Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dawson's Creek: The Lost Weekend (5.2)

Annoyingly, sending the Dawson's Creek cast to college has already sort of backfired, since its unknowingly exposed all the weird and codependent issues between Dawson and Joey that Capeside as a location covered up. Of course, we always knew that they were overly reliant on each other, always seeking each other out for a sense of approval or validation, but the fact that they were stuck in this incestuous bubble of high school and lived in houses that were right down the lake from one another both generally left them appearing pretty stable, that they were only so wrapped up in one another because the universe had thrown them together in such a way. But by running through the same overly self-conscious romantic saga in a whole different environment with so much more at stake, they only come off like a couple of flakes. And that's just disappointing.

Everything remains in extremes. Joey drunkenly called Dawson last episode and told him that she needs to cut him loose and seek out her own way in life. Dawson unexpectedly showed up in her dorm room at the end of the episode, having not heard her voicemail, but by the end of the teaser he had. For some reason, Joey's way of "cutting him loose" involves never speaking to him again, not merely bringing to a close their romantic tribulations. And despite pushing this belief that she wants to move on with her life and stop acting like a fifteeen year-old (something she talked about with such maturity just a couple of hours ago in Dawson's Creek-time), she pitches a fit when Dawson hangs out with Audrey for the afternoon. She's crazy here.

Dawson's behavior only enables her, though. He ruminates on his day-long experience with Hollywood and considers it a sign that he should just give up, eventually deciding to stick around in Boston to hang with Joey and... I don't know... try and do stuff there? Ugh. It's improbable behavior, Dawson clumsily abandoning a huge opportunity to talk through the same hooey with Joey all over again.

What I liked about these two in season four was that there was a real sense of growth and a feeling of moving on, the two of them coming to a point where they could recognize what they had, appreciate it and alternately long for it, but also acknowledge that this is just one small part of their lives, and that so much unknown potential lingers on the horizon. I had assumed that same feeling would carry over to this year, particularly with the cast so split off from one another, but if anything they've regressed.

Joey's batshit-ness would probably be more palatable if she had an additional subplot that showcased what a great character she can be... but she doesn't. Her side-story here sees her wanting to quit Professor Molester's writing class, only for Molester to be all "you're amazing and talented and sexy and I refuse to let you quit". Not only is this ridiculous, but the character is being presented as so sleazy that it's improbable that Joey would be even a little taken with him. He's overly flirtatious with his students, gives Joey extra attention because she's pretty, whines about the wife and kid he's got at home, makes dumb jokes and wild assumptions about Joey's private life, and revels in the fact that all his female students go gaga over him. It's contrivance at its worst, and reflects terribly on Joey herself.

Elsewhere, Jen is still engaging in silly banter with Chad Michael Murray, and they sleep together and compare CDs and blah. I'm sorry, but I don't like the Chad. Like Professor Molester, he reeks of sleaze and arrogance, and has one of those annoying 'scrunching up the forehead and looking confused equals handsome' faces, like the thing Jaden Smith does in every single goddamn photograph. Grr. Hate that kid. Any-way, it's all sort of 'meh'.

Pacey is a little too stranded right now, adrift with zero interaction with the regulars, besides a cute scene between him and his brother. He, like Dawson, is trying to find his way in life without the cushion of a college education, ending up working in a restaurant and flirting with Lourdes Benedicto's brassy waitress (she smokes, which means she's edgy). He's also dating a WASPy rich girl, but neither story is wholly interesting. Maybe it'll get better, but right now it's just a story coasting on Joshua Jackson's innate likability.

The Lost Weekend is a crushingly disappointing "part two" to the opening of the new Dawson's Creek. It feels scattered in a bad way, spends far too long examining old emotions and makes Dawson and Joey look like crazy-people. Audrey is still wonderful, but everything else was noticeably banal. D

Guest stars
Ken Marino (Professor David Wilder); Busy Philipps (Audrey Liddell); Chad Michael Murray (Charlie Todd); Dylan Neal (Doug Witter); Lourdes Benedicto (Karen Torres); Ian Kahn (Danny Brecher); Jennifer Morrison (Melanie Shea Thompson)
Writer Gina Fattore Director David Petrarca

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