Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Dawson's Creek - 110 - Double Date

Original air date: April 28, 1998

Here it is, it's finally here. The episode that first sparked my shipping of Pacey and Joey. Oh sure, I made comments here and there through out these recaps already but that was because I already knew I shipped them. No, I'm talking about the first time I watched this show, week to week, as a teen. This was the episode for me and I'll explain why as we go through the episode.

We start the episode off in Dawson's room, of course. Even though last week was supposed to be his healing trip where he forgets about Jen, he is back to whining about her. This time it's because he's upset that she hasn't called or talked to him. Dude, she broke up with you, why would she want to hang out? Joey tries to coach him for life after Jen by telling him to prepare for girls to view him as the guy Jen dumped, other girls dating him out of pity and the fact that Jen will eventually start dating other guys.

Dawson is not impressed

She then imparts the third bit of wisdom which is the inevitable conversation he and Jen will have about being friends and that Dawson needs to have an answer. Dawson says he doesn't know the answer because he does and doesn't want to be friends with Jen.

Dawson: I mean, how could you simply be friends with someone when every time you look at them, all you think about is how much more you really want them.
Joey is now uncomfortable but pretends that she isn't an expert at that type of thing but that she thinks it can be done. The joke is that she is an expert because she is friends with someone that she wants to be more than friends with.

Laugh, the theme song beat commands it!

Next, we cut to the kitchen where Mitch and Gail are having breakfast or something when the phone rings. Mitch answers and whoever was calling asks to speak to Gail. She has a quick conversation before hanging up. Mitch asks who was calling because he sounded familiar. Gail's lack of answer gives him the answer and he immediately gets ticked off that Big Bad Bob would have the nerve to call there. I agree, Mitch. Ta-cky! Gail then has the nerve to defend him which upsets Mitch further. Gail acts all upset that Mitch is upset but really? Here's a helpful tip, if you cheated but are trying to fix your relationship, don't defend your ex-lover. Gail should have agreed with Mitch that it was inappropriate for Bob to call and that she would tell him not to do it again back at the office. Simple.

Gail is not that bright though.

At school, Dawson is approached by Jen who confronts him with the dreaded question, could they still be friends? Ouch. She's friendzoning Dawson like Dawson friendzones Joey.

Dawson then complains to Pacey about it and that he told Jen that he needed time to think about it. Pacey calls Dawson out for not wanting to be friends and still crushing on Jen. Then he offers him the advice to say that he wants to be friends with her to let her think he is over her and secure. Basically he's telling Dawson that she was stifled by his niceness and that to win her back he has to starve her of his niceness so that she will crave it again. This theory would work if she actually wanted to date Dawson and only dumped him because he was too in her face but points for effort, Pacey.

Still love ya.

A girl briefly interrupts them to talk to Dawson about mid-terms. Her name is Mary-Beth. The significance of the scene was to set up two things, 1) they are getting their mid-terms back and 2) Mary-Beth has a crush on Dawson.


The teacher walks in with the mid-terms and ranks somewhere slightly above Ms. Jacobs on the scale of bad teachers that Capeside High School seems to employ. He says that most people did really well but that he needs to see a few people after class. Then he reads out Pacey's name and says "Well, I guess that's it." Wow, that is a douche-tacular thing to do to a student. Way to humiliate him in front of the entire class.

I could have just asked him discreetly, but
where's the shame and humiliation in that?

So Pacey stays after class and we see that he got a 32 on his mid-term. Ouch. Mr. Ram actually morphs into a passable teacher by trying to tell Pacey that he is bright and that he has an aptitude for science-y things.

Damn rights, he does.

Mr. Ram goes on to say that he is giving Pacey a chance to pass the class with an extra credit assignment. He simply has to pair up with someone else. That someone else, is Joey.

Crap, right reaction, wrong guy.

Dawson confronts Jen and apologises for not answering her question earlier and says that he can be her friend and then starts asking her about her day. This leads to him asking if she has any plans this weekend and Jen gets awkward, saying that they probably shouldn't have this conversation. Dawson says that's nonsense because they're buds now because he says so and she can tell him anything. Jen tells him she has a date with Cliff and...hang on. Didn't she dump him because she'd "never been home on a Saturday night" and that she'd always had boyfriends and needed time to find herself? What the hell, Jen? You're dating already? So much for staying home on a Saturday night for once.

That's a shit-tacular thing to do, Jen.

This is where I start to dislike Jen. I mean, that is low. I sympathised with her needing some time to herself but really she just made all that bull crap up so that she could date Cliff? I mean, Dawson can be a douche but you just dumped him, why jump to Cliff so quickly? Jen tells him that she's going to the carnival on Saturday with Cliff and Dawson has a minor aneurysm.

You can see his brain exploding.

He tries to regroup by claiming that he also has a date that he's bringing to the carnival and then suggests that they go on a double date. Uh, Dawson? That's a horrible, horrible idea. Just awful.

Dawson tells Pacey about it at lunch and Pacey tries to spin it into a positive. By Jen seeing him dating other women she will see that he is over her and grow interested again. OK but again this plan only works if she still has feelings for him, cuz if she doesn't well, this whole plan will go up in smoke and she will think they are actually friends. Instead of not going through with it, Dawson just complains that he doesn't actually have a date.

Cue Mary-Beth

So Dawson approaches Mary-Beth and asks her to the carnival, while omitting the part about it being a double date with his ex and her new date. Mary-Beth is a bit leery of Dawson Leery's intentions (I will never get tired of that. Never!) but he assures her that he is over Jen and she agrees to go out with him. I will remind you that Dawson is presented as a "nice guy" in this show but he just asked out a girl who seemingly has a big crush on him for the sole purpose of pretending to be over his ex so that he can get back together with her and he lied to her about it.


In biology class, Joey is observing a tank full of snails while Pacey looks bored as hell. I don't blame him. Pacey asks her what they are doing and Joey explains that they are observing the reproductive process of snails and trying to find out what factors make for better reproduction. Pacey jokes that they get them drunk, turn the lights down and leave them alone for a couple of days and Joey gets mad at him for not taking the project seriously enough.

Come on, Joey. How can you stay
mad at that face?

Dawson is in his room when his dad comes in and starts grilling him about anyone calling. Dawson tells him that no one called for him and then Mitch spells out to him that he's not asking if anyone called for him specifically, just if anyone called that he should know about. So, he's basically involving his kid in his relationship drama. What kind of parent does that? Son, was your mother's lover calling here? I just wanted to remind you that your mother is a whore but we're just a couple of nice guys. Dammit, Mitch! First Jen disappoints me and now you?

Team the Leery's are a bunch of ass holes.

In school the next day (hooray for a clear time line!), Joey is angry over the fact that the snails they were supposed to have been observing have disappeared when Pacey was supposed to check on them. Pacey says he did check on them and nothing was happening so he decided that maybe the snails were like guys and wanted to live out the ultimate fantasy and that would get them going.

A snail menage-a-trois?

Oh Pacey, you so silly. Anyway, he put a "pretty" snail in their snails' tank to help things along but the "pretty" snail was apparently carnivorous and ate their snails. Joey is furious and so Pacey offers to do whatever she wants in order to make it up to her. He wants to make it up to her!

I'm getting excited.
Later, Joey calls Dawson out for using Mary-Beth to make Jen jealous. Bang on, Joey. She tries to convince Dawson to call the date off but Dawson is being whiny about how he should do the right thing but then what about Jen? Whine, whine, whine. Joey lets it slide but warns him that he shouldn't make being a jerk a habit because apparently Dawson is "one of the good ones"

Sure, whatever

Then Dawson is all "I wish I was taking you tonight." and Joey's all "I wish you were too." just to tease the fan girls a bit until Pacey shows up and interrupts them. Joey says that Pacey has volunteered to take her to the tidal pool to catch more snails for their project and says goodbye to Dawson.
At the carnival, Dawson meets up with Mary-Beth and they have an awkward conversation until they are joined by Cliff and Jen. Dawson makes the introductions and Mary-Beth catches on to him quickly. She asks to speak to Dawson alone and calls him out on it.

I will not be ignored, Dawson!

Pacey is rowing Joey out to the spot where they are going to fish for snails while Joey complains about having to waste her afternoon. Pacey gets annoyed and asks her what she got on her test that she needed to do this extra assignment with him. Joey gets uncomfortable and tries to change the subject.

So, Mary-Beth has called Dawson out for still being hung up on Jen and Dawson says that he's going to tell the truth. What does Mr. "Nice Guy" tell her? That he's such a super duper nice "Nice Guy" that he agreed to go on a double date for poor Jen's sake because she's not sure if she likes Cliff yet and doesn't want to be alone with him.

That's right, I created a Dawson Meme.
Deal with it.

Joey and Pacey are finishing up their snail collecting. The water is getting high and Joey wants to leave except that Pacey neglected to tie up their boat. Pacey, you live on a creek, shouldn't you know things about boats ie: tie them to something when you are not in them so they don't float away? You...you really aren't very bright, are you?

Awww, I still love you.

With Mary-Beth on board, she and Dawson rejoin Cliff and Jen at a games booth. Cliff wins the game which pisses Dawson off. Mary-Beth tries to get everyone to go to the Ferris wheel but Dawson won't have it. He has to prove he is the better man and beat Cliff at a stupid, rigged carnival game. Dawson manages to win this time but still looks like a big freaking baby for calling the game to try and win in the first place and then makes to hand the stuffed animal to Jen instead of his actual date before turning to Mary-Beth and telling her they need to talk.

I think I might be using this a lot.
Pacey and Joey bicker as they wade through the cold water to get back to Pacey's truck. Once there, Pacey grabs some blankets and tells her to get undressed and then wrap it around like he's going to do. Joey objects to this until Pacey explains that if she stays in her cold, wet clothes, she'll get sick. She starts undressing while Pacey goes to start up the truck. Then he turns into a bit of a skeeve as he spots Joey undressing in his passenger side mirror.

Hey! Eyes to the front, Witter.

Joey gets back in the car and Pacey is obviously very aroused and is smiling at her. She takes this as him laughing at her for looking ridiculous but Pacey tells her it's because when she loosens up, she becomes fun to be around.

Oh my gosh! The moment's almost here...

Dawson finds Mary-Beth and finally tells her the truth about the fake date and wanting Jen back. Mary-Beth takes this news surprisingly well and explains that she actually doesn't have a crush on Dawson, she just felt sorry for him. She actually has a crush on Cliff. Well, alright then, everything is wrapped up in a neat little bow for Dawson. He can still look like the nice guy. Hooray.

He and Mary-Beth decide that they can help each other out with their respective crushes. Mary-Beth pulls Cliff onto the Ferris wheel with her, leaving Jen to have to sit with Dawson.

We're next?

Back at Joey's house, Pacey thanks Joey for giving him Bodie's dry clothes. Then he brings up the midterm grades again. Pacey tells her that he got a 32 so she won't feel bad for telling him her grade but she still won't tell. Pacey then starts guessing at her grade and she finally tells him that she got a 98. She tells him her sob story about being poor and without a family and having to live in the living room of her sister's house. She wants to get out and go to college and the only way to do that is with a scholarship. To get a scholarship, she needs to have competitive grades hence needing an extra assignment for a 98 grade.

Pacey tries to tell her that she'll get out and go to a fancy college while he pumps gas in Capeside. Joey says she thinks Pacey will get out too but Pacey shrugs it off and then this happens:

I squeed like I was a little teen girl again.

But now we have to cut back to the carnival where Jen and Dawson are stuck at the top. Dawson tries to make small talk and mentions how "pretty" she and Cliff look together. Jen says they are just on a date and just getting to know each other and that she's not comfortable talking about it with Dawson. She then says she wants to retract her original offer of being friends.

Well, he didn't but she did.
You get the idea.

Jen then says that she doesn't know why he wanted to come or why she let him come. Dawson then calls her out for the same reason I had an issue with her earlier. When she dumped him, she said she wanted to be alone but then here she is dating Cliff. So he asks her if she was actually tired of men or just tired of him. Jen says nothing but Dawson still gets his answer.

Dawson is a sad panda.

Pacey and Joey arrive and Dawson cheers up a bit. Pacey asks to talk to Dawson alone. He tells Dawson that he actually had a pretty good day with Joey and they became friends and Pacey wants to be a little more than friends. Dawson responds by laughing at him, mocking him for having the "hots" for Joey and then asks if his friend is inhaling something.

Really, Dawson?

Dawson asks Pacey why he needs his permission and Pacey explains that he knows Dawson and Joey have a history together and he didn't want there to be any bad blood between them if he were to kiss Joey. Dawson says he's cool with it, then retracts his coolness with it and then says he's cool with it again. Pacey asks if he's sure and then goes on his way.

Dawson has to poo or he's confused or something.
Pacey has given Joey a ride home and then he makes his move. He asks if he has to fail another midterm or if they can hang out again sometime. Joey laughs this off, saying they will spend plenty of time together writing their report. Pacey says that's not what he meant and tries to clarify by kissing her.

I squeed again.

It doesn't go well and Joey asks him why he kissed her.

You wouldn't have to explain anything to me, Pacey.
Just saying.

He tells her what a nice time they had and that he was confused and surprised and attracted. Joey says she was confused and surprised too but not the third thing. Pacey accepts her answer pretty gracefully and then he turns to her and with the most adorable and sad expression ever, asks her if there was a slim chance she had kissed him back, would she have been thinking of someone else? Joey doesn't say anything but Pacey has his answer.

I wouldn't have been thinking of anyone else...
just saying.

Right here, though. This moment is when I started shipping them in my head and do you want to know why? On top of Pacey being more my type looks wise, he is also very genuine and open about his feelings. We keep being told by the writers of the connection that is between Joey and Dawson and how they are always there for each other but in their actions, they aren't. When I first saw this scene play out, I realised what a sham the Dawson and Joey relationship was. Why on Earth would I want to like a guy that doesn't consider my feelings at all, doesn't see me as attractive, and ditches me at the drop of a hat when I could have this guy that actually wants to date me, looks out for me, sees me as pretty and actually tries to make up for things he's done wrong to me. The answer is, I wouldn't.

To me, Joey made a huge freaking mistake rejecting Pacey in favour of mooning over Dawson and do you know what? I'm starting to get the impression that Joey is actually incredibly scared of her budding hormones because she doesn't want to end up like her sister, a young mom who is stuck in Capeside for her whole life. Joey is so scared of her sexuality that she focuses all of her energy on liking Dawson and do you want to know why? Because Dawson is safe. Dawson is her friend who treats her reasonably nice but also poses no threat to her in a sexual way as he is "unattainable" in that he friendzoned her. She is free to feel her new urges through him but not have to act on them. I also think all of her anger towards Jen was not because she wanted to date Dawson but was actually jealousy that Jen could so easily act on her impulses in a way that Joey could not. She resents Jen's experience, being from New York, letting go and having sex with seemingly no repercussions.

She had a chance to be with a guy who genuinely liked her and wanted to be with her and do everything that her urges probably want to do but she was too scared of being trapped. So Joey rejects reality for her safe fantasy.

Looks like Dawson isn't the only one living in
the safe movie world, eh Jo?

Back at the Leery household, I guess Mitch and Gail made up because they are hugging while letting the phone ring. They got, like no development this episode, I don't really care about this subplot or how they got to this inexplicable point when last we saw, Mitch was bitter enough to involve his son in their fight.

Totally resolved everything somehow...for now.

Dawson storms into the video store where Pacey is working and tells him that he is not OK with him kissing Joey. Pacey sees the big red button on Dawson's chest and begins pushing it, much like I would because it is hard to not push someone's button when they just present it to you like this. Pacey tells Dawson that he's too late, which he is, but he also plays it up like Joey liked it and that they are going to make out all the time. Dawson calls Pacey out for being full of it.


We end the episode on yet another cliffhanger that I'm sure they will gloss over in the next episode, because Pacey questions Dawson about his feelings for Joey and there are still three more angst filled episodes left this season so Dawson has to pretend that he still sees Joey as a friend for now.

I'll just leave you all with this

Next up is The Scare where I'm sure that we'll pretend this cliffhanger never happened. Welcome to the Creek, bitch. This is how it's done in Capeside or something to that effect.


  1. Mary Beth is Theresa! She's a vampire! Stake her!

    That is all.

    (well, not all. Tyra is mightily displeased with everyone this week! And I agree.)

    (also, yay Pacey shipping. and I love your analysis of Joey's fear. I think you're dead right and I'd never heard that thought articulated that way before)

    1. Thank you! I knew Mary-Beth looked familiar! Hooray for another Buffy related guest star. :)

      Also, thanks for the kudos on the Joey analysis. I really just thought of it this episode. It just kind of hit me when she was going on about how sad her life would be if she stayed in Capeside. It really does make sense, even though in the story she's supposed to be really into Dawson and in love with him or some junk.

  2. Think you are spot on about the Joey analysis about her being afraid of the feelings she has. Doesn't Pacey call her on it in the drunk jail scene during the Valentine episode in season 3, argues that Joey treats Dawson like he's neutered and virginal?