Props to John Offutt, the real estate agent who helped us buy a house and made me miss the last ten minutes of this stupid episode when it first aired. Whee!
Previously on Dawson's Crap -- I mean, "Creek": Pacey warned Dawson that Joey wouldn't stay off the dating market forever; Pacey planted one on Joey, and she freaked out; she pretended that it meant nothing to her, and he pretended to go along with her; Dawson told Pacey that whatever else he might doubt, he'd never doubt Pacey's friendship, and Pacey felt like a big old heel.
Dawson "Dome-an Polanski" Leery and Joey "Snore-gia O'Keeffe" are strolling along a pier. Dawson invites her to "look at what [they've] become." Joey, I advise you not to; I'm looking at what you've become, and I just don't know how much longer I can hack it. Anyway, she asks him to explain himself, and he observes that most teenagers their age spend spring break getting drunk and engaging in ill-advised hook-ups in Florida (when they're in high school? Uh, okay), whereas the two of them will be spending it visiting his aunt, which he pronounces "ahnt" instead of "ant." There has been some discussion of this on the forums; some folks are saying Dawson's pronouncing it in a pretentious way while others are saying "ahnt" is proper. I would venture that pronunciation varies regionally; I'm from Saskatchewan and I've always said it "ant," but when I moved to Ontario everyone I knew said "ahnt." Then again, they also said "newFOUNDlind" instead of "NEWfin-land," so what the hell do they know? And who really cares? Yes. Exactly. Speaking of "who cares," Joey says that visiting Dawson's aunt is a ritual -- their ritual -- and that she loves the ritual and loves "Aunt Gwen." "And she loves you," Dawson assures her, causing Joey to smile delightedly, and to add rather expositorily that she can't believe Aunt Gwen is selling her house; Dawson can't either, and comments that it's like "the end of an era." Oh God, not more nostalgia from Generation I (as in "I really don't think you've lived long enough to have become so freaking jaded, Idiot"). Joey asks Dawson if he supposes they'll be able to "rope Jack and Andie into one of [their] famous late-night karaoke sessions." Dawson admonishes her that they had agreed to pretend the karaoke thing never happened. Joey fondly scolds him for being "ashamed of his roots." At this point, the person who should be most ashamed of Dawson's roots is the production hairstylist. As my esteemed colleague Sars has already remarked, it's so over-processed at this point that it looks like hay. And before we leave behind the subject of karaoke, I would like to remind everyone of my remarks of March, 1999, in my recap of "Be Careful What You Wish For," in which Andie and Dawson got up on stage at the Contrivance Club and "sang" the "blues": "...if Dawson ever sings again, I will kill myself." Let's hope I can get through this episode without making the ultimate sacrifice.
Dawson and Joey have by now arrived at a couple of parked SUVs; Pacey "Ross Geller" Witter is standing there with some other guy with, if you can imagine it, hair even less attractive than Dawson's, and says, "Look what I found." Joey can't believe it's actually "Will Krudski," and neither can I -- "Krudski"? They shake hands, and Dawson remarks that he hasn't seen Will since third grade, at which time Pacey was kicking Will's butt "around the playground." In an oddly affected accent, Will says that he had no choice, since Pacey was going around calling him "Will Kruddy." Well, OBVIOUSLY. Seriously, Will looks like he's wearing a toupee, his hair's so bad. Like, Will, Richard Carpenter called; he wants his 1975 look back. Pacey tells Will, "It's a good thing you moved to New Raleigh, because without you around, I became king of the playground." He then turns directly to the camera and says, "There's so much more excitement happening in New Raleigh, and you won't want to miss a second of it. Watch Will KRUDSKI and all his snooty private-school cronies in Young Americans, starting this summer on the WB. Then come back to Mighty Big TV and read the recaps of Young Americans, by Pamie. In conclusion, I'M SORRY." Joey asks what brings Will back to Capeside, and Will replies, "Uh, I'm Jake Hanson to DC's 90210, trying to spin off the WB's version of Melrose Place -- duh, weren't you listening?" and then adds, "Um, I mean, 'Thought I'd surprise an old friend,'" indicating Pacey. Pacey says that, in the spirit of friendship, he invited Will and, apparently, himself to join Dawson and Joey on their trip to Aunt Gwen's. Sure -- what teenager wouldn't enjoy a weekend spent at the home of a woman he's never met, who's the aunt of a kid he hasn't seen since grade school? Plus, presumptuous much, Pacey? Dawson says it's fine, and Joey and Pacey exchange a tense look, though it doesn't last long as we hear the over-perked "Yoo hoo!" of Andie "What's My Plot, Again?" McPhee, who has arrived with two large suitcases and a make-up kit. Pacey asks after the whereabouts of "Jackers," and she says that he'll be spending "quality time with dad." Will hurries over to relieve Andie of her luggage, and they introduce themselves. While everyone else busies themselves around the back of the nearest vehicle, Joey and Pacey make awkward conversation: She thought he was "sitting this one out," and he says he'd planned to, but that when Will showed up, he thought he "should show him a good time, and..." He trails off, and she repeats, "And...?" Crumbling, he says, "And they could probably use a hand up there, so..." He books. She looks after him wistfully. Hey, why would Will come back to town after all this time? Other than to create a plot contrivance that will lead to the exciting new spin-off Young Americans, I mean? Could it be that Will has A Secret that will Shock our Heroes into a New and perhaps Alarming Way of Looking at the World? Who cares? Let's see a show of hands. No one? Thought so.