Friday, 9 October 2015

Dawson's Creek - 317 - Cinderella Story

Original air date: March 1, 2000

Sorry for the huge delay before. Life has been crazy busy and I kind of got side tracked by other things. But we're back now and back with an episode that I both love and hate. I mean, hate is a strong word, maybe I just find it really boring and filled with stories and characters that I do not care about at all. However, the ending. The ending is magic and I cannot wait to share it with you. Let's get this thing started.

We start off the episode with Joey excitedly talking about how those dancing lessons have finally come in handy because she's going to some fancy formal dance/awards thingy with AJ. Ugh, AJ is still around? Fine. Anyway, Pacey is super jealous and acts like a dick to Joey, telling her that her relationship with AJ is only a fairy tale and the clock always strikes midnight, then it's "pumpkin city." Pacey, I love you with all my heart, but you're being a dick. Stop it and let Joey have a good time. I'm saying this even though I completely agree that she should just dump that dork AJ and finally realize that she likes you but still, let her have a good time. All good things come to those who wait.

Joey thanks Pacey for the ride but in a tone that indicates that she's irritated with him and then walks off to catch her train to Boston.

We then cut to my least favourite people, the Leerys. Gail is stressing about the fact that her restaurant is unnamed, has no chef and is set to open in a week. Ok, side bar, what the ever loving fuck is up with people in Capeside opening businesses while completely unprepared? Seriously, this town has got to be filled with the least business knowledgeable yet somehow impossibly lucky people on the face of the Earth. How the fuck did Gail even manage to get funding for a restaurant with no plan, no menu, and no chef? I mean, she says she has a menu but how the hell did she come up with a menu with no chef? I would think you'd come up with a theme, like she's clearly going for seafood, then hire a chef with seafood cooking experience, tell him a few items that you'd like to see on the menu and ask the chef if they can give it their own spin or add a few extra signature dishes. This is just my best guess as I have zero clue how to run either a business or a restaurant but come on, at least have your chef hired. To me, a chef is the centerpiece of a restaurant, without a good chef you're going to tank whether the service is good or not.

Back to the episode, Dawson is apparently in charge of screening applicants for the wait staff. That doesn't seem like the best idea, what does Dawson know about waiting or who would be good at it? But whatever, Andie and Jack enter and explain that the person in charge of making the sign for the restaurant took another job because Gail couldn't make up her damned mind about what to name it. I side eye Andie when she makes a comment about "a woman has a right to change her mind." and I side eye the writers even harder for the implication that women are flighty bitches who are too emotional to actually, you know, plan things and make decisions.

Go screw yourselves, writers

We cut to Pacey at the mentor centre and oh god...I'm going to need a minute.

Oh's coming

Sorry, I just really can't stand what is about to happen. This is the introduction of that horrible child character that I warned you all about. History lesson time, back in the 90s, Jerry MaGuire was a huge thing, in fact this show seems to be obsessed with it and Tom Cruise and has quoted the movie at least a couple of times. So, what was also a big thing from Jerry MaGuire?

This abomination

Don't get me wrong, he's cute enough but he's definitely one of those kids that was hired to be cute and not, you know, because he could act or anything (I suppose if I reveal my true heartless disdain for this kid, I'd go so far as to say that he's not even that cute). I'm sure the kid was fine and that he could be a perfectly nice person but as an actor and as a character on this show, I'm going to need a lot of migraine pills.

Pacey is introduced to the Jerry MaGuire kid, who's apparently named Buzz Thompson on this show. I can't take that name seriously. I know, I know, one of the most famous astronauts' name was Buzz but still, the name is stupid. I'm sorry but it is. So, Buzz is apparently...umm well, Pacey calls him a smartass but I'm going with "over the top brat who stumbles over his dialogue because it sounds nothing like what an actual kid would say" Yeah, that's his character. He calls Pacey "Pissy" and I instantly hate him.

You have made a powerful enemy today, kid

Pacey tries to reason with the brat but the brat spits this bit of dialogue back:

This storyline is going to be painful

Joey arrives at the train station in Boston but instead of being greeted by AJ, she finds a hot girl holding up a sign that says "Potter, Joseph" and I eyeroll immediately. I hate that stupid joke between them, can this plot be done with now? Anyway, the hot girl is AJ's bestie and is also blonde so Joey probably hates her already. Hot Girl introduces herself as Morgan and then hands Joey some rollerblades and tells her they're going blading. I know this is supposed to set up how quirky this girl is but I find her annoying. Joey just got off a freaking long train and has some luggage with her, let her drop her shit off and get comfortable before forcing physical activity on her, for fuck's sake.

Pacey has taken Brat to the arcade. (Awww, remember when arcades existed, as like a separate entity and not just something to do in the movie theatre before the show starts? They used to be a big thing.) Anyway, Brat is ungrateful and continues to sass Pacey because Brat is such a tortured and troubled kid or some junk. Pacey tries to reason with him but Brat says the most unnatural line of dialogue I've ever heard from a kid: "Here comes the honesty, next is the intimacy." Seriously, what kid talks like this? Can he go back to the corn fields of Gatlin, please? (Nerd points to anyone who gets that reference). Pacey asks Brat what he wants and Brat says "Pikachu" because yeah, the later 90s/early 00s were all about the Pokémon (holy shit, autocorrect made sure there was an accent on Pokémon, it recognized it as a word. I'm a bit frightened by this and I don't know why). So, Pacey caves and goes to buy some Pokémon cards while Brat plays whack-a-mole but in two seconds flat, the kid has gotten himself into a fight. Pacey rightfully hauls Brat out of there.

AJ is writing in a coffee shop when Morgan rollerblades up to his table. He asks where Joey is and she says that she showed her around town just like he asked. He looks horrified, like his friend would lose Joey or something? But then Joey enters the coffee shop too but she is less than steady in her blades. He asks her how her trip was and Joey says that it was a trip but her eyes say "Why the fuck did you ditch me with this weird friend of yours who you never mentioned? I will murder you with these rollerblades." I could be wrong about that because Joey and AJ begin to get flirty which makes Morgan tell them to get a room. Rude. Then Morgan and AJ banter a bit which makes Joey hella uncomfortable. This is boring because I don't care about Morgan and AJ at all.

Side note, when I first watched this episode as a teen, I became enraged because I thought this was going to be used to push Joey towards Dawson again because of the whole "we grew up together/soulmates!" vibe I'm getting from Morgan and AJ. This is clearly where they are heading with this story, that Joey is the other girl and is standing in the way of Morgan and AJ, much like Jen did with her and Dawson so watching this episode is a huge pain for me because I still get mad about it. The ending though, I promise, the ending will make up for this.

Moving on, the stupid restaurant is back on my screen while Dawson, Andie, and Jack lament the fact that there are no good chefs trying out for the job. Jen enters and they tease her a bit for being gone from the group for a while because she's been spending so much time with Henry. She apologizes and says that she wants to help out at the restaurant as a server. Dawson is incredulous that she wants to be a server and I can't figure out why. I'm going with that he has made up his mind about who people are and is always shocked when they turn out to be real people who deviate from what his mind believes they are. He gets over this and asks Jen how soon she can start.

Back with Joey and AJ, he is cleaning up a scrape that Joey managed to get on her knee, presumably from the rollerblading that she obviously was not that great at. He's freaking out about not having picked something to read at his big event but Joey is super focused on Morgan and how pretty and smart she is. Uh-oh, Joey is threatened again. Morgan, Joey is the prettiest and smartest, always!!! Don't forget it!

She asks AJ why he never told her about Morgan and he awkwards that they only have so much time together and he wanted to focus on bigger things. Joey calls him out on this bit of dickishness and asks why his oldest friend didn't seem like a big enough thing to mention. AJ counters that she doesn't talk about her friends that much and Joey relents but meanwhile I'm like:

Let me put some logic in it

AJ, she told you about her friends, especially Pacey and she even freaking introduced you to them, do you really not remember this? It was last freaking episode!! You don't get to pull that card when she fucking has talked about her friends to you and you failed to mention yours AT ALL.

Joey can't let this go but sadly, not for the reason that I can't, which is that he's a lying liar who lies! No, Joey wants to know if he and Morgan ever dated. AJ responds by telling Joey that she has nothing to worry about. This train of thought is derailed by Joey complaining about the disinfectant he's using on her scrape. He apologizes and then bends down and kisses her open wound!


Then they start to kiss on the lips, after his lips touched her open wound.

I'm not even germaphobic but seriously, no
A world of no

Their kissing is, thankfully, interrupted by Morgan who bursts in uninvited. She tries to leave when she sees that they've "found that room" but AJ asks her to stay. AJ and Morgan do this thing where they talk about their past and his older writing being perfect to read because they are so in sync and totally soul mates and stuff. I'm bored. Can we skip this? She continues to banter, calling AJ "Arthur" which confuses Joey and makes her feel even more out of the loop, before telling Joey that she has something for her too and pulls her out of the room. I'll give Morgan this, she's at least trying to be nice to the girl who is dating the guy she likes. That's more than I could say for first season Joey.

Pacey has now taken Brat to his boat, True Love. Brat is obviously not down with this and begins complaining. There's some back and forth about how Pacey can't make him clean or paint his boat or whatever and I hate this kid. Sorry, but I do. Brat tells Pacey that he learned to paint from his dead father and Pacey admits that his dad is a cop. Brat then says that Pacey has authority issues which, I really don't think he does. He definitely has daddy issues because his dad is a grade A jackass but I don't really see Pacey as against all authority figures. Just that horrible English teacher who was terrorizing students which again, was deserved.

Pacey tells Brat that he shouldn't get into fights but then reveals that he got stuck in the mentoring program because he got into a fight. Brat spazzes out and says he wants to leave but Pacey just picks him up and takes him back to the boat.

In this one, beautiful moment, Pacey and I share
similar sentiments about this kid

Morgan explains that AJ's name is Arthur Jr. and Joey says she can't believe he didn't tell her. Neither can I, did he seriously not tell her what his actual name was? That's rude, she explained her name to him. Anyway, Joey starts asking about all of the drawings on the wall which are Morgan's. Surprise! Morgan is the Joey and AJ is the Dawson, in case you didn't get the very heavy subtext the writers were laying down. No? You don't see it? Well, they've also been friends since they were super little and grew up in the same small town and Morgan and AJ kissed but decided that they made a mistake and broke up, despite being in love. Also, AJ is totally oblivious to his obvious feelings for Morgan. Are you getting it yet? Joey, starting to show some maturity and depth, invites Morgan to go to the gala with her and AJ. Morgan tries to say no because Joey is AJ's girlfriend but Joey says that Morgan is his oldest friend and that they both should be able to be part of his life. Joey is really likable this season, it must be all of the time she's spent with Pacey.

Back at Gail's unnamed restaurant, Dawson tries to convince Jack and Andie to stay for more food tasting but they don't want any part of it and bail when Jen drops a tray of plates all over the floor. Question, if the restaurant hasn't even opened yet, and there is no chef, why is Jen working? Contrivance? Ok. Gail rushes out to see what happened and Mitch walks in to offer his services in the most confusing exchange ever.

I...I don't get it. I worked as a hostess in a restaurant as one of my first ever jobs. I honestly do not recall there being a proper technique to carry dishes. You just took as much as you could handle and when the people had left, you brought a bin with you to clear the table. It's not rocket science. But apparently, Mitch has this magical technique that makes it impossible to drop plates that no one else could figure out? Whatever, show.

Mitch has come to offer help as requested, the only trouble is that Gail didn't request his help. Cue awkward stares all around and a guilty look on Dawson's face.

Back to Pacey's boat and the Brat. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to make me dislike Pacey scenes, kid but congrats, you are achieving the impossible. I hate you. Brat is complaining about wanting to go home because his mother is cooking meatloaf so Pacey tells him to wait for the good food if the ungrateful shit doesn't want a damn hot dog. Wow, I'm sorry, I didn't know I could hate a kid this much but, there you go.

Brat begins talking like no kid ever does and asks Pacey who the girl is that he named his boat after. Kid, what the hell does it matter? Do you think you would know the girl, even if he did tell you? Pacey claims that True Love is not a person, just an idea, an unattainable idea. So, Brat asks him who the unattainable girl is and I'll admit, that one-up made me chuckle. You get one point, kid. ONE. Brat squanders his point by pestering Pacey about kissing the girl and then calls Pacey pathetic for not being able to. Brat then complains about having to work on a boat and tells Pacey that he has to find him something creative to do. Pacey tells Brat that he just might not show up the next day.

Negative infinity points to you, Brat. GTFO of my teen drama now

At the fancy gala, AJ is being all nervous about speaking but goes up to deliver his short story or something. He begins reading and it is painfully obvious that the story is about Morgan and his unspoken love.

Joey does not approve

Pacey is at the mentor centre trying to get another kid assigned to him, preferably a less bratty one who speaks like a normal child. But, of course, Brat has a sob story and the mentor lady explains that his father left him and his mother to start a new family in Nantucket. See? Brat isn't a bratty kid, he's just feeling rejected and so rejects other people to test them. Don't you just feel so bad for him and forgive him for what a little shit he is?

Unfortunately, Pacey does. Pacey is a much better person than me. He is, after all, the greatest television character in history. Ever. Period. Instead of switching kids, Pacey asks if he can pick Brat up early tomorrow.

Dawson and Gail fight over Mitch being there. I really don't care about this sub-plot because both of them are annoying idiots. Basically, Gail doesn't want Mitch's help but Dawson says she needs help because her place is utter chaos and it opens in less than a week. You know, if your restaurant isn't ready to open, it doesn't have to, right? Like just because you wanted to open at a specific time, if things happen, you don't have to stick to it. I just don't get the urgency of this opening, it's stupid. The simple solution is to push back the opening date, especially since they don't even have a chef yet.

AJ, Joey, and Morgan all walk back to the dorms. There's an awkward pause and Morgan asks them if they want to check out an arboretum or something. Joey says that she just wants to go back to AJ's room.

AJ totally thinks he's getting laid

Morgan apparently assumes the same and awkwards that she'll have the arboretum to herself. She goes to leave and Joey hands her back the jacket that Morgan lent her and thanks her.

AJ and Joey head up to his room but instead of getting lucky, he's getting dumped. Joey drops the bomb that she wants him to go after Morgan so that she can go to his room alone.

The look of a man who is going to bed with blue balls

He's confused and she tells him that Morgan is clearly his muse and that he should give her a chance. I actually get Joey's assertion that it won't work out with AJ because he sucks and he does seem to have unresolved feelings for Morgan but there's something about the way that Joey goes about it that irks me.
Joey: I know what its like to, to harbor feelings for somebody that you deny, and I know how horrible it is to realize those feelings way too late. And this is coming from my own experience, my own life, which honestly you know very little about.

AJ: Well God, Joey, give me a chance! Let me get to know more about you, isn't that the fun part?

Joey: Yes, it's fun and it's romantic and exciting and unbelievable, but it's not real.
So, I'm sorry but dating can only be real if you were friends with the person and grew up with them first? What logic is this? I knew absolutely nothing about my husband when I met him, other than he was cute. We started dating and went through the awkward getting to know you phase, then progressed into a more serious relationship as we got to know each other. He is one of my best friends now and we have our own little groove. That is just as real as if we had grown up together and then started dating, thank you very much Ms. Potter. I just find her notion so stupid and misguided that I'm honestly torn here. I want to love this because it brings me closer to Pacephine but I hate the logic behind it because her relationship with AJ could have been just as real if she had given him a chance and gotten to know him better. Now, if she'd said it's not real because he was harbouring feelings for someone else? I'd be totally fine with that but this excuse? It's weird and off-putting.

To be fair, she does point out after that the reason they are not real is because of his feelings for Morgan, I just really hate the part I quoted above. Joey tells him to go to Morgan and see if he can really say that the character in his story was not about her. He says he has a broken heart and Joey responds with this:
Joey: AJ, there are worse things than a broken heart. Like the love that you don't explore.
And I squeed forever because this is clearly talking about her and Pacey and I cannot wait. AJ annoys me one last time by calling her "Potter comma Joseph" but I don't care because he's now gone from our lives forever, hooray!!

Pacey shows up at Brat's house in, what I'll admit, is a fairly cute scene. See, his mother actually works late and wasn't able to make him the meatloaf and mashed potatoes that he wanted. So, Pacey has shown up with the ingredients to make Buzz the meatloaf dinner and they bond a bit while making it. Pacey even tells the kid about Joey:

And I squee until I'm blue in the face

Joey is at the train station looking sad. She looks at a payphone...remember those? They were a necessity before the advent of cell phones. Anyway, she looks thoughtfully at it for a moment before picking up the receiver and dialing a number. Before we find out who she calls, the scene cuts away to a plot thread I care not about but will tolerate because Jen is there.

Jen goes out to check on Dawson, who is upset over his fight with his mother, because as I've said before, she's the best friend in Capeside. Dawson moans about how his mother was mean to her and how he was just trying to help and Jen calls him out for the fact that he was trying to help himself out too. He wanted to get his parents back together and that's why he asked for Mitch's help. Dawson says he knows that his parents aren't getting back together and asks sort of rhetorically, what he's doing.

Jen points over to the docks and reminds him of the time they were over there a couple of years ago and he told her that he wanted to be her "boy adventure."

You did and you should be embarrassed

Dawson thinks he was so naïve and Jen agrees but says that he's changed a lot over the years. She assures him that while he has changed, there will always be a part of him that is that naïve, hopeful younger boy who just wants his parents to get back together.

We cut back to the more important story and find out that Joey has called Pacey to come and get her. (SQUEEEEEEE!!) and he asks her what happened. She doesn't want to talk about it and they bicker a bit as they head to his car.

Cut back to the stupid sub-plot at Gail's unnamed restaurant. Dawson walks in to apologize and sees that everything seems to be going smoothly. Gail hands him a mug which turns out to be filled with clam chowder, good tasting clam chowder. She then reveals that she's named the restaurant Leery's Fresh Fish which sounds...really stupid and off-putting for some reason. It sounds more like a seedy fish market than a restaurant but whatever. Dawson is confused but Mitch comes in saying that it's Gail's name too. Whatever. They say that Bodie is going to be a partner of sorts but only work so that it doesn't take him away from the B&B or something. So, Bodie will never sleep, is what I'm gathering. Poor guy. They also tell Dawson that Jen is fired for being a shitty waiter and before Dawson freaks about them hiring his friend (and the only decent person in Capeside, other than Pacey), they say they will take her on as a hostess. Dawson agrees that she'll like that and everyone is happy.

And now, after agonizing through this horrible episode, I am finally rewarded with this magnificent ending that I have been waiting for ever since Double Date, in the first season. Are we all ready?

Let's do this!

Pacey digs a little more for information from Joey as they drive back to Capeside or to her home or something and Joey reveals that there was another girl. Pacey is sympathetic while Joey mopes about how she's sixteen and alone and she'll always be alone because she's not meant to find love. Typical over dramatic teen stuff. Pacey assures her that she'll find someone and mocks her a bit for thinking that she's done for at sixteen, which I love him for. Joey complains that in her whole life, there have been only two people that know her: Dawson and before she can finish Pacey starts saying that AJ didn't know her at all because if he did, he wouldn't have walked away. Joey then reveals that she was going to say that Pacey was the other person.

His expression here is just too adorable

Pacey pulls over the car and gets out, Joey follows him while asking what he's doing. He demands to know what she meant by what she said. Joey says that it means exactly what it means, that he knows her in a way that only Dawson has. Pacey says that they're not talking about Dawson, they're talking about him and he asks why she called him. She gets defensive and thinks that he's mad that she called but Pacey assures her that he's not mad that she called, he just wants to know why she called him specifically.


Pacey asks her what that means and she says that it means that she can talk to him and he's there for her. Pacey gets frustrated and says that he is tired of talking and asks if she's tired too. Joey is confused and Pacey says that he doesn't want to talk anymore.

Dead from squees

Ok, so this obviously got a bit of a better reaction than in Double Date but I will say that while I love this scene, it is a bit rapey and Pacey probably should have asked first, in real life. But, this is tv and we want drama and urgency so I'm kind of ok with this and get why he did it. In any case, the beginnings of Pacephine have finally arrived and I could not be happier! week they are apart again and Brat is back?


Stay tuned for Neverland.


  1. "Let's do this!" HYSTERICAL!! Thank-you for the well thought out analysis of these episodes. The added gifs and videos that are linked are priceless. Looking forward to the rest of this season and further into the series, the mini-arc's meltdowns/impulses and random side character fodder. Your comments bring all the various character dynamics sharper into focus, highlighting the holes and 'done goods' that were missed before.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. :) I will get on recapping the rest of the season very soon.

  2. Morgan and AJ are Pacey and Joey. Its the backbone of the episode, the love unspoken. They have what Joey wants and doesn't know she has right there in Pacey.

    'Don't let the friendly banter fool you, Joey. We really can't stand each other.'

    'It had always seem like a silent dream to her. The many meaningless passings in the hallway. The sense of disconnection from those she supposedly knew so well. When she met him, the boy she'd already known all her life, she realized that love unspoken is the loudest sound of all. And she awoke.'

    Pacey comes and picks her up at Midnight when the fantasy faded like he said it would. He is her reality, like Morgan was AJ's reality. And at the end of the episode 'she awoke'.

    The only bit about Dawson is when she says to AJ she understands what it feels like to have a love you deny but the rest of it is Pacey. I think the problem is that whenever the show talks about 'history' we are tuned to think Dawson/Joey. Joey has known Pacey all her life too, its just that they don't hold the past over each other's heads. As said in season 4, they grew up together, Dawson and Joey did not.

  3. AJ is the worst. Here's hoping Morgan wises up and dumps him for a hot French street artist when she returns to Paris anyway. Also, don't miss the totally random photo of Ben Stiller on Morgan's art wall!

  4. You stopped the recaps just as you were getting to the good Pacey/Joey episodes. Please come back!