Episode Report CardKey Grip: D+ | Grade It Now!
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Every popular TV show faces two important questions with regard to the future of its cast members. First: who gets the spin-off? Second: who gets the big movie career? In the case of Cheers, neither answer could really have been foreseen (Frasier? Woody? Come on…). In the case of Friends, the answer very well may be nobody (unless Gunther gets a spin-off, and Lisa Kudrow finds one or two more parts worthy of her). And in the case of Dawson’s Creek, the jury is still very much out. I mean, they already did the spin-off. It was that prep school one, with the character whose name was Krud, or something. The recaps are hysterical, read them. But who will conquer the multiplex? The smart money is on Katie Holmes right now. And, if I had my druthers, that’s not all I’d put on Katie. Kerr Smith and The Beek don’t seem to have what it takes. Andie McWho? got cut from the roster before the show had even run its course (by which I mean literally; the show has run its figurative course long since…). But that Josh Jackson: the charisma, the impish glint in the eye, the willingness to play gay characters without complaining about it…well, without further ado, let’s take a look at this ridiculous movie: The Universal logo appears and spins around, so we can get a sense of what it is exactly that The Skulls control: everything. Then, over a creepy Skull logo, we see the following text: “Every year at certain Ivy League colleges, an elite group of students is chosen to join Secret Societies. Unlike fraternities, these Societies conceal their actions as they mold the leaders of the future. At least 3 U.S. Presidents are known to have been members.” My favorite sentence is the second one, which implies that fraternities mold the leaders of the future, too, but openly. Whereas the truth is, they mold the alcoholics of the future. Many of whom are also U.S. presidents, I guess. Then, we switch to a shot of an undulating river, and hear the Tinkly Piano of Calm Waters Soon To Be Disturbed. More text tells us: “The most powerful of these has always been…THE SKULLS.” Later in the recap, I will tell you how members of Secret Societies are actually chosen. It’s funny. In a boathouse, sweaty and chubby-looking, Pacey works out on a rowing machine well into the evening. Then, a disorienting series of establishing shots take us to the sunlight of the next day, to a college campus that appears to be in the American Collegiate Gothic Style, like a certain unnamed Ivy League school, and finally into a high-ceilinged dining hall. Pacey is working behind the counter, serving food with impish charm and a smiling glint, or whatever. Some scarf-wearing asshole pushes to the front of the line and demands more oatmeal (the reference to Oliver Twist, I’m guessing, is unintentional). The potentially tense moment is defused when that blonde girl from Popular mocks the scarf-wearing guy, and she and Pacey share a laugh at Scarf’s expense. Ohohoho. Foolish upperclass twit, demanding his silly oatmeal! Oh, but wait: Scarf calls the girl a bitch, so Pacey is forced to reach across the counter and grab him by the scarf: “I realize it's 8 A.M. and you haven’t had your triple soy decaf latté yet, but a kid with your breeding should have some manners. So I suggest you apologize to the lady.” Anyway, Pacey flirts with Popular, who is apparently a friend of his, and invites her to watch his “race” at 4 P.M. Banter, banter, blah-di-blah.