So right off the bat, I may have bitten off more than I can chew. Seriously, these episodes are 44 minutes long!? That means that I’m essentially reviewing 246 half hour episodes. This is going to be quite the journey after all.
Katie Holmes – Joey
James Van Der Beek – Dawson (I knew it!)
Joshua Jackson – Pacey
Michelle Williams – Jen
Anyways, I did it. I watched the first episode.
We open on a lake at night and pan to a big white house. Dawson and Joey are lying in bed watching a movie that Dawson says lost to “Gandhi” for the Oscar, to which Joey replies that Academy Awards should go to movies that people can stay awake through. I can’t help but feel that comment was made completely unironically, given that her acting has a similar effect on me. As she gets up to leave, Dawson asks her why she’s not sleeping over, which leads into a conversation about how they’re 15 and have breasts and whatever and I kind of stopped paying attention, because, oh my God, you guys, Dawson’s hair!
That’s so gloriously late 90s.
So, after some back and forth bantering with vocabulary that no 15 years olds use, we’ve established that they’re not doing it. To really drive the point home, Joey pounces on Dawson and they wrestle, then settle down under the covers. As the camera pans out, Joey makes a face that says that she wants to be more than friends with Dawson and his wonderful hockey hair.
Wait, what the hell? The intro song is definitely not that “I don’t want to wait” that it was when the show was on. Seriously, they couldn’t get the rights from Paula Cole for the intro song when they went to DVD? I’m sure if you asked nicely, she would part with them again. Anyways, this new song is equally terrible, and I can already tell it will be stuck in my head for the rest of the night.
So our introduction to Pacey is that he wearing some kind of cheap looking monster costume on a dock, when a cab pulls up. As some teenage girl gets out, the music consists of some cheap pop punk and the words “hey, pretty girl” on repeat, so I guess I’m supposed to believe that they think this girl is hot. The girl is Jen, and she’s from New York City. Joey says she lives “down the creek”, and I’m kind of floored, because is that lake considered a creek?
I’m sorry, but that’s not a creek.
Anyways, they establish Jen in all of 45 seconds; she lives with her grandparents because her grandfather’s aorta collapsed, she’s 15 too and starts at their school and yadda yadda. For a 44 minute Pilot, they could have done more, but whatever.
Dawson and Pacey are at Dawson’s house riffing on whether they can get in Jen’s wonderfully 90s pant suit, and run in upon hearing a crash to find Dawson’s dad about to get lucky with his mom, the news anchor, on the coffee table. Dawson is understandably horrified by what he walked in on, but Pacey just sits there with a shit-eating grin while the news anchor tries to cover up her boobs. Honestly, Dawson’s dad is so nonplussed by the whole situation and seems so bro-y , I’m surprised he didn’t tell Dawson that was where he came from or something like that.
We get another establishing scene of Joey, her sister and her sister’s black boyfriend who knocked her up. There’s tension in Joey’s house. Moving on.
Dawson and Pacey work at a video rental store. In movies and TV shows, it always seems like best friends get jobs at the same place. Very rarely does this happen in real life. Pacey gives the owner’s daughter some shit and she shuts him the fuck down by basically calling him trash. Yikes. Then, some hot lady comes in to slow jazz music and Pacey flirts with her for a minute.
Tamara doesn’t know how to get a membership, which seems odd for 1998. Video rental stores were clearly established by this time. To add to the sexual energy between her and Pacey, she asks for “The Graduate”. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of her.
Jen is hanging out on the dock by Dawson’s creek (I see what they did there!) and Dawson, getting all hot and bothered, offers to show her his studio, as he’s a wannabe filmmaker. His studio is his room, which is covered in Spielberg posters. Dawson loves Spielberg, okay? He tells Jen that he likes movies because he rejects his own reality, which, his life seems pretty good, so what does he have to reject? Joey shows up and climbs a ladder that leads into Dawson’s room. Wait, his parents are cool with that? Like, that seems like an insurance liability on so many levels. Joey doesn’t go in, and kind of hangs out awkwardly on a ladder listening in while Jen and Dawson talk.
After Jen leaves, Joey climbs into his room and Dawson asks her if his mom is banging her co-anchor. He keeps rewinding a broadcast and focusing on the way she says “Bob”. Joey correctly tells Dawson that he’s looking for conflict to spice up his otherwise perfect life and that’s the scene.
Jen’s going to smother her grandfather! Not really, she’s just admiring his heart surgery scar. We get another establishing scene, this time with Grams, who mentions church and tries to get Jen to say grace. Jen is an atheist, bitch, and wants none of your religious mumbo jumbo.
Some hot blonde name Nellie approaches Jen at her first day of school and says she missed her at church. She immediately follows that statement up by asking if Jen parties, and when Jen says only non-chemical, Nellie disses her. Not to anyone, mind you, just to Jen.
Pacey is goofing off, because he can, when Tamara walks into class. Oh shit guys, Pacey’s got it hot for teacher! Meanwhile, Dawson confronts a teacher because he didn’t get into his filmmaking class. The class books upperclassmen first, so it’s full, and this seems to be detrimental to Dawson’s aspirations to be the next Spielberg. I’m inclined to agree with the teacher on this one anyway. It’s a fair policy, and besides, Dawson is in 10th grade. Just wait a year! Man, Dawson really needs some real problems in his life.
We cut to lunch, and Joey keeps making faces while Dawson and Jen flirt. It isn’t really flirting so much as he making up fake personas of the faculty that are milling about. But Joey wants no part in that shit.
Pacey needs to back off of Miss Jacobs; he’s coming on way too strong. She tells him about a movie she’s going to see that night, and he arranges a double date with Dawson and Jen. Stalking a faculty member is never okay, but he seems convinced that this will work out well for him because of Cosmo. Dawson then talks Joey into going to the movie too, and she’s being really bitchy about Dawson going with Jen. He assures her that nothing has to change in their relationship. I’m sure that’s exactly what she wanted to hear.
Jen is talking to Grams and makes jokes to “establish a rapport” with the old bat. Seriously, what 15 year old talks like that? It’s so pretentious. Grams brings up going to church again and says she knows what happened in New York. Ooh! Intrigue! What happened in New York?
Dawson freaks out about sex during a conversation with his dad, who tells him that watching his mom anchor is the best form of foreplay for him. Why would you say that to your son? I don’t care how open your house is about sex, if this keeps up, Dawson is going to need therapy.
Cut to the four amigos walking to the movies, and Joey is really laying on the bitch. Just throwing shade left and right at Jen. What did she do to Joey? Is she from the wrong side of the creek or something? They’re seeing “Waiting for Guffman”, and immediately, Pacey sees hot teacher and takes off to make a move. Whimsical music plays while Dawson tries to get the nerve to hold Jen’s hand. Dawson, you’re trying to hold her hand, not getting her to grab your junk in popcorn. Quit being a pansy. Joey watches this all go down and freaks the fuck out at Dawson in the theater lobby, telling Dawson to grow up.
Pacey sits next to Tamara, who is clearly uncomfortable with him stalking her. Not that I blame her. A guy I presume is her date shows up, and Pacey takes the time out to make fun of his name after asking Tamara if the guy was bugging her. Listen, his name is Benji, so Pacey’s reaction makes sense, but we’re so far beyond normal now I shouldn’t be surprised at his rudeness. As Pacey stands up to confront Benji, Benji’s popcorn goes flying all over the guy sitting behind them, who reasonably reacts by punching Pacey. None of this makes any sense.
Dawson brings Jen home and she politely shoots him down. She mentions bad things happening in New York, and I just want to know what happened!
Jesus, Pacey’s eye looks awful. How hard did that guy punch him? Was he arrested for assaulting a minor? None of these questions are answered, but as Pacey sadly walks along a dock, he runs into Tamara. Wait, does Pacey live in a house boat? That would be sweet! He flips the fuck out at Tamara, insulting her age and making himself seems insufferable by saying it’s the “best sex she’ll never have”. Chill out, Pacey. After saying that he’s a man, Tamara kisses him and then immediately runs off.
Dawson enters his room and opens his closet door, and who’s in there? Joey, of course. That would seriously not be okay with me, under any circumstance. Is she bipolar? Dawson gives her a stilted compliment about the lipstick she was wearing, and they finally define their relationship in a really awkward conversation. Joey isn’t happy with the outcome, and brings the episode full circle by telling Dawson she can’t sleep over anymore because he won’t tell her about his masturbation habits. She referred to it as walking the dog, so I can relate to Dawson’s confusion. How one equates to the other, I don’t know.
Everyone is really sad, including the music as Joey leaves and hops in a rowboat. It’s night, and that seems super dangerous. Dawson suddenly shouts down to Joey that he chokes the chicken in the morning to Katie Couric. Weird, and honestly, I don’t know if Katie would be flattered. Joey is all smiles as she shoves off from the dock, knowing that things are going to be okay between her and Dawson. Except, wait! Oh shit! Joey oversees Dawson’s mom kissing her motherfucking co-anchor! Dawson was right! And now his perfect life is going to have some real drama in it!
Wow. Episode 1 has been reviewed. That took a lot out of me. Hopefully these reviews will be a little shorter going forward as there will be less character and story establishment.