Sure, let's go completely batshit. Like a Virgin is the first of a bunch of maligned early season three episodes, hours that veer so against the themes and sensibilities of Dawson's Creek that you're not entirely sure if you've slipped into an alternate dimension. The blame sits at the feet of the short-lived executive producer Alex Gansa, brought in to replace the departing Kevin Williamson, who single-handedly turned what was an occasionally over-earnest but achingly warm teen drama into this salacious freak show for a couple of weeks. It's so ridiculously wrong, and absolutely hilarious.
The episode takes the form of an elaborate Risky Business pastiche, but makes that schlocky '80s mess look like your average Bertolucci picture. Porno fantasy arrives in the form of Brittany Daniel's Eve, a Freudian-nightmare temptress who breaks into houses, goes down on people on speed-boats, initiates ridiculous Penthouse Forum conversations with teen virgins and works at a strip club. In the process, Dawson is turned into this sleazy creep, describing Eve as "the perfect woman" and growing desperate to sleep with her. It's just a horrible storyline, taking a pit-stop every once in a while and dragging poor Pacey into the hooey, regressing to his early-season one horndog routine and rapidly eschewing all of his character growth last season.
Joey doesn't fare any better, as she's morphed into a disenfranchised loser who believes the way to get back with Dawson is by taking all her clothes off in front of him and declaring that "[she] can be sexual". Ugh. While Joey could never be described as somebody who knows exactly what she wants in life, she wasn't ever this emotionally volatile.
The only character who doesn't feel like a pod person is Jen, but she's still stuck in a story that quickly becomes a barrel of stupid. There's a fortysomething-lookin' prom queen-type being mean to everybody, and Jen takes it upon herself to take a stand against her during cheerleading try-outs. Awkwardly, she ends up getting picked for head cheerleader, which makes zero sense but at least promises that Jen will get something to do over the next couple of weeks.
Like a Virgin, in general, is a major misfire. It turns the show into this hyperactive, tone-deaf sex comedy with horrible values, sleazy teenage boys and fragile girls assuming sex will bring them some kind of romantic acceptance. Ick ick ick. D
Guest stars Brittany Daniel (Eve Whitman); Niklaus Lange (Rob Logan); Vanessa Dorman (Belinda McGovern); Obba Babatunde (Principal Howard Green)
Writer Tammy Ader Director Greg Prange