Friday, January 25, 2013

Dawson's Creek: Day Out of Days (6.11)

For a show that is relatively conventional in its storytelling, it's no surprise that every once in a while the writers decide to recreate the few episodes which seemed to break new ground. The only problem with Day Out of Days re-using the same time-manipulation angle that made The Longest Day so spectacular is that this episode doesn't seem to fully utilize its potential. While The Longest Day was all about varying perspectives and how the same experiences can spiral off into wildly different tangents, Day Out of Days merely uses the 'day of the week' device as a kind of showy visual stunt, only there to distract from the generally banal plotting.

One of the nicer surprises this week arrives with the return of Harley Hetson, who shows up at the bar and quickly becomes something of a tag-along for Joey Potter. But the writers thankfully minimize her brattiness this week, instead making her the kind of strange creation that would occur if you put young Joey and young Jen into a blender. Her scenes with Joey are fun in that respect, Joey constantly calling her out on her tween-y arrogance and recognizing how annoying she herself must have been at that age.

Also cute are Jack and David, both matter-of-fact about their feelings and leading a happily casual existence with each other. Because of how pleasantly mundane their relationship is, I'm choosing to ignore the fact that they're the first couple on this show to get tested before sleeping together, as well as the fact that they're getting significantly less face-time than Jen and her freakishly schizophrenic 'thing' with Jensen Ackles. Let's just bask in the glory of a gay relationship not ruptured by 'issues' on this show.

Day Out of Days stumbles everywhere else. In a key undermining of the 'day of the week' idea, Todd's movie wraps on Monday and has been edited and tested by Wednesday, which is... insane. But what follows is probably crazier, the studio deciding the end result is crummy and asking Dawson to step in and direct re-shoots. Yes, because that would totally happen. It's the show cutting major corners to fulfill a character's dreams (a major pet peeve of mine with shows that are supposed to be based in some kind of reality), and only ensures that we have to sit through a ton more of this horrible subplot in the future. Gah.

There's also Pacey and Emma's gradual courtship, which is hitting new corners of boring. Here they repeatedly meet every day at an aquarium, Emma encouraging him to abandon his whole 'business Pacey' persona, and Pacey failing to do so. Ignoring the fact that Emma herself is a wonky-accented nightmare, why are they making her character so important? And does merely working in stocks automatically equal an assy, obnoxious personality? Can't he just work, make money, and be regular Pacey? Ugh. Again, this whole story is ass and needs to be shipped off to a deserted island along with Natasha, Todd, Audrey, Jack Osbourne and Pacey's goatee. Shivers.

This is a mixed bag of an episode, but fails mostly because it never does anything to justify its weird narrative structure. The shitty subplots are still weighing the show down, but certain areas are (slowly) improving, which can only be a good thing. C-

Guest stars
Jensen Ackles (C.J.); Paul Gleason (Larry Newman); Megan Gray (Emma Jones); Roger Howarth (Professor Greg Hetson); Hal Ozsan (Todd Carr); Jack Osbourne (Himself); Dana Ashbrook (Rich Rinaldi); Nicole Bilderback (Heather Tracy); Greg Rikaart (David); Mika Boorem (Harley Hetson); Bianca Kajlich (Natasha Kelly)
Writer Gina Fattore Director Robert Duncan McNeill

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