting to me this season. I'm disappointed, but not surprised that they continue to not develop Jen and Joey's relationship. I always wanted these two to be friends but I'm not sure it ever really happened now that I'm looking over things again. In fact, are either of them really friends with Andie either? What is with teen shows and not being able to write in good female friendships? It seems they only exist to be girlfriends for the boys and/or to fight with each other over said boys. It's kind of sad. 

Stay tuned for the next episode recap To Be or Not To Be... in which the question relates to Jack's sexuality.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Dawson's Creek - Theme Song History

I need to vent about something that distressed me more than it really should have. I've been re watching this show from old recordings I have and by old recordings I mean I used to record the episodes as they aired with my VCR, so the picture quality is poor. What's a VCR, you ask? Completely freaking outdated and dead technology.

I had a Zenith. Yes, I'm old

So, you can understand my excitement when I saw that Canadian Netflix had finally gotten Dawson's Creek. Finally, I could watch it on the go, whenever I have time! So convenient. I was horrified to discover, however, that after the opening tag of the episode, I was not greeted with the familiar drum beat and cue up of that familiar "I Don't Want to Wait" song which is so tied in with Dawson's Creek that it's song title might as well be "The Dawson's Creek Theme". No, I was greeted with this...monstrosity:

Just what the fuck is this? 
I can't even! No, just no! 

What the hell is this intrusive song? I don't know what the hell it's supposed to be but it sure as hell is NOT Dawson's Creek. It wipes out all of the 90s charm it had with the "I Don't Want to Wait" song, it wipes out all nostalgia, it doesn't set the tone for the series at all. It is bland and vapid and forgettable when it should be overwrought and angsty like "I Don't Want to Wait". No, this is a travesty and anyone watching the show for the first time on Netflix is not getting the genuine experience. For all you sorry people:

THIS is the true Dawson's Creek theme song. 
Forever and always. 

Naturally, this drove me to investigate the matter further because why the eff would they willingly change an arguably iconic theme song like this? It just doesn't make sense, "I Don't Want to Wait" is so ingrained with Dawson's Creek that most people literally picture the opening credits of this song when they hear it, shows that reference Dawson's Creek play a sting of the song, and the actors from Dawson's Creek cringe when they hear it. Why would they change the song that advertises their show for them without even trying? Well, here's a history lesson for you and for me as well.

The history of the Dawson's Creek theme song:

 So the story begins with the producers actually wanting "Hand in my Pocket" by Alanis Morissette to play over the credits. Yeah..."Hand in my Pocket". To be honest, I can see why they wanted this song. Dawson's Creek has always been a show that has embraced and used anything and everything that was popular at the time and at the time, Alanis was pretty damn popular and so was that song. So I get the logic behind it but for funzies, let's see if it fits, shall we?

It actually doesn't fit as horribly as I imagined but still...

I don't just doesn't fit for me but maybe that's because I'm so used to "I Don't Want to Wait" that I can't see anything else working? Who knows, maybe if the creators had gotten their way, I'd be here defending "Hand in my Pocket" as the true Dawson's Creek song. Except, no because I have more history to impart on you fine folks.

 So, creators Paul Stupin and Kevin Williamson wanted "Hand in my Pocket," they specifically had it in mind when filming the opening credits on the beach, and they actually couldn't picture any other song fitting to the point that they didn't even consider using anything else. Except the producers were like "Nah, the rights are too expensive to get. Find something else." So, what were they to do?

 Well, and this is a complete shock to me, they actually went to another Canadian songstress, Jann Arden and asked her to write something for the show. That something was the horrific song that traumatised me enough to write this post. It is called "Run Like Mad" and is exactly the length of the credits. That's all she wrote, folks. But, Stupin liked "Run Like Mad" so much that he planned to use it as the show's theme song. So, the "new" theme song that threw me off and upset me so? Is, in fact, the show's original theme song.

My mind is blown, people

Yeah, so they actually had this song running over the credits for the first few episodes they produced but the WB started running TV spots for the show with pop songs in the background. One of the pop songs was the now iconic, "I Don't Want to Wait" by Paula Cole and the people at the WB were like "have you considered using this song?" and the creators were like "nah but I guess we could." And history was born.

So Why Switch Back Now?

Good question, folks. Well, you see, back in my day the Internet was a strange new wonder that hadn't yet been fully developed. Hell, back in my day, if you missed an episode of a show you liked and you didn't tape it with your handy Zenith VCR player, you were screwed unless you happened to catch it on repeat or when the show went into syndication. There was no buying TV seasons to take home on VHS or DVD and there certainly was no watching it on the Internet. So, producers, creators, executives or what have you, didn't bother getting the full rights to songs. They only covered their asses with original airings and syndication rights. Dawson's Creek is one of these shows.

In fact, even the DVDs after season 2 have "Run Like Mad" as the theme song because the sales weren't that great and the producers cut the budget for the rest of the seasons and thus, didn't get the rights to use "I Don't Want to Wait" in the process. This is how Netflix ended up with all seasons airing with the "Run Like Mad" theme.

Interesting Facts:

People overseas have only ever seen the show, through legal channels, with the "Run Like Mad" theme. So to them "Run Like Mad" was Dawson's Creek and they freaking love it. They love it so much that people have even requested Jann Arden to sing it at concerts but it's only like 40 seconds of song because she never wrote a "full version." It was only ever intended as a theme song and she actually doesn't remember how it goes. My argument is because it's so bland and forgettable but I don't want to trample on the nostalgia of others, so I'll just say that it was a long time ago and she never expected it to get big so why remember it? Especially since they didn't initially go with it.

Also, when they created the two part series finale and released it as a special DVD, the producers did get the rights for "I Don't Want to Wait" so, despite the rest of the show not having the rights to it in DVD or streaming form, the series finale will always have "I Don't Want to Wait."

And that, my friends, is the sordid tale of the origins of the Dawson's Creek theme song...songs. My research on this consisted of me angrily typing in "WHY THE HELL DID THEY CHANGE THE DAWSON'S CREEK THEME SONG???" into Google and clicking on a very helpful HuffPo article on the subject. It goes in way more depth than I did and they interviewed the people involved so, for more details on the Tale of the Theme Song Change, click here.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I can continue with my recapping of the episodes...but I'm personally tuning out the old/new theme song and humming "I Don't Want to Wait" in my head instead because nostalgia.