Props to the Kids in the Hall (oh, you'll see why), and to Sars, even though she didn't watch this episode and really can't appreciate what I went through this week.
Previously on Dawson's Creek: The late, lamented Principatundé sentenced Pacey to be some poor child's mentor; Dawson was annoyed that his parents pretended to be married (for the purposes of deceiving that B & B critic); Pacey bought Joey a wall, and she marveled at his ability to challenge her in new and unexpected ways.
In a wood-paneled SUV, Joey "Rembrat" Potter is telling Pacey "Darrill" Witter that she never thought she'd ever have a practical use for those ballroom dance lessons she took. Pacey is surprised to learn that there's going to be dancing at "this thing," which he thought Joey'd told him was only "self-congratulatory award-giving." While driving, he unfolds a flyer (kids, don't try that at home), and Joey tells him that she's going to a very important ceremony where A.J. will be reading his work in front of professors and other poobahs from his department (and I guess Sars's invitation got lost in the mail, because I know how much she'd enjoy seeing that), and that A.J.'s the youngest student ever to win the -- "Creative Viting [sic] Award?" Pacey reads off the flyer. When I first watched the show (without the closed captions on), I thought he was suggesting that A.J. had won the Creative Biting Award, in which case I would have been able to support his win wholeheartedly; A.J. does bite in new and creative ways no other person could hope to match or imitate. Joey says that Pacey's misreading the calligraphy, which style of lettering Pacey dismisses as "pretentious." Joey glares. Pacey tells her not to mind him, and just to have a good time this weekend. Joey very seriously says, "I will. I mean, this could be the most romantic night of my life. I mean, it's not every day that I get invited to elegant dinners with distinguished guests, accompanied by a friend who --" Pacey takes issue with Joey's describing A.J. as a "friend," and Joey shrugs and stammers for a while until Pacey informs her that she and A.J. are "friends who kiss." As if speaking to a particularly stupid child, Joey patiently explains to Pacey that long-distance relationships don't necessarily follow the same structures and rules as other types of relationships -- short-distance relationships, I guess. As he pulls into a parking lot and walks around the back of his car to open the trunk, Pacey agrees, and says that's why a long-distance relationship is perfect for her -- because it's not real. Joey asks what he means, and he tells her that for her to get to put on a "pretty dress and go to the ball with college Prince Charming" isn't real, but a fairy tale. I'll say; the word "charming" should never appear anywhere close to a descriptive phrase about A.J.
Joey tells Pacey that, "fairy tale or not," she still feels what she feels, though she has yet to tell anyone exactly what she does feel. Which is just as well, because, again, I don't want to hear those words in close proximity to the initials A and J, either. Pacey, without meeting her gaze, says that what Joey has is "an eyes-closed wish." Joey chirps -- all together now: "Sometimes wishes come true." Instead of responding to this truism by projecting a spray of vomit all over Joey's American Eagle Outfitters coat, Pacey agrees that wishes do come true, but ultimately, reality creeps in. Ignoring her sneer, he goes on: "The clock inevitably strikes midnight. And then it's pumpkin city. The fantasy fades." Stop. Talking. Joey shoulders her bag and mutters, "Try to have a good weekend, Pacey. Thanks for the ride" He watches her head into the train station and calls after her, "Have a good time!" As the strains (and I do mean "strains") of the theme song swell, Pacey looks wistful. Gee, I wonder if they'll kiss at some point during this episode. Wait, no, I don't wonder anything of the kind, because I've already seen them kiss four thousand times every time there's a station break on the WB.