Monday, December 10, 2012

Dawson's Creek: Hotel New Hampshire (5.8)

Thank God he finally did it. After years and years of agonizingly strained discussions about sex and the importance of sex and the sanctity of sex and after expressing more sex-related panic than an over-the-hill stripper, Dawson Leery finally lost his virginity. And to Jen! Hah! There's actually been a really cute romance burgeoning between the two of them for the last couple of episodes, both characters conveying an easy, relaxed chemistry full of tiny barbs and compassionate friendship, both remembering with fondness the teenage crush they once shared, cringing at it all but appreciative of where it's got them as people. It's all really sweet, lacking in overwrought melodrama and instead being about two people just deciding to sleep together, having fun and remaining happy the morning after. Yup, this is still Dawson's Creek.

Before the deed was done, Dawson and Jen spent their time being all cute together on a getaway to a film festival, where Dawson's Mr. Brooks doc is awarded best in show. It's a fun storyline, full of annoying wacky locals, but brightened by Dawson and Jen pretending to be a couple for contrived reasons. I also liked Jordan Bridges' burned-out director rival (whose film, Smoke Crack and Worship Satan, is clearly a masterpiece), a character who steps so near to being condescending and precious, before switching things up and actually becoming pretty genuine and sweet.

Back in Boston, we finally got some insight into Jack's recent detour into Asshole Uber-Straight Guy Chauvinist Bullshit hoodoo, bringing Audrey to a frat party after he promises his bros that she's essentially a huge whore who'll be happy to bump uglies with every one of them. Ugh. Joey at least sets him straight (pun!) and he expresses some regret. Audrey, being adorable, forgives him... but it's still all a little gross. It feels like a story that's headed somewhere, though, since his behavior is so repulsive that it deserves a little more exploration than the weak sauce stuff here.

Finally, Pacey is still stuck in his horrible restaurant subplot. He sleeps with Karen, there's guilt and angst and the ghostly presence of his boss, the cheating scumbag, but it's all very, very boring. Karen finally departs, which is great, but the whole story felt like filler material. Pacey doesn't learn anything or contribute a whole lot, and Karen was never somebody to care about. Why are they giving Joshua Jackson this kind of stuff?

Pacey remains in a rut, but the Dawson and Jen chemistry was off-the-charts fun. I continue to be impressed by Michelle Williams' versatility this season, and I loved seeing a relationship on this show not dragged down by the usual over-analysis and repetitive levels of ridiculous. B

Guest stars
Busy Philipps (Audrey Liddell); Lourdes Benedicto (Karen Torres); Ian Kahn (Danny Brecher); Jordan Bridges (Oliver Chirchick); Pauley Perrette (Dr. Rachel Weir); Andrea Pearson (Nora); Ryan Bittle (Eric)
Writer Diego Gutierrez Director Lev L. Spiro

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