Friday, November 9, 2012

Dawson's Creek: Late (4.19)

Is it wrong that I'm getting real tired of the gay-bashing stories? It feels like every single subplot Jack is wrapped up with eventually involves some kind of violence or homophobic gesture, like he and every other gay man he encounters are walking victims constantly at the mercy of assholes eager to attack them in some way. I'm a little ambivalent in my judgment here because it is important to teach kids about homophobia and promote that reporting assaults is absolutely the right thing to do... but the show is at that point where literally everything in Jack's life involves this kind of attack, and for once I'd like to see him date somebody or head down a new narrative road without prejudicial horror rearing its ugly head at one point or another.

Even if I hated that they went there again, I'm surprised at how much Tobey has grown on me. Their annoying angsty tension has fallen away, leaving them with this sort-of funny banter that's still founded on mutual ribbing, but lacks that negative edge. It's sweet, and it feels far more even-handed than Jack's unbalanced thing with Parker Abrams last season.

Away from the gay bashing, lateness factors into both other stories this week, with varying levels of success. The more absorbing one involves Joey being terrified that she's pregnant, and panicking over where she goes from here. There are moments where she becomes a total shrew, particularly when she attacks Bessie's entire existence, but Katie Holmes sells the fear. I should also add that there's clearly some kind of weird tension between Joey and Pacey right now, both deciding not to tell one another about the pregnancy test, nor Pacey's drunk and disorderly arrest last episode. It's like they've given up even trying to be happy anymore, which is sad.

It has a cute ending, but the faux-comedy of Gale's day-long labor just isn't fun at all. The annoying 'wacky music' score implied that it was all supposed to be ridiculous and zany, but it was all pretty lame on-screen. Maybe I just don't care all that much about the Parents Leery?

Finally, there was Dawson and Gretchen, the former getting pissed when Gretchen announces that she's been offered a job in Boston and is seriously considering taking up on it. For one, Dawson's angst is obnoxious -- she's been offered a huge magazine position, and he's all petulant because it means they'll be living apart in the fall? Big whoop, asshat. But he comes around, thank God, and I loved that their ending featured both of them acknowledging that their relationship probably won't last for much longer due to the different roads they're headed down, but that they're going to live every day like it's their last until that moment comes. It's cute and (broken record alert!) adult, and Sasha Alexander remains ridiculously charming.

Late is another sort of low-key hour, and the lengthy baby-naming ceremony and wacky labor hoodoo is horrible in its tedium, but the characters and their generally absorbing personal lives carry our collective enthusiasm. It's all good. B-

Guest stars
Sasha Alexander (Gretchen Witter); David Monahan (Tobey Barret); Nance Williamson (Doctor)
Writer Jeffrey Stepakoff Director David Petrarca

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