Dawson and Jen at the carnival together

About:

Title: Dawson’s Creek S1.E09 “Road Trip” + S1.E10 “Double Date”
Released: 1998
Series:  Dawson's Creek

Drinks Taken: 26

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Welcome to Week 5 of the Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project, the week where business REALLY heats up between our OTP Joey Potter and Pacey Witter.

Last week Britt asked me if I also love ultimate mean girl Abby Morgan, played by Undeclared‘s Monica Keena, and the answer is a big fat YES. The first few episodes of Dawson’s Creek are pretty heavy and overly serious, and Abby brings some much-needed levity and shenanigans to the proceedings. 

So let’s drink to levity, to shenanigans, and to Abby Morgan’s mastery of mean girlness:

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

Joey climbs into or out of Dawson’s window

Sex makes Dawson and/or Joey extremely uncomfortable

Jen brings up her atheism

Grams says “Jennifaaah”

Someone says the words “black boyfriend” in reference to Bodie


Drink Twice every time:

Dawson mentions Spielberg

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!

Joey looks disapprovingly at Dawson as he gazes out of his window

1.09 “Road Trip”

Dawson is melodramatically mourning his breakup with Jen, staring moonily out of windows and refusing to eat or sleep. I’m tempted to mock him here, but that is how literally every high schooler deals with being dumped, including this former high schooler, so I will give him a pass. Joey, however, will not, and she tells him to sack up and get over it. 

And Billy, the other member of the Dumped By Jen Lindley club, is here to help Dawson do just that. Billy invites Dawson to skip school and join him on a road trip to a dive bar in Providence that happens to lie “exactly equidistant between a pair of women’s colleges. Co-eds wall-to-wall, Dawson.” UGH, I hate the overuse of the word “co-eds” in media. Especially since these are women’s colleges – those students are actually the definitive opposite of co-eds. Obviously Billy wants Dawson to get laid so he can then rat him out to Jen, and Dawson knows as much, but he also needs a change of scenery, so he agrees. Pacey hears the slightest hint of rebellious behavior and is all “I’m in!” even though no one actually asked him, and all three boys take the ferry to Providence, which turns out to be a euphemism for exactly nothing. 

Dawson fares pretty well in this gross scenario – he immediately picks out a cute girl named Nina wearing a Film Threat t-shirt, and they talk movies all night while Billy glowers that his romantic rival isn’t making a fool of himself (Pacey’s doing that for him, introducing himself as the drummer for Pearl Jam to one unimpressed young woman). Billy even attempts to cock-block Dawson, but Nina coolly turns from Billy and suggests to Dawson that they get out of there, and then Dawson cock-blocks himself by admitting to Nina that he isn’t over his ex yet, and he doesn’t want to be unfair to Jen or Nina by moving on before he’s ready. Nina’s like “Respect,” and they kiss a little, before she tells him to call her if Jen “doesn’t come to her senses.”

Dawson kisses Nina

Not bad, Dawson! Dawson takes his newfound self-confidence and tells off Billy, who leaves Dawson and Pacey to find their own way back to Capeside. Smell ya later, Billy!

Meanwhile, Joey and Jen do some excellent girl-bonding in this episode, mutually disgusted that Dawson is road-tripping with bad boy Billy on a tail-finding mission (Billy lied and said he was taking Dawson to, and I’m quoting our ever-judgmental Joey here, “a whorehouse.”) Their bonding deepens when Joey becomes the target of a vile lie told by a moron. She grudgingly accepts a ride to school from Capeside jock Warren, who then immediately tells everyone that he and Joey had sex. Joey’s so accustomed to being the subject of distasteful gossip that she tries to shrug it off, but Jen is OUTRAGED on her behalf, and they cook up a revenge rumor, using Abby Morgan’s relentless gossip mill, that Warren knocked up Joey. Joey is so terrific in her tearful confession to Abby – I almost believed her, myself!

But this plan predictably backfires on Joey more than on Warren, because high school is an unjust place, and Joey and Jen fight about it, which even more predictably morphs into a fight about Dawson in which some harsh but true things are said by each girl. (Joey: “Dawson was probably the first decent guy you’ve ever gone out with, and look what you did. You drove him right into the arms of a prostitute.” Jen: “The truth is that ever since Dawson and I broke up, you’ve been scared to death. You’ve been scared because now there’s no more excuses. There’s no one else to blame.”) But when Jen learns from Abby that Warren apparently has erectile dysfunction (in high school?!), she immediately gives the ammunition to Joey, who uses it to squash her gossip but good. Joey and Jen make up beautifully, both girls vowing to not let Dawson get in the way of their friendship. What a great episode for both ladies – Joey is stone-cold fearless with Warren, and Jen is so supportive and cool. 

How many times did I have to drink? 

16.

Guess who? 

Nina is played by Melissa McBride, who later chopped off all those gorgeous curls to become Carol on The Walking Dead!

Melissa McBride as Nina

Guess who x 2

Warren is played by inexplicably ever-present Eric Balfour, who was on BuffySix Feet Under and, of course, played Eddie on The O.C. He plays a universally sucky character on all of those shows.

Eric Balfour as Warren

The truest thing anybody said this week

Joey, about Dawson’s Jen-related grief bonanza, “See, your problem is that you’re getting off on this.”

Nice Guy Dawson Leery

Of Jen, “She rejected romance, honesty and respect.” Maybe she just rejected YOU, Dawson. Joey agrees: “She dumped you, not your belief system.”

Bad boy Dawson Leery

Before cutting school, he turns in his math homework, a point that Pacey cannot help but gleefully belabor the rest of the episode.

Best pop culture reference

Dawson, Pacey and Billy plot revenge against a couple of drunk jerks on the ferry. Pacey’s idea is Beverly Hills Cop-inspired – “Banana in the tailpipe?” – but Dawson’s thinking more American Graffiti-style.

Most meta moment

The teacher who confronts Joey about her fake teen pregnancy is the same from “Detention,” named Mrs. Tringle. This is surely a one-letter-off foreshadowing reference to Kevin Williamson’s Teaching Mrs. Tingle, starring Katie Holmes. Teaching Mrs. Tingle didn’t come out until a year later, but he’d probably already written the script and conceived of the character. 

Grams’ best face

Stupid Billy BREAKS INTO JEN’S HOUSE and climbs into her bed, which is mildly terrifying, but cucumber-cool Grams puts him in his place with one look:

Grams and Jen stand in Jen's bedroom, Jen looking shocked, Grams looking unimpressed

And Jen keeps him in his place with this: “I’d have to say no. But I’d also like to add ‘not a chance’ and ‘never again.’”

Least likely dialogue

Dawson tells Pacey, “Here you go equating fun with youthful indiscretions,” and Pacey acknowledges the unlikelihood of that statement, replying, “Youthful indiscretions? What am I doing, running for Senate?”

BFFs

Jen and Joey add fuel to my friendship ‘shipping, sharing an “ice cream anti-social” and being sweeter and more mature than they’ve ever been with one another. I wish they were like this all the time!

Most recognizable song

Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply.”

Dawson, Jen, Cliff and Mary Beth on a date at the carnival

1.10 “Double Date”

This week, Jen does the thing that every Nice Guy fears above all else: she asks Dawson if they can be friends. Dawson responds by losing his goddamn mind, and takes some highly stupid Pacey advice to show Jen he doesn’t care about her by inviting her on a carnival double date with Cliff and a sweet girl named Mary Beth. Mary Beth deserves better than to be treated as jealousy-bait. This is Mary Beth:

Megahn Perry as Mary Beth, reading a book and eating a sandwich at lunch

I like her! She’s smart enough to be suspicious of Dawson’s motives, and doesn’t hesitate to give him what’s for when she discovers she’s been cornered into a double date with his ex-girlfriend, a fairly crucial piece of information that Dawson withheld. The date goes very badly, with Dawson and Cliff engaging in macho carnie-game competitions and Dawson handing the stuffed animal he won to Jen instead of Mary Beth. BUT Mary Beth is also smart enough to not actually like Dawson, and it turns out she has a crush on Cliff! So she and Dawson make a Friends-type pact to rip this couple apart and keep the pieces for themselves. Neither is successful, because poor Mary Beth’s idea of flirting is to marvel at the fact that “inflammable” and “flammable” mean the same thing, and because Dawson is Dawson. He confronts Jen on the ferris wheel about why she said she needed to be alone if she was just going to start dating again immediately, and Jen is like “BLESS, can this conversation please be over now?” The whole thing is an unmitigated debacle.

Moving on to way more fun stuff! Pacey is failing biology, because he’s a chronic under-achiever. I blame his permanently disapproving father. The science teacher tells Pacey that he scored very highly on his aptitude tests and should be doing much better in class, so he pairs him up with another student for an extra-credit assignment to raise his grade. That student is Joey Potter, whom we’ll later learn is taking the extra credit to elevate her grade from a 98 to a 100. She knows this is pathetic! She just wants to get out of Capeside so bad! Also I suspect she’s bored and does extra credit for fun. 

The assignment is to observe the reproductive habits of snails, and Pacey tries to mix things up a bit by placing a third, very pretty snail in the cage for some sexy snail threesome action. Joey is NOT impressed, but she’s even less impressed with Dawson’s crappy antics this week.

Dawson looks plaintively at an annoyed Joey.
Dawson: “Pacey says I should look at this as an opportunity.”
Joey's face is SO snarky as she responds to Dawson
Joey: “Wait, you’re taking romantic advice from a guy who tried to get 3 snails to sleep with each other?

Turns out that pretty snail was a carnivore and now Pacey and Joey must spend the day finding new snails to observe. But really, who cares about the why and the how: we get an entire episode of Joey and Pacey snarking at each other adorably! They might be in biology class, but this episode is LADEN WITH CHEMISTRY.

The chemistry teacher introduces Joey and Pacey, who are both super annoyed
Chemistry teacher: “I’d like you to meet your new lab partners.”
Joey: “Him?”
Pacey: “Her?”

After a while, their snark develops a friendlier tinge, and when they have to change out of wet clothes after hiking through the creek and Pacey gets a glimpse at Joey’s bare shoulder, the friendly tinge turns flirty. SO MANY CUTE LOOKS IN THIS EPISODE, particularly when Pacey tells Joey that he knows she’ll get out this town: 

Pacey watches Joey change her shirt through the side mirror of his truck, smiling dreamily
Pacey grins at Joey in the truck, Joey looks cutely suspicious
Joey: “What’s that smile of yours? Is it because I look ridiculous?”
Pacey and Joey continue smiling flirtily at each other in Pacey's truck
Later, Pacey's encouraging to a bashful Joey back at her house
Pacey: “I wouldn’t bet against that Potter girl.”

He realizes he’s developing a crush on Joey, and he heads to the carnival to ask Dawson for his permission to act on that crush, which is better than Dawson deserves, really. Dawson WIGS OUT, offers his permission, retracts it, offers it again, retracts it again… but ultimately he tells Pacey that of course he doesn’t mind if he kisses Joey, because “what could be better” than “my two best friends, kissing.” Pacey sneaks away before Dawson can change his mind again, but when he tries to kiss Joey, it doesn’t go great. 

Pacey tries to kiss Joey, and she pushes him away in shock

She’s shocked but sweet about it, and when he tells her he’s attracted to her, she says she also had a good time today, but not in the same way. (YEAH RIGHT, POTTER.) Pacey handles the rejection with good grace, and then asks her sadly, “By some slim chance that you would actually kiss me back, you’d probably be thinking of somebody else, right?” Joey just makes this face: 

Joey quirks her lips and shrugs her shoulders, and Pacey walks away

And it’s all kind of a bittersweet bummer, but DON’T WORRY, IT WILL TURN OUT FINE EVENTUALLY. Later, Dawson’s tossing and turning in bed, and then he jumps out and flees to the video store to confront Pacey and retract his permission once more. Pacey gives him a hard time at first, pretending that he and Joey are now a couple, before giving him some real good come-to-Jesus advice: 

You know, it’s time you start asking yourself some serious questions, Dawson. Because you exhaust way too much time and energy on a girl you call your friend. So, you know what? Let’s just set the record straight here. Who’s it going to be? Is it Jen or is it Joey? Do you like the blonde or do you like the brunette? These questions are not going to go away, Dawson. It’s time you provide some answers.

Dawson just looks like he’s going to boot until the credits roll. 

How many times did I have to drink? 

10

The truest thing anybody said this week

Pacey changes his clothes next to his truck
Pacey: “A lot of people would consider you a lucky woman.”

The least true thing anybody said this week

Joey pretends to be disgusted by shirtless Pacey
Joey: “Many people would consider you a very deluded man.”

Dawson’s most clueless moment

He says to Joey, about Jen, “How could you simply be friends with someone when every time you look at them, all you think about is how much more you really want them?” Joey’s like OH JEEZ HOW COULD I POSSIBLY KNOW WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE. 

I love this Kevin Williamson quote

On the moment he knew Pacey and Joey were a possibility:

Pacey watches Joey change shirts through his truck's sideview mirror
Quote from showrunner Kevin Williamson: “In the first season. You know that moment where they had to take their clothes off?”
Pacey tries to kiss a shocked Joey, who pushes him away
Quote from showrunner Kevin Williamson: “That was the episode where we first went, ‘Okay. There are sparks here. This is a storyline we’re going to go down, but we’ll have to wait.”

That’s it for this week! Britt, I have a question for you, as a relative newbie to the show… does Pacey translate as well, watching him as an adult? My crush on him is so ingrained (from Mighty Ducks days, if we’re being honest) that I have no idea what it feels like to watch Pacey with grown-up eyes. My whole head and heart turn smitten teenager the moment he’s on the screen. 

Meet Britt here next Wednesday morning as she covers two GREAT episodes, “The Scare” and “Beauty Contest.”

Meredith Borders is formerly the Texas-based editor of Fangoria and Birth.Movies.Death., now living and writing (and reading) in Germany. She’s been known to pop by Forever Young Adult since its inception, and she loves YA TV most ardently.