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 8 (real title: "Boyfriend") opens with Dawson in his room watching TV alone. He comes upon a scrambled porn channel and spends zero time trying to watch it, proving once more that he is not a normal teenage boy.
Joey climbs in the window and whines for a while about the enormous baby, who apparently spends every night crying and disrupting her beauty sleep. She climbs in bed with Dawson and falls asleep, ostensibly spending the night there. This is I guess right after they had that really awkward talk in the library where Joey basically told Dawson that she loves him and he didn't understand anything she was saying, so I guess we've just decided to pretend that that whole thing never happened and it's cool if she sleeps in his bed. Okay.
Hey, the Leerys are still alive! They're in couples therapy, and things are awkward. This is a subplot that continues throughout the whole episode and is boring, so just, here is the gist: their marriage is broken on account of Mrs. Leery having newcaster sex with co-anchor Bob. They decide to take scuba lessons as a way to bond. It's awkward. In this first scene, things are so awkward between them that they literally beg Dawson to have breakfast with them so they will each have someone else to talk to.
So you know things are pretty freakin' awkward. Also worth noting: Dawson's dad is in a suit and doing something other than playing with toys. Progress!
While walking to school, Pacey almost gets run over by a guy in a vintage convertible. The guy is looking for the high school, and Pacey tells him to "take this street another mile down." Given that they are on Water Street, these are totally inaccurate directions. It dead ends, dude. By the conference center. Sorry 'bout your forthcoming GPS mishaps.
Over at Joey's, hair is greasy and enormous baby is loud and Joey is freaking the hell out.
So she goes to school and asks Dawson to quiz her before her Spanish test, but she spends most of the tutoring session bugging him about how things are with him and Jen. On cue, Jen pops up and tells Dawson that she likes his hideous vest so she’s, I don’t know, gone insane.
I know that's an awkward photo but just felt y'all needed to see that in delivering this obviously false compliment, she actually touched the hideous vest. Anyway, they're talking about their super hot bowling date for that night when Jen lays eyes on Broody McConvertible, who has found the high school in spite of Pacey's bad directions and is now standing at the end of the hallway.
Jen immediately ditches Dawson and goes to talk to him. Turns out they know each other from New York, and that Broody believes he is the love of Jen's life. He tries to lay a Broody McConvertible kiss on her, but she says no. In a completely unsurprising move, Dawson is lurking in the hallway and sees this entire exchange, and overhears Jen say that one of the reasons she’s in Capeside is because her parents wanted her to stay away from Broody.
In short order, Broody convinces Jen to go for a ride in his sweet convertible, so before you know it Jen's ditchin' class like a bad girl.
After school (I guess they stayed out all day, idk.) Jen asks Broody McConvertible to leave. He says he is way too tired to make the (four-hour) drive that day and would appreciate a place to crash. And because he can't do anything right, Dawson chooses that moment to appear.
I guess Jen doesn't like guys who have any sort of fashion sense. Jen introduces them and then, without batting an eye, asks Dawson if Broody can stay at his house. Capeside is finally getting to her, you guys. Jen's boundaries and her sense of social normalcy are coming down.
Dawson whines a little but eventually he gives in. Broody lets Dawson carry his luggage. As a reward, Dawson gets yet another cheek-kiss from Jen. At this rate they'll hit second base by season three.
Broody (his real name is Billy, if y'all care. Do you care? I don't care) and Dawson hang out in Dawson’s death chamber, where Dawson does his best to pretend that Broody does not exist. For his part, Broody asks Dawson wtf is up with his crazy-ass Spielberg room, so if we never see Broody again, y'all, I will always remember him fondly.
It's made clear in this scene that Billy will be sleeping in Dawson's room. Can we just discuss the fact that Dawson and his parents live in this house:
where there is certainly at least one spare bedroom. And if not, I know for certain there's a perfectly fine set of wicker furniture in the living room downstairs where Broody could park his ragamuffin behind for the night, but whatever.
The next day, Dawson tells Jen it is super obvious that she is still into Broody. Jen says that she and Broody never had any closure because she left New York so suddenly and so he still has feelings for her, and that Broody was the only guy who was ever nice to her. Dawson asks if she’s going back to him and she hesitates, and Dawson immediately decides that they should spend the night at QB Cliff's beach barbecue, probably because QB Cliff is suddenly looking like a lot less of a threat. Jen says he’s not being fair because this is super hard on her too, and her feelings for him haven’t changed. (“I liked your hideous vest yesterday, remember?”) He flounces off anyway.
Pacey comes to the restaurant and asks Joey to crash QB Cliff's barbecue with him. At first she's all NO WAY, but then he tells her that Dawson and Jen are fighting, so he will be there solo, so she changes her mind.
Dawson’s trying to decide which hideous shirt to wear when his dad comes in to have a heart-to-heart about how women are ruining their lives.
Dawson tells his dad that he’s going to Cliff’s party alone while Jen hangs out with Broody. Dawson’s dad tells him that anyone who has never been hurt is either very lucky or very lonely. Soft music plays as they both realize they don’t know anything about relationships.
Meanwhile on the riverwalk, Jen canoodles with Broody. He is showing a LOT of chest hair, and is wearing a shirt that I am pretty sure a girl I went to high school with used to wear.
Broody says, "You're leaving me for a guy with an ET doll?" Jen kind of skirts the question, probably realizing that she's dating a guy with a room full of toys who wears vests on the reg. They argue for a while and then Broody finally says he'll leave if she'll just give him a goodbye kiss. She agrees, and they kiss, and Broody totally tries to make it a big ol' makeout, but Jen is not having it. She says goodbye. She is going to QB Cliff's barbecue, y'all, and Broody McConvertible is Not Invited.
So here's the party. I wonder if Nathan Scott was invited, 'cause I'm pretty sure that's Dan Scott's beach house.
There are red Solo cups everywhere but I think they're all empty, because look at this girl dancing. UNDERAGE DRINKING: YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.
Pacey ditches Joey to go find ladies pretty much immediately, so Joey, predictably, sits there looking awkward.
Dawson gets there and they sit awkwardly together, and finally he says, "Let's have one drink and then go rent some videos." Joey is super excited, but while Dawson is getting drinks Jen pops up and is all, "I'm here alone and I'm sorry and I'm totally still into you and your vests."
Dawson promptly forgets about Joey, leaving her to be hit on by the elf from The Lord Of The Rings movies.
She tells him she's waiting for Dawson, but the elf tells her that Dawson's totally on the beach with Jen.
Joey is sad, so she takes the drink from the elf and chugs it. Even the elf is all, "Girl, that's probably not a good life choice."
While Dawson and Jen are talking, Broody pops up. STALKER! I have no idea how he found this party, since he doesn't know QB Cliff, though I guess if he got to the high school with Pacey's faulty directions he might be some sort of geographical wizard. He tells Dawson that Jen kissed him and it totally didn't seem like just a goodbye kiss. Then he's all, "If it was just a goodbye kiss I'll leave. Was it?" And instead of just saying yes, Jen just stands there looking like this.
Joey’s dancing. It looks like this.
Pacey swoops in and tells her to pace herself because I guess in the two minutes that have elapsed, she's gotten smashed. The elf comes back and said, "Chloe, is this guy bothering you?" Pacey's all, "Uh, her name's Joey." Undeterred, Joey leaves with the elf. Pacey is annoyed.
Back on the beach, Broody and Dawson fight over Jen. Broody says he's totally going to win because he was with Jen before Dawson even met her, and Dawson goes, "Yeah, you and EVERYONE ELSE," once again slut-shaming Jen. Then he tells her she has to pick one of them and Jen says, no thanks, I pick no one, and walks away. QB CLIFF, WHERE YOU AT BRO? THIS IS THE MOMENT TO SWOOP IN.
Joey's making out with the elf, in front of what appears to be some sort of orgy in the marsh grass.
The elf is intent on date-raping Joey, I think, but it never gets that far because Pacey knocks him out. After that, Dawson and Pacey take Joey home. They say that if Bodie sees that she's drunk she'll be in major trouble, so I'm not sure why they didn't just take her to Dawson's, since she apparently sleeps there all the time anyway. My guess is that it's because she can only enter the house via the second-story window, and it would have been tough getting her drunk ass up the ladder.
Dawson talks to passed-out Joey. He says he knows things are confusing between them but he just wants her to know that he will always be here for her. She wakes up at the end of this speech and kisses him and then falls back asleep. He’s probably a really bad kisser, is why.
On the ride home in the rowboat, Dawson tells Pacey that Joey kissed him, but it didn't mean anything because she was so wasted and out of it. Pacey tells Dawson to stop being an idiot and realize that Joey's in love with him, and that maybe it's not all that one-sided. "Don't you think it's weird that you're having all this drama with Jen and we're sitting here talking about your relationship with Joey?" Dawson says, "There's a difference between friendship and love," and Pacey says, "Are you sure you know the difference?" PACEY IS THE ORACLE, Y'ALL.
When Dawson gets home he finds Jen on the dock and goes to talk to her. It doesn't go particularly well. She basically tells him that she's always been the girl who gets into a relationship instead of dealing with life, and that she's still really unhappy a lot of the time. Girl, you're dating Dawson, of course you are.
And then, with little fanfare, she breaks up with Dawson. He is really surprised, which should be surprising but isn't because Dawson's key personality trait is that he's oblivious. He says WE CAN MAKE THIS WORK and she says IT'S OVER and they yell over each other for a while because he won’t shut up. Finally he says he will find someone who deserves him, somebody who doesn't "play mind games" and who is nothing like Jen. Then he starts to flounce away, but turns around at the last second to find Jen doing that thing with her hands, where you make it look like you're making out with someone else.
So he watches that for a minute, and then continues his flounce off to his bedroom.
This was a very exhausting episode. I'd like to point out that this is, I think, the third consecutive episode with nary a sign of Mel Silver, so it's probably time to get legitimately concerned about his well-being, though QB Cliff did pop up momentarily here, so maybe there's cause for hope.