Recap: Joey's over at Case Leery, where she and Dawson are watching a TV show about insect sex (yes really). Joey natters her way onto the topic of how human men are only attracted to supermodels...and Dawson admits that while there's some truth to that, girls also exhibit "pure animal instinct" when they choose a mate. Joey must agree with that theory, 'cause she reacts by staring back at him mutely.
The next day at the Ice House, Dawson, Pacey, Jen and Joey are discussing the upcoming Miss Windjammer beauty contest the local country club hosts every year. Joey expresses disdain about the misogyny that surrounds beauty contests in general, while Jen tells the gang that her mom entered her in a bunch of pageants when she was a kid. Dawson tries to tempt her to enter by telling her that the grand prize is $5,000 and a free trip to New York, but she's like, "Nope, still not interested" ... and after she and Joey wander off, Dawson tells Pacey he hasn't given up on the prospect of winning Jen back.
Joey complains to Jen that with less tourists dining at the Ice House, her tips are drying up...which means she's having a harder time saving up for college. Jen tells her that surely she's smart enough to earn a scholarship, then suggests that since they're no longer competing for Dawson's affection, maybe they can work towards being actual friends. Joey makes kind of an ew face, but then says she might be up for it if they're not obligated to talk about boys or do each other's hair.
Pacey tells Dawson that when his dad found out he was failing biology, he admonished him for being such a dumbass and wished he could be more like his brother, St. Doug. He adds that his dad is so uninterested in parenting him anymore he's been encouraging him to become an emancipated minor (ouch) ... so he's now looking for his own place, but can't afford even the cheapest hovel. He jokingly suggests that if he entered the Miss Windjammer beauty contest he'd get a crack at winning $5,000, then looks as though he just stumbled onto a brilliant idea and points out that it'd be gender discrimination if the pageant officials were to bar him from entering. Indeed it would, Pacey. Indeed it would.
While in the cafeteria line, Jen wanks Joey about how pretty she is and tells her that she should definitely enter the beauty contest - but Joey stares dejectedly at her lunch tray in her usual hang-dog fashion and argues that she's not pretty. Jen reminds her that if she wins the contest she'd be awarded $5,000, and Joey perks up at the prospect of a much needed cash windfall and decides 'ah, what the hell'.
Jen and Joey arrive at the country club to get Joey registered for the Miss Windjammer pageant...and Pacey is already at the front of the line, arguing to the pageant officials that the rule book doesn't specifically state that males can't enter. When Dawson ambles over, Jen tells him that she's acting as Joey's personal coach for the contest...and after he's done laughing out loud, an irked Joey translates his laughter to mean that he's amused an uggo such as herself would have the audacity to enter a contest that judges female beauty. Dawson hastily explains that he only chuckled 'cause he knows how she feels about beauty contests, and Joey sullenly says she could really use $5,000 and is annoyed that he finds this so hilarious.
During the beauty contest orientation, Capeside native and current it girl boarding school student Hannah von Wenning breezes in and gets a hero's welcome. When she learns that Pacey has entered himself as a contestant, she mocks his buffoonery and snootily wonders what on earth he'll perform for the talent portion of the contest.
That evening, Jen coaches Joey how to walk elegantly with a book atop her head, but Joey gets frustrated with the exercise and snappishly asks Jen why she's helping her out. Jen tells her she's never had many gal pals and has a hunch that Joey's perpetually cunty 'tude routinely drives prospective girl friends away so she figured 'why not give friendship a shot?'
Pacey seeks feedback on his vocal talent by singing Frank Sinatra's famous New York, New York song in front of Mitch and Dawson...and Mitch responds by asking him what other talents he has. LOL. Dawson tells Pacey that if he were to win the contest, it'd surely attract a media blitz...and Mitch concurs and says that by challenging the traditions of a local beauty contest, he's unwittingly become a political activist.
Joey asks Jen whassup with her and Dawson, and Jen shrugs and says they're still figuring things out. Jen then asks Joey whassup with her and Dawson...and when Joey says that Dawson will only ever see her as a friend, Jen breezily reminds her that there's plenty of fish in the sea. Amen to that.
Dawson tells Pacey he's never thought about Joey in a romantic sense, and Pacey says it's annoying he doesn't want to date her, but at the same time doesn't want anyone else to date her. It's also annoying that neither of them ever considers extending their dating pool beyond this circle of four.
A grumpy looking Joey arrives at the country club and is not pleased to see that Dawson is filming pre-interviews of the beauty contestants to prepare them for the all-important interview portion of the contest.
Hannah von Wenning laughs at Pacey as he practices his magic tricks for the talent show, specifically how deluded he is to think that he could actually win the contest. Pacey says he may not win - but would be more than satisfied if he even took one of the judge's votes away from her.
Joey gives snide answers to Dawson's pre-interview questions, including that she has no role model, and hopes to leave Capeside at the first available opportunity so she can have fun adventures. When Dawson stares back at her sadly, she haughtily tells him that everything changes eventually and that it's not unusual for people to want to experience life beyond their shitty little hometowns.
Pageant time! Jen is helping Joey with her makeup and advises her to use the vaseline on the teeth trick so her lips won't get stuck on them while keeping a smile pasted on her face all evening. Pacey, meanwhile, is getting dressed in the broom closet...and when Dawson pops in to see how he's doing, he asks Dawson if he's an idiot for entering a beauty contest. Dawson reminds him that he never cared about public opinion before, then says he definitely has courage to intentionally do something that could so easily end in public humiliation.
The contestants are introduced by name, and each makes their grand entrance on the stage in their evening wear. Joey is decked out in a black gown and has her hair swept up in an elegant bun...and as Dawson films the event and sees Joey through the camera lens, he does a dramatic double-take and openly ogles her while Jen looks on from a few feet away in jealous dismay.
The pageant progresses with the talent and interview segments, and Pacey does a good job of wittily answering his question and gets a standing ovation. Buoyed with confidence, he ambles over to Shaggy D.A., who's one of the judges, and she tells him that his charm is the only thing keeping her from nodding off during this wretched pageant - but also makes it clear that there's no way in hell these uppity judges are ever going to vote for a guy to become the next Miss Windjammer.
A nervous Joey takes the stage to sing On My Own, which she does looking as sad and doe-eyed as possible while sneaking wistful glances at Dawson.
Dawson returns to the broom closet to inform Pacey that it's his turn to perform his talent. A bummed looking Pacey asks him if he thinks there's even a slim chance he could be crowned Miss (Mr.? ) Windjammer, and Dawson's like, "Uh, no..?", then chuckles and goes, "I mean...come on." Pacey says he's soooo angry at being written off as a serious contender for what's been up until now a teenage girls' beauty pageant and decides that instead of performing a magic show, he's going to go down in a blaze of glory.
Pacey performs a boorish Braveheart-inspired monologue, making it clear how pissed off he is at the judges for not giving his quest to become the next Miss Windjammer the seriousness he feels it deserves. After he wraps it up, he gets ample applause from an audience that's part entertained but mostly bewildered.
Joey overhears Hannah telling another girl about what a total charity case she (Joey) is...and Dawson enters the room at that moment and eavesdrops on what she just eavesdropped on. As an embarrassed Joey starts to flee, Dawson stops her and points out that Hannah is being so bitchy 'cause she's clearly terrified that she (Joey) could actually win this contest, then says he's sooooo proud of her guts and talent.
The interviewer asks Joey what her words of advice to today's youth would be, so she warns the kids today about coming across small minds who think that looks and popularity are more important than character and integrity...and glares over at a sheepish looking Hannah as she's talking. She closes with, "Don't ever sell out. Don't judge people by their station in life" and gets a round of enthusiastic applause.
And the winner is...
Some random girl I don't recall seeing earlier, while Joey is declared first runner-up (and wins a free day of beauty at Betty's Hair Barn), and Hannah is voted second runner-up and gets an even shittier prize.
Shaggy D.A. tells Joey she voted for her 'cause she did such a marvellous job singing and calling out the superficial haters, then wanders off so that Dawson can gush about the way she burst out of her shell and looked so smokin' hot in her black evening gown. He tells her he feels like he's seeing her for the first time, and she [reacts in the opposite way a teenage girl who understands that males are visual creatures might react and] gets teary-eyed while muttering, "Something just isn't right about this" and says she feels stupid about dressing up in fancy clothes and wearing makeup. She says she'd rather he see her as the person she's always been, 'cause tomorrow she's going to go right back to being dungarees Joey again. Dawson mulls that over and says he'd like to probe the issue by engaging in a deep discussion on her non (?)-metamorphosis - but she sadly points out that he's had a lifetime to process his feelings for her, then dejectedly shuffles off.
Pacey finds Hannah moping outside by the dock and tells her he totally gets how she feels, given how much experience he has being a loser. Hannah self-piteously says that all of her siblings are super-achievers, while she can't even win a small-town beauty pageant...then applauds Pacey for having the balls to enter a girls' beauty contest. He tells her she's lucky to get to go to boarding school and be so far away from Capeside, and she wryly says she feels completely neglected by her family, and chuckles about how her pet dog spends more time with her parents than she does.
Jen wanders over to the Leery house and acknowledges to Dawson that she didn't give their relationship much of a chance and/or give him a plausible reason for their breakup. She asks him if it'd be too late for them to try again - but he says that now really isn't the best time 'cause he has to figure some [Joey-related] stuff out. A deflated Jen says, "You know where I am" and lumbers home.
Joey stares at herself in the mirror as she brushes her hair, then gives herself a smug grin...while Dawson stares contemplatively into space before he too breaks into a smile.
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