Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Dawson's Creek - Season 1 Wrap-up

Before I delve into a second season of cheesy goodness, I thought I would sum up my feelings of season 1.

All nostalgia aside, I was surprised with how forgettable a lot of season 1 was. The only episodes I really remembered clearly were Detention, Double Date and The Scare and that's because there were clear stories in those episodes. I kind of remembered Road Trip and The Boyfriend too but that was because of Billy. The other episodes kind of blended into each other for me, I remembered moments but I couldn't tell you what episode they were from before I started this re-watch.

This forgetfulness is kind of a problem with the writing though. For instance, I didn't remember that they found out Gail was cheating on Mitch in the first season and do you want to know why that is? Because after the Hurricane episode, it is barely addressed at all. Which, I guess is fine. They clearly wanted to focus on the kids' drama for the younger audiences except that cheating is kind of a big deal, especially in a supposedly happy relationship. And they don't really address it, they brush up against it, having Mitch being angry, prodding his son for information on Gail's lover calling the house, and trying the therapy thing but it isn't fully addressed or resolved. I don't know why they didn't opt to focus on Dawson's struggle with his parents and give the love triangle a rest for a while so that they could stretch out the "will they/won't they" plot a little longer. Plus, it would have gone a long way to actually developing Dawson as a character instead of, well, a dullard. Seriously, Dawson just flits around in his own show, reacting horribly to other people's real problems while not really ignoring his own but flat out acting like he has no real issues other than "is kissing Joey incest or not."


Or not. At all

In fact, I'd say that is one of the biggest problems of the show to me. Dawson is the main character but he is so devoid of any conflict or growth that it is baffling. I mean, what did he learn this season? How is he any different? He got into the film class he wanted to get into and that really amounted to nothing. Did he finish his film? No. He helped the class out a few times and proved himself to them by showing them how to do a tracking shot. If film making is his passion, shouldn't there have been more focus on, I don't know, film? How does he feel about his parents? Last we saw of them, they were hugging, so resolved? Not resolved?


Taking it slow, I guess

In the season finale of his own show, he was not faced with a dilemma, not a real one anyway, Joey was. She had the hard choice to make, she had the hard issue to face with seeing her father for the first time in two years and dealing with her anger. Dawson was nothing more than a prop in her story. Her interaction with Pacey regarding her father felt more real than any interaction she had with Dawson because well, Dawson is kind of boring. Scratch that, really boring and I want to stress that it isn't James Van Der Beek's fault. Not entirely, he's a little green here but give him a break, it's his first big leading role. No, I think it's more the writers' fault, which is weird because at least some of the writing this season was done by Kevin Williamson himself and since Dawson is basically him, you'd think he'd write Dawson to be more interested but he seemed to settle for Dawson just being an innocent, wide eyed, dreamer who is naive to the world around him. Which could be interesting if they let him learn things and grow and change. But for whatever reason, the writers seemed reluctant to do so this season.


So, if I thought of her as a sister but now I don't because
"evening dress", that makes it NOT incest. Right?

And Joey. Josephine Potter, where do I begin. I both like and loath this character. She can be quite interesting and charming but then she does her high and mighty thing and I just hate her for it. I want to be behind this character but she makes it incredibly hard. Case in point, in the finale when she is talking to Jen and Dawson about being offered a semester in France, she mentions it's because the girl who was going to go opted not to because of a boyfriend. The way she says it makes me think she thinks that girl is nuts/ridiculous for giving up France for a boy but what does Joey pine for all episode? That Dawson will ask her to stay. And what does she ultimately do? She stays, for Dawson. I know, I know, she technically hasn't made her decision yet but come on, guys. She's the star, she's not going to leave the show, plus she just kissed Dawson. Was anyone actually wondering if she'd go to France after that? Really? She also doesn't really grow as a person. She still lashes out in weird ways, instead of telling someone why she is really upset, which admittedly a lot of teens do but it irritates me because other characters praise her for being so honest about everything.

Joey is honest? That is laughable

Jen got a pretty decent storyline this season. It's clear that she has lead a fairly troubled life before coming to Capeside. She started off as the sweet, innocent girl next door and actually grew into an incredibly interesting character with real flaws. I think she liked the way Dawson looked at her, not as a sex object but in his innocent way and I think Jen needed that but was also scared by it. By the intensity of real affection and that's why she pushed him away. Jen longed to be loved, truly and to have friendships and all of that was kind of yanked away from her this season. However, her relationship with Grams greatly improved and that is definitely a plus. I like how gradually it happened, they still bickered but they managed to be softer with each other too. I'm looking forward to learning more about the Lindley's.


*sniff*

Pacey is still my favourite character. This season didn't allow for a lot of growing room for him. I think his best moments were in Double Date and Decisions because he really got to show off his chops. But it's clear that the writers want him to be the comic relief for the show and so they didn't spend a lot of time developing. They gave us snippets of what could be an incredibly interesting character and back story for him. He obviously has a hard home life, from what little we've seen or heard. He really only interacts with Dougie but given Pacey's reaction to Dougie pulling a gun on him, I'm guessing he's used to a pretty fucked up home life. I look forward to them developing this further. I'm so glad they ditched the Ms. Jacobs storyline for him because it was so, so wrong but it really disappointed me that the whole thing resulted in nothing for his character. As soon as she left he was just like "alright ladies..." like he had experienced nothing. In fact, they barely brought Ms. Jacobs up again which, good because I hated her but bad because there was some potential drama in what happened between those two. Except that the writers seemed to want us to believe that there was nothing wrong with their relationship and just yuck.

Not you, Pacey just the relationship with Ms. Jacobs
The series seemed like a bit of a mess this season. The only direction they seemed to know they wanted to go was to get Joey and Dawson together. The characters don't seem to learn from previous episodes, in fact, the writers seemed fond of hitting the character reset buttons a lot. Like Joey almost spilling the beans in Detention that she likes Dawson. Next episode, no one talks about it. No one. Jen says she doesn't want to be friends with Dawson anymore. Next episode, she claims they are still friends. Where was the resolution of the argument they had? There was none. Pacey and Joey bond, next episode they hate each other again and pretend they didn't share anything with each other and pretend that Pacey didn't kiss her. It's weird.

I hope they get a little more consistent with the next season. Drama is very entertaining but I like my drama to go somewhere, to build into something else, to change things. I don't want:

With no substance, consequence or resolution
Because then the drama just becomes tedious and boring. Like they are trying to win you over with new and shocking conflicts each episode with none of it really going anywhere or leading to anything big.

Anyway, those are my thoughts so far. Here's hoping season two will fare better. Until next time, I'm Blinvy and I hope you enjoyed stepping into the teenage wastelands of Dawson's Creek Season 1 with me. Stay tuned for Season 2.

2 comments:

  1. Really interesting thoughts, re: Dawson's lack of growth/character. Perhaps that's why I never connected with him? I usually end up allying really heavily with the lead character, because it is (or should be) ultimately their narrative, but I (like you) was always a Pacey girl, from day 1 (ignoring his stupid affair with the teacher). (too many parentheses)

    Perhaps the problem WAS that Williamson was writing himself? That was a big issue with S1 of Smash - Rebeck didn't want Julia to be flawed at ALL in ANY way, because she was based on herself. It created huge tensions, because it meant all of her stories were senseless and stupid. Perhaps Williamson had the same blindness about writing himself - not making Dawson flawless - you've pointed out his flaws very well, though perhaps the writer didn't recongize them as flaws, since he's pretty damn self-righteous most of the time - but not having the self-awareness to grow and change, to have conflict - he's more some kind of dull constant thing. Like a mailbox.

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    1. Yeah, I'm thinking Williamson didn't realise he was writing any flaws for Dawson because usually, we are supposed to believe that Dawson is in the right. I think you nailed it and he wanted to make the character based on him to be the ultimate "good guy" that people would root for. Problem was, it's hard to root for a character that essentially gets everything he wants anyway without really struggling for anything.

      Pacey, Jen and Joey are all struggling with things in their lives and it's natural for us to want to see them overcome their troubles and succeed whereas, no one really needs to root for or pay attention to Dawson because he's already got everything.

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