Maine. Irv. Quaintness. Turns out Dawson and Gretchen don't have enough money to pay for the tire, and Dawson tries to trade Irv for working on the truck, but Irv won't have it and boots them out of the truck. But, you know, in a nice, quaint, small-town folksiness sort of way, which shoots for "humorous" but misses by about a week and a half. Dawson and Gretchen stand on the shoulder, at a loss.
The West Side Grill. Joey, Jen, and Mr. L sit down, and Mr. L gets all imperious with the waiter and tells him to tell the chef he's there, "he'll know what to make." Okay, we get it. You have connections. Whoop dee doo. He also orders a Glenlivet for himself and a Shirley Temple for Jen, which has about a dozen creepy overtones. "Dad?" "Yes, sweetheart?" Mr. L fixes Jen with a look. Joey looks over at Jen also. Jen promptly loses her nerve and says she "forgot." Awkward pause. Joey takes the opportunity to brag on Jen, telling Mr. L that although she's "too modest" to say so, Jen got into five out of the six schools she applied to. Mr. L, already acting tipsy, raves that that's "really excellent," and goes on to blather that he only got into one school, Princeton, and so did I, but I wouldn't call that a shout-out except for the fact that it's totally immaterial to the plot and never comes up again, so -- yay, shout-out. I, um, guess. Anyway, Joey adds that Jen has a lot of choices, and Mr. L says that she also has "impeccable judgment," which is completely at odds with the fact that he and Mrs. L sent Jen away to live with her grandmother, but whatever -- Mr. L asks Joey where she's headed next year, and she says it looks like she's going to Boston. Mr. L makes another drunk face and whines, "What about New York?" He calls the city an education and an inspiration, and when Joey timids that it's "kind of big," Mr. L is all "that's damn right" and starts babbling about how he's lived there for thirty years and it still surprises him every day. "How?" "How what?" "How does it surprise you every day?" Joey asks, politely, but sort of challengingly too. Mr. L, caught off guard, has to think about it, and Joey shoots Jen a conspiratorial look; Jen looks back miserably as Mr. L begins to expound on the Big Apple. Describing the "driving pace" of Manhattan life, he compares it to "a living organism, breathing and changing, and over time your relationship to it becomes like this incredible romance." Joey nods politely; Mr. L stares at her almost seductively and continues, "At first, it's intoxicating -- irresistible. And then slowly it becomes comfortable and safe. You have this cellular connection to it, as if you've known each other forever, like your oldest happiness." Shot of Jen staring bleakly into the middle distance. Mr. L is on a roll: "And sometimes you're on the outs, and sometimes you're makin' up -- and every now and then you catch yourself in this transcendent moment, where you think to yourself, 'Oh my god, I'm madly in love with you, and I always will be.'" By the end, he's practically drooling on Joey. Still, he's right about the love/hate relationship most of us have with the city, even if he expresses it cheesily. Some days, I look around and can't believe I live here. Anyway, Mr. L nearly has an orgasm right there at the table before catching himself and explaining, "And I think that's why it surprises me." Joey, abashed, says, "Good answer," and smiles all embarrassed at Jen. Jen shoots her an "I hate my life" look and pouts.