Whoa, an episode that has more than one word for the title. I’m impressed, writers. For a second there I was beginning to think all your creativity went into the unrealistic dialogue of your high school protagonists.
We open with Dawson obsessing over his recent breakup with Jen. He doesn’t feel that she’s holding herself to the highest standards for handling a breakup and the fallout that usually results. What these standards are, we never learn, shockingly, but I’m willing to wager they’re unrealistic and painful to listen to. Joey, God love her, tries to help by giving him backhanded advice regarding what Dawson needs to do in order to move on. She tells him that eventually Jen is going to ask him to be friends, and Dawson isn’t sure if he’s ready for that. He pouts.
Bro Dad is sitting in the kitchen when the phone rings. Gail answers and mentions something about discussing it at the station. Bro Dad asks who it was, and Gail deflects the question. After some prodding, Gail reveals that it was Bob, her fuck buddy, calling to talk work stuff like whose makeup will look better on camera, and Bro Dad freaks out. He cannot believe that Bob would have the audacity to ruin his breakfast by calling his house to talk to his wife, what with all the spousal porking he had already done. He storms out.
Jen runs into Dawson at school and they have a painfully awkward exchange. Sure as shit, she asks him if there’s any way they can be friends, and Dawson tells her that he needs to think about it.
Dawson explains this painfully awkward conversation to Pacey, who tells him that Dawson needs to man the fuck up and admit to himself that he still has a thing for Jen. Once Dawson does, Pacey tells him he should take the offer, because what better way to get back into a girl’s pants than by being her good friend who can swap gossip over games of Pretty Pretty Princess. Their teacher asks Pacey to stay after class because he’s a fucking moron who got a 32 on their midterm. Apparently the teacher sees something in Pacey that no one else does, or completely sucks as an educator, because he says that he knows Pacey’s not a jackass, he just needs to apply himself. Therefore, he gives Pacey the opportunity to make up the grade by doing an outside assignment with another student. Who’s that student, you ask? Why, none other than Joey, of course!
Dawson runs into Jen and tells her that they can definitely be friends, but tries way too hard to convince her that he’s genuine. She sees right through him and tells him that they can’t hang out that weekend because she’s going on a date to the carnival with the football stud, Cliff. Dawson’s all “Hey, cool, I’m totally banging other bitches too!” and proposes a double date. Jen reluctantly agrees because Dawson is coming off like a sociopath and she wants to get away from him, and he walks around the corner and makes a face that says “What the fuck did I just do?”. Acting!
Pacey tells Dawson that this is perfect, because once Jen sees that Dawson is pulling tail from elsewhere, she’ll totally want to be in his movie again, or something. He tells Dawson that tons of girls would be willing to go on a date with his sorry ass, so he asks Mary Beth, a totally new character who we’ll probably never see again, if she’d be willing to accompany him to the carnival, never mentioning the double date. She knows Dawson just got out of a breakup and is probably super desperate, and initially says no, then changes her mind and agrees to go.
Pacey and Joey are working on their outside assignment, which happens to be getting snails to fuck. I have no idea. Pacey tells Joey that he’s not that big of an idiot, and she tells him that he needs to get his head out of his ass, because he’s a moron and will never amount to anything, least of all getting two snails to get down with one other.
Bro Dad is being super weird and grills Dawson on the phone messages. Dawson tells Bro Dad to chill the fuck out, he wrote all the messages down, and Bro Dad asks him if there’s any callers he needs to know about. The light bulb goes on above Dawson’s head and he says there’s nothing Bro Dad needs to worry about. This seems to relieve Bro Dad, at least momentarily.
Joey is all pissed off because Pacey fucked up, naturally, and the snails are dead. Pacey is full of excuses, but says that he did come in to try and get the snails to bone. Once it wasn’t working, however, he thought that maybe a three-way would get their juices flowing, and added another snail to the mix. Joey’s all “ORLY, Pacey. A three-way?” and tells him that because he’s a colossal fuck up, he added a carnivorous snail to the tank, and it ate the other fucking snails. Pacey apologizes and says he has an idea that will get them out of their pickle.
Joey tells Dawson that she’s really disappointed that he’s using Mary Beth to try to get Jen back, and that he definitely shouldn’t be proud of himself. He tells her that he doesn’t feel like himself and that he wishes he was taking Joey to the carnival instead. She doesn’t realize that he’d be using her instead in that scenario, and says that she wishes she was going with him too, right as Pacey stops by to pick her up.
Dawson meets Mary Beth at the carnival, and they have this really awkward get-to-know-you introduction. Didn’t they already know each other before, or are they both in the habit of accepting offers from complete strangers? Cliff and Jen show up, and Mary Beth sees what’s going on and tells Dawson to fess up.
Pacey’s brilliant idea is to scour up some more snails so their teacher never notices the difference. As they’re canoeing The Creek, instead of taking his bitchin’ house boat, he asks Joey why she’s stuck with his dumb ass, as she’s always brilliant. She deflects.
We find out that Dawson lied to Mary Beth and told her that he’s trying to “help” Jen’s date. She thinks he’s super noble and offers to help him out.
Again, because Pacey is a fuck up, he didn’t tie up the boat, and now it’s floating away. Joey is for some reason surprised and pissed at his ineptitude.
Because Cliff is a stud, he knocked down all the bottles and won Jen a prize. Dawson isn’t happy about this and proposes a pissing contest by taking him on in another bout. Jen and Mary Beth stand by, both knowing what’s going on, as the two vie for Jen’s affections. Dawson wins, and even the carnie remarks that he’s in a tight spot, because now he needs to choose which girl he’ll give his prize to. Obviously, he doesn’t give it to Mary Beth.
Joey’s still pissed at Pacey as they trudge through The Creek, looking for their boat. Why they didn’t just follow the shoreline instead of traversing the waters, we’ll never know. We’ll also never find out if their trip was worth it and they got more snails. They get to Pacey’s truck and he tells her to get naked because he’s got blankets for them. How fortunate! Joey is less than thrilled by the idea, but obliges him anyway. Pacey gets in the truck and acts like a creepy voyeur, watching Joey change in the mirror, and when she gets in, can’t wipe the shit eating grin off his face. She asks him what his deal is, and they sort of flirt.
Dawson apologizes to Mary Beth for using her and explains what his motives were. She tells him that he’s neurotic, but that she had ulterior motives too, because she wants Cliff to stick his studly wang in her. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen because he’s into Jen, and Dawson gets all pouty when she tells him that Jen is definitely into Cliff too. She proposes that maybe they can work together to help each other out.
She immediately shows what she had in mind by cock blocking Cliff and asking him to take the ferris wheel with her. Her reasoning is that they hadn’t really talked all that much that day. Why wouldn’t Cliff just say no? What kind of reasoning is that to blow off getting some hot, over-the-shirt feeling-up on a ferris wheel?
Pacey continues grilling Joey on how bad her grade on the midterm was that she got paired up with his dumb ass for a special project. She finally relents and tells him it was a 98. What the fuck, Joey!? What the fuck, teacher!? Tell her to deal with it! Pacey shares my annoyance and asks her what the big fucking deal is, and she tells him that she needs to get out of The Creek, and a scholarship is the only way that will happen. Pacey shows some self-awareness and says that he’s doomed to be stuck in The Creek forever, but tells Joey that she’ll be fine.
Naturally, the ferris wheel breaks when the foursome are on it. Clearly, Mary Beth and Cliff aren’t having fun, as he looks absolutely miserable. Dawson asks Jen how things are going with Cliff and she reluctantly tells him that she doesn’t see a future with him. Dawson gets puppy-with-a-bone excited by this news, and Jen tells him that he’s a psycho and that it was a mistake asking him if they could be friends. Dawson calls her a slut, again, and she asks him why the fuck he agreed to come if he was just going to be a dick about it. He tells her that it’s because he thinks it’s bullshit that she’s already dating again when her only reason for breaking up with him was that she needed to be alone. He tells her that she’s not tired of men, because she’s a whore, but just tired of him. She doesn’t disagree.
Pacey and Joey show up to the carnival, and Pacey pulls Dawson aside to tell him that he’s got a thing for Joey. Dawson is shocked when Pacey asks for his permission to try and get her uptight panties off, because he doesn’t want to step on Dawson’s toes, what with their history of watching movies in his room together. Dawson tells him that he’s not cool with it, then immediately changes his mind and we’re treated to this really funny 30 seconds of Dawson standing all alone by the merry-go-round.
Pacey tries to drop Joey all kinds of hints that he’s into her, and finally gives up and just goes right in for the kiss. Being Joey, she freaks out and asks what the fuck he thinks he’s doing? She admits that she had a good time with him earlier, but she still thinks he’s poor and gross. What about the house boat, Joey? That’s gotta count for something! Pacey makes the situation ever more awkward by saying that even if she had kissed him, she’d probably be thinking of someone else. My guess is that someone else would be Dawson, maybe.
We get a quick scene of Dawson brooding and leaving the house as the phone rings and Bro Dad and Gail hug in the background. Guess things are working out for those two crazy kids after all!
Dawson finds Pacey at the movie rental store, where I thought he worked too, but I guess not, seeing as he hasn’t worked a shift since the premiere, and tells Pacey that he changed his mind and doesn’t want Pacey in Joey’s pants. Pacey tells him that he’s too late, he already fucked her, and Dawson gets upset. Pacey tells him that he was joking, and that Joey has no interest in him, but tells Dawson that maybe, for once, it’s him who needs to get his head out of his ass and face the facts. Who’s it going to be?
As a sidebar, there’s a serial killer coming to The Creek next episode, and I, for one, really hope someone kills Pacey.