Joey stands on stage in a ball gown, looking nervous, with a banner behind her


Title: Dawson’s Creek S1.E11 “The Scare” + S1.E12 “Beauty Contest”
Released: 1998
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 if Pacey’s charms are as effective on me since I’m basically watching this for the first time – the answer is A DOYYYYY. I also nursed a crush on Joshua Jackson from his Mighty Ducks days, and while I may not have spent much time in the Creek, I was quite fond of him in other stuff, like Cruel Intentions and Gossip, and more recently in Fringe and The Affair. So yes, watching him on DC now, I still think he’s just as cute as kittens in mittens.

Let’s drink to Pacey!

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!

The Dawson's Creek gang are lit by candlelight around a table, looking spooked

1.11 “The Scare”

Is it super cool of Kevin Williamson to pay homage to his own horror movies on his own TV show, or is it kiiiiiind of narcissistic? I have no idea, and I honestly do not even care because “The Scare” is such a fun hour, even though it’s a little convoluted at times and I’m getting sick to death of Dawson’s undying love for a girl he’s known for like, 2 months, tops. I was sick of it even before he started talking to her. I AM DONE.

Anyway! Dawson loves Friday the 13th and playing dumb scary pranks on everyone and watching horror movies because he is a teenage boy, and that’s what he does. Joey is not so amused by his incessant prank-playing:

Dawson’s dumb pranks continue at school, where Pacey is amused and Joey is too good for them (she’s too good for everything) and Jen feels… weirdly left out. So left out that she has to make a whole awkward to-do about it over lunch and there’s lots of stuttering and uncomfortable glances, and it’s way more cringe-worthy than any episode of The Office. Meanwhile, Cliff wants another chance to impress Jen, who informs him that Dawson was super imaginative and original in his date-planning (mostly he just filmed her like a proto-Wes Bentley in American Beauty, but whatev), so Cliff goes to Dawson for advice – and it looks like our pouty-baby Dawson has grown up a lot since his last nap because he actually plays nice with Cliff.

Jen gets home and receives a threatening note and a gross Scream-style phone call, which she assumes is all Dawson’s doing.

Oh, by the way, there’s a serial killer targeting young women in New England, which Jen thinks is sad because clearly he’s lonely (and this opinion says a lot about how Jen chooses her men). Also it’s like, super easy to tell who is stalking Jen. I know Cliff about as well as Jen does, and I could totally tell it was him on that phone.

Speaking of! Cliff shows up to pick Jen up for what he promises will be an ORIGINAL and IMAGINATIVE date. Gram is impressed with young Cliff… or should I say CLIFFORD:

Like any good teenager, Jen is immediately turned off by her adult guardian’s approval, and even more so when Cliff announces that his big date is… a trip over to Dawson’s house for a seance. And what was supposed to be a small gathering gets a bit crowded when Pacey and Dawson bring home this crazy lady they found at the corner store. Her name’s Ursula, she’s really obnoxious, and we meet her in the middle of a fight with her abusive boyfriend, Eddie, while Pacey and Dawson just sort of shrug about whether or not they should stop this guy from PUSHING HIS GIRLFRIEND AROUND. The less said about Ursula, the better. Her entire purpose in this episode is to make things more awkward than they already are and also to make light of abuse for whatever bizarre reason. I would be offended if it felt mean-spirited, but it’s just kind of dumb.

Things get weird during the seance when the power and the phone both conveniently go out, and Joey pranks Dawson by faking her own murder, and Jen finds a menacing note left for her on a mirror. Once again, she accuses Dawson of messing with her, only to once again react overly-sensitively when she finds out it wasn’t Dawson (it was Cliff. Good god, woman), and when he tells her that he’s given up on trying to get her back, she tries to kiss him and it’s the most counter-productive and frustrating thing and I hate it.

Ursula’s boyfriend goes ballistic and breaks into Dawson’s house, and after they finally leave (together, no less), Joey and Dawson have a very Teen Talk about how each of them would be sad if the other one died. And all of this just makes me wish that Joey would go full goth already and stop appropriating the snotty attitude if she’s not just going to watch Beetlejuice and figure it out.

How many times did I have to drink? 


Most meta moment

In an episode FILLED with them: Dawson and Joey watch I Know What You Did Last Summer, written by Kevin Williamson. Dawson has a Scream poster, and then there’s the scene with Jen on the phone that pays homage to Scream, which Williamson also wrote. Oh! And Joey mentions Elm Street.

Least true thing anyone said this week

Jen, defending Dawson to Cliff: “What are you talking about? Dawson’s fun!” Jen, no.

Welcome to 1998

Jen totally called a cell phone “a cellular.”

Joey stands on stage in a ball gown, looking nervous, with a banner behind her

1.12 “Beauty Contest”

As the title suggests, this one’s all about beauty pageants – specifically, the horribly named Miss Windjammer pageant, which anoints the loveliest, smartest, and most promising Capeside resident with a crown, a trip to New York, and $5,000. Joey could really use that cash because, although she’s smart enough to earn a scholarship, the chances of a full ride are slim even for the brightest kids. Pacey could also use that money, since his dad has basically already disowned him for failing to live up to the macho-overdrive BS of his cop brother Doug.

Jen thinks Joey has a shot, even though Joey does that stereotypical thing where she pretends she has no idea that she’s actually pretty. So Jen convinces her to sign up, where they run into Pacey – who’s trying to “blow this gender gap wide open” (yeesh) – and Dawson, who has been tasked with filming the pageant. Dawson has made it pretty clear that he thinks Jen should enter the pageant, so he’s capital-S Shocked when he sees that Joey is signing up instead, and he proceeds to laugh at the poor girl when she’s already feeling embarrassed and insecure enough. Way to be a pal, Dawson.

Dawson tells Pacey that he thinks of Joey as a sister, to which Pacey drops a significant reality check (and a mic): “So what you’re saying is you don’t want her, but you don’t want anybody else to have her, either?” Sounds like the Dawson Leery Story to me! Later, Joey’s typical teen rom-com makeover yields the typical results, and Dawson gets all slack-jawed and googly-eyed over her while Jen feels bummed because – for whatever insane reason – she’s still into Dawson.

These kids act like they’re the only four people in the whole damn town. Actually, Dawson and Jen would make a great match, considering that she doesn’t particularly want Dawson but she doesn’t want anyone else to have him, and Dawson feels the same way about Jen AND Joey. Meanwhile, no one is paying any attention to how adorable and eligible Pacey is.

For the talent portion of the pageant, Joey sings “On My Own” from Les Miserables, because of course she does, and – sorry to say – she sounds like a baby prostitute, which I guess is sort of appropriate. Backstage, one of the snotty Capeside girls – inaccurately – gossips about Joey’s personal life (“She lives in a trailer with her sister who just had an illegitimate baby with her BLACK boyfriend,” emphasis grossly hers, and drink), but Dawson reassures her with a sweet pep talk, reminding Joey that she has integrity and strength of character, concepts she echoes in her graceful response during the Q&A portion of the pageant.

As for Pacey, he realizes that he doesn’t really have a shot in hell at winning this stupid thing, so he shrugs off his magic show and decides to do this for the talent portion:

Pacey makes a pretty adorable (and scrawny) William Wallace.

He doesn’t end up winning, and neither does Joey, though she does take First Runner-Up over that trash-talking whatever-her-name-is, which is enough to make the whole thing worth it – oh, and I guess she learned about confidence and self-esteem and integrity, so that’s cool. Even cooler: when Dawson professes his misguided feelings for her, Joey SHUTS THAT SHIT DOWN. Suddenly, she emerges from the fidgety, eye-rolling, and slightly-annoying tomboy into a confident young woman who sees all too clearly what is happening here. It took a dumb dress and some (extra) makeup for Dawson see how wonderful she is, when he should’ve been able to see that all along. I wish more teen rom-coms involving dumb makeovers ended this way:

Unfortunately, it doesn’t exactly end there. Pacey goes down to the dock and flirts with the snotty private school girl who trash-talked Joey, and Jen goes to see Dawson, where she asks him for another chance and I’m honestly surprised his brain doesn’t explode. Even more shocking: that selfish little dork is like “UH I DUNNO.” And then he sits and thinks about Joey while she smiles smugly to herself for shutting him down like a boss. I don’t like where this is going.

How many times did I have to drink? 




Jen pageant-coaching Joey results in a sweet moment in the kitchen, where Jen admits that she never had many lady friends, and when Joey asks why she doesn’t just go hang with the pep squad and earn some popularity points, Jen responds: “The same reason you don’t, all right? They’re a bunch of mentally arrested airheads.” And then she helps Joey learn some self-esteem and it’s real cute.

Truest thing anyone said this week

Gail, to Pacey: “Honey, fair and beauty pageants aren’t exactly synonymous.”

Nice Guy Dawson Leery

His pep talk to Joey is the one moment in the episode where I actually like him:

Joey I know we’re not speaking right now, okay? But if we were, I would tell my best friend, who was always afraid to get up in front of class for show-and-tell, how incredibly proud I am of her. How I think she has got more guts and talent and strength of character than all the Hannah Von Winnings in the world put together.

That’s it for this week! A question for Meredith: Does Dawson make you want to tear your hair out? I can barely stand him, and I have no idea what these girls see in him when A. they are so much cooler than he is, and B. Pacey is RIGHT THERE.

Be sure to check back next week as Meredith covers the Season 1 finale “Decisions” and kicks off Season 2 with “The Kiss”!

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.