Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dawson's Creek: Guerilla Filmmaking (5.14)

It's nice to see Dawson getting back to his roots here, directing Oliver's movie and rediscovering his love of filmmaking. In some ways, this is a quasi-sequel to season two's His Leading Lady, with most of the fun coming from the conflicts between those in front of the camera and those behind, as well as all the diva theatrics that co-lead Audrey insists on pulling. There are actor swaps, production problems and an on-the-fly third act re-write, and it's all entertaining. The show doesn't do a great job in explaining how Dawson fixes what amounts to a horrible screenplay (sample dialogue: "I'm the boy who's gonna tear your soul apart") and his revised ending makes zero sense (the male lead is crazy with a gun, but ends up walking off into the night with his GF anyway? Huh?), but the general energy of the A-plot and the way the entire cast are drafted in to save the day make it one of the strongest group stories in a while.

Less successful is this week's use of Jack... no surprise there. His frat house story goes down the expected routes, Eric turning out to be gay and coming onto Jack. But, being a show in which Jack can't go five minutes without being victimized due to his sexuality, Eric tells everybody that Jack sexually assaulted him. Therefore, Jack packs his bags and quits the fraternity. There's a mild protest in which Jack tells them all how screwed up they are and leaves a grave warning to Eric about his future, but in some ways it's a story that only reinforces Jack's weaknesses as a person. He's yet to take a true stand against anything, constantly allowing people to knock him down in life. But it's the fault of the writers more than anyone else, all of them seemingly insistent on making him a perpetual victim living in fear. Ugh. Jack's about as interesting as a pile of dust, but he still deserves stronger material.

The Joey/Wilder arc continues to be more than a little muddled, the two of them addressing their kiss but with Joey taking some kind of initiative and telling him that she actually liked it, and eventually kissing him again. But I'm not sure how we're supposed to react to this. Are we supposed to believe Joey is acting crazy? Or are we meant to hope these two actually make it work? Either way, it's still icky and unbalanced and I need Ken Marino off this show as soon as possible.

Buried in the middle of Guerilla Filmmaking is the inevitable coupling of Pacey and Audrey, the two of them confessing their feelings after a couple of episodes' worth of flirtatious courtship. I say it every week, but these two are crazily fun together, both with this wry sense of humor and a ton of sexual confidence and security. With a lot of Dawson's Creek being recently frustrating, Pacey and Audrey and Dawson and Jen remain the most consistent characters around, both couplings that aren't buried under angst or awkwardness. B

Guest stars
Ken Marino (Professor David Wilder); Busy Philipps (Audrey Liddell); Chad Michael Murray (Charlie Todd); Jordan Todd (Oliver Chirchick); Ryan Bittle (Eric)
Writer Jonathan Kasdan Director Julia Rask

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