Dawson's Creek
Uncharted Waters

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Uncharted Waters

Props to KR and Sars.

After all the usual filler, we're in the Sanctum Dawsonorum looking at a dartboard as Pacey "Choice of a New Generation" Witter starts rambling on about how "darts could be [his] destiny," and how he could travel around the world as a darts master. Dawson "What About Me?" Leery, sitting on his bed, ignores him, forcing Pacey to turn the subject of conversation to Dawson himself. Dutifully, Pacey asks what he's doing. Dawson says, "Yeah, I've re-watched a bunch of movies I think really delve into some complicated relationships. I'm trying to, you know, write some complexities in the characters in my movie. Layer them a little bit." Pacey throws his darts, then wanders over to the side of the bed, looks at a video and asks, "What's The Great Santini?" Dawson answers, "Classic dysfunctional father-son relationship," and smirks, not feeling the slightest awkwardness about saying so to Pacey even though, if they've been friends all their lives, he must know that Pacey and his dad have problems. How? Because the viewer knows it, because Pacey isn't terribly reticent about talking about it, so that the only way Dawson wouldn't at least know that Pacey feels that he and his father don't have a great relationship, whether or not that's empirically true, is if he were too self-absorbed to pay attention when Pacey talks about anything other than Dawson himself. And before I go on, I want to register my irritation at the way other movies are used as intertext on this show. Yes, I understand that the character of Dawson is supposed to be a film buff. Yes, kids who fancy themselves the future directors of America would have occasion to watch a lot of videos, particularly if they work in a video store. That's fine. What I object to is the way the writers on this show will name-drop a movie as lazy shorthand for some idea they want to get across. How do they signal that an episode will prove that Dawson is a good guy of the old school? Show him watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. How do they signal that this episode is going to be about father-son relationships? Mention The Great Santini. Considering that the show's target audience hasn't even heard of these movies, much less seen them -- even citing Footloose was a reach -- the only real purpose it serves is to irritate the older viewers who would have been able to make those connections on their own, without the writers' hinting. Anyway, I just couldn't let that pass without comment. There are less hackneyed ways to do the postmodern thing.

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Dawson's Creek




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