Recap: Mitch removes the ladder propped up against the house that leads to Dawson's bedroom window and tells his son he's simply taking standard precautions to prevent anymore late night sneaking around involving him and Joey. Dawson accuses his dad of being in denial that he's (not quite) a grown up sexual being...and when Mitch contorts his face with a look of icked alarm, Dawson hastily insists that he's not - in any way, shape or form - having sex with Joey. Mitch decrees that, in addition to removing ladder access to his bedroom window, he's no longer allowing Dawson and Joey to hang out unsupervised in his bedroom anymore 'cause he can't bear the possibility of the two getting it on under his roof. When Dawson objects and urges his dad to just let nature take its course, Mitch firmly replies, "Parent me, child you." A few seconds after Mitch leaves the room, a grinning Joey emerges from Dawson's closet, and the two start smooching -just as Mitch bursts in and catches them in the act, grounds Dawson, and escorts a chuckling Joey outa the house.
The next morning, Bessie tells Joey she needs her to stop by the Ice House on her way to school to make sure that the place isn't a total disaster, then explains that the Health Department has threatened to drop by sometime this week...and she's more than a little freaked out 'cause she can't afford a health code violation fine. Joey argues that she's not going to have time to clean the place before school starts - but then reluctantly gives in when Bessie begs her to pleeeeeease just shut up and do her this favor.
After Dawson leaves for school, Shaggy D.A. tells Mitch she's less than thrilled by the idea of having an open marriage, but will agree to it if it gives him a sense of satisfaction in feeling like he's getting even with her for cheating on him with Bob. Mitch tells her to drop it 'cause he doesn't want to fight, and Shaggy D.A. coos, "I love you" before heading off to work.
Over at Capeside High, Abby is ogling a group of jocks and remarking on how their grossness is at such a base level that it's strangely become a turn-on. Jen shrugs disinterestedly at the thought of hooking up with a smelly jock 'cause of how hung up she is on Dawson, and Abby says that while she doesn't get that at all, she strongly urges Jen to get off her duff and do something to win Dawson back.
Andie asks Pacey if she can borrow his notes for the latest economics assignment, then explains that she didn't read the chapter 'cause she forgot her textbook in her locker. Pacey chuckles at her assumption that he would have actually taken notes for any school assignment and advises her to just say 'pass' if Mr. Maddock happens to call on her. A panicked Andie starts nattering about how she doesn't say 'pass', and then becomes irrationally worried about getting behind in school and ending up an unemployed and homeless adult...and Pacey points out that that's unlikely to happen, given that she's from a very wealthy family.
Mr. Maddock calls on Andie to explain the difference between macro and micro economics, and she struggles to make up something plausible sounding before sheepishly murmuring, "Pass" ... so then a bespectacled dorky chubbo named Kenny Reiling puts up his hand and gives the correct answer. Mr. Maddock announces that the concept of micro economics will be the basis for the next class assignment titled "alternative lifestyles", and explains that everyone will be paired up, given personas that include profession, salary, and family size, and will work as a faux married couple to prepare an annual budget for their fictional household. As the students pick names out of a hat..
At lunch in the cafeteria, Joey complains to Dawson about how lame the economics assignment is, and that she doesn't get the point of pretending to be people they're never going to be with fictional salaries they may or may never have. She then wrings her hands anxiously and says she has no idea what her future holds, so Dawson assures her she'll eventually get a clue and that he thinks the [pretty lightweight sounding] assignment could really be fun. Joey grumbles about him being partnered with Jen, so he assures her she has nothing to worry about - just as Jen enters the cafeteria and stares over at him wistfully.
Abby tells Jen that since she and Dawson are going to be working together, she needs to be proactive and "grab him by the dipstick and make me proud!" LOL. Jen glumly complains that it's futile, given how in love he is with Joey - but Abby dismissively points out that he's a horny fifteen year old who has no idea what love is. Kenny Reiling ambles over to initiate a conversation with Abby about getting together sometime to work on the economics assignment, but she rudely orders him to just do it himself and put her name on it and go away now. As he [refrains from telling her where she can shove her lazy bitchitude and] dejectedly shuffles off, Abby eggs Jen on to showcase her naughty side to Dawson during their late night study sessions, and to take full advantage of being assigned to role-play being a married couple who's preparing a household budget - but a reluctant Jen frets about "jumping the gun".
That evening at the Ice House, Joey is helping a stressed out Bessie clean her pigsty of a restaurant in advance of the Health Department's inspection. Joey mentions to Bessie that her latest class assignment is to prepare a household budget for a single career woman, so Bessie points out what she thinks is the obvious: that she's a single career woman and would be more than happy to act as a consultant. Joey makes a blech face and bitchily retorts that she'd much rather seek out a more financially successful, non-harried-all-the-damn-time, non-restauranteur type career woman to give her some insight into household budget planning.
Andie and Pacey are in a downtown café, working on their fictional household budget. As Andie expresses concern about being 30K over-budget (!), Pacey's like, "Whatever" and says that instead of helping her put together a reasonable budget for the sake of completing this assignment, he's digging in about the purchase of a fictional Dodge Viper over liveable housing for his pretend family. Andie mutters that she wants a divorce, and Pacey chirps, "Granted!" and tells her she can have half the money and the kids so long as he retains full custody of the Viper. Andie agrees to compromise and let him have the pretend car if they can find a viable two bedroom apartment that wouldn't prompt an intervention from Children's Services...then suggests they take Mr. Maddock's advice to do "research in the field" and go apartment scouting [instead of just looking up the going rate of two bedroom apartments in the local classifieds and calling it a day].
Mitch is working in his backyard when he sees that Shaggy D.A. has been given a lift home by an attractive male co-worker. After the two hug goodbye, Shaggy D.A. wanders over to where Mitch is working and complains about her terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. She explains that she missed a deadline at work...and when her car wouldn't start, she asked Frank (from Accounting) to give her a ride home. A miffed looking Mitch asks her why she didn't call him, and she shrugs and says it was just easier to get a ride. Mitch then starts railing about the lack of trust and honesty in their marriage and nonsensically says he thinks they should take away the rules in order to take away the need to trust her, thereby regaining what they lost after she doinked Bob...and by take away the rules, he means agreeing to an open marriage. He suggest they declare Thursday nights date night, and that on that one night of the week they're both free to do whatever they want with whomever they want as long as they're honest about it. Shaggy D.A. stares back at him looking crestfallen and less than thrilled by the prospect of introducing date night into their deteriorating marriage.
Dawson is over at Jen's house, budgeting pretend college tuition for their non-existent children. They form a consensus on the need to set money aside so they can fictionally vacation someplace warm...and Jen "jokes" that they should leave the kids at home 'cause then the trip would be more romantic. She tells Dawson she's soooo happy they can still hang out together, then rests her head on his shoulder and remarks on how nothing has really changed between them since they were a couple. Dawson reacts by looking visibly weirded out and decides that they've probably done enough work for one day. As he gets up and makes a beeline for the door, Jen tells him that if he becomes inspired or just wants to talk, her door is always open...then saucily adds, "If you know what I mean", and Dawson's like, "I'm pretty sure I do" before making a run for it.
Andie and Pacey are scouting their twelfth run-down apartment in search of a fictionally liveable two bedroom apartment, which seems like ridiculous overkill for a school budgeting assignment. Pacey grumbles that because she's dragged him all over town to look at apartments, they haven't focused on doing the other 95% of the assignment...and Andie argues that she's taking this assignment very seriously [though not really], and then the two start bickering like an actual married couple. Andie berates him for being a lazy slacker, so Pacey explains that since he's been permanently designated the family/village/county idiot, he rarely feels motivated to try very hard at anything, especially when it comes to schoolwork. He then chides Andie for being a rich, spoiled brat for whom a budgeting assignment is a fascinating novelty, and an incensed Andie screeches that he doesn't know shit about her and huffily storms off.
Joey meets with a successful career woman Laura Weston, who teaches art and runs her own interior design firm. Laura tells Joey she was a housewife until she went back to school, and then worked her tail off to develop the kind of career she always dreamed of. She tells Joey her firm has been hired to design a chain of Mexican restaurants and asks her to look at the blueprint in case she'd like to offer any feedback, so Joey looks it over and politely remarks on how impractical it is to place the bar so far away from the kitchen 'cause apparently it's a giant pain in the ass for the waiters to have to go to two different places to put in food and drink orders...then explains that she knows a lot about this kind of thing 'cause she works in her family's restaurant. Laura looks intrigued by this insight and asks Joey if she could pick her brain about feasible restaurant layouts in exchange for help with her economics assignment, and Joey's like, "Deal!"
Over at the downtown café, Abby chides Jen for not making a serious move on Dawson, and Jen glumly says she can't possibly compete with how in love he is with Joey. Abby dismissively says that Joey has nothing on her, then turns her attention to Kenny Reiling, who's sitting at the next table, and asks him what he thinks of Joey. Kenny lights up and chirps, "She's hot!", prompting Abby to bark at him to shut up...and Kenny uses the opportunity to remind her that they really do need to work on their economics assignment. Abby responds by dramatically cringing, then admonishes him for bugging her, and tells him to get lost and just finish the thing himself. When he points out that she hasn't done her share of the work, she bitchily replies that, unlike him, she has a very demanding social life. As the hapless lad ambles off, Abby concedes to Jen that, yeah, Joey is pretty and all - but is no match for a sex kitten like her. Jen chucklingly asks if she's suggesting she take off her clothes and throw herself at Dawson, and Abby's like, "Well d'yuh. It could work!", reminds her that tonight is her last opportunity to lure Dawson into the sack, and that she should go for broke by borrowing one of her extra slutty dresses. Jen mulls that over, then grins as she says, "May as well put the final nail in my coffin of shame...what have I got to lose?" [Other than a semblance of self respect, not much I guess.]
Shaggy D.A. prepares a candle-lit dinner for herself and Mitch, who brusquely informs her that he's not having dinner at home 'cause it's Thursday, aka date night. She's like, "Oh yeah..", then sadly wishes him a fun evening and blows out the candles before staring despondently into space.
While reclining on the Leery porch, Joey tells Dawson she's been learning a lot from Laura Weston, who has helped her realize that she too could one day run her own business. Shaggy D.A. emerges from the house and curtly tells Dawson that if his dad asks, she's gone out for the evening. Dawson explains to a perplexed Joey that his parents are currently going through a weird phase, and Joey suddenly perks up and points out that they're alone in his house and should take advantage of the moment - just as Jen arrives decked out in a super slinky dress to work on the economics assignment with Dawson. When she half-heartedly offers to come back later, Joey irritably says she was just leaving, gives Dawson a goodbye kiss, and bitchily compliments Jen's skankwear. Unshamed, Jen suggests to Dawson that they get busy (on the assignment) in his bedroom. Mmm hmm..
Joey heads over to the Ice House and tells Bessie that Laura gave her a lot of good design and marketing ideas that could improve the restaurant - but Bessie snarls back that she's too busy trying to get this dump up to code before the Health Department inspection, and admonishes Joey for hanging out with Dawson instead of helping her mop and scrub. Joey irritably retorts that she's sick of being her restaurant slave and having to work all the time instead of being able to live her life, so Bessie snaps at her to go home 'cause she and Jack have it covered...and a bewildered Jack's all, "Uh, we do?" LOL.
Later, Pacey stops in at the Ice House to chat with Jack about Andie's squirrelly behavior and to ask in all seriousness if she's on any kind of medication. He further explains that during the course of arguing about their economics assignment, he called her a rich princess 'cause he assumes their family is loaded - but noticed that that remark caused her to go somewhat ballistic. Jack tells Pacey that his family is no longer rich and that the days of the McPhees being a wealthy clan are long over, then urges him to give Andie a break.
Shaggy D.A. goes to a coffee house and glumly sips coffee, while Mitch is at Duke's bar, guzzling a beer and checking out the single ladies.
After wrapping up the economics assignment, Jen hovers over Dawson in her cleavage bearing slip dress and carries on about how she's sooooo exhausted that she feels like sexily lounging atop his bed and hopes he doesn't mind if she "crashes" here for the night. Dawson says he does mind, actually, and that she should probably go home now...and an incredulous looking Jen pretends that she simply wants to go straight to sleep, then asks him if Joey has been poisoning his mind against her. Dawson responds by calling her out on her not-so-subtle suggestive comments and the way she just threw herself at him, then asks her if she isn't suitably humiliated by his obvious lack of interest in her. Jen's like, "Nope" and says she has zero respect for his decision to be with Joey, and that she wants him to know he has options, sleeping with her right now being one of them. A befuddled Dawson exclaims, "Who are you? What happened to Jen?" so Jen explains that she's livening things up, then gives him a smooch and lumbers toward the door as she seductively purrs, "I hope you can handle it." Following that, she exits his room, then pauses in the hallway to stare into space looking mortified, miffed, and mournful all at the same time.
While getting ready for bed, Mitch tells Shaggy D.A. he had fun ogling women at Duke's, and she shares that she went out for drinks with a friend. The two then climb into bed together, and Shaggy D.A. turns onto her side and goes to sleep, while a restless looking Mitch lays on his back and stares at the ceiling.
Bessie returns home after cleaning the restaurant all night and finds Joey waiting for her on the porch. She tells Joey she's firing her from her waitressing job, and a startled Joey says she feels really really bad about her outburst and didn't mean the words that tumbled out of her mouth. Bessie argues that she did mean them, and that it was a very reasonable outburst, given that running the restaurant really shouldn't be her problem...and that it's not fair for a teenager to be burdened by the mess that is her family's failing business. Joey argues that since she's her sister the mess is her problem, and that she wants to help out so she doesn't feel like she's alone in it. A contrite Bessie promises that one day she'll be proud of her - but Joey says she already is, and compliments her for being so amaaaaaazing as she seemingly deals with so much stress every minute of every day.
Mr. Maddock collects the "alternative lifestyles" assignments from the class, and points out that the work they did here could very well be applied to their lives in the future. Kenny rats out Abby for not doing her share of the project and complains that she threatened his life and verbally abused him, and Mr. Maddock weirdly ignores the bullying complaints and Abby's repeated refusals to help with the assignment she was given and just chuckles about how he hopes their fictional budget includes a line item for marriage counselling. Andie says she decided that since marriage is a 50/50 partnership she figured it made sense to prepare the budget from the wife's perspective and weakly hands in her half of the work. A few seconds later, Pacey arrives and hands in the fully prepared budget on behalf of both of them...and Mr. Maddock looks impressed and says that the report appears to be quite comprehensive.
After class, Dawson tells Joey he's soooo happy that the assignment is over, while Joey says she actually loved doing it 'cause it gave her a sense of optimism about her future as a career woman. As the two smooch, a glum looking Abby and Jen wander past, and Abby snarls, "Get a room."
Andie thanks Pacey for finishing the entire project on his own, and Pacey apologizes for calling her rich and spoiled...then explains that he chatted with Jack, who gave him the skinny on her family's descent into poverty. He then tells her that, in their fictional household budget, he decided to include the cost of a Viper, which meant he had to squeeze their pretend family into a run-down one bedroom apartment...and as the two bicker about that impractical decision, the camera pans over to Tamara - ack!!! - who's sitting in her convertible and smirkingly watching them argue.
Welcome back, pedo.
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