Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Dawson's Creek - 209 - The Election

Original air date: December 16, 1998

We open this episode in Dawson's room, where Dawson waits impatiently for Jen to finish reading his now finished script. Again, the writers seem to be hitting the character switch for Jen because suddenly she's not falling over drunk but is helping Dawson out with his movie. However, I guess it could be argued that because Dawson "saved" her the previous episode from a drunken devil's threeway, she decided to shape up a bit.

Once she's done reading, he anxiously grills her for her opinion and Jen asks if he wants the "truth, truth or what Dawson wants to hear truth?" Dawson takes this as she hates his script and gets really whiny but Jen tries to calm him down by saying she didn't hate it. I'll just quote what she says about it because it pretty much sums up what I think of Dawson and his movies:

Jen: I didn't hate it. I just thought that it was, I don't know, for the lack of a better word....fluff.

Thank you, Jen. Yes, it is fluff. He thinks he's telling this sweeping, epic love story but really, he's just written your standard teen romance or as Jen put it so eloquently, he wrote fluff.

Dawson then starts to cry

Dawson argues that his script is supposed to be naive because it is about the magic of first love and all that crap. Jen then says that his script is very well written, funny and smart but is lacking relevance to today's society. Dawson looks even more butthurt and then Jen adds the icing to this very wonderful cake:

Jen: You go out of your way to comment on teen life, but say very little about it.

I just love Jen right now

Jen clarifies further that his script is lacking a bit of edge and the raw emotion and anger that comes from being young. Dawson says that he is raw and dark.

Awwww, sure you are, honey

Dawson gets defensive and asks what he has to do to prove he is awesomely dark and raw but misses the point by frustratedly asking if he should bring a gun to school or kill his parents. Seriously. He brought it up mockingly and it wasn't a serious suggestion but I love that his mind immediately goes to those two options when he thinks about being dark and raw.

Jen says that he needs learn to act his age and offers to try and help him do this. A kind of "Teenage 101" as Jen puts it. Dawson does not look thrilled with the idea.

But, then I can't pretend that
I'm better than everyone

Andie runs up to Joey at school the next day and tries to proposition Joey to be her running mate when she goes for class president. Oh, honey, Joey doesn't do anything positive for people. It's ok, you're new but you'll learn. Joey immediately starts whining about how she doesn't do student council and I have to call bullshit on this. Not that I don't believe she doesn't get involved because all evidence points to that, no I'm calling bullshit on her shit attitude regarding school extra-curriculars. Joey, you know how you want to get out of Capeside and be accepted into a good college or university? Yeah, being in the top 3% of your class in your small town is not going to be all that impressive because everyone applying to good universities or colleges have the same grades as you. You are not special because you study. The thing that sets you apart, is how involved you are in your school or community. Extra-curriculars should be a part of your master plan to get out of Capeside but you are too stupid, ignorant and up your own ass to think about that.

Yeah, you're not as smart as you think you are

Andie tries to convince Joey to run with her anyway but Joey only says she'll think about it before pulling a Joey specialty and running off.

Andie runs into Pacey and they are immediately approached by Max Ford and Abby (YAY! She's back!) who hand them a flyer promoting their campaign for student council. Pacey expresses concern over those two ruling the school and I laugh a bit because I never get why shows put so much importance on school council elections and how much power the student president has, when in reality, they do nothing but plan school functions. At least, that's what they did at my school.

Nope, we run the school, principals don't exist

Also, since when do Abby and Max Ford hang out? I thought Max was Jen's friend but now he and Abby are villains? Does Jen's friendship turn other people "evil"?

My god, Jen turns people evil!

Anyway, Andie mentions that she's going to run too and thinks she will win. Pacey questions why she would bother.

See? Andie gets it

Jen runs into Dawson who is acting like a little bitch because Jen dared criticize his masterpeice. Jen ignores his whiny attitude by suggesting that he get some teenaged experience to solve his script issues by skipping class. Dawson scoffs at the idea and acts like a little goody-two-shoes about skipping.

Actually, I feel like calling him a goody-two-shoes is insulting to goody-two-shoes because I was a bit of one, I did show up for tests and I got good grades but my god, even I skipped classes from time to time. Why? Because some days, you just need to. Cutting class is not a thing that was reserved for the "bad kids", pretty much everyone did it at least once so Dawson is like so far beyond goody-two-shoes, it's not even funny. He is an adult and I agree with Jen that he probably writes stiff as fuck teen characters.

Dawson suddenly agrees to skip and tells Jen to go first, he then goes to his class and leaves Jen in the lurch.

You're a fucking dick, Dawson

Mitch is helping Gail fix her sink. She's apologizing for calling him and explains she didn't know who else to call. How about a plumber, Gail? No? I guess we wouldn't have a thinly veiled excuse to have them interact and build up sexual tension until they start making out with each other, otherwise. For the drama! It's actually kind of a sweet scene as they get playful with each other again and then you can see their old feelings rush back to them before they start making out. Unfortunately, Dawson kills the mood by being a creeper. Another instance where the name Leery becomes scarily apt:

Because Dawson is a ruiner...and kinda creepy

Jack and Joey are wasting their time at the IceHouse instead of working by building a tower out of coffee creamers. This place is either so busy, it has Joey running around like a chicken with its head cut off or it's completely empty. How does Bessie afford to pay the both of them to work when no one comes in anymore?

Joey is trying to ask Jack about his family and who he takes after while Jack avoids all questions. Joey gets frustrated but before they can really talk, in walks Abby and Max Ford. Now, it's played off like Abby is being a bitch but I'll admit, when I walk into a restaurant where there are NO fucking customers and I see the wait staff goofing off rather than come and check on their new table, I get a little peeved too. Now, Abby could have asked for the menus more politely but that's just not Abby's style. She complains that the menus are dirty and yeah, that's also disgusting and Joey makes a face at Abby as she wipes the menu off on her shirt and gives it back to Abby. Ummm, gross!

You are so not getting a tip from me, Potter

Jack tries to convince Joey to run for student council with his sister because he doesn't like the thought of Max Ford and Abby "running the school" (even though that's not what student council does). Joey is still on the fence about it and so Jack starts to praise her for being super smart, a born leader and for having a girl-next-door quality and I gag myself with a spoon.

Thankfully, Abby overhears and throws her overly bitchy two cents in about Joey's "girl-next-door" qualities. Look, I know she comes off harsh in this scene and that she's supposed to because she's the "bad girl" but I really couldn't help laughing at what she said to Joey. I just really don't like Joey's character. I thought there was a time I did, maybe it's in the third season that I started to like her character a bit but right now, I just find her to be a self-righteous bitch. So, Abby, I approve of what you say.

Abby: The truth hurts? Well, if you want to embarrass yourself and your entire family even further than nature intended than by all means, throw your amazing girl-next-door quality into the ring. Hey, what's one more disappointment in an already meager depressing existance?

Joey does not handle it well

Abby leaves, all angry and telling Joey she'll rue the day she did this to her, or something and Joey tells Jack that she's in. You ever notice how people have to act like huge twats around Joey so that she can retaliate in over the top ways while everyone else looks on like she is the greatest thing ever? It's a little annoying.

Pacey and Andie are going over their campaign strategies and surprisingly, Pacey has read up on political campaigning. Andie is impressed and they're both turned on but Joey cockblocks Pacey by interrupting them to tell them about Abby and Max's smear campaign against them. Presumably against Joey because she looks the most mopey and upset about it and brought up that this was why she didn't like putting herself in the public eye but Andie refuses to stoop to their level. She tells them that the best revenge they can get would be to win and she wants to win honourably.

Yay, Andie!

Meanwhile, Jen is still trying to convince Dawson to be more like a kid and less like an adult by shoplifting. Because apparently every kid does it and it gives you a rush. Ok, I've done it but I felt super guilty afterwards...but I was also too cowardly to return what I took. But enough of me and my past indescretions, Jen wants Dawson to steal lipstick for her. He refuses but she tells him not to overanalyse and they walk out the door.

Jen is super pumped that he did it and Dawson says he feels a natural high but when Jen asks for the lipstick, Dawson refuses to hand it over. Jen has a brief moment where she considers whether or not he's a crossdresser (not really but it's what I imagine she thought in that split second) before she realizes that he did not steal the lipstick. He pussied out. Again.

Dawson stands up for his middle-aged perspective on life and says he's happy with it. Jen points out that he's going to have a tough time reaching a teen audience if he can't see things from their perspective.

Jen: Your hyper-awareness is disarming. You've got to start responding like an adolescent and stop hiding behind that psychology degree that you don't have.
Jen is so spot on, this episode. Of course, she could be talking about the entire cast with that psychology degree stuff but still, she's awesome.

We next cut to the critical student council elections where the kids make promises that the principal and the school trustees would laugh at. "Students that have a 3.5 GPA or higher should have only half a day of classes on Fridays" Ahahahahahaha! Yeah, I'm sure the school board will go for that. The only thing I could see being viable for a student council president to promise is being allowed walkmans in study hall but they would still have to petition the school board on that issue and it would ultimately fall to them and/or the principal to decide if they agree to allow it.

Anyway, it eventually gets ugly with Abby bringing up Joey's convict father. When Andie tries to defend Joey by saying that that isn't a relevant issue, Abby then announces to the whole school that Andie's mother is a few bricks short of a load. Abby goes way out of line and I'm surprised a teacher hasn't stopped her already for the things she says because there is no way to defend it. Abby is a horrible bitch in this scene and it makes me sad:

Abby: Uh, whatever. We have hard evidence that Andie's mother was responsible for the death of her older brother in a car crash less than a year ago. The fact of the matter is Mommy McPhee is a wacked out nut and we all know that mental illness is hereditary, so you do the math.

Abby, why have you foresaken me? A teacher does finally tell her to stop but the damage has been done.

Oh god...my feels!

Joey rushes after Jack and tries to apologize to him about grilling him about his family earlier. Jack is pissed and doesn't want her sympathy, he just wants to find his sister. He tells Joey off and I cheered.

Pacey finds Andie hiding in the girl's bathroom. He makes sure to announce he is entering and that there is no one else in there before entering, because Pacey is awesome. He tries to cheer her up and offer support but it's becoming increasingly clear that Andie is breaking down. She babbles about her brother and about how politics used to mean something and laments not having a normal life or a normal family. Pacey tries to tell her that it will all blow over but Andie is not listening, she hurls Pacey's politics book at a bathroom mirror and storms off.

This is our first clue that all is not right with Andie

Dawson, ever oblivious to all the drama going on around him and to all his friends, is at his father's apartment and is creepily trying to talk to his dad about making out with his mom. Like, I get that you might be excited that your parents might be getting back together but to hear your son so gleefully talking about how you got some but don't worry, he just saw the previews?

I'm as creeped out as you are, Mitch

Dawson goes on about how happy he is that they are going to reunite and Mitch is forced to make it clear that there will be no reunion and that it was just a slip back into what was safe and comfortable.

Dawson is not happy

Dawson runs to Jen and tells her that he is ready to be completely spontaneous and reckless now and asks her to be his sponsor. Jen is delighted by this and agrees.

Andie is back at home but still looks pretty shaken up. Jack comes in and tells her that he is worried about how much her moods have been fluctuating lately. He then drops the big final bombshell by suggesting Andie go back on her medication. Andie insists that she's fine but she obviously looks far from it.

I want to give her a hug

Dawson and Jen are running through the woods and laughing. They have just toilet papered a teacher's house and Dawson proudly proclaims that he's reached a rebellious 13 in his teen conditioning. Jen agrees and suggests they do something else and Dawson says he's up for anything. Jen then tells him to drop his pants because they are going skinnydipping.

They play around in the water and then Jen asks him if he's ever dreamed about her. Dawson doesn't get what she's asking and says he's dreamed about almost everyone in his life. Jen clarifies that she was talking about a wet dream which makes Dawson ask her if she had one about him, she hints that she possibly did and they start to kiss. Remarkably, Jen tells him that they can't go further because she just wants to be friends. I guess she gave up on that whole, getting him back thing, huh?

Ah well, at least they are having fun

The final speeches are being made for the student council elections over the intercom system at school. Abby once again is overly bitchy in this scene and shakes Andie up again so that she runs off instead of giving her speech.

Pacey then tricks Abby into revealing her "nefarious plan" to the whole school as he flips the mic on without her noticing and gets her to spill. Why does she spill? Who knows? Capeside logic dictates that those who are bitchy, get their comeuppance...except for Joey because everyone loves her.

I don't see why Andie or Max wouldn't
still be in the running but ok.
Let's say the geek boy wins it.

Back at the Leery household, Dawson returns to find his mother furiously cleaning. She's also been baking a lot because she offers him cookies and cake as a snack. Dawson asks if she's ok and Gail says that Mitch has served her with divorce papers. Wow, Mitch, you're going to serve her right after you sleep with her?

Stone cold

Jack catches up with Joey and apologizes for shutting her out. He explains that he feels like he can't open up because he needs to protect his family. His sister and mother depend on him and he has to be the rock that holds the family together and...hang on. Wasn't this exactly what Andie said to Pacey when we first found out her mother was a bit nutso? Now all of the sudden, she was never the rock but crazy also and needed Jack? Just for funsies, I'm going to post Andie's quote regarding her family situation next to Jack's so that you can be as confused as me:

From Full Moon Rising:

Andie: So it's basically just me. I mean, Jack helps, you know, some. But he kind of lives in this fantasy world where if you don't think about it, then it just didn't happen. I mean, she's not always like this. I mean, sometimes she's fine. But you just never know, and I'm the only one who can handle her, and sometimes that just gets really hard.

From The Election:

Jack: Joey, um, I can't allow myself the luxury of opening up. I mean, with my brother gone and my father missing in action. My mother and my sister they depend on me, you know? To be the rock. And I don't know. Sometimes I feel like...I can't even explain it. It's like my whole life is one big secret.

So basically, Andie has now become her mother and Jack has become Andie. I'm not even kidding, I'm pretty certain the mom is written out at some point and Andie is the one dealing with the mysterious "crazies" that is never quite identified. My best guess is that Andie is bi-polar, unless I missed the actual explanation of what she has. And Jack is the one to take care of her. Whatever, show, whatever.

Joey comforts Jack and says that she'll be there for him, and they don't even have to talk about anything. It's kind of sweet, even though she mentions it's something Dawson did for her when her mother died but at least she had the good sense to replace "Dawson" with "this friend who was amazing."

So yeah, this friend who was amazing
and totally not Dawson...

Andie is talking to Pacey on the phone. She is also getting mysterious pills from the medicine cabinet as she tells Pacey that she will be back to her old self tomorrow. She then takes her crazy pills.

These are the magic pills that will make
me automatically sane tomorrow!

Dawson has gone to Jen's house for support. I think this is a big step, he doesn't run to Joey, he finally runs to Jen. Too bad he couldn't do this when they were dating. Jen proves how awesome she is by letting him react the way he wants to react to the news of his parents' divorce and then just being there for him.

Jen is back to her sane self

Well, that was The Election. They seem to have dropped Jen being the party animal angle, which I guess was sort of explained last episode where she stayed over at Dawson's father's apartment but I still would have liked to see something definite and concrete. Like, Jen telling Max Ford off and saying that it's not a good idea to hang out together anymore. I also would have liked some explanation as to why Max and Abby are somehow friends now but it seems like the writers wanted to make them partners in crime and turn Jen "good" again.

So, will Jen stay sober and level-headed or will she be back to her drunken ways in the next episode, High Risk Behaviour? You may place your bets now.


  1. Jen: You go out of your way to comment on teen life, but say very little about it.

    Perfect analysis is perfect.

    Also YOU'RE RIGHT, JEN TURNS PEOPLE EVIL. Just like Buffy.

    Perhaps the McPhee household is as bipolar as Mommy McPhee, in terms of who's the rock and who's at risk? Or maybe (I'm playing retcon here) both Andie and Jack consider themselves the rock of the family, regardless of reality?

    1. Ohhh, that is a good theory. Maybe Andie thought she was holding everything together as a part of her neurosis but it was Jack all along!!

      But Jen is so nice! Usually.

    2. So is Buffy. But if you sleep with her, you turn evil. Unless you're Riley, who is too bland to turn anything.

      Sorry, wrong blog!

    3. I wanted to like your comment but then I realized there is no option to "like" in blogger. Anyway, consider this my liking of your comment. :)

  2. There is a subtle triangle in this episode, Andie-Pacey-Joey. Abby is the instigator. When confronted with Abby's tactics Andie and Joey react in opposite ways, one the optimist, one the cynic. We see Pacey naturally inclined to Joey's side but he is enamoured with Andie's perspective and tries it her way. In the end, Andie breaks and Pacey reverts to the cynicism and lashes out at Abby like Joey did.