Up the "Creek" - S1e03, Sex, Lies and Videotape (Literally)
Welcome to Up the Creek, y’all! In honor of the 15th anniversary of Dawson’s Creek – which premiered on Jan. 20, 1998, and which filmed here in Wilmington – we’re revisiting season one, one episode at a time. I’m Kate Elizabeth Queram, the StarNews environment reporter/former weather blogger, which obviously makes me perfectly suited to be your guide here (I totally bet that creek has water quality issues). I’ve never watched the show – though I think I tuned in for the very last episode SO I DO KNOW WHO JOEY ENDS UP WITH OMG – so please join me as I see the first season for the first time. New posts will go up every Friday. Legal parameters force me to say that all screencaps, and the teenage angst contained therein, are the property of Sony Television. Let’s hit the creek.
Episode three (real title: "Kiss") opens with Dawson and Joey in his room watching From Here to Eternity. I have never seen this movie and I don't know what it's about but it's got that iconic scene with the guy and girl making out hardcore on the beach, which most people recognize, I think. That scene is supposed be the pinnacle of movie romance, but Dawson keeps pausing it in places that make it look like the guy (Burt Lancaster, thanks brawnyfrank for correcting me!) is just giving the girl (Deborah Kerr) mouth-to-mouth. YOU RUIN EVERYTHING, DAWSON.
Though I guess he could actually be giving her mouth-mouth, I don't know. I haven't seen the movie. Anyway, Dawson tells Joey that this scene is his future, because his first kiss with Jen is going to be just like that. Joey mocks him a lot for this, making fun of him for not just kissing Jen already and for thinking it's going to be like CPR. Dawson says he can't just kiss her, he has to storyboard it out with music and dialogue and that Joey just doesn't understand romance because she's too cynical. She says he's living in a Peter Pan fantasy world which I guess is sort of accurate, though I wish she'd just tell him how unbelievably creepy it is to "storyboard" and plan DIALOGUE for your life. Then she leaves through the window.
The theme song plays (sometimes, doing an interpretive dance to this tune in my desk chair is the best part of watching this show), and then the episode opens with a shot of the ferry.
I thought maybe we were going to Bald Head Island, but we're not. We're going to film class, where the students are talking about their awesome film festival submission. They're going to start shooting this weekend and no one can decide on what should happen in the climactic scene. Dawson tries to contribute and Nellie The Annoying Blond Girl tells him to shut up, which seems valid since the conditions of him hanging out in that class during his study hall were that he wouldn't participate, but Mel Silver seems reluctant to tell him to be quiet. You know this film class is in trouble if Dawson is your voice of reason. Come on, Mel Silver. Don't make me hate you.
Tamara asks Pacey to stay behind after class and tells him that he's failing English and that she overheard other teachers talking about him and it turns out he's failing everything. In a super-suave recovery move, Pacey informs her that he's failing on purpose so that she would have to tutor him...privately. Tamara says this is inappropriate, though I don't think she is really that concerned with propriety since she keeps making out with him on the docks at night, and in the next breath she proves this by saying he should meet her back in the classroom at 6 p.m. You can tell that Pacey thinks this means they're going to do it on her desk.
Then there are more shots of the ferry. We're still not going to Bald Head.
After school, Dawson, Pacey and Joey meet at a restaurant. I guess Joey's pregnant sister's boyfriend owns it? And Joey and her sister work there? I think this is a recurring thing in the show that I am just supposed to accept as fact at this point, though it seems kind of strange that we never heard about it or saw it before now but apparently this is where they all hang out all the time.
Dawson tells them that Mel Silver said he's allowed to join film class permanently if he "proves himself" on the movie shoot this weekend. Mel Silver definitely didn't say this on camera which was smart because it preserves my hope that Mel Silver will be the voice of reason in this show. Joey asks him why he's spending all this time on the class movie when he's in the middle of shooting his own lame swamp movie. Dawson says he’s doing both, and is planning to shoot the final scene of his film this weekend and is going to use it as an attempt to seduce Jen. Then he places the world's largest to-go order (10 fish and chips, 5 family fries and a dozen shrimp burgers, I am not exaggerating these numbers at all, also I don't know what a shrimp burger is but it sounds disgusting). Pacey orders oysters to take to Tamara and get her all randy during their tutoring sesh.
A guy walks in - he looks about 13 - and has a flirty eye-contact moment with Joey. Dawson notices and asks who the guy is, and Joey says she's never seen him before. Pacey congratulates Joey on noticing a guy (a puberty milestone, y'all!) and yells at the guy. Joey threatens to kill him. This episode is boring.
Dawson plays with football helmets while the film class prepares for the big movie shoot. Cliff is wearing his football uniform and he looks comically small and undersized beneath his gargantuan shoulder pads, which are each roughly the size of a toddler.
Jen shows up in a cheerleading uniform and says that Cliff cast her in the movie. Dawson says, “But you’re supposed to be in MY movie,” and Cliff and his enormous shoulder pads come over and whisk her away. He also steals the helmet right off Dawson's lap and calls him David. This is the best scene in the season so far.
Pacey reads Ethan Frome while sitting next to Tamara’s desk. I don’t see the oysters anywhere. He asks what she was like in high school and if she would have dated him then, and she says probably not, but that she's different now. Pacey is wearing tube socks again, though, so I'd be surprised if she'd "date" him now.
But then she gives him a quiz about the book and says that if he answers all the questions she’ll give him “positive reinforcement,” so maybe he did slip her an oyster.
At work, Joey hears violin music (right) and goes to see where it's coming from, and finds the 13-year-old boy from the restaurant playing the violin while sitting on a sailboat, because of course he is. His name is Anderson Crawford. He introduces himself and Joey spends the next few minutes being insanely rude to him, so finally he says, "Do you come with a name, or just an attitude?" Joey, I guess ashamed that she's a waitress when he's clearly a rich kid who plays classical music on sailboats, hides her apron behind her back while they're talking, but it's really awful because in one shot it's behind her back
and in the next shot her arms are crossed
so I don't know where that apron is going in between those shots. Maybe it's magic. They have a getting-to-know-you conversation where Anderson says he's in Capeside because his parents are antique-hunting for chairs and he is their one-man boat crew. Joey tells him a bunch of lies about how she and her parents were driven there by their chauffeur. He asks her to go sailing. I'm not sure why, honestly, because she spent this whole conversation being a heinous jerk. She says yes and tells him that her name is Deborah Carson (a take on the actress from From Here To Eternity).
Pacey finishes his quiz. It had a grand total of three questions, so obviously Tamara really just wanted to give him that "positive reinforcement." But when he tries to collect she says that education is its own reward. Pacey isn't buying that lame fortune-cookie logic so Tamara tells him she'll owe him. Pacey's all, "Let's just get down, girl," and pressures her for a minute or two and finally she's like, "Yes. Our first time should be on my desk. Let's do it." and starts unbuttoning her blouse and asking about condoms and Pacey totally wigs out. "This is not romantic. I am a virgin," is the gist of his comeback. Things get all awkward and Tamara sends him home and tells him to find a girl his own age, reminding him and herself, again, that making out with a student is wrong. Pacey, understandably, points out that she keeps saying that but then makes out with him anyway, and then imparts his own fortune-cookie knowledge by telling her "Sometimes it's right to do the wrong thing," but then he leaves and she looks tortured.
Deborah Carson is meeting Anderson for her boating date and she is soooooo nervous because she is soooooo poor. She arrives at the boat to find him wearing really enormous shorts.
She tells him a bunch of lies about how she's from Manhattan and goes to boarding school, and then really terrible pop music plays while we are treated to a sailing montage. They end up on an island, so let's just say it's Bald Head so things can come full circle for me. Once they get there, THEY PLAY FRISBEE! Because sure! That’s what wholesome teens do!
Anderson asks if she has a boyfriend and says that he's pretty sure she does because she carries herself in a real "hands-off" way, which seems like a nice way of saying that she's horrible and rude, which again begs into question why he wanted to hang out with her in the first place. Then he tells her that honesty is the primary thing he's looking for in a girl. Joey looks awkward. Or Deborah. Deborah looks awkward.
Things are not going well at the class movie shooting, and not only because of this awful, cheesy dialogue where two football players are telling each other that things will improve if they can just think of the team as a family. No, the problem is really shaky camera work (sure it is, kids. Sure it is). Dawson tries to give a pointer about how to hold the camera steady, but annoying blond girl yells at him to shut up and sends him to get more tape, where he runs into Jen. He mocks the movie to her and then asks why she’s bothering to be there. She says, “Because I knew you’d be here.” He asks her to work on the swamp movie later and she says yes. He watches her walk away. A lot of guys watch Jen's butt in this show.
Back on the beach, Anderson is diagramming the JFK assassination in the sand.
No. I don't know why. Joey responds with UFO theories. I don't know why that happens, either. Somehow she ends up pinned underneath him JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIE! but instead of kissing him she begs off in the last second. I'm not sure why since this guy is nicer and cuter than Dawson, though this diagramming assassinations in the sand leads me to believe he may be the same sort of lunatic. I think maybe she's feeling guilty about all of her lying because she says, "You need to know the truth," but all she tells him is, "I'm not Cinderella." That clears it up.
Pacey shows up at the movie shooting to find Dawson looking very stumpy.
He once again offers to help with the shaky camera and the blond girl snaps at him again but Cliff intervenes and says he can give it a try. Dawson shoots it in a wheelchair with Pacey pulling him. It works. The whole thing is annoying but the worst part is that I had to listen to that dialogue like six times.
Later, Pacey stumbles on Mel Silver flirting with Tamara. YOU GO MEL SILVER!
She leaves the room to get her purse so Mel Silver can walk her home, and Pacey meets her in the hallway in a jealous rage. She's all, "Pacey, I am just trying to not go to jail for sleeping with a 15-year-old, what do you even want from me?" and he says, “YOU. I WANT YOU” and she gives him a puppy face.
Jen and Dawson go to shoot more of his horrible movie. They’re trespassing on private property, apparently, and there are some geese there too.
Dawson tells her that in the pivotal scene, she's saying goodbye to the swamp monster with “longing” and “incredible sadness” because the monster she killed was really the man she “incredibly loved.” Jen spends like four seconds looking down, and Dawson says, "CUT! PRINT! THAT WAS AMAZING!" Really? Even Jen seems to know that it was lame. Dawson runs out to her and they kind of stare at each other for a minute and he narrates how things look around them, with the music and the sunset and the candlelight, and leans in to kiss her, and then Jen realizes that he’s still filming. I guess he literally storyboarded this out, which is of course deranged. Jen agrees and says, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" He says, "Um."
Joey goes back to Anderson’s boat. He’s still playing violin. His parents are still nowhere to be found, so I guess hunting for that antique chair is taking a really long time. He tells her they’re leaving tomorrow but that he comes to New York all the time and will take her to dinner at the Rainbow Room. She says "I really prefer Bouley," and he looks at her all weird and then gives her his phone number. Then they kiss. I guess in the end he's not really that concerned with whether she has a boyfriend.
Back in the garden of good and creepy, Jen yells at Dawson for taping their kiss. He’s all, "I just wanted to create something special," and I feel pretty certain the hidden subtext here is, "Like a suit of your skin." She tells him he tries too hard. (Not really, he’s just weird as hell and has some sort of personality disorder.) He says he’s afraid if he doesn’t kiss her soon he’s gonna explode. Then she says, well, now I’m scared. You've really built this up, what if I disappoint you? She’s sort of on the right track but Jen, honey, that isn’t what you should be scared of.
Post-kiss, Joey hops in a truck with her pregnant sister and her pregnant sister's boyfriend. She finds out that the restaurant she name-dropped to Anderson closed down years ago, thus explaining the weird look he gave her. Then she throws Anderson’s number away. Litters it, actually. Right out the truck window. First that lawn chair and now this. Joey has no respect for the Cape Fear River at all.
Dawson and Jen are packing up their stuff when they hear someone coming. They assume it's the owner of the property where they're trespassing. They hide in some cavelike thing, and horrible music starts to play, and this is where they kiss, finally, in a smelly hole in the ground while dirt and cobwebs fall on Jen's hair. I feel this is appropriate, since it’s probably accurately foreshadowing where Jen will end up after he kills her and buries her body.
It turns out the couple that came to disrupt swamp-time filming is Tamara and Pacey, because consummating their illicit relationship on the ground in the dark is better than in a classroom. I guess I should just be thankful they're not doing it on the docks. Naturally, Dawson left the camera running, so now a Pacey/Tamara sex tape exists. The final shot of the episode is the two of them spooning on the moss, wrapped up in a jacket which is interesting since neither of them was wearing one. Maybe Mel Silver loaned it to Tamara before she ditched him to have sex with Pacey. Poor Mel.
We never even saw Dawson's parents in this episode at all, so I guess I have to wait another week to find out if his mom is still banging co-anchor Bob while his dad plays with toys. :(