Friday, June 26, 2015

Dawson's Creek & Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Day 5: "True Love" & "Once More, With Feeling"

“True Love”

-I knew more tears and sobs in the throat would happen today. I didn’t anticipate seeing the worst crying in television history, though. I felt disappointed by the choice of episode for the last day of fan favorite week. “True Love” isn’t great. The best part is the wonderful B story led by Grams--her romantic crusade on behalf of Jen and Jack. I loathe weddings on television. Name a good wedding episode to me. Try. Name one. No one can. Wedding episodes suck. Mitch and Gail parallel Dawson and Joey. Dawson delivers his selfish speech for his parents about the lack of Dawson in their early days of their first marriage and of love ending and beginning again. Dawson means he can’t imagine a life without Joey by his side. Joey leaving with Pacey means an end to their childhood soul mate nonsense. Dawson, too, believes all roads lead back to him. It’s the subtext of his speech. It’s text during his monologue to Joey in which he frees her from him, because he knows he won’t have her if she gives up Pacey for him. Their dock conversation is Internet legend because of Van Der Beek’s funny cry face, and it is show legend because it puts Joey closer to Pacey. Katie Holmes is great throughout the episode. She’s stilted, awkward, and anxious around Dawson; she’s free, loose, comfortable, anxiety-free with Pacey. Holmes and Jackson had magnificent chemistry. Van Der Beek and Holmes did not have great chemistry. Late season three Dawson is at his most evil and villainous, too. The permission he gives Joey to be with Pacey is not his to give or take, which threatens to take away because Joey worried he’ll hate her for doing it. The fall out of Joey’s decision lingers for an episode in season four. Dawson and Pacey even become friends again, because the writers had a set amount of characters for their characters to date and be friends with. It’s gosh darn good melodramatic teen soap, though.

-Dawson used his parents wedding to guilt out Joey.

-Joey’s wall disappears. The characters don’t return to it. I imagine “Ask Me To Stay” remained in Capeside long after, spawning folk tales about who wrote it, who the person wrote it for, and what happened to the couple. The inevitable Dawson’s Creek spinoff, starring Treat Williams as Mitch Leery’s brother, could make the wall the main motif of the “Pilot.” An old beggar tells the new Capeside class about ol’ cyclops Dawson Leery and how he terrorized a young heroine named Josephine Potter.

-Doug Witter pulled Jack over mere feet from the ‘Welcome to Capeside’ sign in “All Good Things…” and he pulled Joey over mere from feet from the sign in “True Love.” I suppose Dougie patrols Capeside and neighboring Old Tartary, MA.

-Pacey and Joey sailed away on “True Love.” How enchanting.

-The best part of “True Love” is Grams’ crusade for romance, as mentioned above. Grams’ story about her perfect kiss, and her 46 years of wedded bliss to Gramps, has echoes of James Joyce’s “The Dead.” There I go again comparing teen soaps to classic, revered literature. Jen and Jack started the bitter club after their respective relationships ended. Grams, along with giddy Andie (giddy, excited, happy Andie is my favorite Andie; I don’t like Xed out, drugged out, cheating-on-Pacey at a psych ward), drive after Henry’s bus in pursuit of Jen’s great romantic moment. Jen makes a great big romantic display. Henry breaks up with her in the summer. Before season 4, though, Jen ends the season positively. The whole season is the best Jen season. Season 4 introduces Drue Valentine from her past in New York, followed by the appearance by her father, and it makes for a less happy Jen season. The writers must’ve decided Jen’s too happy. I also love the B story because it’s lighter, funnier, and freer than the dreck love triangle. Jack failed to win back Parker from Buffy, but his father comforted him when he needed it. Greg Berlanti received a story credit for the episode. Williamson said Jack’s coming out story is essentially Greg’s. Part 2 of Jack’s coming out story has a scene wherein Jack kneels in the kitchen in anguish because of his sexuality. He’s terrified of the future, the intolerance, the possible abuse. He doesn’t want to be who he is, but he can’t help it or pretend he isn’t. His father turns his back on him when he needs it. Andie orders their father out the door and away from them. So, in this episode, Jack’s back in the kitchen, almost kneeling, clutching the dishwasher handle, telling his father that he can’t do it anymore. As a gay teenager he has double the problems of a normal teenager. Jack’s father kneels to the floor, embraces his son, and comforts him. Kerr Smith was amazing when given the material. Their embrace is the synthesis of their story, thus creating a new thesis.

-ABC Family begins airing the series from the beginning on Monday. Pacey/Joey fans overtook fan voting, I think. I wanted a season two episode, or “Promicide.” I’m all about “Promicide.” That’s what I wanted at my senior prom: a boat and nonsense drama. Oh well.

“Once More, with Feeling”

-Ah. I should’ve guessed the musical episode. I thought fan favorite week would conclude with “The Gift.” I forgot about “Once More, with Feeling.” I admired and loved the episode when I watched it 11-12 years ago. Repeated viewings have decreased my fondness for the episode. The story is clever and well-wrought. A demon puts a spell over the town that causes everyone to sing and dance. Dancing too much causes combustion. Joss wouldn’t experiment for experiment’s sake. The stories had to matter. The characters still had to matter. The problem is that it’s a sixth season episode, the worst season in Buffy. Willow is on a bad path to magic overdose. Buffy’s depressed as hell, because her friends thought they pulled her from hell but they pulled her from heaven. Giles plans to leave. Anya and Xander freak about marrying, especially Xander. Dawn steals items from The Magic Shop. Yeah, Dawn’s a rebellious teen. Joss and Marti said season six was about the darkness of adulthood. The writers tried, but they failed. The main arc dissolves in the need to make things dark. The Scoobies defeated a god in season five but become powerless against three nerds. “Once More, With Feeling” sets the course of the rest of season. It’s actually the last bit of fun in the season before the total abject misery. By episode 9 and 10 Willow crashes, Tara’s gone from her life, because Tara learned in the musical episode about Willow using magic to wipe her memory after a fight they had regarding Willow’s dangerous reliance on magic. If the story’s bad, great writers can’t mask its badness by writing catchy songs, witty dialogue, and such. Joss wrote and directed a ballet episode. “Waiting in the Wings,” for ANGEL’s third season, an episode I think is superior to “Once More, With Feeling.” I also consider ANGEL the best Joss Whedon show. ANGEL portrayed adulthood well. The ambiguity, darkness, terror, and existential dread the writers tried to layer season six with had been expertly layered in ANGEL by Joss, Greenwalt, Tim Minear, Jeff Bell, Mere Smith, and Shawn Ryan. ANGEL did it better.

“Once More, With Feeling” works better in parts than as a whole. Giles’ song while Buffy trains is wonderful. Sara D. Bunting of Previously TV made a point in her Buffy in her re-watch posts about what ails the last two seasons: the absence of Giles. Giles’ mournful song while Buffy trains doesn’t come from mindless melodrama (amnesia, wedding nonsense, petty theft, unrequited love); he’s the closest person she has to a father, the only guardian left in her life, the lone person she can rely on for aged wisdom, because her mother died, and she did too. Of course, the writers hesitated to depress the character to the extent she’d become un-Buffy, but depression hollows out the depressed person. She’s sad, but she isn’t. Her depression takes the form of a sadomasochistic sexual relationship with Spike. It’s among the low points of the series. I’m sure Joss Whedon read Chekhov’s plays and some of his short stories. Chekhov the realist depicted the milieu of provincial Russian life, the dead-ends, the unhappiness, the lack of fulfillment, the sadness, the disappointments, the tedium, the everyday evil people do to others, and his great stories, his masterpieces, do not flinch from painful, painful outcomes and epiphanies. One may argue Buffy’s sixth season successfully depicts the difficulties of adulthood with its relentless bills, plumbing problems, best friends transforming into apocalyptically bad witches (only one witch), a failed relationship because of marriage, demeaning sexual relationships, and its bleakness and ‘badness’ is the purpose. Chekhov’s “In The Ravine” devastates the reader, but it’s a masterpiece of short fiction. The problem then isn’t the subject matter of the season; it is characterization, the plotting, and the overall writing.

-“Tabula Rasa” is the last enjoyable episode of the season before it plunges into the abyss. I enjoy Spike and Anya drinking together in “Entropy.” The sixth season is the bad kind of entropic. If anyone wonders if there’s a good kind of entropic, that’s neither here nor there for this post.

-Spike convinces Buffy to live. 7 episodes later, they stand together on the second floor of The Bronze and Spike tells her, “You don’t belong down there with your friends; you belong with me, here, in the dark.” What in the bloody hell?

-“I’ll Never Tell” is awesome. I prefer Anya’s solo song from “Selfless”—the spiritual sequel to “I’ll Never Tell.”

-The one-er Joss does in the second act is awesome, too.

-I like the demon, the tap-dancing, the singing, and especially his dance with Dawn. He’s among the most memorable villains in the series. Is it because he sings and dances? Yes. Mr. Trick maybe rivals him for style of clothing. The reveal of Xander as the summoner of the singing-and-dancing demon is good.


-Not a bad run of fan voted episodes this week for Buffy. I would’ve liked “Restless” instead of “Hush” if it was between one or the other 4th season episodes. I own the DVDs, though. I can pop in “Restless” whenever I please. Joss wrote and directed every episode voted for this week. ABC Family will run the series from “Welcome to the Hellmouth” through “Chosen.” Most cable channels don’t re-run a series to completion anymore, except for Boy Meets World. I’ve watched that cycle 65 times in 5 years after re-watching it in my younger teen years.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dawson's Creek & Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Day 4: "All Good Things..." & "Hush"

“All Good Things…”

-I’m 28. I’m a male. I’m oft bearded. The Jen/Jack scene killed me at 16. It kills me at 28. Yes, I’m an oft bearded 28 year old male and my eyes well with tears during that scene. I feel a sob rise and catch in my throat. My eyes also well up during any Jen scene in “All Good Things…” Kevin Williamson wanted his characters to experience the death of a friend in the series finale because it was the last big event they hadn’t experienced. They all loved for the first time, had sex for the first time, went to prom, graduated high school, attended college, and achieved their dreams. Dawson’s the head writer and show-runner of a melodramatic teen soap titled The Creek. Joey edits books in New York and lives with a handsome writer in a posh NYC apartment. Pacey re-opened The Ice House, re-dedicated his life to the culinary arts after the finance career went bad, Jack teaches English at Capeside and dates Doug, and Jen, well…. Poor Jen will die. Jensen Ackles’ character left after she became pregnant. Jen achieves an impossible reality for her, though: responsible motherhood. Her mother sent her to Capeside, MA because she couldn’t raise and wean her daughter. Jen can and does. She became what she lacked, which caused the sadness and misdirection she experienced during seasons one and two of the series. She’s the tragic character in Dawson’s Creek. “You know me and odds, Jack,” she says before telling him the saddest thing she says in the entire series, “Because I am going to die, Jack.”

-Williamson moved time ahead five years because he knew what dreck season six was. Of course, I think #622 is a good episode to wrap up the sixth season of the show before the merciful time jump and return of Kevin Williamson.

-I watched the uncut finale in fall 2003. ABC Family further cut the network version by cutting the gang remembering Eve. Kevin Williamson took another shot at the season 3 premiere in the wedding dream scene. Dawson doesn’t remember why he turned down Joey’s advances in “Like A Virgin.” I would’ve liked Williamson to have chosen an extreme meta path. He already wrote a scene involving a writer’s room wherein the writer’s, and Dawson’s line producer, discussed the behind-the-scenes drama of season one and the season one finale. Williamson lifted the masturbation dialogue from his experience, and he always thought putting Joey and Dawson together in “Decisions” broke genre conventions. His fictional writing staff, one half of it, argues the story will hit an endpoint if Colby and Sam get together. Yeah, it did. That was the story of the first season. The writers made the mistake of driving it into Hades. Jeremy Sisto’s disposable characters makes a worthwhile point about the endless cycle of the triangle—perhaps Sisto’s Christopers speaks for Williamson. The teaser and first act consists of postmodern self-awareness and meta commentary, and the scene Joey watches is a fun parody of the first season.

-Williamson wrote the best Jack McPhee story since the second season. The writers seemed skittish about writing a gay character in a show that aired during the family-friendly hour of 8PM. Kerr Smith didn’t feel comfortable playing a gay character either. Kerr Smith’s the star of the series finale. Jack’s the heart. He breaks the news to everyone. That scene with Jen….Seven hells. Who doesn’t feel stabbing sadness watching Jack laying in his soul mate’s arms as he tells her about the male nurse he flirted with?

-Triangle drama is light throughout the finale. They laugh about it on the drive home from the hospital. Dawson makes the ‘And the triangle becomes a square’ joke, which Pacey loves. The story turns triangle way at the end of the episode, turning Jen’s death into a “Who will Joey go to for comfort?” She chose Dawson. The 88 minute finale needed to hit the important beats, though Jen’s health isn’t a point until the third act of the episode. Jen fainting gets the coveted second act cliffhanger act break.

-The gang dealt with the death of Abby Morgan. None of them, except for Jen, liked her. Dawson and Joey agree in #220 that her death is like the wicked west of east melting and resolving into a dew.

-Lily’s role in the finale leads to excellent aging nonsense in part 2. The movie she chose to watch with Dawson is Annie Hall.

-Dawson’s an unapologetic autobiographical writer, a Jack Kerouac of the teen soap kind. He changed the names and nothing else. Petey is a golden name for Pacey. Of Pacey’s story, Williamson wanted to return characters to their roots. Pacey outgrew adulterous/scandalous relationships.

-The Creek aired on TheWB, which did not exist five years in the future.

-More tears in the eyes and sobs in the throat tomorrow.

“Hush”

-Yeah, I definitely wrote about “Hush” before in the foot. Brief notes, though:

“Hush” involves Buffy’s nifty prophetic dreams. She dreamt of The Gentlemae. The Gentlemen appear that night and take the voices away from Sunnydale residents. Giles attempts to interpret the dreams, but to no avail.

-Several things I love in the spoken dialogue portion: Giles’ reaction to Anya’s orgasm line, Spike’s imitation of Xander and Anya, Buffy and Riley talking about the thing they don’t want to talk about, which sets up their kiss once they’re voiceless. Joss said in his commentary of the episode that people start communicating once they stop talking. Joss further twists it by ending “Hush” with the discovery by Riley and Buffy of each other’s extracurricular activities. “Doomed” follows “Hush.” It’s tough to follow “Hush.” “Doomed” is a disappointment. Three writers received credit, meaning the script must’ve came in after deadline after furious rewrites.

-Anya and Xander resolve their miscommunication after Xander beats Spike up. Xander thought Spike killed Anya. The two then leave to make whoopee. Tony Head’s reaction to that still delights me. James Marsters’ reacted great to it, grimacing while in vampface. He’s not the lone vamp that grimaced in vampface, though. Grimace and confused brow are the same. Many vampires have been confused by their leader’s plan, a Buffy pun, or a fighting style by a Scooby.

-The projector scene still delights me. Buffy’s handjob motion is a cheap gag, but it’s a good one. My favorite part of the projector scene is a forgotten aspect of it. I love Anya eating the popcorn. I love Joss cutting to her for reaction shots, whether it’s her raising her eyebrows at the new piece of info, or pouring popcorn into her mouth.


-“Hush” is a remarkable episode and also the last before a run of unremarkable episodes revolving around The Initiative. “This Year’s Girl” and “Who Are You?” end the rut. The end of the season is strong, despite Adam. The writers couldn’t magically make Lindsay Crouse available. ANGEL season two lost Julie Benz for May sweeps; instead of an epic resolution to the main arc of the season, Angels Investigations portals Pylea way to help Lorne and to retrieve Cordy. I like the Pylea arc. I love and revere Lorne.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dawson's Creek & Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Day 3: "The Longest Day" & "Doppelgangland"


“The Longest Day”

-Dawson learned the truth in this episode. Did “The Longest Day” fundamentally alter the lives of viewers? I know I revered this episode when I first watched it in summer 2003. As a stupid teenager I sympathized with Dawson. As an oft-bearded man I sympathize with Joey, and Pacey. Every character, except for Jen, Will, and Mitch, treat Pacey like he’s a hell-demon that deserves to feel the absence of love, because hell-demons don’t deserve love. Guess what? Dawson Leery is the hell-demon, an incubus, a near-psychotic with control issues and who controls Joey through guilt and fear. Their scene in Act IV is insane. Dawson feels he has a claim on Joey because of the soul mate belief, and because they were each other’s first loves. Andie, too, believes it. Dougie believes it. Dawson unleashes unholy hell on Joey for daring to feel for Pacey Witter. Dawson asked Pacey to take care of her after he, Dawson, rejected her advances in the season three premiere. Pacey and Joey formed a bond, a connection, and he bought a wall for her. The Dawson of it all, which I rambled about yesterday, lasted awhile in the series. After Dawson shouts words at her about losing him forever, about her losing self-worth if she decides to be with Pacey (because Pacey only wants her body, he believes), she walks to where Pacey sits, his True Love docked a few feet from him, while his true love stands before him to end it. Pacey heard Dawson shout he wants sex and nothing else from Joey; he heard from Doug how he’ll end up alone because Joey will never feel what she feels for Dawson; and Andie asks Pacey how stupid he is to mess with the destined soul mates. It is a bizarre and insane episode, broken up in Rashomon style, allowing for four different perspectives in the episode; however, it’s not as complex as the style of the episode makes it. The drama in “The Longest Day” is basic for many teens. Hurt feelings, people pairing off at the expense of someone’s broken heart, tension within a group, and yada yada. Dawson’s insane verbal vomit that’s harsh enough to make Joey cry comes from a hurt, wounded place in his mind. Dawson’s Creek, especially in Williamson’s seasons, and in the third, depicted self-aware and sharply articulate teenagers who still couldn’t communicate how they felt or know how to act sometimes because they’re teenagers. One may possess the eloquence of Shakespeare’s Petruchio but one has not the experience nor the maturity nor the specific eloquence with which to deal with the girl you love choosing someone else instead of you. Dawson’s writing is poor. The writers hit the wrong beats over and over. Joey’s more a possession, an object, to Dawson than soul mate. He wants her when he can’t have her. The writers gave him a victim complex. Jen and Joey conversed about why the woman in a triangle becomes the villain. Joey points out she’ll hurt one of them. Jen states that men usually depict the woman who wrong them as the villain. Of course, the series is still filtered through Dawson’s worldview. Dawson’s the director, the creator, the shaper of the narrative, and he treats the soul mate distinction as a thing of medieval Arthurian lore, as the holy grail, so when he finds it is his by rites of the Lord God above. Will told Andie the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice during their overwhelming first date on the creek, suggested by Dawson, for thematic parallel reasons. Orpheus lost Eurydice and then went to Hades to rescue her. He won her freedom from Hades, but he could not look back at her while they traveled home. Orpheus, fearing she’d disappear, looked back, and she disappeared into “thin air.” Will needed to sit Dawson next to Andie in the rowboat for the story. The writers identified Dawson as Orpheus and Andie as Orpheus. Both don’t want to lose their Eurydices to Hades. Hades is Pacey, also known as the hell-demon of “The Longest Day.” Dana Barrata’s script succeeds as a tragic love story--it’s doubly tragic: Dawson, Joey, and Pacey are alone at the end. No, my mistake: Jen comforts Dawson of all folk; so, Dawson, who threatened Pacey and Joey with a lifetime of loneliness, receives comfort from his friend, while the other miserably break apart and end up alone. Fiction follows a long tried and true tradition of the villain triumphing before the end. Indeed, Dawson triumphs in keeping his former best friend and always soul mate apart, but it’s temporary. True Love prevails, after all.

-I would’ve liked a passing reference to a Chekhov short story, “About Love,” in which Alehin tells a story about a woman he loved, that culminates in an epiphany he experienced about love. The library serves as a recurring set. None of the characters read a book or a story while there.

-I adore season three Jen Lindley. She’s the best. She’s absolutely the best. Kevin Williamson probably disliked the cheerleader arc, but I adore it. I like Jen and Henry together. I love how chill Jen is. Her and Jack hang out drama-free under the stars on a hot summer night. Her and Pacey hook up drama-free for a spell of episodes in season three until Dawson and Joey ruin that.

-True Love does not prevail. A storm destroys the boat in “The Two Gentlemen of Capeside,” #403. Dawson is cast as the brokenhearted selfless hero.

-Will was the lead, I guess, in the failed spin-off of Dawson’s Creek, Young Americans. Ian Somerhalder was in the main cast with Kate Bosworth. Michelle Monoghan and Charlie Hunnam appeared in guest roles. Kerry Ehrin wrote the third episode. Ehrin later wrote for Friday Night Lights and co-created Bates Motel. I liked Will. I don’t know why the writers didn’t bring the character back in season four. The WB cancelled the series after eight episodes. One last fun fact: the series preceded Dawson’s Creek in devoting many parts of an episode to product placement.

-Anyone looking to excel at passive-aggression may study Dawson in the scene when he tells Joey how The Last Picture show ended. Ah, Dawson, what a villain.

“Doppelgangland”

-Willow had ‘one of those days.’ You know that day. Nothing’s right. Everyone around you walks all over you, you feel, or makes fun of you as they never do. ‘One of those days’ is more about you than them, though. Any other episode Willow wouldn’t have felt insulted by ‘Ol’ Reliable.’ Her powers increase as a witch—she’s spinning pencils in the air. Her human powers are the same. Snyder and Percy run over her. At least with Anya Willow takes with her the chicken feet when she leaves the spell area.

-“Doppelgangland” is the lone sequel to “The Wish.” Anya mourns her lost vengeance demon power. Anya’s line about failing mail and being 1100 years old crack me up all these years later. Joss Whedon wrote and directed the episode. He made it look easy.

-Adorably sweet scene when Xander, Buffy, and Giles see Willow alive and well. The existence of two Willows creates good dramatic irony. Whedon’s Shakespearean admiration subtly comes through in the aforementioned scene as well as the scene in which Angel breaks the terrible news to Buffy.

-Anya and Willow working together on the spell that accidentally brings Vamp Willow to Sunnydale, instead of sending Anya to Wish-verse, struck me. I thought of “Triangle,” a season five episode in contrast to them working together. Anya and Willow don’t bond, but, you know, Whedon didn’t know the arc of the Anya character beyond. Actually, I’m certain he did. This dude pitched five seasons of Firefly and Dollhouse to FOX.

-The episode is Shakespeare-lite. Identity swaps and role reversals. The characters do not dance at the end of the episode, though. Shakespeare’s comedies do end with a ‘flourish.’ Every actor had the chance to act as his or her character’s opposite. Sarah act as Faith and the Buffybot; Xander played vamp Xander and double Xander (who is completely lucky, successful, and not a renter in his childhood home, because he owns his own place); Tony Head played Giles the teenager in “Band Candy”; Boreanaz played Angelus.

-Cordelia and Wesley. Wesley saved Cordelia from Vamp Willow. Alexis Denisof nailed Wesley from his first episode until his last. One day I might write a long essay about Wesley. Wesley’s my favorite character in all the Whedonverse. I love dopey, nerdy, awkward Wesley as I love dark, scarred throat, scruffy Wesley in ANGEL and all that happens between the extremes of his characterization. Season 1 of ANGEL Wesley taught me to dance. The character’s not different from season 3 Wesley. Anyway, yes, I learned to dance by watching “She.” I lost to my friend, Bryan Jawn, in a dance contest at senior year homecoming 2004. Cordy and Wesley kiss in “Graduation Day.” They’re co-workers until Wesley kidnaps Connor, and her body is hijacked by Jasmine before Wesley returns to Angel Investigations. Season 5 wipes those memories. “Origin” restores the memories, in a great, great episode. Cordy and Wes share a sweet and tender reunion in “You’re Welcome,” ANGEL’s 100th episode. It all matters in Whedon’s stories.


-“This world’s no fun.” “You noticed that too.” Oh, the Willows. I’d hug them both. Joss makes storytelling seem easy. Willow can’t let her doppelganger die. Her doppelganger is her. Joss told a story about duality in a fun, witty story about alternate dimensions, playacting, and bad days, but it's sneaky in its duality and identity theme. Teenager concentrate on fixed, singular identities. What’s cool then is what they’ll follow and what they’ll be. Duality implies two halves. We contain multitudes. By the end Willow recognizes the power within herself—with the help of a sad, wandering, and aimless vampire from an alternate hell dimension. She's both and more, "and a little gay", and that's okay.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dawson's Creek & Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Day 2: "Castaways" & "The Wish"

“Castaways”

-The sixth season of Dawson’s Creek is one of the worst seasons in television history. When it’s not filling out episodes with filler characters, filler relationships, and filler drama, which comes from the aforementioned filler characters and filler relationships, it’s an extended commercial for a product, a band, a radio show; or it’s an extended PSA about the dangers of becoming rich as a stock broker. I write of the sixth season as an entity removed from the writers’ room. The writers filled out episodes with all that nonsense. It’s a deplorable, dismal season that’s later, not redeemed because not even the risen Christ could redeem Dawson’s Creek season six, ignored by Williamson’s finale. He tossed out all the stupid wasteful plot devices disguised as characters (Audrey’s not among the stupid wasteful things of the last two seasons). Episode 8 of season six brings the gang to a No Doubt concert. 3/4s of an act is devoted to No Doubt’s performance. Joshua Jackson directed the Dr. Drew/Adam Carolla episode. “Castaways” is a giant-sized commercial for K-Mart.

-The only way to make a giant-sized commercial K-Mart palatable is by returning to the Joey-Pacey romance. Season five ignored their romantic past. The writers began writing towards Pacey and Joey again in season six. “Castaways” establishes that Joey and Pacey remembered their relationship during Pacey’s relationship with Audrey. There’s so much around the Pacey-Joey dynamic in “Castaways” that I don’t like. On its own, removed from the trappings of horrible story choices and the total K-Mart product placement, it’s a good specific story about two characters with a past together and uncertain future together. First thing in their way is Pacey’s season six arc as a stockbroker. His friends and his family don’t like the work he does, because money’s the root of all evil. His goatee represents his newfound financial success, and Joey wants him to shave it at the first chance she gets to do something that he otherwise wouldn’t do (because he feels bad for their Act 1 fight ). Second thing in their way is Eddie, an improvement over Chad Michael Murray’s Charlie but still only a tertiary character with no purpose besides standing between Joey and either Dawson or Pacey.

-Joshua Jackson and Katie Holmes sparkle together. The series finale concluded with a montage of the series set to the song “Say Goodnight, Say Goodbye” and it’s notable the lone clips from season six come from “Castaways” and another Pacey-Joey centric episode when she leaves him at a high school dance because gosh darn Eddie returned to Capeside. Pacey has his Dawson moment in the store when he wonders why Joey didn’t brood or despair after their break-up. Joey’s answer does not include the fact that Dawson always attaches their parting with a megaton of psychological trauma. The conversation is disappointingly restrained. The writers didn’t get into the reasons why Pacey broke it off in season 4. Joey mentions “valid reasons” for why they’re not together after they kissed post-goatee shave. Pacey, in a way, refers to what’s changed in his answer about whether or not he feels happy, which is that he has everything he wanted in his life for the first time. Later, of course, he repeats what Joey said to him about ‘a thousand reasons’ why they don’t work together. Creative writing teachers tell students to show and don’t tell. “Castaways” tells us Pacey and Joey don’t work and cite a thousand reasons though the only reason is that Pacey’s not her soul mate, which means he’s not Dawson—that is a major reason why the series dragged because of the Dawson of it all. I’d like to ask Kevin Williamson would he have kept Dawson around as a looming figure of doom, darkness, and insistently there whenever Joey almost moved on. The writers sort of move on from it in season six after they have sex, but the triangle returns in the finale. There’s a great late season six episode when Joey arranges Pacey and Dawson to meet after Pacey lost his money in bad stock stuff. Pacey and Dawson recognize that the only thing Joey wanted was for them to be friends again. Dawson or Pacey? It was never a question. The shaving scene is more tender and intimate than any Dawson/Joey scene in six seasons.

-Pacey suggested Joey use the words “postmodern” and “subjectivity” in her discussion about Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Joey complimented him for the suggestion, and Pacey is right. If any future English major reads these words, be advised professors dig specific literary jargon buzzwords. Gender identity in Shaw’s Pygmalion? Your professor will give you a B at minimum.

-Among the items displayed in “Castaways” for the K-Mart commercial element of the episode: low-priced VCRs, TVs, blank VHS tapes, 25% off best sellers, a collection of DVDs that can save you the hassle of reading an assigned book, camp equipment, purple pajamas, big slippers, a Boston Bruins sweat shirt, razors, shaving cream, video cameras, nachos, large cups for fountain sodas, popcorn, condoms, automobile equipment, and low, low prices.

-Police never free Pacey and Joey from the K-Mart. Freezing rain outside prevented police from helping; however, they found all they needed inside a K-Mart. Blatant native advertising is bad ending to any episode of television, especially when it’s K-Mart. K-Mart is not ‘perfection.’ Yes, Joey Potter calls it perfection. She promised to call the home office and say, “Don’t change a thing.” Season six.

“The Wish”

-Anya describes Xander as an “utter loser” before Cordelia makes her wish. Anya, of course, asks Xander to prom. The following season they begin dating and then happiness abounds until a season six episode.

-The episode leans on binaries. Early in the episode Xander asked Buffy how she dealt with Angel’s death. Buffy said, “I have you guys.” Her friends in Sunnydale keep her from becoming Cleveland-based Buffy. Giles and Oz are binary-free. Larry already changed from bully into lovable recurring character. Giles never ceased believing in a better world. Anya’s line, “What makes you think the next world is better than this?” which is a mere paraphrase leads to Giles’ memorable “Because it has to be.”

-Every major character dies in the wish dimension. The best is Angel’s sudden dusting. He turns around, says Buffy’s name, and Buffy walks through his falling dust. It’s a hell of a sequence that does not lose impact or affect after many re-watches.

-“The Wish” happens after “Lover’s Walk”, a gem of an episode, and takes place in a unique bubble for the show. Xander and Willow kiss for the first and only time in the series in “Lover’s Walk” and deal with the fallout in “The Wish.” They never come close to dating again. It was the first “ship” of the series. Leave it to Joss to give the fans what they wanted when they don’t want it, because Buffy fans loved Oz. I adore Xander and Cordelia together, and I would’ve liked a Xander cameo after Cordelia died. Wish Willow returned in #316, an episode I will bet a small amount of pepper on will air later this week.


-I’ll leave the last words to Joss Whedon: “So, a lot of people upset that nobody learned anything in this episode. But you know what I thought was cool? Nobody learned anything in this episode! For Cordy to cause such a hideous disaster and be totally unaware of it and not learn anything just totally makes me laff. On the other hand, the audience learned (to be pedantic) the importance of Buffy's support group, so it's not like everything is the same. Meanwhilst, Willow in leather. Everyone seemed to have the same reaction I did to THAT.”

About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.