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 5 (real title: "Hurricane") opens with ominous music and a shot of a table in Dawson's room. There’s his weird framed photo of Spielberg and a BABY DOLL HEAD
and Joey’s there and they're watching movies, naturally, and I do not know why she keeps coming back into his room, for a lot of reasons,but right now, specifically, BABY DOLL HEAD.
The Capeside meteorologist informs us that Hurricane Chris is coming. He informs us by pointing to a poster of Earth hung on a wall covered with ugly wallpaper. It's like they had zero fucks to give and just filmed him standing in someone's dining room.
Seated next to co-anchor Bob in the news studio, Dawson's mom says, "Tomorrow will be a great day to just stay in bed,” and Dawson is really pissed that she is so obvious about her affair, though if I were him the suit shoppin' and the makin' out at work would be the parts that really irked me, not the parts where she's just talking about the weather like she's paid to do. Dawson tells Joey that he still hasn't told either of his parents that he knows about her affair, and then he gets all depressed and kicks Joey out. As she leaves, she tells him to "fasten your seatbelt. It’s gonna be a bumpy life,” which definitely ranks among the top 5 corniest things said in this show so far.
The next day, Dawson's mom is at home yelling at her boss on the phone because she is a woman and so they won't let her cover the hurricane. She should come work at the StarNews, they lock us all in here when hurricanes hit. Dawson's dad goes next door to invite Gram and Jen over to ride out the storm, probably because he knows Gram is on Team Jesus and so if she's there, their house is less likely to be destroyed. Dawson takes this opportunity to tell his mom how awesome and faithful is dad is. His mom says, "Oh, boy," so I guess she picked up on Dawson's super subtle cues and now she knows that he knows.
Pacey’s out on the beach helping the cops post "No Swimming" signs. This whole scene exists to give us background about Pacey's family, which is exciting because up until now I had sort of assumed he was a ragamuffin street urchin. His brother, Doug, is a cop, and he adores Broadway musicals, and so Pacey teases him about being gay. Doug says he is straight. This is all that happens for like six minutes. It's basically a very early version of every Paul Rudd movie ever made.
While making the beach safe for everyone, Pacey swings by Tamara's house, because single high-school English teachers can afford beachfront property in New Hanover County. They can also, apparently, afford multiple windsocks.
Pacey goes in to mack on Tamara, but Doug beat him there. They stand around talking on the porch for a while and I guess the ocean in real life must have been really loud because the voiceover dubbing in the scene is really horrific. I bet Dawson did it. Anyway, then Doug starts hitting on Tamara, which is awkward.
Tamara is about to reply but then she gets scared by lightning and says she hates storms and is surprised that they're dealing with a hurricane because they almost never come this far north. This logic is repeated about 16 times throughout this episode. They're supposed to be in Massachusetts, so it would be weird for a hurricane to get there; the newsroom theory on this is that a hurricane actually hit Wilmington while they were filming season one and so they just incorporated it in the show so as not to disrupt the filming schedule. It seems like a legit theory because as you can see in the shot of Tamara's home, the nasty weather appears to be real.
Jen and Gram head to Dawson's and Gram invokes the lord as soon as she walks in. We learn that Grandpa's back in the hospital, probably because it would have been an awkward plot point to get him to Dawson's, given that he's unconscious all the time. Jen tries to help Dawson secure the front porch and Dawson's a dick to her, I guess because he is still very upset that she's not a virgin. She asks if he wants to talk about it and he tells her that it's not her, he's just got a huge to-do list and has to get busy. She goes inside. By the way, "securing the porch" appears to mean "moving obscene amounts of wicker furniture from one pile to another."
Joey, her pregnant sister and her pregnant sister's boyfriend have decided to head to Dawson's for the storm as well, because apparently the Leerys' waterfront property is infinitely more secure than everyone else's waterfront property. Gram is very uncomfortable around Joey's pregnant sister because she's a) unmarried and b) knocked up by her black boyfriend.
Meanwhile, Dawson’s mom is sitting on the stairs flirting with co-anchor Bob on the phone. She says things like, “Bad boy, be careful out there, I’d like you back in one piece." She makes kissy noises. Dawson overhears and stomps downstairs right by her, so good for him, basically. She confronts him and he basically calls her a whore, and she just stares at him. Seriously, this woman is the WORST. ADULTERER. EVER.
Dawson storms away and she runs after him and says that she loves Dawson's dad and that her relationship with Bob is complicated. Dawson's like, it's really not, but if you want to explain it, maybe you oughta do that with your HUSBAND. BOOM.
Y'all know that I hate these occasional moments where I'm rooting for Dawson, but seriously, his mom's being an ass. And anyway my sympathy is short-lived again because he follows his powerful speech by flouncing off to his room, and I can't take him seriously when he's flouncing. When he gets to his room, Jen's there, because no one on this show has any boundaries. She tells Dawson that his mom is a good person and Dawson says it makes sense that Jen would defend his mom since they both "understand the need for multiple partners." Jen gets pissed and leaves and Dawson flops dramatically onto his bed.
In the middle of his emotional meltdown, he hears a noise in the closet and there’s Joey. Why the hell is she hanging out in the closet? BECAUSE NO BOUNDARIES, THAT'S WHY.
Apparently they used to play in there when they were kids and she went to relive that. This is just exactly how I spent my first hurricane. Get outta my head, Dawson’s Creek. Joey tells Dawson that instead of asking why his mother is doing these horrible things, he should get down on his knees and thank God that he has a mother, which is a pretty unfair thing to throw at him. Still, it shuts him up, and she's about to flounce out but before she leaves, she turns around and says, "SORRY, I FORGOT IT'S NOT ABOUT ME." I mean, she's being sarcastic, but it seems kind of clear that she did forget this really isn't about her at all. Joey sucks, both for being insensitive and for making me side with Dawson again.
Downstairs, Joey's pregnant sister's boyfriend is cooking for Gram. She’s pissed, I guess ‘cause he’s still black.
Co-anchor Bob’s on the beach reporting groundbreaking hurricane news by shouting into his microphone while wearing an absurdly long trench coat.
Pacey and Doug are sequestered at Tamara’s. Doug says that because he is an Officer Of The Law it is his job to protect her during the storm. There is a noise outside because hurricanes are noisy and he goes to inspect it after calling her Tammy. Once he's gone, Pacey tells Tamara that Doug is gay and that his parents are in denial about it and then he tries to make out with her. She is all, "HELL no, your cop brother is outside and THIS IS A FELONY!"
But they smooch a little anyway, and he starts tickling her and the tablecloth and the food falls all over them, and Doug walks in to find them like this.
Dawson's dad is passing the time playing with toys, because of course he is.
Dawson’s about to spill the beans about co-anchor Bob, but then his mom walks in and says she's going to tell him herself. She says she's banging "another man" for two months, and that she isn't going to apologize because that would be insulting, but that she just thought he should know. Dawson's dad gives her this face
and then the lights go out with a big clap of thunder. So they're all sitting in the dark and all Dawson's dad can talk about is how he should have bought batteries. That's like Hurricane 101, dude. Maybe instead of sending co-anchor Bob to the beach in his long trench coat to talk about how it's windy, they should have had someone in studio giving hurricane prep pointers. Anyway, Dawson's mom is all, "PLZ TALK TO ME," and his dad sweeps all of his toys onto the floor with a big crash. He's all, "I'mma ruin my toys instead of discussing this, and don't you dare cry, you don't get to cry," and he shines his flashlight right in her face when he says it. YOU TELL HER, DAWSON'S DAD.
Gripping, but not effective, because when he leaves the room she cries anyway. Dawson’s mom, you can’t do ANYTHING RIGHT. Gram comes in and asks if everything is okay and Dawson's mom says yeah, but you can tell that Gram can sense what's going on via her Sin-O-Meter.
Tamara’s changed into a much more revealing shirt, and they've all decided to play icebreaker games by candlelight. We learn that Tamara’s from the big city and that she has a dysfunctional ex-husband in New York. Doug’s all, “If I were him I’d be full of regret.” When it's Pacey's turn, he asks which Broadway musical Doug would want to star in. He says West Side Story, and it turns out that Tamara LOVES Broadway musicals and then Pacey gets annoyed. I would be annoyed too. That is some dull conversation right there.
At Dawson’s, Joey's pregnant sister and her boyfriend (whose name is Bodie, which I legit never heard before this episode) are discussing circumcision again. Bodie says it's stupid to talk about it because they don't even know if the baby is a boy or a girl, and Gram goes, "OR BLACK OR WHITE," and they're all like, "OH NO SHE DI-IN'T!"
Bodie asks if she hates it more that they’re a biracial couple or that they’re all unwed and knocked up. Gram says she just doesn't like it when babies be having babies, but then she follows it up with a comment about how "that child" will be treated differently so yeah, Gram kinda sucks.
Thankfully at Tamara’s they’ve moved on to Monopoly, but they're still talking about musicals. Doug says he loves Ethel Merman and lord help me, they start singing songs from A Chorus Line. Then Doug asks Tamara out right in front of Pacey. AND SHE SAYS YES! But adds that it's not like it'll be a real date, and Doug is all, "Huh? Is it because I am too young? BECAUSE I AM ABOUT TO BE 25, so if it's because you think we'll need a rental car and you don't want it in your name, don't worry, I'll be able to rent one soon."
She says, no, but I know you're gay. Tamara is like a professional gay BFF and by the way, where is Mel Silver and why isn't he riding out the storm with them?? Doug gets really mad and asks if Pacey told Tamara that he's gay, but Tamara says she just guessed it because she has "good gaydar." Doug tries to tell her that he's not gay, and she's like, "But it's OK to be gay," and Pacey says, "That's what I've been trying to tell him!" And I was already kind of dying with laughter at this point but then DOUG PULLS OUT HIS GUN AND POINTS IT AT PACEY'S HEAD
so Pacey's like, fine, he's not gay, and then Doug is totally fine with just going back to playing Monopoly, and Tamara makes this face
and this is my favorite scene EVER.
Dawson's dad has decided to spend the storm sitting in the parked car in the driveway. Dawson's mom hops in the car soaking wet; Dawson's dad, who had to have taken the exact same walk through the storm to get in the car, is suspiciously dry. Maybe it's all of her sinning that made Dawson's mom wet.
Dawson's dad has figured out that it's Bob, and he tells her that love is a decision and that 20 years ago he chose to love her the moment they met, and that now he's taking it back. “I don’t want to love you anymore. I choose to hate you now.” Ehhh I laughed at that, sorry. She cries and generally looks like a drowned rat. He orders her to get out of the car, and then he drives away. Where's he going? Nothing's open! Maybe he's going to the StarNews because we are all definitely there, covering the storm. But it turns out that there's nothing to cover, really, because next thing you know it's daylight and co-anchor Bob is informing us that Hurricane Christopher took a sudden detour away from Capeside! So Doug is taking down the plywood at Tamara's house and he's all, "Sorry for pulling a gun on my brother, but I'd totally love to take you out," which is pretty much the smoothest pick-up line in the history of the world. Tamara's not falling for it, though, and she tells him that she's seeing someone right now. Pacey looks all happy. I kind of like them as a couple, honestly.
Dawson's mom has apparently gone into a trance in one of their many wicker chairs. Girlfriend never dried her hair after leaving the car, so it looks terrible.
Inside, Dawson runs into Jen, who tells him that she lost her virginity way too young, that she was drinking all the time in New York and having blackouts. “I finally got caught having sex in my parents’ bed," she says, and then she uses the word "fornicating." That’s when her parents shipped her to Capeside. She says she can’t apologize for her past and she just wants to start over and it would be nice if he could be a part of it. He says okay, "If you'll have me." (I laughed at this too.) She cries. They hug. And then, of course, Dawson ruins the moment by saying, quietly, "Take two," and UGH DAWSON I JUST HATE YOU.
Dawson's dad comes back from the StarNews. He looks like he smells something foul.
Perhaps it's his unwashed wife.
I know that stuff is actually stuck to the screen and not to her, but it's really adding to her dirty trancelike appearance for me.
He asks why she did it. “I had no reason,” she said. And I know this stuff is stuck to the screen but it really looks like it’s hanging off her which adds a lot to her creepy bag-lady appearance. Mr. Leery asks why she decided to bang co-anchor Bob and she says it was because her life was too perfect and it wigged her out. She seems to expect him to be sympathetic to this. “I have the perfect home, a career, the most gifted child, a husband who stimulates me mind, body and soul every day of my life, I want for nothing.” Dawson's dad seems to go into a trance while she's telling him this
which I am choosing to interpret as him being annoyed, since listening to this made me want to smack Mrs. Leery upside the head. Plus, let's be real, lady, your child is not "gifted," he is "psychotic." Anyway, Mr. Leery eventually just tells her to shut up because he's tired of talking. He says this like they spent soooo much time talking when it was really like 2 minutes and she did all of the talking. Then they just sit there.
Meanwhile, Joey’s still in Dawson’s room. He tells her he’s sorry for being thoughtless and self-obsessed and he hopes she’ll give him another chance to be her bestie. She apologizes for playing the dead-mother card. Then they go into the closet to play. Seriously, that's how the episode ends.
Ostensibly they are acting out the final scenes from Jaws, but I bet Dawson will use this opportunity to act out her murder. Stay tuned.