Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dawson's Creek: The Kids Are Alright (6.1)

For the third season in a row, Dawson's Creek opens up a new year with the characters coming back together again after a summer in which they were all apart from one another. And people grew up in that summer. Relationships were formed, there were a couple of moments of cross-country longing. It's actually a little funny how similar The Kids Are Alright is to every other recent season premiere. But there's naturally something fresh and exciting about the start of a new season, the writers having regrouped and hopefully formed a greater groundwork for the show to follow. This is also Dawson's Creek's final season, so there's obviously a feeling of things building to a climax, characters on course to discover where they should end up in life, and who they should be with once those lives truly begin.

It was absolutely the right time for Dawson and Joey to sleep together. And it worked so well because they're both on such different tracks in life but still able to see how much they mean to each other. This doesn't appear to be another chapter in their story fraught with tension or angst, but instead a natural coming together of two long-time friends. There's always been that attraction there, and being free-spirited and separately ambitious only makes that attraction more powerful. Like always, you're left hoping that the writers aren't going to screw this up in the coming weeks, but I trust that they're not going to dissolve all the emotional progress both characters have made.

While the writers don't seem to have pulled back on the scattershot feel of last season, there already seems to be greater cohesion among the stories -- Joey working at the bar that all the cast hangs out in, Jack and Pacey living together, Jen and Grams attending the same college class. They're still separate in the long run, but effort has been made to allow path-crossing to occur.

I didn't have a huge problem with it last year, but there was definitely this feeling in season five that Joey was seemingly unstoppable. She aced her classes, got positioned as a talent that was particularly special, and had guys dropping at her feet at every opportunity. Immediately this week we're told that that is no longer the case: Joey getting humiliated by her professor in her new class, failing to do all the necessary reading she was meant to do, and forced to get a crappy waitressing job when her loans don't stretch far enough to survive the year. There are suddenly obstacles there for her to overcome, which can only help her further grow long-term.

There are also signs of improvement everywhere else. Jack has been allowed to have an active sex life for a change, and unless they spin this into a 'warnings of casual sex' PSA somewhere down the line, it's a refreshing evolution for the show and its treatment of varying sexualities. I also loved Jen's yelp as she discovered that Grams has gone back to college, a story that probably won't go anywhere based on previous Grams-centric stories, but seems generally sweet right now.

The only character that still feels adrift is Pacey, who is interviewing for a stock market job. The restaurant was a disaster last year, throwing Pacey off into these horrible subplots involving guest stars it was hard to give two shits about, so hopefully the writers will learn from their mistakes. But it's not encouraging that he's still out on his own, doing his own thing. Pacey is one of the show's strongest characters, yet the character the show is most inclined to waste.

While I'm on the subject of awkwardness, what is with all the annoying British people this week? There's Emma, played by an actress who has clearly decided to use all the accents, Michael Bay-ish movie director Todd haranguing Dawson on the phone, and even that hideous cameo from Jack Osbourne, playing himself in one of those random non-sequiturs that scream 'the WB demanded this!' I remember Emma sticking around for a while, but hopefully the show will quickly realize how crummy that actress is and just keep her in the background with barely any lines.

This is a strong season premiere, however. I've learned from experience that a good opener doesn't guarantee greatness all year long, but right now the writers seem to have a greater handle on where the characters are headed. As long as Joey and Dawson stay on their separate tracks while maintaining that love and affection, then I'm happy. B

Guest stars
Oliver Hudson (Eddie Doling); Megan Gray (Emma Jones); Roger Howarth (Professor Greg Hetson); Sebastian Spence (Professor Matt Freeman); Jack Osbourne (Himself)
Writer Tom Kapinos Director Greg Prange


  1. The opening part explaining how everything you thought was happening at the end of season 5 didn't annoyed me (joey doesn't go to paris, that guy dumps jack...) joey meets another guy who loves her and she doesn't care.
    and pacey- shave that goatee!!!
    I'm not liking this season already.

  2. Did they know this would be the last season?