Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dawson's Creek: High Anxiety (5.6)

Dawson's Creek seems to be shifting around between stories more than ever this season, introducing subplots that look like they'll anchor whole episodes, before having those drift off midway through the hour and writing in new stories that take up the bulk of the rest. It's just a little clunky, High Anxiety opening with a promising story between Audrey and her mom, only for it to peter out as the episode goes along. The same occurs with Jen's subplot, which similarly gets lost in the mid-episode shuffle. Throw in a couple of brief scenes with Pacey and his restaurant thing, and there's definitely a chaotic quality to all of this. I'm not bored or anything, but it's not a great experience for the viewer.

The first two stories I mentioned are by and large the strongest in the episode. Audrey is a character who has already made a ton of impression in just a couple of weeks, and meeting her mom (played with passive aggressive marvel by the eternally youthful Brenda Strong) allows us to see the terrified, insecure wreck she is deep down. I'm hoping the writers aren't using her fears as a kind of 'explanation' for her busy sex life, since her various sexual partners shouldn't automatically equal image problems. But I liked the insight into her personality as well as her 'child star'/'troubled teenager' back-story. Joey adopted the same 'invited support system' role she took on back when Jen visited her dad in New York, but it happily brought her and Audrey closer together in the end, which was neat.

I also continue to like how the writers are utilizing Michelle Williams' comic timing, devising a trap to catch Charlie in the act, and later teaming up with his other girlfriend to exact a public-nudity, destroy-his-favorite-possessions kind of revenge. It's all sort of silly, but Williams is great and Chad Michael Murray is so perfectly cast as this douchey manipulator that you can't help but like it when some hot girls wipe the smug from his face.

The Dawson and Joey saga wound up derailing all the other storylines midway through the hour, Dawson attending Pacey's yacht party and getting hammered. In the process, he insults Joey and seems to blame her for his dad's death and later feels all guilty about it. Blah. What's funny is that James Van Der Beek is so bad at playing drunk that Dawson came off like he was faking it all, leading you to wonder if he was totally sober when he was attacking Joey like that. Heh. Oh God, am I disliking Dawson all over again? There was so much progress!

High Anxiety annoyingly meanders around and can't seem to find which story is the right one to run with, even when there are at least two that were interesting enough to hold your attention. I'm also back on the annoyed train when it comes to Dawson and Joey, who still seem to be regressing emotionally. Which sucks. Damn show. B-

Guest stars
Busy Philipps (Audrey Liddell); Lourdes Benedicto (Karen Torres); Chad Michael Murray (Charlie Todd); Ian Kahn (Danny Brecher); Andrea Pearson (Nora); Brenda Strong (Kay Liddell)
Writers Allison Robinson, Joshua Krist Director Jason Moore

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