Episode Report Card1 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
People occasionally ask me what I would do if I ran into James Van Der Beek at a party, or in a bar: how I would react at the sight, in the flesh, of the man for whom I've coined so many cruel forehead-related nicknames; whether I would hold my ground or run away in shame. After perusing a copy of the Flaunt article about young Van Der Beek, at last I have an answer for these people. If I ran into James Van Der Beek, I would tell him in a very gentle and serious tone of voice to bloody well get over himself. I will say in Van Der Beek's defense that the Flaunt piece is written about as well as an entry on "Dawson's Desktop" -- that is to say, not well-written at all, nor properly copy-edited (the author, one Robert Ellsworth, manages to bungle the capitalization of Van Der Beek's name several times). Van Der Beek comes off like a pretentious ass, but part of the blame for that belongs to Ellsworth, who mentions immediately that the Dawson's Creek star is drinking "Patron -- the kind of tequila you hold for special occasions," as though painting Van Der Beek as a hard-drinking aesthete will kick him up a few notches in our esteem. Just a few paragraphs later, Ellsworth is reduced to a quivering, star-struck heap by his subject's alleged maturity: "[A]lthough I'm nearly fifteen years his senior, his sang-froid and sagacity make me feel like one of those post-pubescent kids that populate Capeside High." Enough like one of those kids, apparently, to throw around ill-considered three-syllable words without heed to their correct use. As I might say in a recap, "'Sagacity'? Shut up, Ellsworth." And it just gets worse. The reader must watch Ellsworth flounder along, blinded by fame, as he describes Van Der Beek's "calm self-assurance," his "high-voltage focus with a laid-back demeanor," his "curiously humble attitude," and his -- get this -- "concomitant éclat." What in the name of Christ does "concomitant éclat" even mean? But enough about Ellsworth's unfortunate addiction to the thesaurus function in MS Word; enough about Ellsworth's compulsion to describe the "Ecstasy-blitzed models" doing the bump-and-grind in front of Van Der Beek, and enough about the numerous references to things Van Der Beek told Ellsworth "off the record," which Ellsworth would love to tell us, but can't, because Van Der Beek values his privacy. Enough about Ellsworth. Okay, one more thing about Ellsworth: Ellsworth's writing stinks. All righty, then. Let's move on, shall we? Let's talk about the man himself: James Van Der Beek. Let's talk about how vastly he differs from Dawson. Well, for one thing, Van Der Beek…okay, I'll start over. Unlike the character he plays, Van Der Beek…scratch that. Van Der Beek doesn't…oh, the hell with it. Most of the things we despise in Dawson also exist in Van Der Beek, in spades. The false modesty, the pretensions to great art, the great seriousness with which he takes himself -- all Van Der Beek hallmarks.