Dawson's Creek
The Importance Of Not Being Too Earnest

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Please Please Mr. Postman

Across the street, Jack barges up to Freeman and tries a bit of small talk about the small turnout; Freeman plays along gamely for a minute, then asks, "I'm sorry -- do I know you?" Jack, flummoxed, gapes in disappointment for about a week and a half before choking out his name. Freeman apologizes; the class "is massive" and he can hardly "keep people straight." Heh. "Straight." Jack's like, "Right, right. Yeah well gotta go," and bolts inside. Freeman's all, "Oooookay then."

Brit Bar. Emma wonders if she's made a mistake living with Pacey and Jack, and Joey is reassuring her that it won't get boring when suddenly her face freezes: "You've got to be kidding me." Emma turns to look, spots Flip-Flops, and smiles that he's a regular. Joey grumbles that of course he is -- he's been assigned to ruin her life, oh woe is Joey, et cetera. Emma pretty much tells Joey to suck it up. Joey sets her jaw and walks down the bar to where Flip-Flops is sitting. Without looking up, Flip-Flops muses that he can see how she'd find the bar "much more alluring" than the English department -- "all that silence, all those books." "And then of course your constant positive reinforcement," Joey grits. Not the strategy I would have chosen, but a bold move. Flip-Flops redeems himself somewhat by chuckling that yeah, "that would get really annoying after awhile." Now, here's where I would have tried to form a jokey rapport with the Flip-Flops in order to get him off my back in the future, but Joey elects to death-ray him with her eyes. Flip-Flops, feeling the twin holes sizzling through the top of his head, looks up and asks if she's waiting for him to order, or if she has something to say, because it looks like she has her "bone-to-pick face on." "And how would you know what that looks like?" Joey ices. "Word gets around," Flip-Flops tells her, and orders a tuna melt and a beer. Mmm, tuna melts. Joey writes it down, starts to walk away, then turns around to pick the bone; she hasn't gotten two words in when Flip-Flops mutters, "Oh, here you go." Heh. I've got to say, he looks like a third-generation photocopy of Denis Leary, he doesn't know fuck-all about the explication of English literature, he dresses like Michael J. Fox in High School USA, and he's a right pompous jackass, but he likes tuna melts and taking the piss out of Joey, so Flip-Flops can stay as long as he likes.

Anyway, Joey sneers that she's sure his hard-as-nails routine earns him respect and that she'll learn a lot from him, but after today, she wishes he'd negged her from the class when he had the chance. Flip-Flops flippantly (see what I did there?) responds that he thought she'd enjoy the spotlight: "I don't single people out that often." Joey stalks closer to snap that, whatever he thinks, she's not an idiot, and she doesn't think the twenty minutes he spent mocking her qualifies as "modern comp lit." As she rants, Flip-Flops leans his chin on his hand and appraises her idly while totally not listening to what she's saying, but she doesn't care, asking sarcastically if "today's total evisceration" means she's off the hook for a month or two, or if she has more of it to look forward to. Flip-Flops doesn't know; the class is about to read "the poignant ramblings of Joyce and Woolf, and [Joey's] work provides such a marked contrast." Wow. Harsh. Good line, though. Joey, almost smiling in sheer disbelief, starts to walk away again, but Flip-Flops kind of sighs and says, "Hey Joey. You do fancy yourself a writer, correct?" "You could call it a hobby," she snips. Flip-Flops patiently reminds her that, in addition to neurosis and self-doubt, writers also "have to endure public humiliation every once in a while." Well…okay, I see his point generally, but it doesn't apply here. It's one thing to learn to take criticism when it's writing you've actually worked on and submitted somewhere -- a class, a literary magazine, whatever -- for critique. But a diary, or a letter? Filleting that kind of thing publicly is off-sides, and it's not a matter of Joey taking it like a man. Maybe she does need to toughen up, but using private correspondence to Teach Her A Valuable Lesson about that is inappropriate, period, and that's not a distinction the writers of the show seem to get, possibly because their own work stinks.

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Dawson's Creek

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