Reconciliation Ranch. Gretchen tries to buck up the little camper, saying she doesn't see why Dawson's having "such a problem with this" and he should just tell USC "the truth" -- that he wants a three-picture deal with Columbia (we get it), and a spot on the Premiere power list (we GET it) high enough to bag himself "one of the girls of the WB." We get it. Also, like, ha ha. Not. Gretchen then suggests he take a break and help her hang the mistletoe; she fiddles with the mistletoe for a moment, then wonders why he doesn't ask Mr. Brooks for help on his essay. Dawson snorts that he doesn't think so; he told Mr. Brooks he liked his movies, and Mr. Brooks nearly took his head off. Oh, Dawson. Shut up. Gretchen preaches on about Mr. Brooks "a resource" blah blah "real-life filmmaker" blah blah blah talking to Mr. Brooks will "get rid of the cobwebs" blah blah blah and a partridge in a pear blah. Then there's banter about tradition, and Gretchen says that "you don't monkey with tradition," and Dawson chuckles condescendingly that he didn't have her "pegged as a traditionalist," but he likes it. Uch.
On a pier -- the same pier, I believe, where James Van Der Beek ulcerated millions of stomachs with his rendition of "crying" -- Grams confides to Jack that he's right about Jen's college situation: "She hasn't filled out one application, and she's not going to." Jack suggests that maybe if they gang up on her…no, Grams says, that won't work, because she knows Jen, and Jen's "far too stubborn" to go for that. Jack agrees, and asks if Grams has "any better ideas." Grams murmurs conspiratorially, "Actually, I do," and she'll need Jack's help.
Brookshaven. A jazz version of "Jingle Bells" plays. Dawson comes up the front steps and raps on the door, then lets himself in, again without so much as a by-your-leave. Mr. Brooks sits at his desk, working on what looks like a bonsai tree, and Dawson scares the hell out of him by booming, "Mr. Brooks!" The customary crustiness ensues. Dawson says he wants to talk to Mr. Brooks. "If you came to ask me if I slept with Marilyn Monroe, you can crawl back from whence you came," Mr. Brooks grunts. Dawson: "No, it's nothing like that, I -- did you?" Ha! Okay, that's funny. Mr. Brooks expels a sharp "heh!" and asks what he can do for Dawson. Dawson needs advice. "Have you tried the teen help-line?" Mr. Brooks asks. Zing! Then Mr. Brooks says half to himself that "this is clearly gonna take longer than [he] had hoped," and he supposes he should offer Dawson a soda pop, and then he interrupts himself to thunder, "Would ya like a soda pop, Mr. Leery?" I can't do Mr. Brooks's stab at the niceties justice, but it's funny. Anyway, Dawson says no thanks, and Mr. Brooks rolls his eyes and says he's now ready to dispense advice, and tells Dawson to sit. Dawson expositions that he's "gotta write this…essay" for USC, and it's killing him (yeah, we wish), and he can't for the life of him put into words why he wants to be a filmmaker.