"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"
By Tammy and Melissa
Scene 1: Supermarket of Love
Melissa: Jen and Pacey shop for groceries Gram’s Thanksgiving dinner. Nice crimped hair, Jen. Not. It is established that they have not had sex yet. Jen complains about Pacey’s use of foreplay. At least he uses foreplay, Jen. There are a lot of teenage boys who don’t, but I’ll save that rant for another day. Pacey tells her how crappy Thanksgiving will be at his house because his dad sucks. BTW, kids, “derriere” does not mean “ass” in French. It means behind, as in “I parked my car Behind the house”. It is also established that Andie and Jack will not be over at the Ryan house. Pacey gets a little choked up at the mention of Andie’s name; Jen notices and gives him a hug. Pacey tries to cop a feel, Jen laughs at his clumsy attempt, and cut to opening credits.
Tammy: Unlike my wily counterpart, I don’t have a cute little nickname for this scene. I could call it Parallels in the Lives of Pacey and Dawson, but how can I compete with the “Supermarket of Love”? Anyway, we begin this scene with the ever annoying Dawson. He walks in, and takes into account his two parents activities. What I’ve always hated in television shows is their need to show two opposites, a Goofus and Gallant so to speak. On Dawson’s Creek, Pacey is the Goofus, and Dawson, the Gallant (Was there ever a doubt in your mind as to who was who? After all, the title tells it all-one has to be pretty pretentious in order to own their own creek.) In the former scene, Pacey doesn’t want to go home for Thanksgiving because his father will be watching football while his sisters and mother slave over a kitchen stove all day. We are given an impression that this is bad. On the other hand, Dawson walks into the kitchen to find his dad watching football and his mother slaving over the kitchen stove. However, this scene somehow gives off an aura similar to the Waltons. Returning back from my tangent-the Leery’s proceed to have a somewhat dysfunctional/happy family chat. As they drone on I notice Mrs. Leery holding a knife that I wish I could impale myself on, or maybe just Dawson (as you can tell, I’m not a real fan of the big D). Luckily Mrs. Leery solves my problem by asking Dawson to go change.
Melissa: Wow, props to my witty counterpart. I didn’t even see that parallel. That scene just pissed me off because Mitch and Dawson were giving Gale a hard time about moving back into *their* house. Excuse me, but hasn’t Gale been the primary breadwinner for the past three seasons? She’s been paying the mortgage; therefor it’s Her house. By the way, “aura of the Waltons”? I never saw the show, but whatever.
Scene 3: Mommy Dearest
Melissa: Jen returns home. It’s obvious Grams wants to talk to her about something, but Jen won’t give her a chance. Jen prattles, Gram becomes more agitated, like Shut Up, Jennifer! As they walk towards Jen’s room, Grams implores Jen to remember that Thanksgiving is about forgiveness and all that good shit. Jen opens her bedroom door. Hey, her mom’s back! And guess what, it’s the mom from “Something So Right”. Nice to know she found a way to pay the bills after her show was cancelled, what three years ago?
Tammy: “Something So Right”? I had no idea what show that was until my sis reminded me what its premise was. All I can say is that I didn’t recognize her because...well, let’s just say the years have not been kind.
Scene 4: Potter Problems
Tammy: Okay, so after watching this episode in its entirety I noticed one similar thing, over and over again. In all of my scenes, excluding one, they begin each episode by panning into some form of nature. In this scene, it was a flower bed. So the only thing I’m wondering is: Did they pan into this flower bed because (1) they wanted to show off the Potter’s great gardening skills, (2) there’s some sort of nature symbolism going on, or (3) they needed to fill the space. After our little nature tangent, we enter into the home of the Potters. Jo and Bessie are making the typical Thanksgiving dinner. You know, the kind where you buy some ghetto chicken and throw it in the microwave without taking out the gizzard bag first. While Bessie makes the dinner, Joey is “cleaning” the kitchen. I didn’t realize that cleaning involved holding a small rag and wiping back and forth over a seemingly clean shelf. My bad. Joey uses this time to bring up her mother, again. Which I found amazing because she’s taking a trip down memory lane while she’s “cleaning”. (In case you didn’t notice, I’m not a fan of this too tall girl from the wrong side of the creek.)
Melissa: Good thing Joey doesn’t mention her dead mother about every other episode. If she did, it would get real boring, and my hatred for her would increase tenfold.
Scene 5: Dawson’s Room of Revelation(s)
Melissa: Gale enters Dawson’s room and compliments her son on his sweater. Gale, your son’s sweater is brown with an orange stripe across the front; it makes him look like a turkey. So I guess he’s just being festive. She mentions seeing Jen’s mom, Helen, at the store earlier. Then she asks Dawson if he told Jen about her half sister, Eve. Okay, wait a minute, how the fuck does Gale know about Eve? Anyways, Dawson has not told Jen yet. Gale believes it’s a coincidence Helen came down to Capeside then after over a year of being away from her daughter. It’s been over a year since Jen has seen her parents? Say it with me, Jen’s parents SUCK.
Tammy: Jen’s parents SUCK. Oh wait...was that a rhetorical comment?
Tammy: Again! Another nature scene. This time is a scene of the ocean. Jen is sitting on the docks contemplating her mother’s unannounced arrival. Grams tries to comfort Jen by telling her that her father was “detained on business”. I interpret this as another way of saying he’s off screwing other women, however, Jen replies by telling us that he’s probably drinking a martini. Grams thinks that Jen thinks-okay, already getting dizzy with all these permutations-so let’s start out with an easier sentence. Basically Grams thinks that Jen is happy to see her mother, but instead of happy she uses the word “prepared”. I think that Jen is “prepared” to open up a can of whoop ass on her mom. And we end this scene by making several corny analogies about crossing thresholds and crossroads.
Melissa: I concur with your interpretation, Tam. Jen also said that her father was *driving* while drinking a martini. Didn’t Princess Diana’s death teach the Euro police anything? When Grams told Jen that it was so weird seeing her mother again because there was so much they couldn’t say, I thought of that song, ‘Notting Hill’ song, “When You Say Nothing at All”. Don’t ask me why, I’m a crazy kid. Anyway, I thought it was kinda sweet the way Jen laid her head on Grams’s shoulder. But really, who sits out on the dock in Cape Cod during the winter?
Scene 7: Because when you break up with someone, it’s ALWAYS awkward
Melissa: Pacey, Andie and Jack meet (unexpectedly) in front of the Ryan house. Man, Jack looks mighty fine in that blue sweater. Awkwardness ensues because in case you have not gotten it by now, Pacey and Andie have not interacted since their second break up. Jack and Andie showed up because guess what, their dad sucks as well. Pacey tries to break the ice and asks what Andie brought. Tedious conversation about food. Jack already looks bored with the banality of their convo. Since Andie responds to Pacey’s food related question, Pacey takes the opportunity of asking Andie more personal questions. Andie chews Pacey out about trying to be the “nice polite friend” after the break up because if he really wanted to be with her, he wouldn’t have dumped her in the first place. Even thought I don’t think Andie has the right to complain, she did bring up a valid point. People should only attempt to be friends after the break up if both of them want it. Also, they should not try the friend thing until some time has passed. Pacey backs off immediately and offers to leave. Andie feels bad and offers to leave. Jack stops this exchange, thankfully, and tells them to get over themselves. Like, go Jack! And you look even hotter angry.
Scene 8: Nature Conspiracy
Tammy: Ah-this is where my little nature symbolism theory falls short. This scene begins with everyone arriving at the Lindley residence, sure they’re all outside, but I miss my little pan of the flowerbed. As they all arrive the song “Feels Like I’m Seventeen Again” plays in the background. Actually it feels more like I’m bashing my head against the wall in an attempt to hurry this scene along. Finally Jen enters her room to find her mother putting on whorish lipstick. Like all hip and trendy moms, Helen wants to be Jen’s ‘girlfriend’ and offers to share the lipstick. Thank god Jen declines. Jen stares at Helen, probably the atrocious shade of red, and Helen assumes that Jen is staring at her. Taking a trip down memory lane, Helen reminds Jen that she used to stare at her in the mirror as if she was the most important person in the room. Talk about a big ego-and I thought Dawson’s head was big. Helen then tries to offer Jen her mother’s pearls, but Jen declines because after all pearls lose their luster if they aren’t worn. And we all know that in little red-necked hick towns like Capeside, there’s no place to wear pearls. Eventually Jen escapes into the kitchen to help Grams.
Melissa: Why does Jen take coats if everyone will be eating outside? Brrr. Also, was Mitch trying to be a “hip and trendy mom” when he tried to buddy up with his son last year?
Scene 9: Joey’s 54, 675th mention of her dead mother
Melissa: Dawson and Joey offer to help Grams in the kitchen. Grams declines, telling them to pray instead. Jen comes down, Grams leaves, and D&J inquire after Helen. Jen tells them that Helen will be down soon, and tries to avoid talking about her. But Dawson won’t let it go, and interrogates Jen about her mother, even though tears are coming down her face. Basically Dawson tells Jen that maybe Helen came down because she loves her daughter and wants Jen back in New York. Jen tells Dawson that her mother has ignored her for years, and she probably doesn’t want her. Joey makes this situation all about her because, as you know, Joey was also sent away when her parents caught her fornicating with a boy. Remember? C’mon, guys, don’t you remember? Wait, you’re saying that never happened? So why is Joey being so rude and selfish by talking about her problems instead of Jen’s problems? Wait, you’re saying that Joey is selfish (as selfish as Dawson?) often? Damn, say it ain’t so! Joey tells Jen that she should make nice with Mama Lindley because Mama Potter died. What screwy logic is that? Katie Holmes must have realized how dumb her character sounded because the pained expression she has when she says this, coupled with the unflattering camera angle, makes it look like she is having a minor seizure. Anyway, Jen actually apologizes to Joey instead of telling the girl to shove it. Or maybe Jen was apologizing to us, realizing how sick we are of hearing about the Dead Mother.
Tammy: Hmm...maybe she was just trying to shut her up as fast as possible. Anyway, so glad I didn’t have to make a commentary on this scene because-oh yeah, Joey’s in it.
Scene 10: Witty Repartee a.k.a. Ain’t Gonna Find Any In This Scene
Tammy: My conspiracy theory holds true again in this scene as we first pan onto a swan or some geese-like bird sitting on the water. Perhaps this really is symbolism or parallelism because next we see Helen overlooking the water on the docks, looking like a swan. Or perhaps the ugly duckling. Whatever. Dawson arrives and you just know there’s gonna be trouble, especially because he starts out in a nice patronizing tone, ‘Jen and I dated.’ As the two continue in their babble I notice Helen wearing the pearls. But didn’t Jen just say that there was nowhere in Capeside to wear the pearls? Oh well, guess little Jenny is wrong again. Dawson begins his whole little speech with, “stop me if I get out of line”, which of course means that he’s going to offend her. Either with what he’s going to say or that stupid sweater. Dawson wants Helen to tell Jen about Eve. Helen in not so many words tells him to f off and that he’s out of line. Known for his witty repartee, Dawson replies that he’s ‘not the authority on the perfect family.’ Wait no. Sorry, I confused Dawson for Pacey.
Melissa: When Helen said to Dawson, “I’m glad Jen has a friend in you” (or something to that effect), the ‘Toy Story’ song, “You Got a Friend in Me” started playing in my head. But I’m weird like that.
Tammy: What is with you and hearing songs in your head?
Scene 11: Because when you break up with someone you ALWAYS have feelings for him/her
Melissa: Joey and Andie stand on the porch while Pacey and Jack set the table outside. Okay, who eats Thanksgiving dinner outside? I live in southern California, where it’s way warmer than Massachusetts, and we can never do that. Pacey asks Jack if Andie ever mentions him. Jack says yeah, but not necessarily in the nicest way. Jack also says to Pacey, “You broke her heart” accusingly, and I’m like, okay, whatever, Andie cheated on Pacey, remember? So Pacey has a monopoly on the pain, not Andie. Back on the porch, Joey attempts to console Andie. She tells her that the “dark nights will pass, you will find peace”, and again, I’m like, whatever. Joey, can’t you just tell her that even though it feels craptacular now, it eventually gets better? Joey dispenses this advice because she’s broken up with Dawson many times. True, but I also must point out that Pacey and Andie were together far longer than Joey and Dawson were, even if you combine the time from their multiple relationships. Joey and Andie go inside, and Andie asks Joey if Pacey ever mentions her. The answer is no, and Joey tries to let her down easy.
Tammy: As for the reason they were eating outside-it’s all a part of my big old nature symbolism conspiracy in this episode. Okay, so I have a few questions about this scene. First of all-multiple break ups? I don’t remember any of these. She went out with Jack and then broke up with him. She went out with Dawson, the two had a little fight, got back together and then broke it off. So I’m counting two, maybe three. I guess three is multiple, but still-what makes Joey such an expert on pain? Oh wait-forgot that she’s been milking the mom thing for a couple of years. Okay, second question-who the hell is paying these writers? That had to be one of the most stupid speeches Joey has made all year-aside from the ever original ‘I have to find myself’.
Scene 12: Thanks...for nothing.
Tammy: Here we go again as we pan onto the branch of a tree. Everyone is holding hands at the table and they all stand up to say their thanks. Dawson goes first because he’s Dawson and dammit-he owns the creek. Dawson gives thanks for the food and blah blah blah, I tune him out. I tune back in for Mitch’s clever joke, “Great cranberries,” directed at Pacey. Pacey smiles and nods to please the senile man. Pacey then proceeds to thank the Lindley ladies for the food. Andie follows up by thanking Mrs. Ryan and all her ‘great’ friends. Jack thanks the people who would take strays into their lives. I immediately get the mental image of a stray dog for some reason. He then says, “whether or not they are”, he pauses and I’m sure he’s gonna say gay, but he pulls a fast one on me by saying family. Joey then pulls a “Me me me!” and talks about her mom again so that we all feel sorry for her. Jen is thankful for second chances and somehow she must have touched her ice-cold mother, because Helen runs off. Jen, to the surprise of her grandmother, takes off after her.
Melissa: I didn’t feel sorry for Joey; I felt sorry for myself. Because when she mentioned the Dead Mother, or DM, I rolled my eyes so hard that my left eye go stuck for five minutes. Imagine, the pain, Tam! BTW, that’s the third reference of the DM this episode. I can’t wait until the Christmas episode; God knows how many times DM will be mentioned.
Scene 13: The Climax? Or not…
Melissa: Jen catches up with her mother. Helen attempts to justify sending Jen away. Helen also feels sorry for herself because she doesn’t have friends like Joey and Dawson. Count your blessings! They talk about why Jen was sent away; Jen wants to know what was “so wrong” with what she did. Nothing you did was so bad that it justified sending you away, Jennie, as I said before, your parents suck! Helen says she’ll try to explain. Good luck.
Scene 14: The Waltons and Their Dysfunctional Son
Tammy: Mitch and Gale are sitting at a table eating her wonderful pies (obviously they aren’t that great if no one else ate them). Dawson joins them and is extremely upset because they’re getting along. He makes several Petri references, which is completely inane because Dawson probably doesn’t even know who the Petris are. After all, he can't even pronounce forte right. Mitch replies to Dawson’s whine, “it’s not simple.” Okay, so that cleared nothing up and didn’t even make sense to me. So if I didn’t get it-obviously, Dawson didn’t. So once again, Dawson is out of the loop-gee, that’s new.
Melissa: Gosh, Dawson, it must really *suck* for your parents to have a friendly post divorce relationship. I feel your pain, buddy. Or not.
Scene 15: The Climax Again? Or not…
Melissa: Jen finds out about Eve. Jen calls her mother a hypocrite, blah blah blah. Helen implores Jen to look at the situation from her side. How, Helen asks Jen, was I supposed to tell your father about Eve, my “shameful secret”? For someone who has a “shameful secret”, Helen doesn’t look particularly guilty or ashamed. Jen calls her mother selfish, weak, etc. She also says that Helen can’t cry... because the ‘actress’ who plays Helen can’t act!
Scene 16: Obvious Man
Tammy: No nature symbolism here. Alexander is crying and Bessie decides to head home. On her way out she says goodbye to Dawson and obvious man a.k.a. oblivious man responds “Bessie-you leaving?” Jo demands to know what’s going on and somehow Dawson, unbeknownst to me, figured out what Mitch was talking about and tells her that the divorce is final. Jo-with a really weird look on her face-tells Dawson, “you don’t know how sorry I am” and I can see her mentally finishing “that I’m not the center of attention. Can we talk about my mom some more?” Dawson suggests that the two cut loose, the usual ‘sex, drugs, rock and roll’ followed by a ‘mind blowing three hour conversation’.
Melissa: “Mind blowing three hour conversation”? Yeah, I might want to buy a gun and shoot myself in the head if I actually had to listen to these two for three hours.
Scene 17: Gardening Shed of Erotica
Melissa: As Pacey leaves the Ryan house, he gets a booty call. As Jen pulls him into the shed, Pacey tries to beg off, saying that he has to be at his family’s dinner soon. Jen reminds him (and the viewers) of the agreement and starts unbuttoning his shirt. Pacey stops her and asks why she’s so riled up. She tells him, he sympathizes. He tell her how “liberating” it is to find that your parents are not perfect people and are so much more screwed up than you could ever be. I’m sure Pacey was thinking about his dad in the “Uncharted Waters” episode, which is a nice bit of continuity. The advice he gave was pretty decent, since it was the only counsel Jen received (aside what Grams gave her) that focused on Jen, and actually made Jen feel better about the crappy situation. So nice job, Pacey.
Tammy: Actually he stopped her because he’s afraid of rough sex, probably afraid to bruise his fragile skin. Loved Jen’s reference to SANE’s ‘Just Say No’ campaign.
Melissa: Actually, Tammy, it was Nancy Regan who coined the “Just Say No” catchphrase. But since you were born during the middle of the Regan administration, I’ll cut you some slack.
Tammy: Add another notch to my conspiracy as we open this scene up with a sunset over the marsh like swamp area known as Dawson’s Creek. Going back over to the Ryan house we see Helen leaving. Jen tells her mother that she won’t spill her dirty little secret, but that she doesn’t regret telling her mother off. Helen tells her that she deserved it. Jen tells her that she should get a divorce-but Helen refuses with the excuse of a smaller social circle and no more parties. Through this incredibly shallow revelation Jen realizes that her mother didn’t hate her, she hated herself. Grams comes out for the final goodbye. As the three generations stand outside, they all say their token good byes to their mothers.
Melissa: C’mon, Helen, I’m sure you have lots of divorced friends. I don’t think you’re Catholic or Mormon or something; it isn’t like your community will turn against you if you file for divorce.
Tammy: See, Melissa. That just goes to show you how you know nothing about divorces. Everyone knows after divorces you have no social life whatsover. I mean, c'mon. No one has ever heard of second or third marriages before.
Scene 19: Bonfire Mayhem
Tammy: Where’s the nature in this scene? The tree...that’s burning in the center of the screen. Pacey arrives, riding a bike, which Jen finds hysterically funny. The six all sit down around the bonfire, and somehow Pacey woos Andie over with ‘no hard feelings.’ I enjoy the silence that follows, but of course, big Dawg has to ruin it by making a stupid comment about parents letting them down. Not to be outdone for stupid remarks, Jo replies with ‘there won’t be a dry eye in the house”, referring to Dawson’s impending Oscar. Yeah, Dawson’s monster movies are real Oscar contenders.
Melissa: Pacey puts his arms around Jen’s shoulders as they walk to the bonfire, but in the next scene, his arm is gone. Are Pacey and Jen trying to hide their new relationship? Or is it simply a lapse in continuity? Hmmm. Andie also mentions “The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special”- is that a shout out to me- since I was forced to watch that every year? Or just a corny joke? Hmmm.
Tammy: I think Andie just likes Charlie Brown.