Title: Dawson’s Creek S3.E08 “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” + S3.E09 “Four to Tango”
Released: 1999
Series:  Dawson's Creek

Drinks Taken: 20

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Welcome back to the Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project! Last week, Meredith asked me how I feel about the way the series handled Andie’s phony attempted rape story – just that phrase alone makes me feel uneasy. It’s obviously an incredibly tricky subject, and if this show were being made today, there’s no way that plot thread would ever make it past the writers’ room. As you know (and as I hope most people would know by now), the percentage of “unfounded” rape accusations is incredibly low, and that’s based only on accusations that are actually reported – to say nothing of the thousands and thousands of legitimate cases that go unreported each year, which would make the percentage of allegedly “false” accusations even lower by contrast.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I want to say this: the truth of the matter is that Andie is hurting, she’s desperate, and as Meredith perfectly described, that relentless drive and dedication of hers that we usually find so admirable also has its downside. Andie has convinced herself that Pacey is The One, and she will do anything to get him back – and by extension, return her life to some semblance of normalcy pre-breakdown. Andie just wants to get back to where she was when she was last happy, and Pacey is that place, but her determination can be as irrational as it is relentless. Was there a better way to show us the perils of Andie’s obsessive-depressive mental state? Maybe. I’m not sure.

To be honest, I’ve known people like Andie and even I’ve been in a similar mental boat myself. Yes, it’s entirely possible for someone like Andie to orchestrate an emotional rescue based on a fabricated victimization. She could have just as easily made up a physical altercation or a mugging and Pacey would have reacted the same way, but the attempted rape story is so uniquely intimate that in Andie’s mind, maybe, she thinks it would trigger a specifically romantic response. Who among us hasn’t challenged a loved one at some point in our lives to prove that love? This is an incredibly heightened and delusional version of something that’s fairly common. Do I think Dawson’s Creek is the nuanced place to explore this specific mental issue and a false rape accusation and all the implications and connotations that come with it? Not particularly, no. But I do think it’s a conversation worth having, and that people coping with Andie’s issues (or similar) might be able to relate to the urge to victimize themselves in pursuit of a particular emotional reward.

Anyway, let’s drink to complicated #issues

Jen smiles, sitting in bed with a bottle of champagne

The Dawson’s Creek Drinking Game

Drink Once every time:

Joey purses her mouth or chews on her lip

Joey tucks her hair behind her ear

Sex makes Dawson and/or Joey extremely uncomfortable

Grams says “Jennifaaah”

Andie gives an impassioned speech (or rant)

Jack wears the straightest shoes possible

Pacey wears a shirt that makes you want to blind yourself

Drink Twice every time:

You have literally no idea why Joey is mad

Pacey gives someone a really good hug

Cool Jen Lindley is totally crapped on by the universe

Onto the episodes!

Jen and Grams sit outside on the pier, Jen looking upset and Grams holding her close, comforting her.

3.08 “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”

It’s Thanksgiving! Unfortunately, Dawson’s Creek Thanksgivings are not like Friends Thanksgivings, and by that I mean that this is a Very Serious affair and no one even attempts to make a trifle. Everyone is invited over to Grams’ house, including Andie and… JACK! Jack’s back from wherever he was, and not a moment too soon.

Jen and Pacey are still flirting it up while shopping for dinner supplies – specifically for stuff to make Grams’ famous creamed onions, which inspires Pacey to make this face:

I mean, I’m sure creamed onions taste great, but they could really use a less iffy name.

As it turns out, Grams and Jen have an unexpected Thanksgiving guest: Jen’s mom! Here she is giving her best V.C. Andrews dramatic mother pose:

Jen's mom, standing in Grams' house, has long auburn hair, a fancy blazer, and a Very Serious And Dramatic look on her face

Well, let’s not get too excited. There’s some real bummer history here. Helen Lindley basically abandoned her motherly responsibilities and kicked Jen off to Grams’ place, so things are a bit tense, to say the least. Grams gives Jen a comforting pep talk, assuring her that she’s strong and mature enough to handle taking the next step on this rocky road. I love when these two get along. There’s a lot of metaphorical phrasing (about pearls, sure) and emotionally loaded heart-to-hearts about how unhappy Helen is (about her marriage) and how sad Jen is (because she doesn’t really have a mom), and oh, there’s that whole EVE thing.

At least Eve doesn’t actually show up, but Dawson does confront Helen about the other daughter she abandoned, and eventually Jen learns the truth: she has a half-sister as the result of her mom’s affair.

Meanwhile, Dawson is getting a little annoyed with his parents, who keep acting like it’s totally normal for Gail to live in the guest room while she finds an apartment. These two are being a little too friendly for Dawson’s comfort, and when he confronts them about it, they admit that their divorce is officially final.

Unable to cope with this major half-sister revelation, Jen tries to distract herself by hooking up with Pacey in the shed, and while he’s spent most of the episode wanting nothing more, Pacey just can’t help but be the kindest human being ever – so he gently shuts Jen down and tells her that she needs to stop avoiding the situation and go talk to her mom. The two of them patch things up as best they can, and while Jen isn’t remorseful about some of the things she’s said, she promises not to tell her dad about Eve.

Ultimately, Helen thinks sending Jen to Capeside – regardless of her reasoning – was for the best, since she’s become such a respectable young lady person. And I agree! Plus, this whole thing with Jen’s mom is kind of boring (sorry!).

At the end of the night, the whole gang gets together around a campfire and things seem kind of normal for a change. Jack even notes that this is the first time all six of them have been together in a while, and he’s right.

How many times did I have to drink

8, but probably more because (again, I’m sorry) this episode was kind of a snooze.

Grams’ best face

Stern, but loving!

As Grams hugs Jen to her, she has her usual firm and unsmiling face, but also looks protective and loving with Jen

The truest thing anybody said this week

“Don’t knock cranberry sauce. I mean, it’s the backbone of any good Thanksgiving dinner.” It’s so nice to have Jack back.

The second truest thing anybody said this week

Jack, to Pacey and Andie: “Get over yourselves already!” YEAH YOU TWO, COME ON.

Ouch, Jen

“It seems my mom is a graduate of the Ho Chi Minh school of parenting.”

Pacey Witter’s best hug



Least likely dialogue

Dawson tells Gail and Mitch, “The last thing I want to do is get caught in the middle of your drama.” Oh please, Dawson, you live for drahhhmahhh.

Most likely dialogue

Dawson makes a very unconvincing argument to Joey about “cutting loose”: “So what do you say we really cut loose tonight? Yeah? Act out our teenage ennui in wanton, destructive ways.” Ew.

Pacey and Jen sit together, both with big "uh-oh, we're caught" looks on their faces.

3.09 “Four to Tango”

Okay, now we’re talking. Pacey and Jen tempt fate by trying to hook up in Dawson’s room (jeez, you two), but things aren’t as hot and heavy as they’d hoped – these two have zero sexual chemistry. So they abandon their plan and agree to reconvene next week, just as Dawson shows up and Pacey adorably fumbles with an excuse:


At school, the guidance counselor confronts Pacey about another of his, uh, shortcomings: his grades are falling again, so Joey agrees to help him out if he’ll attend an awkward dance class so she can get some weirdo dance scholarship. When Joey tries to live up to her end of the bargain, Pacey is a little too distracted, explaining that Tamara (ugh) and Andie taught him to equate studying with sexy time – and without any sexual reward for his hard work, well… what’s the point? GOOD GRADES, YOU ADORABLE DUMMY.


Detective Dawson finds the condom the not-so-subtle duo left behind, but when he tries to ask about it, Pacey gets all stuttery and nervous and bails. Jen plays dumb about it when Dawson mentions it at the video store, and just then they spy Joey and Pacey heading into dance class (how TINY is this town?). They follow, of course, and become unwilling participants while the hilariously perceptive instructor comments on their respective pairings: Jen and Dawson have obviously worked out their issues, while Pacey and Joey are “clearly are in the early stages of some screwball mating ritual.”

Detective Dawson thinks Pacey’s been hooking up with Joey and tries to interrogate him about that damn condom again, so Pacey scolds him for being jealous and possessive of someone he’s not even in a relationship with anymore. And then he offers this super untrue statement:

Pacey: “Look at that girl, Dawson. Just take a good look. She’s a freaking goddess, man. How long did you think it was gonna be before some guy comes along and is interested in her? I mean, really, dude! And when that happens, what are you gonna do?”

Dawson: “I’m just gonna take it all as it comes.”

Pacey: “You’re gonna take it as it comes. Oh great, well perhaps you should start figuring that out right now because the guy that comes along is not gonna be your best friend and he’s not gonna ask for your permission. The guy that comes along is gonna take one look at that woman and then just cut right in on ya.”


Anyway, he storms off and Jen follows him into the coat closet, where they get all flirty and start making out, and of COURSE Joey and Dawson barge in on them:


Joey is Peak Judgy, and it turns out that Pacey went to her for some hypothetical advice about a friends with benefits situation, which she now realizes was not so hypothetical. Jen tells Pacey that they’re clearly not sexually compatible and insists that he has feelings for Joey, and she’s (rightfully) baffled about why everyone – herself included – is so hopelessly attracted to these two melodramatic teenagers.

Dawson tries to calm Joey down and explain that Pacey’s just lonely and people are prone to act on their desires, and while he wouldn’t want to have sex with someone he didn’t love, he understands that’s not the case for everyone. I’m very proud of Dawson for being so open-minded here, and far less impressed with Joey’s frigid Victorian posturing. But at least she apologizes to Pacey – and subsequently discovers that there’s no scholarship for the dance class.

While all of that is going on, Jack’s been receiving a bunch of letters from people who saw Dawson’s special news report, and while some of them are not so nice, there’s at least one person who is a fan of Jack – and has a bit of a crush on him, as well. So Andie goes all Catfish and helps Jack use the internet to connect with Ben Street, which sounds like SUCH a fake name. When he sends a photo, Jack admits that Ben is cute, and Andie encourages him to ask Ben out for coffee. He does, and Ben agrees, but then Jack gets cold feet because it’s one thing to be gay, but another to, you know, Be Gay and actually go out with someone. It’s a little too real for our sweet Jack right now.

So when he shows up to the coffee shop to meet Ben, he sees a straight couple and loses his nerve because – as he explains to Andie – he realized he wanted to be them and not himself. Andie proves why she’s still the best when she tells Jack that he’s just not ready yet and she’ll stop pushing him to do things that make him uncomfortable.

How many times did I have to drink? 


Most loaded metaphor

Jack advises Andie on how to properly search the World Wide Web: “You have to decide what you want, what you don’t want, and then establish some restrictions.”

Best life advice

The computer lab teacher drops in during Jack and Andie’s Catfish episode to offer, “You know, I dated a guy from the internet once. Hideous.” More from this lady, please.

Most likely dialogue

Dawson is so predictable with lines like “You’re not gonna get out of this by attempting to psycho-analyze me.”

Pacey’s hottest line

“I’m definitely getting that witchy feeling,” as he whispers seductively into Jen’s hair and I dieeeee.

Where’s Henry? 

No, really, where the hell is that cute boy? We lost Jack for a couple of episodes and now we lose Michael Pitt for a couple of episodes, and I’m starting to develop a crazy Creek conspiracy that maybe these two can’t ever be in the same episode because either A. They are secretly the same person or B. There was some juicy on-set drama.


That’s it for this week! Meredith, I have a question for you – two, actually (always!): Are all the holiday episodes THIS BORING? Also, I know you love Pacey and Joey together, but I think it’s too basic. I found the Jen/Pacey coupling more exciting and I’m pretty disappointed that they didn’t have any real chemistry – despite how delightful it was watching them figure that out.

Be sure to join Meredith back here next week when she covers “First Encounters of the Close Kind” and “Barefoot at Capefest”!

Contributor Britt Hayes

About the Contributor:

Britt Hayes is a writer and sensible sweater enthusiast living in Austin, Texas. She loves movies, watches too much television, and her diet consists mostly of fruit snacks and revenge.

This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.