Friday, 8 February 2013

Dawson's Creek - 112 - Beauty Contest

Original air date: May 12, 1998

Welcome back everyone, to another exciting episode of Dawson's Creek. Once again the reset button is pressed and we pretend like none of The Scare happened. Sure, Joey almost got stalked by a serial killer but who cares about that, right?

Thank you, Leonard.

No, we want more of the same thing, so we begin the episode in Dawson's room where once again, he and Joey are arguing about something. Actually, Joey is bitching about how guys are told by the mass media to like super model, heroin addicts. I think I remember agreeing with her on this as a teen because, let's face it, most of us, if not all of us were super self conscious back then but now, I just role my eyes at this. Hell, women are told the same things with the 50 hottest men alive crap that People peddles, we are no different. However, just because I think John Cusack or Joshua Jackson are hot, doesn't mean that I will only date John Cusack or Joshua Jackson because I'm not stupid but a girl can dream...

Many thanks to my friend, Lucas, for
making this amazing gif for me.

Anyway, this whole opening is basically a Joey pity party because she resents Dawson for not liking her in the way she wants and she is blaming the media for this. Because, apparently, Joey is not hot.

Yeah, whatever.

The gang is hanging out at the Icehouse and talking about this week's plot, the Miss Windjammer contest. Dawson's mom is going to judge and Dawson mentions that he has been allowed to film it for a news spot. Joey bitches about it, naturally, while Pacey makes jokes about warming the women up before the competition. Jen mentions that her mother used to enter her in awful "Little Miss" competitions until she was old enough to protest and Dawson makes a snarky comment about how she must have twirled a baton as her talent.

Yep, the Dawson Nice Guy meme is back

Dawson tells Jen that she should enter because she's beautiful but it sounds pretty sarcastic. Joey leaves because Dawson is talking about Jen and not her and Jen follows her. Pacey calls Dawson out for complisulting Jen and Dawson admits to it, saying that winning Jen back has become a bizarre hobby.


Jen approaches Joey and brings up the idea of them being friends again since "the wedge known as Dawson Leery" is no longer between them. Joey responds with a bitchy eye roll so Jen backs off. What the hell, Joey? She was trying to be nice to you and you respond with that? It's not her fault that your crush is stuck on her and she obviously really wants to have a friend. Damn. Joey does think for a second and changes her mind but she does it in her usually snarky way.

Shut up, Joey. Just be nice for once

Dawson approaches Pacey the next day who is in a funk because his father is being a dick to him. Dawson remains the ever unhelpful friend by pretending his friend's life is coming up roses like his life. He does show a bit of concern by offering up his place to crash at but when Pacey says he wants something more permanent, Dawson plays it off like a joke, saying that Pacey's dad would never let him move out. Then Pacey says that his dad told him that whenever he wanted to be an emancipated minor, he should just show him where to sign...and Dawson says NOTHING! Granted, Pacey tries to change course by showing Dawson some rental advertisements but, I'm sorry, a friend should probably be pretty damn worried to hear that. Dawson is seriously the man of bewildered inactivity.

People have actual problems?

Pacey says he needs to earn some extra cash to get an apartment and asks Dawson if he can help him with his video shoot of the Windjammer contest but Dawson isn't getting paid for it. Dawson says the only one getting any money is Miss Windjammer herself. This gives Pacey an idea.

A wonderful, awful idea...

At lunch time, Jen offers Joey a compliment which weirds Joey out. This is because Joey doesn't think she's pretty. JOEY DOESN'T THINK SHE'S PRETTY!

Bitch, I get being insecure about your height,
but in what world are you not pretty?

I know that Dawson doesn't pay any attention to you but for crying out loud, you've had five guys hit on you so far this season. FIVE. Granted one guy was a jerk who was basically harassing you and you decked him in the face, one was an even bigger jerk by saying you slept with him but even he still wanted to ask you out in the end even if it was still in a jerky way, and one was a serial killer but you still had two guys who were worth it who were in to you this season. I really hate shows that try to pander to the insecure teen girls but in reality, it only feeds into their insecurities because seriously, don't ask me to believe that someone as gorgeous as Katie Holmes is ugly.

Yeah, she's so ugly

Anyway, Jen convinces Joey to enter the Miss Windjammer contest by enticing Joey with the $5000 reward for her college education and dreams of escaping Capeside. Joey reluctantly agrees.

When Joey and Jen go to sign Joey up for the pageant, they find Pacey arguing with the application board because he wants to enter. Oh, I smell gender-bending comedy coming our way...

Pacey is the Screech of this episode...
this makes me sad

Jen and Joey run into Dawson who asks Jen if she is signing up, even though Joey is the one filling out the form. Jen informs him that she is just coaching and he still doesn't get it and asks who she's coaching. Jen excuses herself from the awkward situation Dawson is creating while Dawson begins to laugh at and be incredulous at Joey signing up for the contest. Joey explains to him that she is doing it for the money and is insulted at the fact that he's more supportive of Pacey joining the pageant than her. Dawson then says the funniest thing ever:

Dawson: Joey, c'mon you're my best friend I'd never laugh at you.
Think I'm being mean to Dawson?
Boom, Joey called it too

Pacey is at the orientation for the pageant when he sees a girl that he's familiar with but we are not.

It is I, Hannah Von Wenning. Of the
Bar Harbour Von Wennings.

He exchanges insults with her...I just realized with this episode that the Nellie Olson character from the beginning of the season, is no longer here. I mean, she was the resident rich spoiled brat that we already knew but I think she's been phased out and they are now trying to replace her. Geez, no wonder I barely remembered Nellie, she's very forgettable and she was maybe in the first half of the season before being wiped from existence.

Perhaps she was one of the Lady Killer's
earlier victims...

Jen is coaching Joey on how to walk in heels at her home. Joey gets frustrated and asks why Jen is doing this even though Joey has been "a first class bitch" to Jen. I'd like to know too. Apparently, I was right, Jen didn't really have any close girlfriends in New York and she feels like she's missing out on something. Instead of understanding, Joey mocks her by asking why she doesn't hang with the pep squad. Jen calmly tells her that she doesn't for the same reason Joey doesn't and she says that Joey's perception of her is as misguided as her perception of herself.

You go, Jen!

Meanwhile, Pacey is also preparing for the competition by practicing his talent in front of Mitch and Dawson. They then ask him about what he'll do for evening wear and Pacey jokes that he could get his hands on "this tasty little number my sister wore as a bridesmaid" I laughed but Dawson starts bugging him to take things seriously. Mitch agrees that if Pacey wins, he could become a political activist.

Haha, awwwwww!

But are we really going to gloss over the reason he needs said cash? Really? He has a really interesting problem this episode and it's being played for laughs because "hurrr, it's funny he's in a beauty pageant cuz that's just for silly gurls." when he's actually just as desperate as Joey is to get some money to escape from his troubles. Shouldn't someone like Mitch be addressing this? I'm refraining from using the Tyra gif because I choose to believe Dawson didn't fill Mitch in on that detail. And I've never rooted for Dawson.

That's right.

Jen and Joey start to spy at Dawson's house and ask each other how their respective relationships with Dawson are going. Jen says they are trying to work things out and Joey says that Dawson will always see her as the gawky girl with bandaids on her knees and one braid falling out. They try to tell each other that there are plenty of fish in the sea but neither look like they believe it.

Ladies, Dawson is not that great. Seriously.

At the same time, presumably, Pacey and Dawson are talking about Joey. Because everything is about Joey. Don't you all forget it! Anyway, Dawson asks Pacey if he's seen Joey because she's been avoiding him. Duh, Dawson, you were making fun of her. He says he misses her when she's not around and Pacey, as well as the rest of the audience, breathes a sigh of relief that he's finally going to come to terms with the relationship between him and Joey. Dawson has this to say (the emphasis is mine):

Dawson: Pacey I know you're obsessed about with this little theory of yours, but the truth is I've never though of Joey in a romantic context. I've always thought of her as like a sister. I just don't think I could ever get past that. If Joey and I got together it would be, a little incestuous.
Yeah, he really said that

You guys, their relationship is so romantic. I can totally see why you root for Dawson and Joey. All my life, I have been dreaming of a guy who would say that he's never thought of me in a romantic way and that I was like his sister and dating me would be incestuous.

So, as you can see, I totally believe in this relationship. I don't know, it just always bugs me when people go on about them like they are soul mates. I can't name a single soul matey thing they have done for each other so far that tells me that they should be together. I'm not talking about other characters saying they belong together or that they both say they have a huge and intense relationship, I'm talking about something in their actions that connects them and I just don't see it. I especially can't get behind wanting Joey to be with Dawson when he says things like this. I know they are trying to keep him all naive and innocent about the crush but to me it just cements that he is just not that in to her.

Yep, because Joey is his toy and no one touches
Dawson's toy, even if he doesn't want it.
That's how the only child rolls

Back on topic, we are at the night of the esteemed Miss Windjammer competition. Jen and Joey arrive to find Dawson doing pre-interviews with the contestants and Joey is understandably upset. How awkward would it be to be interviewed by a guy who mocked you for being there? Jen assures her that it is just a quick interview for the judges to look at.

Joey is still not impressed

Pacey is practicing his magic act for the competition when Hannah shows up and mocks him for it. He banters with her about relieving her sexual tension and she acts like she'd rather hurl than sleep with him, even though anyone in their right minds would accept that offer. Ok, maybe just me.

Hannah then tries to demean him by saying that he will never in a million years win and that he's just making a fool of himself and Pacey tells her that if he takes just one vote away from her, it will be worth it.

Go Pacey!

Dawson interviews Joey and because she's pissed at him, she gives the snottiest interview. Um, Joey? Jen told you that the judges would be looking at the tape, maybe look a little less sullen and actually try to give solid answers rather than wishy washy maybes. You're giving off the vibe that you don't give a shit and that you're not sure what you want to do with your life. I know you don't give a shit because you are too cool for school but didn't you say you needed the money in order to go to school?

Alright, we get it. You don't give a shit about this.

The pageant is officially starting and Joey's going on full whine mode. She looks like a dweeb. Every one's going to laugh at her, etc. Which makes me wonder if Joey's mother was actually Margaret White.

They're all gonna laugh at you!
You and your dirty pillows!!

Then Jen tells her to rub vaseline on her teeth so her mouth doesn't stick to them when she smiles. Joey then complains about having to smile. I feel like a trombone should be following her around to play sad music where ever she goes.

Pacey is getting ready in a closet when Dawson walks in. He threatens Dawson not to make any coming out of the closet jokes, that's his thing that he does to his brother. Just step off, Dawson. Dawson also tells Pacey to put vaseline on his teeth as per his mother's suggestion. Neither of them know why because guys don't know this stuff, it's a girl thing. Get it?

Fuck off

So now we have the big reveal. The Cinderella moment, if you will, for "Miss Josephine Potter" This is the big moment where Dawson finally sees her as, well I guess, something other than his sister? It's basically just Joey in a dress. It's not that big a deal, but this show makes it out like it is.

She looks a bit stiff to me.

Jen watches Dawson's reactions from the opposite side of the stage and Pacey makes snide remarks to her about losing her chance with Dawson. I don't know why he's being such a dick to her. I think he's supposed to be the voice of the audience going neener neener in her face because Joey totally won the fight for Dawson's affections and now Jen is stupid for having dumped him. I say both girls can do better than Dawson though. She asks him if he really thinks she's that shallow and I guess he makes it up by saying he thinks she's that human. So, I guess we're not trying to villify Jen anymore?

I still don't get why he has to rub
her nose in it though.

It's Pacey's turn to go out and shine and he does really well. He gets the audience laughing, he looks damn fine in a tux and he's pretty good at the interviews. However, when he goes to ask Mrs. Leery how he's doing, she informs him that while he's entertaining, he doesn't "have a snowballs chance in hell of winning." Wow, Mrs. Leery. Just wow. I mean, I get what you're saying, there is no way the rich, small town socialites would let him win but maybe let him down a little gentler?

Gail Leery, confidence crusher

Backstage, Jen is still being nice to Joey and informing her that she is almost done with the pageant. Joey moans and whines about how she's nervous because she's never sang in front of an audience before and what if she sucks? Maybe she should have practiced more or picked a talent she was more sure of?

Nah, I'll just wing it

Now, here, right here is where I started to just loathe this episode. It was kind of trite and fluffy before and the joke of the guy entering a traditionally female beauty pageant had been done before but I would have willingly forgiven it and said this was just a forgetable episode for me. But this part coming up is what makes me hate it.

This part, right here

Oh I have so many feels about this moment in the episode, so let me explain. When I was little, every year at Christmas, my grandmother would buy me a new dress. She'd do this because every year for my birthday, which was right near Christmas, she would take me to see a ballet or a musical and I had to look nice to go to these venues. I saw a lot of different shows but the main ones I remember are The Nutcracker, Cats and Les Miserables. I loved them all but I really loved Les Miserables. That love has continued to this day. I'm sure you can now guess my distaste for the next scene, if you know what the next scene is.

Joey sings a song that is supposed to bring the whole season together and what she sings is Eponine's song On My Own and I HATE this scene. For two very big reasons.

Reason the first, Joey Potter ruined On My Own. I blame this scene solely for reducing Eponine to an avatar for lonely teenaged girls everywhere. Girls my age who had never seen the musical before were suddenly all in love with how tragic the song is and yes, Eponine's character is quite tragic but Joey's character is so fucking not. Basically, it's an insult that they gave this song to Joey because in essence, they are using another character and her emotions to bolster their own character's emotions and motivations. All of the sudden, this song meant that Joey and Dawson were supposed to be together and I am sorry but they so fucking aren't. For one thing, Eponine is miles ahead of Joey in that she was a true friend, despite her pain and her feelings for Marius, she tried her best to stand aside and let him be happy with Cosette. Joey spent most of the season demeaning Dawson for liking Jen, mocking him for being naive when she is just as naive and making him feel like shit for not being able to get anywhere with Jen. In other words, Josephine Potter is no Eponine.

Yeah, you heard me

Reason the second, Katie Holmes is not a great singer. She's not horrible but she does not have a strong enough voice for this song. I really don't hold it against Katie because she did what she was told to do but really, they should have lowered the register for her. This is a tough song, not the hardest in the musical but there are a lot of long notes and towards the end, you really have to have a powerful voice to carry it off. Otherwise, you sound like this:

In other words, Joey had reason to be nervous

Yeah, not so good near the end there, is it? I know that other shows have done this but as far as I know, this was the first and it pissed me off. I know, I know, Glee used this song too but I was ok with it because it was used as a character's audition to get into a glee club which would typically be singing showtunes and also? Lea Michele can sing. She also played Eponine on Broadway. If you still don't think Joey's version was bad, contrast it with this:

This is what the song is supposed to sound like

Much, much better, isn't it? Even her acting during the song is more sincere but her voice remains gorgeous. She's not even the best singer to have done the song but she's still a million times better than Katie Holmes. Wow, I've gone on a long time about this, you see what I mean about issues I had with this episode? All because of this one damn scene. It just ticks me off that they basically used another character's emotions and motivations to further try and push the love that Joey supposedly has for Dawson down our throats. Piss off, writers/creator.

I just have a lot of feels for Les Mis, ok?

Alright, alright, I'm moving on. Dawson goes to get Pacey from backstage who is noticably upset. Pacey asks Dawson if he ever thought that he had a chance of winning. Dawson of course didn't, he only pushed Pacey to do this without regard for his actual problems this episode just so that he'd have a chance to get a major news story to further his own goals. What a crappy, crappy friend. Case in point:

Pacey: That's what I thought. Just another thing for the kids to laugh about Monday morning at school. And who am I to disappoint, right?

Dawson: Wait, you're not going to do something stupid, are you?

Dude! Your supposed other best friend has just basically resigned himself to being the town loser and your response is to ask him if he's going to do something stupid? Not to try and tell him that he's not a loser or that you think he's worth something. He just essentially agreed that yes, Pacey is the joke of the town and yes, people will laugh at him but he really shouldn't do something stupid. Great friend you are, Dawson.

No, actually worst. Worst friend.

Anyway, it's Pacey's turn to go out and remember what I said about popular things being on Dawson's Creek? Well Braveheart was also extrememely popular everything parodied that one iconic scene too, like in The New Guy that I already reviewed. Pacey does not disappoint:

Oh boy another re-enactment of the "freedom!" scene.
This has never been done a million times.

So, I'm going to post the whole thing for you because no matter how many times I see it or how many times I read it, I still don't get how this is supposed to show the rich society people up or tell them off. I know he's talking about being judged and I guess he's saying that he doesn't care but I still don't get how he's letting them know how much they suck.

Pacey: (with a bad Irish/Scottish accent) Well, I'm not William
Wallace. But I am Pacey Witter.

Dawson: (from offstage) Pacey Witter's seven feet tall.

Pacey: So they say. So they say. And they say that this Pacey Witter is a dangerous man who slaughters Capeside residents by the dozen with his bare hands. And if he were here he would destroy those who would judge him with sparks from his eyes and wits from his ass.

Well I am Pacey Witter. But who of you are in the position to judge me? Is it you, sir? And what sorts of human beings tolerate being judged? Well judgement stops today. And that which condones me, seems to own me. And I am willing to betray the trappings of my disfunctional life for one chance, just one chance, to stand in front of my fellow countrymen and tell them that you may take my life, but you will never take my freedom!!! Thank you and goodnight.

Good effort, buddy?

Although, I feel like it should have been "you may mock my life..." to really bring the message home but I guess they really wanted to get the real quote in there because oh my God we needed to hear it again, it is just that epic...or something. Well, the audience loved it and he got to feel like he showed the whole town that he doesn't care what they think so I guess that's a win for Pacey. Perhaps, but I guess we're going to gloss over the actual interesting point that since he lost, he's stuck with a family that constantly makes him feel worthless? Of course we are because we have more Joey sympathy to get through.

Poor Joey! She's poor and sad and the
other girls don't like her...and stuff

Joey passes by a room where a bunch of girls are talking...about her. Oh noes! It's Hannah and I actually think what she says is fairly damn accurate.

Well, not the beginning part because she says that Joey will only win because she's a charity case then explains it's because she lives in a trailer with her unmarried sister who just gave birth to an illegitimate baby she had with a black man. That part is uncool but the part she says afterwards about how Joey tells anyone who'll listen her pathetic sob story?

Totally. Accurate.

She gets a weird glee out of telling people how tragic her life is, she was smirking the whole time she was telling Jen about her family, like "so you're from New York? Yeah, well my mom died and my dad's in prison. Yeah, for marijuana trafficing. I live in a trailer with my sister. Did I mention she has a black boyfriend? Because she does...and she's pregnant with his child but they're not married. Yeah, top that, bitch!" It's something that really bugs me about the character, so you go Hannah.

Von Wenning? More like Von Winning!

Dawson hears this too and runs after Joey to stop her from leaving. He gives her a pep talk and tells her that the girls are just totes jelly of her and scared that she'll win. He convinces her to get back up stage for the results. I will hand it to Dawson, he actually acts like a real friend here. However, it's only because he's realized she's hot and that he wants to get with her so I find it kind of insincere. Especially considering that he did not offer such encouragements to his other friend who was in a similar situation of being mocked the very same night.

Sorry Dawson, still not buying your nice guy act

Joey gets up on stage and gives a speech about not judging people for their station in life, kind of like Pacey's rant about judgement but less about "I don't give two shits what y'all think of me" and more about "be nice to each other because you never know who might be your best friend" or something.

The results are finally announced and Hannah has come in last (second runner up), Joey second place (first runner up) and a girl who we don't really know but was shown as the most level-headed and competent contestant wins. I am fairly happy with these results except that I don't really think Joey deserved first runner up. Her pre-interview was snarky and she wasn't poised at all, she was slumped over and sullen, like she didn't give a shit. She was awkward during her walk out with the evening wear, her song was not very good at all and again, she wasn't poised while singing it. She was very slouchy and shruggy. Her last speech was ok but I don't think it makes up for all her faults. At least they got the winner right, I would have been even more pissed with this episode if Joey had won the whole thing.

Congrats, Miss Roberta Krump

Anyway, Dawson and Joey meet up after the competition and Dawson is all gushy about how Joey was bursting with confidence and really came out of her shell and really? Let's just look at her and tell me if you see confidence:

Shoulders are slouched and she's looking at the floor.
Not that amazing, Dawson
Not smiling, not looking at the judges/audience
Crooked stance but she's looking at the audience
Crooked stance again
but at least she's still looking at the audience
Goddamit! least she's smiling

I don't see the confidence and in a competetion, as misogynistic and dumb as I think they are, that is about beauty, poise and grace, she exhibits only one of those three things. Yet the third is severely hampered by her lack of poise and grace. If I were a judge she wouldn't even be second runner up, is what I'm saying. Her attitude was horrible, her talent was just alright and she acted like she couldn't give two shits, so she definitely wouldn't win Miss Congeniality.

Sandy's got that shit locked
down anyway

Dawson goes on to say that he's seeing her for the first time and how she's transformed into a Goddess and it's everything that Joey has ever wanted coming true but it's not good enough. Joey says she doesn't feel right about it. She says that she can't keep playing princess all the time because it's not who she is and Dawson argues that it is. I see her point now. Yeah, it's nice that he notices her now that she's all done up but it's not what she's going to be all the time, and he didn't give two fucks about how she looked the rest of the time.

No, no you were like my sister before I saw you
in a dress. It's not incestuous now.

Dawson tells her that they can't go back to the way things used to be and she tells him that he's had a life time to process his feelings for her. Uhm, no he hasn't. If he was 50 and just figuring out his feelings for you, then I'd agree that he's had a lifetime. This is just a nitpick though. Dawson tells her not to walk away but she says she has to.

Why does my hair never look this good when I
take it out of an over-hairsprayed up do?

Hannah and Pacey bond over being their respective families's black sheep but I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this because while it's mildly interesting, it doesn't go anywhere. She never returns again.

Bye Hannah, we barely knew ye
and we hardly cared

Jen catches up with Dawson and asks to get back together with him. Dawson tells her that it isn't the best time because he has to figure some things out. What the fuck is there to figure out? You know Joey likes you, she told you as much, Pacey's told you as much and now you know you like her. You like each other, deal with it.

But I just don't know if it's incestuous or not

The episode ends with Joey smiling as she remembers her Cinderella night and Dawson smiling, i guess as he thinks of Joey.

Ok so, I don't like this episode. I really don't think that Dawson's feelings about Joey could change so quickly and so drastically just because he saw her in an evening gown. It's kind of insulting actually. I mean, how does one go from "gross, she's like my sister! That's incest!" to "Whoa, you look hot in a dress so I guess you're not like my sister." It's weird. I guess some guys are that easily persuaded but I don't buy it.

But, now our two leads finally know how each other feels and can finally be honest with each other.

Nah, I'm just messing with you.
They continue to be alouf with each other through most of the next episode, Decisions. Stay tuned for all the thrilling drama.

Just for funsies, here is On My Own as performed by Princess Jasmine's singing voice herself, Lea Salonga:

One of my personal favourites


  1. "Dawson admits to it, saying that winning Jen back has become a bizarre hobby."

    This is winning someone back? This? I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

    Also? "But I just don't know if it's incestuous or not" = brilliance

    1. Also, just ... wow. I just watched all three videos and Katie Holmes suffers by comparison to such a painful degree I almost had to turn hers off.

      And Lea Salonga ... no matter how many times I hear her sing this, she always makes me cry. Like, always.

    2. Me too, Zelda. I <3 Lea Salonga.

      Yes, Katie suffers greatly in comparison. It doesn't seem like it but it is quite a challenging song and it proved way too much for her to handle. I really don't mean it as an insult to her, I can sing too but I know I can't pull off this song, not near the end anyways.

      Also, Dawson doesn't know a lot of things, especially how to treat a girl he likes. Fact.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.