Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Dawson's Creek - 301 - Like a Virgin

Original air date: September 29, 1999

Hello dear readers and welcome back to the Creek recaps. Season 3 is upon us and this season is a bit of a doozy. As I already explained in the last post, Kevin Williamson has left the creative team for greener pastures. So, we now have a bit of a different Creek on our hands. Now, I think I said before that people were scandalized when the show first aired but somewhere around the second season, the show seemed to garner a reputation of being kind of wholesome or, at the very least, safe. Now, I should point out that it was mainly parents and, I assume, FOX News that were scandalized by the show while the people who viewed the show as tame or safe were teens. So, we have a show creator who has left, and a network with a desire to spice things up, that together helped shape what is season 3 of the Creek. Shall we dive in and see what we find?

We start off the season with Dawson returning to Capeside by bus from what I assume was his tour de force as the quarterback of a southern football team where he exposed the coach's corrupt steroid practices and where he did not want his father's life.


He's even still rocking the auburn 'do


An unnamed girl, who was totally on Sweet Valley High, 

See?


The slightly bitchy looking, twin strikes up a conversation with Dawson who is watching Risky Business on a portable DVD player. Gee, I wonder if something related to Risky Business will happen in this episode? Sweet Valley High is intrigued by Dawson and, of course, asks about his girlfriend because all side characters must sense the powerful, undeniable, connection between Dawson and Joey, even without any context or knowledge that Joey exists! It's that powerful, guys. They're soul mates, I swear!!

Cut to the next day and Joey is working at a gas bar, apparently. I like that they've obviously kept with the storyline of the Ice House burning down and not just doing a whitewashed, it's all better now, type of thing. Joey is clearly unhappy working there but then again, she's unhappy working anywhere. No, scratch that, she's just generally unhappy and snippy with everyone.

The true soul mates of Dawson's Creek prove their connection on screen and wordlessly to perfection as they get ready for school. I'll just show it to you now:


Awwww, they're so cute. I love them.

Dawson is recounting his bus trip with Pacey, claiming that the mysterious girl vanished as if she was never real. I don't buy it but then again, it would be pretty easy to slip away from Dawson undetected when you confuse him enough.

Shh, just back away silently and he'll think you've
vanished when he snaps out of it

Pacey starts asking about what Dawson is going to say to Joey when he sees her. Surprisingly, Dawson is remaining adamant that it is over between them. Good for him, they suck together and maybe Dawson will become better by not being around her. He did have a glimpse of turning into a decent, if boring, character when they were apart for most of season 2. Pacey says that Dawson will not have the willpower to say no to Joey and I laugh because he finally has less faith in Dawson than I do. Of course, we get our first glimpse that Pacey might be a little more into Joey than anyone thought.
Pacey: Now, just to play devil's advocate here, let's say you go to school today and Joey comes up and starts apologizing. She does that cute little hair flip thing she does and locks those truly remarkable brown eyes of hers on you...what do you do? 
 He cries because he realizes that you have the hots for Joey and that means he has no chance at getting her back this season. Just you wait, you guys. No one believed me when I was a teen about this moment right here and at the end of the episode. No one. But oh how wrong they are. They just couldn't see the truth:

Yes, I will use this gif to death because it's the truth!

Just then, Mitch comes in and gives Dawson a rundown of where he'll be for the weekend and Dawson informs us that Mitch is now Capeside High's varsity football coach. Get it? Because Varsity Blues happened and was popular!

Let's just pray that Dawson doesn't sing the blues again

Oh Dawson's Creek writers, you are too cute. I love how blatant this all is. The only thing that would have made it even more blatant as to slap you in the face, is if Dawson became the team captain or some junk but thankfully, that doesn't happen. Mitch leaves for the weekend. I hope no wacky, Risky Business related high jinx ensue.  

At school, Jack and Jen are sitting in the auditorium waiting for a school assembly to start. The head cheerleader, Belinda, who we have never met before, seems to have a problem with Jen. She asks Jen if she's had any gang bangs lately and I want to respond no, because Dawson totally cock blocked her the last time she tried for a Devil's Three way. Jen however comes back with a liposuction insult which makes Belinda sulk off. I guess that works.  

The new Principal, Mr. Green, walks in and makes a clunky speech about how the kids at Capeside act like people twice their age which is totally a meta commentary on some of the criticisms that Dawson's Creek received. That the characters on the show don't act like actual teenagers because they are too mature. So this is kind of like the promise from the writers to correct that mistake, even though I thought most of them acted like teenagers last season save for a few very mature conversations, I suppose.  

Pacey points out Joey to Dawson like some excited Joey/Dawson shipper and it's really annoying. I don't know why they are making him so invested in this when previously, he was annoyed by their whole thing but maybe the writers were trying to make us really surprised when Pacey eventually developed feelings for her, even though most of us knew he already had. Mr. Green spots him talking and calls him out. Pacey introduces himself and Principal Green congratulates him for being the first student at Capeside to actually act like a student (Writers: See? We do write real teenagers! All you critics can suck it!). He then gives Pacey a Saturday detention.

There it is again

OK, sidebar for a minute here. What is with this show and Saturday detentions? Is this a throwback line to Season 1 or is this an actual thing that happens? Why? Why would any teacher want to give Saturday detentions? That just means that they have to be at work on Saturday too so why? I seriously want to know if Saturday detentions actually exist or if it's just a thing that happens on Dawson's Creek and in the Breakfast Club for plot reasons.  

Cut to later and the cheerleaders are trying to sign people up for try-outs or not trying because apparently these cheerleaders don't want any new recruits unless they fit their mould. They turn away a girl for being too fat and then Belinda accuses one of her squad members of putting on a few which made the girl comfortable enough to approach them. This Belinda girl is needlessly rude, I hope no one comes along to giver her a comeuppance. Cue Jen, who walks up and signs her name to the shock of everyone. Belinda tries to deny her but Jen challenges her to let her try out and Belinda accepts, I guess because she thinks Jen will humiliate herself or something.

Pacey and Dawson are talking in the hall when he spots Joey. Worried that he's going to crumble, Dawson asks Pacey to take him somewhere away from her and that will distract him. Pacey says he knows just the place.

Cut to Joey arriving home for dinner. Bessie proves that she is kind of a weird guardian for Joey and just weird in general because she starts excitedly asking her about what it was like seeing Dawson again. Why is everyone in town so goddamn obsessed with their non-relationship? Did nobody know how coldly and cruelly Joey dumped his ass? Let me refresh you guys:

Harsh

Joey, for some reason, lies to her sister about talking to Dawson because she doesn't want to let her sister down. I think that's stupid as hell but Bessie is absolutely thrilled about this and goes on and on about how they are meant to be together, she's sure of it. Are you, Bessie? Are you sure you're sure? Because I'm sure that they don't belong together and guess who's sureness is right?

Pacey and Joey forever!
(photo by damon_elena)

Next we see that Pacey has taken Dawson to...a strip club? What the actual fuck, writers? Is this your way to make them seem more like high school students or to make the show "edgier"? Because, I'm sorry, last I checked, they card you before you can get into a strip club. I know that the actors are older and thus don't look 16 but in this show's universe, they are 16 and supposedly do look it. Could they have gotten fakes? Maybe but, is this not a small town and is Pacey's father not the town Sheriff? I would think people would recognize him and not let him in for fear that it would bring the cops down on them. Also, is this normal high school behaviour or is it just high school boy fantasy? I don't doubt that a lot of teenaged guys would love to get into a strip club, I just doubt it would be easy for them to get in.

But I digress, so for the sake of getting through this review: Pacey and Dawson are at a strip club after school, like you do, and they are discussing the prospect of Dawson getting laid this year. The prospect grosses me out because I hate Dawson. They are interrupted by the waitress who turns out to be Sweet Valley High girl from the bus. The weirdest thing is, she gets him to identify her by feeling her neck because as we learned on the bus, which I failed to mention because I didn't think it would be a thing, is that she "runs a little hot". Dawson thought she'd had a fever or something. I don't know if this is supposed to be a character trait or something that is building up to a reveal. I seriously can't remember because I tuned it out because teenaged me, and present me, hate Sweet Valley High girl with a passion. She was/is annoying as heck. 

So, we cut to next day where we learn that nothing happened from the exchange at the strip club except that Dawson gave her his number. Pacey gives him a hard time about not hooking up with her and Dawson says that she has his number and can use it but he doubts she will. Cut to:

Uhoh, get ready for some crazy Risky Business related hi-jinx to ensue
 
Pacey pulls Dawson aside and tells him to take Sweet Valley High, or Eve as the show calls her, out for a ride on Mitch's boat. I don't understand why because he already has the house all to himself, so he really doesn't need to get creative but he decides to run with Pacey's idea. I'm sure this won't back fire in any way.  

At cheerleading tryouts, Belinda continues to be a great big B, content to fuel the fire even more for her inevitable comeuppance. A girl is trying out with the Dawson's Creek theme song, the real one, and I just found another reason to hate Run Like Mad. This joke makes no sense with a different theme song and it just shows how much the show associates itself with I Don't Want to Wait

Anyway, Belinda belittles the girl before calling Jen up to the stand. Jen gives a great big speech about how useless Belinda is and how she'll basically peak in high school and become a desperate housewife, addicted to Prozac. She then tells everyone not to bother being like Belinda because of this and the crowd cheers.

The only thing missing is a mic drop

Joey's boss walks in on her when she's in the middle of changing and acts like a big, skeevy, pervert, no doubt eager to fuel the fire for his own comeuppance. This scene is basically here to make us hate her boss so that her snarky attitude towards him is justified; which it more than is.

Snark on, Joey

Dawson is giving Eve a ride on his boat and she asks him to take his shirt off. He is too embarrassed to because he's just a shy little virgin. You know, it kind of bugs me that Dawson is all giddy about Eve being sexually experienced but completely belittled Jen and gave her a hard time for the same reason. Dawson has a weird set of standards. Like, the girls he likes have to be perfect little untouched virgins and if they don't live up to that ideal, he views them as Slutty McSlut-sluts, sullied by other men. However, if he wants to just "have some fun" and get over Joey, it is perfectly acceptable to have a "girl with more experience". Screw you, Dawson. 

She moves in to kiss him and he acts all scandalized and I'm thinking, dude, what is the big deal? You've kissed two girls before. You even made out a whole lot with Joey. Why is he suddenly so shy about kissing? It's weird but before I can think too much on it, this happens:

What the whaaaaaaaat?

OK, I do not remember this happening. How could I forget this happening? Dawson totally got a blow job!! That's why he crashed the damn boat, I knew he crashed it, I just thought it was because they were kissing. Holy shit, so Dawson was not a complete virgin when he went to college like I remembered. Crazy. There you have it, folks. Dawson's first blow job in all it's glory. You are welcome for that imagery invading your brains.  

Of course, he crashes into the marina docks where Joey works. Womp, womp, womp! Joey immediately realizes what the hell just happened and runs away all miffed because that's her reaction to everything and she'll be damned if Sweet Valley High's weird face got to go down on Dawson before her, Goddess of Capeside and most beautiful girl in the world.  

Her boss calculates the cost of fixing Dawson's father's boat and his docks to be about $3,000. Dawson has been made to feel bad and like he did something wrong. How do you think he'll handle this?
A) be mature and accept the consequences of his actions
B) blame Eve for being a slutty slut who forced him to misbehave with her slutty slut powers 
C) hug a puppy
Of course he picks "B", have you guys learned nothing from his encounters with Jen? It is quite obvious that Dawson is the epitome of virginal goodness and the slutty slutty women are trying to corrupt him against his wishes. Dawson is an angel, y'all and he'd never do anything bad if it weren't for those damn Jezebels.

I really hate the Dawson's Creek writers sometimes

Eve isn't going to take his shit though and she basically tells him off and leaves. Good for her, perhaps she's not that annoying after all.

Jack spots Jen walking down the hallway in a daze and he asks her what's up. Jen reveals that the cheerleaders have mutinied and kicked Belinda off the squad. Bye bye, Belinda! She served her purpose and now she will vanish with the likes of Nellie and Cliff into the room of lost side characters, likely never to be seen or heard from again.

Save us...save us...

Jen then reveals that she was asked to join the squad but not just join it. They made her their new leader. Jack thinks this is hilarious.

Joey whines to her sister about the fact that Dawson was getting a beej from a girl that wasn't her. Bessie is confused because Joey told her all was good and Joey admits that she lied of at least that it was wishful thinking on her part. Joey moans about how poor she is and how her father is in jail and we all should pity poor Joey Potter but then her sister says that she needs to stop feeling sorry for herself. Joey then whines about Eve some more saying that she is everything Joey isn't. Bessie gloats over the fact that the last time there was a blonde in the picture, Joey won out but Joey claims that everything is different now. Joey really hates blondes, you guys.

Dawson is hurriedly searching under couch cushions for some money while Pacey reminds him that unless he finds a Rolex under the couch cushions, he's screwed.

Suddenly, Eve appears at the door. She felt bad because Dawson slut shamed her or something and she took up a collection at her work. In a surprise turn of events, Dawson decides to accept responsibility for his own actions but I'm kind of irked because they make Eve apologize for "pushing Dawson too far, too fast" and just no. Dawson wanted to do it every bit that she wanted to. If he didn't, he could have said no, she's not some magical vixen who forces innocent men to do her bidding. Take some responsibility for your own sexuality, Dawson, don't pull that I want it, no wait she made me want it bullshit. 

At any rate, Dawson refuses her money because he says it's his problem and he has to find a way out of it. Pacey then puts on sunglasses, looks in a mirror and gets an idea, complete with a music sting of Old Time Rock and Roll but just short enough that the show probably didn't have to pay royalties to Bob Segar. Which means that it's time for Risky Business style shenanigans to ensue:

Let's Tom Cruise up this joint!
Pacey suggests that instead of giving away their money, the strippers should give up their time and work for free while teenaged boys ogle them. Not joking, this is his idea and Eve loves it. I don't understand it. Why is it better for the strippers to work for free rather than just give a little bit of extra money and why is this more acceptable than just accepting the money they already gave? It's still Dawson's problem and he'd still be accepting help from strippers. But whatever. They decide to turn Dawson's house into a strip club, never mind about bouncers to keep the girls safe, or the fact that they may have an actual shift at work for the weekend, no Dawson needs their help. OK, I've got a serious problem with this turn of events, apparently. It just really makes me mad that this show would assume that a bunch of strippers would gladly do this for a bunch of teenagers because they are soooo slutty and couldn't possibly be individuals with lives of their own that are trying to make a living or pay their way through college or something. No, they clearly just are loose girls who love taking their clothes off for men, for free. Ugh, OK I'm just going to assume that the cover charge goes to Dawson but that any tips they make will go to them but I still think it's weird that they'd all be available on a weekend night to do this for Dawson. What would the strip club owner think? Wouldn't he/she want some kick back and...I'm going on a tangent again. Sorry. OK, they are having a stripper party at Dawson's house, end of.

 The party looks like it is a huge success, which makes sense because a bunch of horny high school guys would probably love to see strippers and they wouldn't be carded at Dawson's house. I really think they could have set this logic up better by having Dawson and Pacey turned down from entering the strip club earlier and bumped into Eve going in to work. But, this is Dawson's Creek where nothing really needs to make sense as long as there's:

Exactly

Dawson decides that he's tired of the party and goes upstairs to hide in his room, only someone else is already hiding in there...Creeper Joey! Joey actually apologizes for her behaviour at the end of season 2 which actually shocks me, I thought they were going to forget about what she did and make her out to be the complete victim in the dumping so it was nice to see her take responsibility. Dawson tells her she should have contacted him over the summer and Joey admits she didn't because she was ashamed or some junk. She then asks Dawson if he missed her, which he did and she's happy because she's totally going to put the most awkwardly uncomfortable moves on Dawson.

I don't know why this scene makes me uncomfortable, but it does

Dawson rejects her because he doesn't want to go through another year like the last and if they do have another year like the last, there will be no love left between them. Joey is offended and runs away crying. Downstairs, Pacey reveals that they have earned more than $3,000 and decides to open up their party to the public. Dawson wants to stay to make sure his house doesn't get burned but Eve pulls him aside and says she has a surprise. Dawson says he will meet her and goes to Pacey to tell him about Joey and how she wants him back but Eve also wants him. Pacey says this:
Pacey: Always comes down to this, my friend, doesn't it? The Madonna or the Jezebel...
Grrrr, the writers are trying to make me hate them with this shit, right? I mean, really? I was mocking Dawson's attitude about women earlier but it's clear that the writers themselves believe that women can only be virgins or sluts. Pure and good or sexual and evil. I am so done with this attitude, it's not funny, it's not true, and it's not a healthy attitude to have. And do you know what really pisses me off? Joey tried to explore her sexual side but Dawson refused her because she's a "good girl" and thus, is too pure to be sexual with. No, she is to be put on a pedestal and admired while the nasty sexually experienced Eve is for men's sexual pleasures and nothing more. It figures they made her a stripper too, just a sexual object for men's pleasure but not for dating. OK, I've got to stop myself because I can feel my blood pressure rising as I'm typing this but basically,

Bad writers! Bad!

Anyway, after Pacey disappoints me and crushes my soul with what he said, Dawson makes Pacey promise to go after Joey and make sure she is alright. Pacey begrudgingly agrees. Now that he's had his best friend take care of his virginal goddess, Dawson is now free to explore his sexuality with his slutty Jezebel.

Eve is waiting for Dawson by her boss' boat and asks if he wants to go for a ride. Dawson is nervous about that since last time they were in a boat together, he crashed it. She almost coaxes him to go but Mitch shows up just then and cockblocks him. I laugh because Dawson didn't deserve to have fun after the shit he's pulled. Sucks to be you, Dawson. Now go and get grounded.

Meanwhile, the greatest scene begins as Pacey pulls up to Joey's dock. Joey is crying and is angry that he is the one to see her like this, since they supposedly hate each other. Pacey ignores her and says that Dawson did the right thing. I kind of agree because Dawson and Joey are horrible together. Joey gets pissed off because how would Pacey know what is best for them. Pacey then schools her with this quote:
Pacey: You're probably right. I'm sure I don't have any idea what you're going through. How hard it is to let someone go. How painful it must be to know that as right as you two are for each other, it doesn't mean you're right for each other right now. I wouldn't know a thing about that. About how it makes you want to scream, or hit someone... or cry.
Joey is embarrassed that Pacey is seeing her at her most vulnerable and Pacey says that it's a new year, so they could end up as friends. Joey snarks that she's upset enough as it is but she lets him comfort her. 

I squeed

So, that was the first episode of the third season and it sets up quite a bit. This isn't going to be like the last two seasons, Jen is more sardonic, Dawson is looking to become more sexual, Pacey is being a goof again but shows he can still be mature, and Joey is softening a bit with her friends and is reserving her snark for people who deserve it, like her boss. All in all, it's a fair start to a new season but time will tell if the writers can really bring something new and interesting to the table or if they ultimately stick to what's safe. 

Stay tuned for the next recap, Homecoming. This episode breaks my heart and confuses my shipper brain. It should be fun. 

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