I don’t know if you guys have heard this or not, but when the 2020-21 college basketball season starts, Marquette men’s basketball will have a high profile freshman named Dawson Garcia. You can click the link there and realize he’s kind of a big deal. You know what else was a big deal back in the day? The WB hit show Dawson’s Creek.
Much like we did for The O.C. for Sandy Cohen a few years ago, we’re going to jump in and start recapping Dawson’s Creek episodes. Why? Well, to be honest, I don’t know much about the show other than the basics, so if I’m going to run an internet blog and enjoy making pop culture references along the way, then I’d better learn a few for Dawson’s Creek/Dawson Garcia. Besides, we’ve got nothing but free time between now and whenever college sports actually do start up again thanks to the coronavirus, so what better way to occupy ourselves?
ALSO: If you have a catchy name for these recaps other than just “The Dawson’s Creek Recaps,” shout it out in the comments section or kick an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or send the AE Twitter a note. We used “The Sandy Cohen Chronicles” for The O.C., but that worked since it was an actual character’s name. I don’t think “The Dawson Garcia Chronicles” works quite as well here.
Alright, hit it, Paula Cole!
Season 1, Episode 6: “Baby”
Written By: Joanne Waters (story) and Jon Harmon Feldman (teleplay)
Directed By: Steve Miner
Previously on Dawson’s Creek: Joey’s older sister Bessie is pregnant, and she’s not married to her black boyfriend, either. Ms. Jacobs has tried to create a boundary with Pacey, but that has failed miserably and she is now regularly sleeping with one of the students in her high school English class. However, Ms. Jacobs is looking at ending things eventually because of the public exposure risk factor.
As it seems so many episodes do, we open on Movie Night on Dawson’s bed. I presume that he gets as many free rentals as he wants when the shop closes at the end of the night, because my guy has four cassettes sitting on his bed for what’s up next. However, there is no next. Joey hops off the bed to start heading for home. Bessie baby is due next week, so she needs more help around the house. Hey, come on now, Bodie can help, says Dawson, and then fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally the camera pivots and we find out that Jen is also at Movie Night. Sitting in a chair next to Dawson’s bed. You’re never going to believe this, but neither girl feels particularly comfortable staying with the other one in the room. Of course, there’s also the aspect where both of them will leave if the other one does because they don’t want to be the one that ruined Movie Night for the other one, and bang, off they both go. The obvious solution here: Dawson needs more friends.
Over at the Potter residence the next morning, Bodie and Bessie discuss her physical condition given that she’s 39 weeks pregnant. You’ll never believe it, but she’s having trouble being comfortable doing literally anything. Here’s some fun news: Bodie has an interview at some new French restaurant over in Hyannis today. Bessie and Joey end up sniping at each other about Joey’s enthusiasm for living with Bodie and Bessie. I’m not exactly clear as to why this happens, given that noted minor Joey Potter has to live with some responsible adult, but as we’ll see later, this is important to set up the fact that the sisters are not in perfect harmony with each other.
Grams cleans up Jen’s room, which includes picking up her various assortment of underpants. Colors, designs, all sorts of fun. The notoriously closeminded Grams is not a fan of what Jen wears under her clothes which are, given Jen’s history, pretty sedate. She’s also not a fan of the calendar that Jen has on her wall, which is a month-by-month collection of artistic photographs of nude males. Jen eventually wanders into all of this, and when Grams objects, Jen points out that hey, isn’t that Jesus of Nazareth dude nekkid up on that cross? I dunno about you, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full frontal crucifix before. Anyway, this leads to Grams asking what happened to the little girl who went to Sunday School when she visited back in the day, and Jen says she has outgrown church. Again, a very obvious setup for what comes later, although like Joey and Bessie, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a variation on this conversation.
Pacey has sidled up to Ms. Jacobs out in the parking lot at Capeside High School and begins making his argument that they should go on an actual date date. Yes, the 40 year old English teacher and her 15 year old boyfriend should absolutely do lots of being seen together in public. Fantastic plan, dummy. Pacey’s solution: Let’s go down to Providence! No one knows us down there! I’d just like to point out that they’re having this conversation somewhat loudly in what has to be a busy parking lot at the start of the school day. Pacey is a moron.
He decides to double down on his dumb as he goes on and on and on about his potential weekend plan to Dawson in the bathroom inside the school building. Hey, she didn’t actually say no out loud! After all of this, Pacey begins to check the stalls for an occupant. However, he completely halfasses this by just looking underneath the doors for feet. You’re never going to believe this, but there was someone in the stalls, but Kenny Leaverton didn’t want to get caught smoking so he had his feet up on the toilet seat! Oh, no, Pacey! He heard everything..... because you’re dumb.
Dawson and Jen walk around at school, and talk about weekend plans. Dawson’s parents are off at a couples therapy retreat or whatever this weekend, so Stately Leery Manor is down to one occupant. However, Jen has more important things to discuss, namely the rumor she heard about Pacey and Ms. Jacobs. It’s not a question of who told her, but who didn’t tell her. Oh dear. Dawson tears off to find Pacey, very carefully telling Jen he won’t lie to her so let’s just pretend this conversation did not happen. Dawson and Jen post up at what I presume is Pacey’s locker, and Joey has also heard the rumor. Pacey approaches, and before he gets there, some random girl grabs him to whisper in his ear, presumably about the rumor. He seems not pleased to find out that other people have found out.
Joey fills in the detail about Kenny Leaverton The Smoker, and Dawson and Pacey huddle up in...... a supply closet? Well, sure, bathrooms are too dangerous now. Pacey starts throwing himself a pity party because woe is him, his life is ruined now. Yeah, way to not think about Ms. Jacobs and her 1) job and 2) potential criminal future. Smooth, dummy. Dawson has an idea, though: LEAN INTO THE RUMOR. Moping confirms it’s true! Playing it off makes it just a rumor and boom: NO PROBLEM FOR ANYONE and then it all goes away.
Pacey is 110% on board with Dawson’s plan, right up until he walks out of the supply closet and takes one walk down one hallway set to the tune of Insecuriosity by Andrew Dorff. What a fantastic song title for this moment. He maintains a strong front all the way to the corner and then practically collapses from the stress of trying to be cool and calm. My god, man.
Ms. Jacobs teaches her class about Romeo & Juliet, and there’s a forbidden fruit metaphor that she’s explaining. You can go ahead and write the snickering jokes from rumor fueled high school sophomores here, because they’re all exactly what you think. Pacey coming in late to class only stokes the fire. If Ms. Jacobs didn’t hear about the rumors already, then she has probably figured it out now.
Pacey pouts down by the docks after school. Joey wanders up with a classic opening line: “Hey, jailbait.” Anyway, she’s there to empathize with Pacey, as she’s gone through what he’s going through. People stare and whisper about the girl who lives with her unmarried pregnant sister and black boyfriend because her dad is in jail on a drug conviction, too. I feel like that’s not quite the same as Pacey’s thing, which is something that Pacey could have actually avoided on multiple levels. Her advice for Pacey? “Pray like hell for a better story to come along.” Seems mean, actually.
Dawson and Jen walk home, which gives her a chance to mention that her conversations with Grams always derail because she just can’t not be smarmy to her grandmother. Anyway, Grams is at the door waiting, and dinner will be on the table at 6pm.
Joey also walks home, and she finds Bessie and her truck.... stuck in a pothole? I’m not completely clear exactly what the trouble is with the truck, but as it turns out, the trouble is actually Bessie’s uterus. She was on her way to the clinic because she’s pretty sure she’s in labor. With the Potter’s phone out of order at the moment, that makes the one at Dawson’s house the nearest operational phone. No, seriously, how out in the middle of nowhere is this house?
Anyway, Joey points out that Dawson’s house is closest, but not the most convenient. This leads to a smash cut to a wide view of the titular creek in question, as Joey rows the two of them across. Also, Bessie points out that if she doesn’t put her back into it, it’s going to be the three of them by the time they get to Dawson’s house. Joey is distracted by the boat leaking. Bessie points out that it’s not the boat that’s leaking, which is a very funny water breaking joke.
Dawson’s busy using the phone at his house trying to track down Pacey as the Potter women show up, and Dawson calls for an ambulance. Good news: It’s on the way! Bad news: It has to stop in Duxbury first, because of a major automobile accident. According to Bessie, that’s an hour away! Seems bad. Bessie goes on a tear about being in the middle of nowhere with one hospital and one ambulance and no doctor for 30 miles. I am now attempting to figure out where Capeside is, exactly. We’ll come back to this, as there are more clues later. Bessie demands to have the phone and we get your standard pregnant lady about to pop yelling at a person who is ostensibly there to help them bit. I wonder how long it’s going to take before someone realizes that there’s an RN living next door.
Dawson couldn’t get Pacey on the phone (remember, this is 1998) because he was headed to Ms. Jacobs’ house to explain what happened. He didn’t tell everyone, only Dawson. Kenny The Smoker is not his fault, except for the part where it was his fault because he yammered on before halfassedly checking the stalls. Ms. Jacobs is super pissed, obviously, since the rumor is that she committed a felony, and she goes along with Pacey’s idea to do more things that regular couples do. Except she means that it’s time for her to break up with him.
Jen finds a King James Bible in her bedroom, and that is not a subtle message there, Grams. A fight about theology is about to break out but there’s a knock at the door. It’s Joey, which means that we did not have to wait long for them to remember that Grams is an RN. Joey’s tactic here is..... to demand that Grams help the baby and forget about all the sin-related reasons why she doesn’t like the entire Potter family. Grams stares at her, which is a fair reaction, I think.
Pacey sulks to some very sad sounding metal music playing, and as luck would have it Older Brother Officer Doug pulls up to hassle Pacey about being involved with this rumor because Doug heard that the kid involved made it all up. How dare Pacey do that to the lovely Tamara. Pacey’s response is thus: “Well, at least it’s a story about someone in the Witter family having heterosexual intercourse for once.” I am not kidding you here: This is a bad look for Pacey and 2) Doug LITERALLY PULLED A GUN ON PACEY OVER THIS ISSUE DURING THE HURRICANE LAST WEEK. Maybe cool it, dude? This is how we find out that there’s an emergency school board meeting scheduled for tonight. That was fast.
Dawson sells Bessie on the idea of videotaping her delivery because Bodie is “on the other side of the county right now.” Okay, so we know he went to a restaurant in Hyannis for an interview. Hyannis is kind of on the west end of Barnstable County in Massachusetts, with Barnstable County being the entirety of that long extending peninsula that extends out into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a 65 minute drive or thereabouts from Duxbury to Chatham, which is on the far east end, so I think we can narrow Capeside’s location to in the vague area near Chatham. Or a replacement for Chatham if you prefer. The population is about 6,000, which feels about right for Capeside and it’s right on the ocean, too. This has been another thrilling installment of Dawson’s Creek Geography.
Bessie agrees, but only if she gets final cut on the video. Ha ha ha movie joke. Joey brings Grams in, which is good news since we left that on a big ol’ question mark. To the absolute surprise of no one, Grams is a flipping boss when it comes to doing triage nursing with a baby imminently about to arrive. Bessie is wildly unhappy with this development, but Grams even takes charge of her: “I will resist any urge to bond with you when this is over as long as you do me a favor.” “What’s that?” “Shut up.” NAILED IT. A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL IS HERE AND DOING SMART MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL THINGS.
Pacey turns up at the.... I dunno, maybe the town courthouse? It’s a pretty fancy looking building. It’s presumably for the school board meeting, as there’s Ms. Jacobs sitting there in nicer clothes than we saw her earlier in the day. There’s also another lady with her who we don’t recognize.... and that is Ms. Jacobs’ attorney. Yeah, she’s not fooling around any more. We have to say any more, because she was absolutely fooling around with a 15 year recently. All questions go through the attorney, obviously, and we close out of here with a “Would you tell your client I’m sorry?”
We get a brief return to Baby Delivery to kill some time in between now and when the school board meeting starts, and Dawson is busy shooting footage of Joey sitting on the couch in a dour mood. Well, good thing that Bessie has final cut, because Dawson sucks at documentary filmmaking.
The school board meeting is underway, and it very much looks more like a ultra fancy town council meeting bordering on a low end appellate court hearing. So they’ve got questions for Ms. Jacobs and that goes on for a minute until Pacey wanders straight past Officer Doug in the back of the room to interrupt the proceedings. He’ll get his turn, gosh darn it, but Pacey says he can get all of them out of here now. The board members are very big fans of ending things early, so Pacey very carefully words a story about how he made every single word of everything about his relationship with Ms. Jacobs up. Considering that Kenny The Smoker heard maybe three minutes of talk, it’s not hard to convince the school board that this is the truth. For a second, I think that the school board president is attempting to set Pacey up because he asks “Do you deny the allegations?” and that is very much a question that you need know specifically know the allegations before you answer. However, it’s not a set up. Pacey says Ms. Jacobs is just his English teacher and nothing more.
Back to Baby Delivery, where Jen is starting to flip out about blood on a towel that’s over Bessie’s legs. Actually, I have questions about how that blood is getting on a surface that’s apparently only touching Bessie’s lower legs, too, but Grams is unconcerned with it, and tells Jen to get her head in the game. Grams is, however, very concerned with how annoying and distracting Dawson and his camera are, and she swats him out of the room. Seeing as he’s not actually doing what he told Bessie what he was going to be doing for Bodie’s benefit, I’m a big fan of this decision.
After a commercial break, we’ve got more Baby Delivery stuff, and Bessie and Jen tag team to demand that Grams do something with drugs to alleviate Bessie’s pain. I’m not saying they’re bad people and should feel bad, but at least one of them [coughJencough]should realize that they are in the Leery living room and not a hospital. Grams instead opts for The Lord’s Prayer. Hey, it’s not for Bessie, it’s for the baby! It’s also a distraction tactic, because once Bessie starts repeating the prayer back to Grams, Grams flips back into “OKAY PUSH” mode. Slick. She’s really good at this.
Dawson tracks down Joey outside. We get a question answered, as they refer to Grams as “Mrs. Ryan,” and since Jen’s last name is Lindley, Grams is Jen’s maternal grandmother. Nice to get that solved. Joey is worried about how things are going in there, because Bessie’s reactions to labor pain remind Joey of the pain that her mother went through after her chemotherapy treatments. Joey thinks this is a dumb reason for worrying, but 1) it’s definitely not, which Dawson points out, and 2) Dawson also comes through in the clutch by pointing out that Joey knew her mom needed her then, so how is this any different for Bessie? Nicely played, m’man.
Officer Doug catches up with Ms. Jacobs outside the hearing, as he desperately hopes that she doesn’t hold this against the whole Witter family. I presume that Doug is hoping she’ll hold something else against someone in the Witter family if you smell what The Rock is cookin’. Ms. Jacobs artfully plays off of what Doug says and compliments him on what a responsible and smart young brother he has, and then she hops in her convertible and drives off. Pacey watches her leave. A question: How is it still daylight out??!? This is a school day! It’s been hours!
Bessie’s baby is beginning to crown, so it’s time for one more big push. Joey turns up just at the right moment to give Bessie the psychological boost she needs to get it done. Out comes her baby, it’s a boy, and it is super disgustingly covered in baby goo. Dawson catches everything on tape, including Joey’s awkward smile. Maybe that’s just a Katie Holmes smile, though.
Pacey wanders around..... up to Ms. Jacobs’ house. Odin help me. Just leave the nice lady alone now. She actually talks to him, and appreciates what he did in the meeting......... and his response is to hope that she was just talking in the heat of the moment about the breaking up thing. WHAT THE HELL, DUDE?!? I actually shouted loudly at my television when this happened. Pacey is a colossal moron if he thinks he has any shot with Ms. Jacobs at this point, and he tries anyway. Anyway, she knows everything is going to be fine going forward, and it’s not because she’s going to beat Pacey to death to insure that’s the case. No, she’s already resigned, and she’s headed to her sister’s house in Rochester immediately. I presume this is Rochester, MA, not Rochester, NY, as she expects to be there tonight. She gives a standard “we all knew we would have to end this eventually speech” and Pacey’s request for a farewell kiss is denied. Pacey remains the absolute worst, because did I mention that this is happening OUT ON THE BEACH OUTSIDE HER HOUSE? Ugh. He does get a hug, though, so now Ms. Jacobs is dumb, too, and then she kisses him on the forehead and again: THEY ARE OUTSIDE IN PUBLIC ON THE BEACH. So so so so so so so so stupid.
At least we’re done with that stupid plot.
Grams relaxes at her kitchen table with a crossword. I wonder what happened to dinner? Jen comes in to say good night, and she actually has a nice conversation with her grandmother for once. Funny how just treating a person like a person works out well for you here and there.
We get a nice moment at the Potter house, with Bodie back from his interview. No word on what happened there, but also SURPRISE YOUR BABY IS HERE, MY GUY. Bessie insists that Joey hold her nephew, and the sisters agree that the baby has their mother’s eyes.
We wrap up with Pacey sulking on the beach some more, this time in the dark, and yep, you guessed it: He’s back at Ms. Jacobs’ house. Where there is a light on. And Ms. Jacobs is visibly turning the light off. Pacey turns around and walks the other way. Okay, look, I get that she had to pack a few things, but this is very much not at your sister’s house tonight right now. I checked: This is definitely the last time we see Ms. Jacobs in Capeside............ THIS SEASON. [insert dramatic chipmunk GIF] The point is that this is definitely intended as the conclusion of this plot thread, as Ms. Jacobs literally turns out the light on Pacey.
And now to steal an idea from The Post Atomic Horror, a very good and very in-depth Star Trek podcast.
GOOD THING: I’m not even kidding, the best thing about this episode is absolutely 100% the end of the very stupid “Pacey has sex with a teacher” storyline. Good riddance to that rubbish. It was dragging the entire show down with its absurdity, and was, seemingly, the last remaining thread from the entirely way too sex crazed pilot episode.
BAD THING: Is school board member a full time job in Capeside? Just by logic of the first day of school was five episodes ago, we’re easily into October here. Yet somehow, there is an emergency school board meeting that is called, convened, and concluded, all before as Pacey puts it in an effort to get a chance to talk before Ms. Jacobs says anything, “in time for dinner.” And also it’s sunny outside when it’s over. In October. In Massachusetts. Aren’t most school boards essentially a volunteer type thing, and thus they don’t even start meetings until 7pm at the earliest because everyone involved needs to leave their actual paying job? Capeside isn’t even that big, or maybe it is because they have a TV station! It’s very unclear. I’m saying I have many questions here.