International House Of Fishcakes. Dawson hunches over a laptop, his greasy hair shaped into a perfect sphere. In the background of the shot, Mitch "The Flash" Leery and Gale "A Womb Of One's Own" Leery hang Christmas lights. Dawson announces that, at that "historic moment," he's finishing up the last of his college applications -- namely, the essay for USC film school. "Congratulations, honey," Gale says, with a barely-suppressed eye-roll in her voice, and tells him that now he can relieve his pregnant mother of her light-stringing duties. Gale then makes a big show of clutching her aching back and arching it so that we can see the pregnancy pad under her little red maternity jumper. Apparently, her gestation has sped up to double time or something. Gretchen blathers something effusive about the "annual Leery holiday party," and Gale and The Flash exchange a significant look and don't answer, and Gretchen asks if she said "something wildly inappropriate," and Gale stammers, and The Flash demurs that "we haven't done that in a while." Look, Gretchen presumably knows the whole divorce backstory; why not just say that you haven't thrown the holiday party for a couple of years and leave it at that? Oh, right, because then Dawson wouldn't get to pipe up with yet another snotty, entitled comment about his parents' marital woes, to wit: "Let me decode. We haven't had a Christmas party the past couple of years because Mr. and Mrs. Leery have been busy riding the roller coaster otherwise known as their relationship." Do Gale and The Flash tell Dawson to hold it down, since there's a restaurant full of workers within earshot? No. Do they tell him to lose the judgmental attitude? No. Do they point out that his own relationships haven't exactly held to an even keel? No. Gale and The Flash actually look chastened and make "aw, he's right" faces. Maybe they've given up, figuring that it's too late to change Dawson's view of himself as the sun of Capeside's solar system. Or maybe the writers don't have the faintest understanding of the difference between "cunningly self-aware" and "fucking rude." Either way -- shut up, Dawson.
Gretchen apologizes, Gale says it's okay, Gretchen says she always loved those parties, Gale says that it seems "overwhelming" to plan one what with the baby and the IHOF and all, Gretchen proposes planning it herself and begs Gale to let her, Gale could not look any less enthusiastic when she gives Gretchen the go-ahead, Gretchen tells Dawson that they have a lot of work to do, Dawson makes "what's this 'we'?" noises, and Gretchen drags him off to help her.