Monday, 6 October 2014

Dawson's Creek - 309 - Four to Tango

Original air date: December 1, 1999

So, here we are at another recap and all I can hope is that this episode is more entertaining than the last one was.

It gets off to a really great start with opening on Jen and Pacey again. They are making out but then stop and say they feel nothing. Now, correct me if I'm wrong...but wasn't that the point? Or is it that they can't get aroused? It's probably that and yeah, they'll have a hard time having casual sex if they can't get aroused. Then I get creeped out because they have chosen Dawson's room to consummate their casual arrangement and just no. That is super creepy. What is with all of the characters sneaking in to Dawson's room to do things? Just the thought that someone snuck into my house and used my bed for sexy times without my knowledge and then I go to lie down and sleep on their love juices....

Excuse me

Ugh...anyway, lucky for Dawson, they don't get very far before he comes. Jen bails out the window while Pacey dives for Dawson's gaming console and pretends that he was playing Crash Bandicoot. Dawson asks him what he's doing in his room during a school day and Pacey acts really suspicious while spouting some excuses about how not everyone has the array of electronics that Dawson does. He then quickly tries to make an exit...until Dawson points out that Pacey is missing a shoe.

My God, he's adorable

At school, Andie is sitting at a table when Jack comes to join her. He is carrying a bunch of papers and Andie asks what's up. Jack explains that Dawson put the video of him and the football team on the web (I hope he asked Jack before doing that), and he's holding all the emails he got. Ok, this show was sooooo written by a bunch of old people who had no clue how "the email" worked. Seriously, who prints out emails? Old people, that's who. High school students would not. Not even back then. You're showing your ignorance of youth culture, writers.

Anyway, Jack explains that most of the emails are hate mail because people are tools. Andie finds one letter that is nice and is from someone else who is gay and went through sort of the same thing as Jack. The guy in question, took a guy to his prom. Andie is excited for Jack and says he should write the guy back because he seems nice. Jack doesn't know what to say and Andie tells him to Say Anything... because it worked for John Cusack. Yes, she really did reference that movie. Awesome.

A random guidance counsellor has called Pacey into his office. He mentions to Pacey that he's failing math which shocks Pacey and I've never understood this. Why are characters always so shocked when they hear this news? Don't they know that they haven't handed assignments in, gone to class, scored horribly on tests? Why are they always so shocked? Whatever, Pacey tries to shrug it off because he's gone back to his slacker ways and the counsellor mentioned that the other guy, Mr. Milo, told him about a girlfriend Pacey had. Pacey says that she's not his girlfriend anymore and storms out. The counsellor tries to tell Pacey not to let whatever's bugging him win and Pacey says that it already has.

Huh, I should do something purpose has been served

Andie complains that her search on "the internets" has given her too many hits and Jack tells her that she can't search for such a broad topic, she has to "decide what you wants, what you don't want and then, you know, establish some restrictions." Ladies and Gentlemen, the writers trying to explain how to search for stuff on the internet. Don't worry, it just sets up Andie's remark about how it's kind of like deciding what you want in a romantic partner. Jack then suggests that she start her own website, ""


Andie then prattles on about how Jack should contact the email guy who's name is Ben Street, which sounds like a made up name to me. I don't know why, it just does. As Andie is going on and on about how Jack should seize the day, Jack is in shock because he's just gotten an instant message from Ben Street that says "Anybody out there?"


The writers have absolutely no clue how the internet or emails or instant messaging works. You would know who you were sending an instant message to, unless you are using an anonymous messaging site but you'd have to go on that site. So, the fact that Ben Street writes "Anybody out there?" is stupid because he's not looking for "anyone" he's looking for Jack. If he was just sending out a random message trying to get "anybody" in some magical randomized messenger thing, then chances are highly unlikely that the message would magically end up on a school computer that Jack was magically sitting at. You see how little the writers understand stuff like this? Now, what I can buy is Jack logging into his messenger account at school and Ben deciding to try and chat with him but then why not just say "Hey, Jack?" or "Are you on, Jack?" but clearly, this was a time when the internet was a new and scary place and writers just did not get it.

Not even on good shows

Anyway, Jack is completely nervous and doesn't know what to do at all. Andie tells him to respond and tells him to type something in before Ben gets bored and leaves. Jack slowly types in "hi" and then sits there, staring at the computer. Then Andie is all "you have to hit send, genius" and it's really cute but kind of confusing because why would he be logged into instant messaging if he has no clue how to use it. I'll just chalk it up to nerves though.

Pacey runs into Joey and tries to schmooze her by complimenting how she looks. She sees through him and guesses that he wants her notes for the class he missed. She actually does give them to him but tells him she needs them back by the next morning. Pacey then realizes he doesn't even understand her notes and asks if she'll tutor him. She refuses because he's done nothing but slack all semester while she's been working hard. Pacey claims that he was busy but Joey points out:

Joey: Busy, right. Pacey, you have a very undemanding part-time job, your
only familial obligation is to feed the dog everyday, and your social life
is basically a triangle consisting of you, me and Dawson.
Pacey has a dog? Why have we never seen his puppy? I want to see the puppy! Er, I mean, what a slacker. Pacey then begs her to tutor him because he's failing and he'll do whatever she wants in return.

Cue them at a waltzing studio and Pacey is unhappily dancing with an equally unhappy Joey. They are also dancing really far apart like kids would because they don't want to be too close in case of cooties. She complains that he keeps stepping on her toes and Pacey demands to know what they are doing at a dance studio. Joey explains that the studio offers a $1,500 scholarship to the high school student who best embodies the spirit of ballroom dancing and since the class consists of the two of them and then a bunch of old people, Joey is basically going to be given a scholarship no matter what. Pacey asks her why she didn't ask Dawson or Jack and Joey explains that they don't owe her like he's going to when she helps him up his math grade.

The teacher then comes over and yells at them for not dancing together properly, with ribcages touching. They then try again but Pacey keeps stepping on her feet so this happens:


In Dawson's bedroom, he is cleaning or something and picks some books up off the floor. He then notices a condom there and since he's not getting any, he wonders where it came from. The funny thing is, he looks more confused than disgusted about finding a mysterious condom in his room. My reaction would be to drop it as if it's infected once I realize that it's not mine and that must mean that some strangers...or my parents (BRAIN BLEACH!!!) have been having sex in my room.

The next day, Joey tells Pacey to do some math problems from the textbook and that she'll look at them after school. She'll help him study math for an hour after school and then they will head back to the dance studio to do another lesson. They both agree that no one can know about their after school activity since ballroom dancing is really uncool and when they say "no one can know" that's when Dawson sneaks up behind them and asks what no one can know. Cue Pacey and Joey scrambling to make up something about Pacey being horrible with home improvements and that they need Dawson's help with the addition to the Potter's home. Dawson agrees to help but is clearly still suspicious as Joey and Pacey try to make an exit. Dawson tries to call Pacey back but Pacey makes something up about how he can't be late for class again and bails. Dawson then looks even more suspicious and if I've learned anything from the time that he walked in at the tail end of a conversation between Pacey and Jen in season 1's Detention, Dawson is going to get very jealous of Pacey right about now. Someone keep the basketballs away from him, please.

Back in the computer lab, Andie is excitedly looking over Jack's shoulder as he types, waiting to hear word on the Ben Street situation. Jack tells her that apparently the guy who Ben went to prom with was never his boyfriend and they just did it as a statement. Andie is pleased with this information and asks Jack if he's going to ask for a picture. Jack claims that looks don't matter especially since they are just writing each other and not going on a date. Andiie says "yet" and then points out that the guy has seen Jack so it's only fair that Jack know what Ben looks like. A librarian who was listening in mentions that she went on a date with someone from the internet once and they were hideous, which prompts Jack to decide to ask for a picture after all. Andie gets a bit...super creepy about it.

Oddly specific but at least she's not asking for nude pics...yet

At the video rental store that Dawson and Pacey work at, Jen walks in, looking rather mischievious and rings the desk bell for service. Dawson pops around the corner and this is her face:

Pretty much my face whenever I see Dawson on camera

Dawson doesn't seem to notice and happily greets Jen, who asks him where Pacey is. Dawson says that Pacey isn't working until Tuesday and Jen says that Pacey told her he was working tonight but that she must have gotten confused. Dawson says he wouldn't be too surprised because Pacey has been such a flake lately...says the guy that forgets his friends birthday. Dawson then asks Jen if there are any do-able faculty members since the last time Pacey acted all weird, he was doing Miss Jacobs. Jen asks Dawson if he thinks Pacey has returned to his older woman fetish which, no show, stop pretending that whole debacle was Pacey's doing because it was Miss Jacobs who pursued a relationship with a minor. Anyway, Dawson then mentions that he found a condom in his room after catching Pacey there earlier and that when he tried to ask him about it, Pacey and Joey were all huddled together like it was a conspiracy. Jen looks worried because she doesn't want Dawson to find out about her arrangement with Pacey but Dawson says he didn't get a chance to talk to Pacey yet.

Joey is trying to get Pacey to work but Pacey is restless and distracted. He then complains that Tamara and Andie trained him to equate studying with sex and now he studies but doesn't get sex so he can't get motivated to study.

Excuse me while I go hurl again

Joey plays into his theory by saying that all he needs is some able-bodied girl to help him cue up his Pavlovian cue for studying. Pacey confirms this and she tells him that's the worst pick up line she's ever heard. He claims hhe wasn't hitting on her and that he has some prospects lined up. Joey looks amused and asks him who and Pacey explains the situation with Jen while keeping her anonymous. He then asks Joey's advice on the matter and Joey says that if he really wanted to be having casual sex, he'd be having it instead of having a hypothetical conversation about it.

Jack and Andie are waiting anxiously at the computer screen because apparently, the only class they have all day is computer lab. I love how they get the picture to load, by the way.

More proof that the writers just don't get how computers work

I know they probably did this for dramatic effect or something but seriously, pictures didn't load this way. They still don't load this way. The writers are showing their internet/email ignorance again.Anyway, he apparently doesn't look bad and Jack agrees which Andie is all giddy about because he's finally expressing attraction for the opposite sex. Andie prompts Jack to ask him out but Jack is really nervous about it and isn't sure he should move so fast. Andie steamrolls over him and asks the guy out for Jack. Ben Street accepts. I still hate that name and I still don't know why it irks me so much, it just does. Maybe because it sounds more like an address than a person.

At the video store, Jen is helping Dawson make a Hitchcock window display when she spots Pacey across the street. She points him out to Dawson and then they both see Joey join Pacey. They both look super confused and Jen asks Dawson if he has a sign that says he'll be back in 5 minutes.

They walk into the ballroom to find Joey and Pacey dancing and looking happy because they are together and all is right with the world...sorry, I'm getting off track. Their curiosity satisfied, Dawson and Jen try to leave but the dance instructor pushes them to dance because contrived reasons. I mean, what dance instructor pushes random people into their class to dance, for free? Maybe she was hoping she'd get new clients or something? Anyway, she pushes them together and announces to the entire class that they are there. Joey and Pacey do not look impressed.

What bugs me about Dawson's Creek is that they can never just let couples happen organically. They were doing really good with Pacey and Joey this season, building up their friendship, making subtle little moments between them that I was thinking that they finally learned to just sit back and show the audience, instead of tell them. I was wrong. Because in this scene, the dance instructor becomes one of those extra characters that has to spell out who the couple we want to get together is and it annoys the pants off of me.
Penny: Right, see what I mean? See the hostility, the way they're wary with each other, not to mention the constant bickering and name calling. Now these two clearly are in the early stages of some screwball mating ritual.
Thanks for pointing out the obvious, Penny

I got that Joey and Pacey were starting to develop feelings for each other just fine, I didn't need some random guest character to spell things out for me. It's what I hated the most about the Dawson and Joey relationship, that they were constantly having extras tell us how connected they were instead of showing us, but luckily, I actually like Pacey and Joey together so I can try and ignore this scene. It's still annoying though.

Ugh, shut up, Penny! We get it!

Jack is getting ready for his date with Ben and is really nervous. Andie tries to give him a pep talk and I just want to note that she had to go over to the Lindley's house because Mr. McPhee is awful. If I were Andie, I'd want to live with Grams too. Anyway, she tries to give him a pep talk about it but Jack is freaking because if he goes through with this date, he's not just telling the world that he's gay, he's actually going to be gay. I don't really understand this logic because I was always straight, even when I wasn't dating but then, I didn't have to struggle with coming out in the 90s so maybe this is a legitimate feeling that a lot of gay folks go through? Andie tells him that if he doesn't go through with the date, he'll be gay but without a boyfriend. Not sure why Andie is so invested in this, but whatever.

Penny, the shit disturbing dance instructor, has decided that they are doing to play musical dance partners, like musical chairs but you switch dance partners when the music stops. She pairs Jen and Joey together and Dawson and Pacey together because...I have no clue. Drama?

Jen asks Joey when she and Pacey discovered their love of ballroom dancing and Joey gets all bitchy, saying that it was obviously just moments before Jen and Dawson did. Dawson confronts Pacey about finding him in his room the other day. Pacey is still going with his story that he wanted to use Dawson's fancy electronics and enjoy the Leery kitchen but then Dawson throws down about finding the condom in his room. Pacey makes an "oh shit" face but is bailed out of the awkwardness by the music stopping and he quickly grabs Jen as a new partner and twirls her across the dance studio.

Pacey tells Jen that Dawson knows about the condom and is freaking out. Jen says she already knows because Dawson told her about it. Pacey is freaking about Dawson being on to them but Jen isn't worried because she knows Dawson isn't on to them. She then clarifies that Dawson isn't on to her because he seems to have cast someone else as the female lead. They both glance over at Joey who is dancing with Dawson.

This next paragraph, I could literally just write that Dawson is being a dick and be done with it but I'll go into a little more detail just for you guys. He asks her the same question Jen did but Joey doesn't answer with snark, she actually tells him about the scholarship. Dawson has the gall to be all, "but why didn't you ask me to do it?" because he's the worst. Joey explains that Pacey came to her first because he needed help with math and since she needed help with this, they helped each other out.

A concept that Dawson will never understand

Dawson of course has to push the issue and ask if that's all she and Pacey are because again, he's the worst. The music stops and Pacey quickly grabs Joey for a dance partner and whisks her away. Pacey quickly explains to Joey that Dawson thinks that they are doing it. Joey is confused as to why Dawson would think that and Pacey admits that normally he wouldn't but that certain events may have been misconstrued. Cue the music stopping and Dawson grabs Pacey as his next partner.

Dawson asks Pacey what's going on and Pacey explains that Dawson has the wrong idea. Dawson acts like a whiny bitch which makes Pacey completely school him by saying that it shouldn't matter to him who Joey is seeing, whether it's him or someone else because Dawson and her aren't together and he's the one that wanted a break. He has no business butting into her personal life and getting butt hurt over guys being into her because newsflash, she's gorgeous and guys are going to want to date her and she's probably not going to wait for Dawson forever.

You said it, Pacey

After completely owning Dawson in every way, Dawson still persists about the condom he found, which makes Pacey rage!quit and storm out of the dance studio. Jen hurries after him. Jen talks him down from his anger but Pacey is also upset that their fuck buddy arrangement has yielded zero fucks thus far. Jen comforts him by saying that they are hesitant because society tells them they should be and Pacey seems to take comfort in this. They cuddle together and then decide that they might try it out after all, which is weird because it's not like the coatroom is that far from where everyone is dancing and the class has been going on for a bit so it may end soon so...privacy is in question here.

Meanwhile, Jack is walking up to the restaurant when he spots Ben Street inside. He looks at him for a while and then completely bails on the entire thing.

Dawson and Joey leave the dance studio, only to walk into the coat room to find Jen and Pacey making out. Joey has put two and two together and knows now exactly who Pacey had the fuck buddy arrangement with and she is pissed (because she's totally jealous it's not her with Pacey). She proceeds to yell at both of them while Pacey insists that it's nothing. I'm kind of sad for Jen in this scene, because she looks a little hurt by Pacey so quickly saying that it's nothing. Joey doesn't believe Pacey is like this and starts to accuse Jen of starting the whole thing. Pacey, thankfully, snaps her off that train of thought by saying it was as much his idea. Joey isn't having it and bails. Dawson follows her.

Jen is confused by Joey's overreaction to them kissing but Pacey explains that she knows about their arrangement because he went to Joey for hypothetical advice. Again, I feel really bad for Jen because she looks so hurt and asks him why he went to Joey for advice about them. She asks Pacey what is it about Joey that makes guys flock to her for advice.

This may actually be a sound theory...

Pacey tries to explain to her that Joey just happened to be there and it's not like he could talk to Andie about this since they are exes and then, funnily enough, he asks her if he should be talking with his brother about it. Jen points out the obvious, he could go to Dawson since they are supposedly best friends and this is his reaction:

Jen, you of all people know why he can't go to judgemental
Dawson for advice. He's the worst

Then Jen calls him out by saying that he's probably too afraid to talk to Dawson about his sex life, since the girl Pacey currently likes used to be his. Pacey still isn't getting who she's talking about because he points out that Dawson just found out he was messing around with her, so Jen has to spell out that she's talking about him and Joey. Pacey is incredulous because Joey can't stand him, of course, he never says anything about him not liking her so clearly he's repressing his feelings because of his last rejection by her. At least, that's what I'm reading into this scene. Anyway, Jen points out that it isn't going to work out between the two of them and they part on good terms. Thus endeth the weird fuck buddy story arc.

Jack walks into Grams' house to find Andie waiting for him. She excitedly asks him about his date and he admits that he flat out bailed on the guy. He said he got to the door and saw him but then he saw a straight couple and felt shitty about himself because he wanted to be like them, so he bailed. Now he feels like a failure and a coward. Aw, I want to give Jack a hug. Andie reassures him by saying that he is very brave but that fear is sometimes life's way of telling people that they are not ready for certain things. She tells him that when he is ready, he'll walk through that door. 'Kay but poor Ben is sitting in the restaurant like a chump right now. I hope Jack writes him an apology or something.

Dawson proves what a shitty human being he is by saying that the Jen and Pacey pairing was inevitable because:
Dawson: Pacey's brooding, disillusioned, tough guy persona was destined to collide with Jen's fake sexual bravado. It was inevitable.
Hey, Dawson? My fist is destined to collide with your Nice Guy, judge-y face! Although, in a surprise twist, Dawson actually becomes less judgemental about the whole situation than Joey. While Joey is railing against how wrong it is, Dawson reasons that he can understand their need to want some type of comfort in whatever form that took. He says that he couldn't do it himself but he can understand the want for someone to be there to hold because you are lonely. This is the most tolerant Dawson has been about anything ever. Joey gets a thoughtful look and then says she has to get her jacket because she stormed off without it and says good night to Dawson.

While getting her coat, Joey notices Pacey watching the dance class. She walks over to him and he tells her that nothing happened between him and Jen and Joey rightfully says that it's none of her business anyway and then apologizes for overreacting to the whole thing. I love season 3 Joey, you guys. I love her. Pacey tells her that he and Jen have called it quits on their fuck buddy experiment and Joey looks happy about that (because she wants Pacey). She then grabs him to leave but they are stopped by the dance instructor who tells them that things have been tight and there's no scholarship. Joey looks disappointed so the dance instructor offers her six months of free lessons. Lady, this might be why your finances are so tight. We end the episode with the adorableness that is Pacey and Joey which makes this probably one of the better episodes I've seen this season.

The absolute best way to end an episode

That was Four to Tango. I have to admit, I'm kind of glad they got rid of the fuck buddy subplot, it felt really awkward and forced and I really like Jen and Pacey as strictly friends. I'm looking forward to more of Pacey and Joey though, it is really the highlight of this show and saves this season from being a train wreck.

Next up is First Encounters Of The Close Kind, in which most of the gang heads up to Boston to get a feel for the college experience, Dawson is showing his Blair Witch ripoff at the film festival, and Jack tries once again to gay. Pacey is sadly absent which could have made the episode completely unwatchable for me if it weren't for the fact that we get a very special guest star to make up for it. Stay tuned.

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