Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dawson's Creek: Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) (5.20)

One of my television pet peeves may simply be a product of a lack of budget, but it's still annoying. It's when a show sets a scene in a workplace or a classroom, and the only people who get actual dialogue are the regular cast members and the boss or teacher pulling rank. It just throws me off, like the entire world revolves around the regulars, and all those nameless extras are just window dressing. It's something that constantly bothered me about Pacey's subplot this week, in which Sherilyn Fenn takes over as manager of his restaurant and begins firing most of the employees and restructuring the company. Pacey is the only person who actually talks to her, even when she publicly announces that most of the staff are being forced out. There's no protest, just a bunch of extras pulling shocked expressions in the background while Pacey speaks for all of them. Even later, when the inevitable flirting and banter occurs, nobody else in the restaurant contributes even filler dialogue, and it comes off like these two are the only individuals in the world. It's a small thing, and probably not that interesting to read about, but it's crazily silly.

Not that the story itself seems much more interesting. It turns out that Sherilyn Fenn (not playing herself, though that would be funny) is a big-time sexual terrorist, seemingly intent on seducing Pacey and encouraging him to drop his GF. I'm surprised the show has taken so long to do a sexual harassment storyline (even if Professor Wilder's arc sure could have been one), but the stakes aren't high enough right now to make it at all juicy. Audrey's been fired, but it's unlikely Audrey cares enough about her menial waitress job to want Pacey to sleep with his boss to get it back for her. Blah.

Elsewhere, we finally saw the end of Chad Michael Murray's self-serious Charlie character, leaving to join his band on the road and failing to encourage Joey to join him. While Charlie was always a drag, I admit that his story here was pretty great. I loved that great scene where Joey was talking about how she's some aspirational succubus, pulling guys into her spiderweb of romantic possibilities and draining them of all their ambitions and dreams. It was pretty funny, Charlie becoming this subservient puppy dog following her around like a bad odor.

It also felt like the end for Oliver, making an ass of himself and ruining a pitch meeting with his obnoxious attitude, encouraging Dawson to pretty much cut him loose. I sort of liked Oliver in spite of his issues, he was like the version of Dawson Leery who literally never had any romantic success, turning him into this abrasive shell of rage and bad filmmaking. It's unfortunate his thing with Jen is seemingly going nowhere, but I'm assuming the writers had hit a wall with her of late, considering she had nothing to do last week and doesn't even appear here or next episode.

Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) drifts around a lot, typically for season five, but remains pleasantly entertaining. I'm not at all inspired by the Pacey story, but I've become used to the show being unsure of what to do with him. Sadness. B-

Guest stars
Sherilyn Fenn (Alex Pearl); Busy Philipps (Audrey Liddell); Chad Michael Murray (Charlie Todd); Jordan Bridges (Oliver Chirchick); Jack Plotnick (Andrew Waller)
Writer Nicole Ranadive Director Robert Duncan McNeill

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