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 the series, 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 it for the first time. New posts 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.
Joey and Dawson are making out during an infomercial for an at-home sausage maker. That is not a euphemism.
They show a lot of these close-ups of sausage. I feel uncomfortable. Anyway, then the Leerys come in and turn off the sausage show and stare at Joey and Dawson on the bed (I guess you could consider that a different type of sausage show). Joey has been sleeping over for years and the Leerys have never popped in to check on them, so I’m not sure why it’s happening now or why Mr. Leery is wearing a wifebeater to do it. Maybe the Leerys actually do come in to Dawson's room every night and stare at the two of them sleeping, which probably makes more sense, given the personality disorders that seem to plague every character on this show.
Pacey's taking his driving test. In a classroom. He fails by one point.
I just…your driving test isn’t taken in a classroom. Your permit test is taken in the classroom, but the driving test doesn't include a written component. You have to actually, you know, drive. My guess is that it was cheaper to shoot this in a classroom set they already had lying around, but come on, Dawson's. TRY A LITTLE HERE.
Over at the Leerys', Mr. Leery tries to have a condom chat with Dawson. Mrs. Leery – who has apparently given up her newscasting job to spend her free time lounging around in outfits made of satin - shows Joey a book called “Reproduction and Repercussion.” She opens it to a pornographic page and offers to answer any sex questions for Joey. She says that book was designed to prevent teenage pregnancy but given that the page she opens it to is titled "MASSAGE," I'm thinking it may not achieve its intended purpose.
Dawson sweeps in to rescue her, and as they’re leaving, Mr. Leery says, “NO GLOVE NO LOVE.” Then the Leerys stare awkwardly at each other because I guess their marriage still isn't fixed and so their teenage son has a better relationship than they do, or something.
Pacey tells Dawson that he failed his driving test and that he’s bummed because he would have really liked to pass it TODAY. It sucks that he failed it TODAY. He really wanted to do it TODAY. He emphasizes TODAY about 14 times so it’s obvious to me that it's his 16th birthday, but Dawson, too caught up in the titillating story of his parents trying to give him and Joey sex advice, of course doesn’t notice. "Just take it tomorrow, brah." Pacey stalks away angrily, leaving Dawson oblivious. It's his most comfortable state, really.
Jen’s wearin’ a butterfly shirt and drinkin’ a Diet Coke down by the water. Actually, upon closer inspection, I think they might be moths.
Pacey joins her and says he’s got a bad case of the Molly Ringwalds, which Jen deciphers to mean that everyone's forgotten his 16th birthday. Pacey tells her he doesn't care that his family forgot, but that Dawson always makes a big deal about his birthday and that they're supposed to be on a bitchin' road trip to Maine right this very minute. Jen, newly familiar with the self-absorbed ways of Dawson Leery, encourages Pacey to just celebrate his birthday by himself, because Molly Ringwald persevered and totally landed beefcake Jake Ryan at the end of "16 Candles." (Not to be confused with University of Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan, also a beefcake.) Pacey realizes he is totally sick of being Dawson's sidekick and says, "I'mma get my own story line." Just guessing but I bet that story line is going to be about him being the town screw-up. Something new and exciting, you know.
Seriously, they're moths, right?
Joey and Dawson spend some time congratulating each other on what an awesome couple they are because they already know everything about each other. Then Joey says that she totally has secrets that Dawson doesn't know, and they make out for a while.
Eventually the enormous baby starts crying and Joey has to go tend to whatever needs enormous babies have. He probably needs a ham sandwich or something. While she's gone, Dawson does some creepy Dawson things, like smelling a bottle of her perfume.
Then he finds her journal, which she for some reason grabbed and set directly in front of him before leaving the room. And he's Dawson so OF COURSE he reads it. Like without even hesitating. There's a man on the cover and I'm pretty sure it's George Washington.
I guess it could also be a hideously unflattering view of the Mona Lisa, but either way, why do you want some terrifying face on the front of your Book Of Secrets? As Dawson reads his face gets all pissy and when Joey comes back in he peaces out quickly.
Pacey’s decided to celebrate his birthday by throwing a party, and is advertising it by passing out and posting fliers. Dawson comes up all huffy and informs Pacey that Joey wrote in her journal that he has no talent as a director and that his horror movie was awful. These are both true statements. Also, I'd like to point out that we never heard about that horror movie again after it served its purpose of allowing a Pacey/Tamara sex tape to be filmed. I wonder what happened to it? I think I'll choose to believe that Mel Silver watched it, decided it was horrible and threw it away. Maybe it was so bad that it killed Mel Silver as soon as he was exposed to it.
I miss Mel Silver.
Anyway, Pacey's response to this news is basically to tell Dawson that he's selfish and stupid so it's not surprising that Joey would write bad things about him in her journal. Dawson's all, I NEED ADVICE, and Pacey says, "Your life isn’t that interesting. Get over yourself. DEAL.” And then he stalks away dramatically. If he had to hair to flip, he’d have flipped it.
Undeterred by this conversation, Dawson catches up with Joey and awkwardly asks what she thought of his movie. She says she loves it, and he then - in a super stealth move - quotes the journal directly, asking if she's sure she doesn't find it more on the "stupid and putrid" side. She catches on pretty quickly.
"NOT THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BOOK!" she wails. "You left it there for me to see," he replies. (Yeah, no.) She says she could sue him for this. (Yeah, no.) He’s all, "I really just want to know what else is in there. What else does Joey Potter think of me?" "Right now you don't even want to KNOW," she snaps, and then, because she is blessed with better follicles than Pacey, whips her hair around and stalks away.
Jen has befriended the 34-year-old in gym class, after learning that the 34-year-old wants to move to New York after high school, so now they're lolling around in Jen's bed looking at photos of Jen's many romantical conquests. Sadly, the 34-year-old has gotten a haircut and stopped using lipliner and now looks less like a 34-year-old, so I shall henceforth refer to her by her given name, Abby. Sigh. Abby says they should totally party hardy, which in Capeside means going to Pacey’s party. To spice things up extra, Abby produces a bottle of champagne from her bag. Oh yeah. Crazy partying in my life has always resulted from sharing a single bottle of champagne.
Joey and Dawson are fighting at the restaurant when Andie's brother Jack wanders in looking for a job. Joey gives him one on the spot, without even having him fill out a W-2 form.
Joey has no time for tax forms because she has to keep fighting with Dawson, who doesn't even care about the fact that he invaded her privacy - he just wants to talk about whether she really thinks he sucks as a filmmaker. Finally he’s all, “I don’t think I know you at all.” “MAYBE YOU NEVER DID,” she says dramatically. This is such a stupid fight. Your movie sucks and everyone knows it, and if you read someone's journal and don't like what they've written about you, you aren't really allowed to get upset about it. You sort of make that deal the second you crack the book open. SORRY NOT SORRY.
Pacey's party is in full swing. I can tell because he gets hit in the head with a volleyball...
...and some guys are running around with SuperSoakers. SUPERSOAKERS, YOU GUYS! This party is off the hook.
The party is so off the hiz that Pacey can't find anyone to hang out with until Dawson shows up in that stupid speedboat. I instantly want to punch him in the face again.
Elsewhere, Jen and Abby are wasted. Like, falling-down wasted. Off the one bottle. Of champagne. That they're sharing. That isn't even empty yet.
Abby bets Jen that she won't kiss the next guy who comes along, which OF COURSE happens to be Dawson. So Jen kisses him. I wouldn't say he's psyched.
This seems to sober her up, and she sort of clumsily stumbles away. Neither Dawson nor Abby go after her.
Over in the sunset-lit restaurant, Jack reminds Joey that while her fight with Dawson sucks, the make-up will be good. She gets so excited that she leaves the new guy to close things up, so I guess they've given him a key on his first day, without even having his social security number or proof that he is authorized to work in this country.
So Joey heads to the party, where it's not even a little bit sunset-y. Perhaps it's taking place in a different time zone. One where there are SuperSoakers! In this time zone, Dawson has somehow realized that he's forgotten Pacey’s birthday and promises to make it up to him. Pacey explains that he's really just upset that everyone in Capeside has written him off, "including my best friend." Basically it’s another Pacey existential crisis about how he’s the town joke. I don't know, I just don't think he's really that concerned about it since he keeps doing these things like throwing a party on public dock property, which I'm pretty sure is illegal or at the very least requires a permit that I'm positive he didn't obtain. He also says he’s not the third-wheel type, so now that Dawson and Joey are a thing, he and Dawson are dunzo. This is also weird, since Pacey encouraged Dawson to get with Joey for the entire first season. Whatever.
Mrs. Leery tries to get busy with Mr. Leery in yet another satin outfit. He’s not having it at all, and instead asks her if she'd be interested in an open marriage. What?
Joey and Dawson hug in the rain as a weird pop song plays. Then they break apart and look up at the rain in amazement, maybe like, “I can’t really believe we’re doing this cliché make-up-in-the-rain thing right now.”
After, Dawson throws a little pity party about how much he sucks at everything, and how he is the world’s worst filmmaker, but he never thought that Joey would think it too. She explains that it was just that her long-standing yearning love for his bod made her angry sometimes, so she took it out in her journal. “I save the truth for you, Dawson,” she says. She totally thinks he’s a brilliant filmmaker. She says he's his biggest fan. Obviously she is, as it's pretty clear he doesn't have any other fans. I hope they break up soon because he really doesn't need the ego boost. They gush over each other for a while. This season is awful.
Abby and Jen are puking. Seriously, these girls SHARED a bottle of champagne over at least several hours. How are they both drunk to the point of puking?
Neither of them are wet at all, so I guess that freak shower just hit exactly where Dawson and Joey are sitting. Mid-vomit, Jen and Abby notice Dawson and Joey canoodling, and Abby says she's totally sure they're going to be banging soon. Jen gets sad and tells Abby that she wants Dawson back, because she loves him, like for real, like not just because she is sooooo wasted from 1/3 of a bottle of champagne. And Abby's like, "We'll get him back for you."
Andie overheard Dawson and Pacey arguing over his forgotten birthday and presents him with a gift she had originally planned to give Jack for Christmas and had wrapped and ready to go in her car.
It’s a magic 8 ball, so I guess she doesn’t like her brother much. Also why would you buy that that far in advance and leave it wrapped in the car? It’s not like you can’t find those everywhere. The 8 ball tells Pacey his future’s unclear, and before Andie can ask it a question she drops it in the water and it floats away.
Pacey tells her not to feel bad because he is totally the laughingstock of the town all the time. Andie tells him to slow his roll because he’s 16 and nobody has anything figured out by then. Then they congratulate each other for being omg super deep.
Jen stomps drunkenly home and looks at herself tragically in the mirror for a while.
Pacey's wearing a trash bag (?) and Dawson has procured a coat from somewhere (?) and they're cleaning up after the party.
Dawson apologizes profusely for forgetting Pacey’s birthday, and Pacey’s says he's glad that Dawson is getting it on the reg from Joey, but he's totally going to miss their bromance. Dawson tells him that they'll always have a bromance. Then they hop into Dawson’s stupid speedboat which apparently is how they get around all the time now, and Dawson says, "Let's go take your birthday road trip right now." I don't think they're taking the boat. But who knows. Or cares. No explanation is ever given for Pacey's trash bag couture, and I do sort of care about that.