Thanks this week to the Biscuit and Wing.
Fade up on Sanctum Dawsonorum. Dawson "Cracklin' Oaf Bran" Leery in his customary color-tipped J. Crew v-neck and so-'94 teardrop necklace stammers, "Come on, Jen, you're killing me," and meanwhile a voice from the TV whines, "You're not even trying -- you're taking the easy way out." As Porky Pig sticks his head through the Merrie Melodies sign and announces, "Th-th-th-th-that's all, folks!" -- oh, sorry, my mistake, as Jen reads Dawson's script and murmurs distractedly, "Hang on, hang on," Dawson watches "The Partridge Family." Dawson's hair looks a little less Muppety in this episode, but Jen's looks like a matted vegetable brush. Jen says, "All right. Dawson, you can unclench. I'm done," and Dawson makes a big old high-school-musical production of dashing over to sit next to Jen and saying very intensely, "Okay. So." Jen stares at Dawson: "Wh-wh-what do you want me to say?" Dawson: "The truth!" Jen: "Okay, the 'truth' truth, or the 'what Dawson wants to hear' truth?" Ouch. Dawson says, "So in other words, you hated it," before burying his head in his hands, and Jen demurs, "No -- hey, Dawson, Dawson, no, I didn't hate it. I just thought it was, I don't know, for lack of a better word -- fluff." Ouch! Dawson can't understand this dismissal of his magnum opus, stammering, "Fluff? Fl-fluff? How could it be fluff, Jen, my heart and soul went into that script!" and pinching the bridge of his nose. Jen calls Dawson's portrait of "the lives and loves of these teens in a small town" naive, and Dawson splutters that "it's supposed to be naive" and gabbles on about "the age of innocence, sexual awakenings, the magic of first love," and Jen paddles furiously to keep her head above water in this torrent of triteness: "Dawson, look. Your script is good. It's funny, and it's timely, and it's smart, and it's well-written," and Dawson actually nods his head in agreement as she says all these things. Um, Dawson, why don't you go down to Book Barn, buy about twenty copies of William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade, stack them up, climb on top of them, and get over yourself? Anyway, Jen goes on to say that Dawson's work "lacks relevance to today's society -- you go out of your way to comment on teen life, and you end up saying very little about it," and Dawson thunks his head against his Hook poster and makes a limp joke about the knife in his back, and Jen doesn't want to depress Dawson, but she thinks the script lacks "oomph," and that it needs more anger and passion and "that raw dark pain that comes with being young." Dawson objects, "I am raw and dark." No, really. He really said that. Jen, to her credit, laughs in his face.
Dawson wants to know what he has to do to prove that he has a dark side. Jen tells him to loosen up, "start writing from the gut, stop responding from such an adult perspective." Dawson asks how, and Jen suggests, "Teenage 101? Maybe it's time you start pretending that you really are fifteen," and Dawson and Sars both snort derisively as Jen says, "I think I could actually show you how to reclaim those missing years -- come on, Dawson, what do you say?" and Dawson stares straight ahead. I suppose this scene operates as a response to the critics who have complained that "real kids don't talk that way," but first of all, yeah, I do believe we get the point, and second of all, I can only think of one thing more absurd than Dawson having a mid-life crisis before he has even learned to drive, namely that the writers think we would have the remotest interest in Dawson's so-called problems. Great -- the episode has barely started and already I need to lie down for a few hours.