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323 - True Love

Season finale time! It's crazy how different the second half of the season has felt from the first half. All of the drama and the emotions that build up to this episode have been on point, and the ship metaphors take off at an all-time high here.

From Charles: "A non-serious extra thought: I think it’s really silly how everyone is always running late but just right on time in this show. First, Jack catches Jen right before she leaves on a bus, then Pacey says bye to Andie right before she leaves for the summer, and now Joey grabs Pacey just before he sets off? People, show up early for important things!!"

This is the episode that brings audiences "the best meme in the world," as Busy Phillips put it during the Dawson's Creek reunion, and also a top True Love ship moment. but one of the things we think has gotten lost over time is just how significant of a show Dawson's Creek was when it came to LGBTQ representation on network TV.

From Traci: "One of the things I've always admired and appreciated about the writers on Dawson's Creek was the care they took with the character of Jack and how they developed his story over the seasons. We've talked about this on the podcast, but I think it helped a lot to have both Kevin Williamson and Greg Berlanti – who are both gay – at one point running the show: they were able to infuse the character of Jack with real depth and real emotions and real stories that went beyond 'he's gay and his life is hard because of that.'

A few years ago, on the 15th anniversary of 'True Love' airing, Kerr Smith told the Huffington Post that he knew the moment would have weight, but didn't want to build it up into a Very Special Moment because he wanted it to also feel natural: 'I didn’t want it to be just an innocent little peck. That’s not what Jack was trying to tell Ethan [...] The whole point is that he was really going for it. That’s what that kiss needed to be.'

It's so easy to take for granted now what that moment meant back then. It's similar to 2x14 and 2x15, when Jack comes out: as Kerr Smith talked about during the reunion, it opened up opportunities for young people to talk about being gay in ways that perhaps they couldn't find the words for before because they felt alone in their feelings. 'You gave them a cultural reference,' Michelle Williams said to Kerr during the reunion, which I also think is just the loveliest thing, because I know one of the things my friends and I in high school always struggled with was defining what it meant to be LGBTQ – and so much of it is because we went to a conservative school, but also because we didn't have enough diverse representations of what it meant to be gay or bi or queer.

As we talk about during this week's podcast, and as you can read in the episode links below, Greg Berlanti had to fight hard for this moment, and it would be awhile before more shows – particularly shows for teenagers – began representing LGBTQ relationships. Nowadays, you see a lot more of it, and I think that's great because we need more LGBTQ stories in our media to do what Dawson's Creek paved the way for back in the year 2000."

Episode links:

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  1. Great podcast ep, enjoyed listening to the entire 90ish minutes of it lol

    I spoke about True Love last week but there are a few, and knowing me by few I most likely mean forced to break this up in 2 parts, tidbits I wanted to mention

    1. Not that it makes too much difference but Pacey is 17 now and I think Joey turns 17 in September but they never show her bday until s6 right? Anyway still too young to sail off by themselves for 3 months lol

    2. I was telling Sarah that my theory about the timeline between Jafar being rewarded with his cheering up squad and Joey running to go meet up with Pacey is the same day but that there must be some scrapped scene where Joey shows up at Doug's house to talk to Pacey after a quick change but Doug informs her that Pacey decided to leave a day early because I mean look at how he was just treated at the wedding by two people that he grew up being friends with so who could blame Pacey for being like "Pfft peace out muthaf*ckas!" lmao Then that's why Joey is shown running to the dock to catch Pacey before he left otherwise, like I said to Sarah, I think she would've packed a bag. Good chance I'm wrong but that's how I'm looking at it but at the end of the day, doesn't really matter, it's still crazy lol Kind of makes sense though since Pacey and Joey essentially had to raise themselves in a lot of ways, so it kind of makes sense but then again, you can make that case for Andie, Jack and Jen too.

    3. Jen and Henry Hank (where did that brief Hank shit come from anyway? lol Is Hank short for Henry? I'm lost) Anyway I think they had potential to be cute but my ongoing problem with these writers is that they loved angst too much. Even when it made no sense or was too much, they didn't hold back the angst and it got to be ridiculous with Jen and Henry. I bet if Jen had made that declaration to Henry at the rest stop and the writers decided Henry would decided to forgo football camp, Jen and Henry would've gotten in the car and an argument would've erupted because HenHank got in the car before Jen or something stupid like that. They kept making Jen flip out and she was much more chill in s1 so meh on that whole thing.

    4. Again, not a fan of any of the Leerys so the wedding was Zzzzz. I have to gripe about the budget for wardrobe and hair and make up in s3 though. What the f*ckity f*ck was wrong with whoever was in charge of clothes/hair/make up??? The hair... (Jen's hair was cute the entire season except that crimping cheerleading shit early on) but I mean in terms of getting dressed up. Hardly any effort for this wedding. I didn't expect Gail/Gale and Joey to look like they landed a cover on Vogue magazine for an at home casual wedding but holy shit how about not hairstyles they wore every single day? The makeup... the concealer under the eyes, namely Joey's, bugged me the whole season. You especially see it during night scenes but dude, how hard was it to pick a shade that matched Katie"s skin? Nobody noticed during playbacks??? Joey's skirt... no just no. I know it was a late 90s early 2000s thing but it wasn't a good look imo and then that bridesmaid dress they bought at 'Granny's R Us' was just not flattering either... and those shoes! Yes Katie is a tall person but again, the granny mini heels they put her in when it called for her to wear dressy shoes were so bad. Even in Four To Tango, those shoes were horrid. I can't. I'm being unnecessarily naggy about this but I needed to get this off my chest. I feel better now lmao

    1. I knew I'd have to break this into 2 parts lol

      5. Just gonna mention this now, but I love s4. Minus the infamous Prom one and a few leading up to that oh and the season 4 finale, but I loooove s4. I think I go back and forth between s3 and s4 as my all time favorite season. I think season 4 wins out slightly because my otp is actually together and I don't have to sit there watching Jafar Leery week after week. The writing is also much more mature and so yeah, s4 is my favorite season. Plus Future Tense (s4 ep4) is tied with Stolen Kisses and Castaways as my all time favorite DC eps.

      6. Have to mention Pacey's hair in the beginning of s4 because I feel Charles is gonna be surprised like I think most of us were lmao I personally loved it. Ok wait, I was taken off guard ep 1 but by ep 2 I liked it and by ep 3 I loved it! Josh Jackson could have Medusa's head of snakes on his head and I'd still find him hot but I actually saw someone on a DC fan forum say that they were a Pacey and Joey "shipper" until Josh shaved his hair off and then all of the chemistry between Pacey and Joey disappeared so they stopped liking them together lmao I kid you not. Why am I again talking about hair?

      7. Lastly, to most of us it was incredibly frustrating how this triangle was written and even though Dawson had shown when he was dating Jen that he is selfish, manipulative, controlling, spiteful and possessive, for them to hike it to Disney villian levels was unnecessary. That said, you would not believe the excuses many Dawson Leery fans and Dawson/Joey shippers I've seen give him for his awful behavior and it concerns the crap out of me. Everything from Dawson had every right to act that way since Pacey and Joey "betrayed" him to Pacey was just as manipulative as Dawson was because and I quote "He forced himself" in on that trip to Aunt Gwen's house oh and because he painted "Ask Me To Stay" on the wall. I wish I was joking. Another reason s4 is enjoyable because for the first time since the show started, Dawson is likable. I think the writers knew they took him to extremes in s3 and made up for it. The claim on Joey's virginity annoys the shit out of me but I didn't want someone to cement his feet and throw him into his stupid creek for the first time ever. It's nice.

      All in all, great ep discussion and loved finally finding out just how Traci and Charles took that picture sitting on the "Leerys" boat deck- Using 4 expensive phones... Bravo Traci and Charles... Bra-vo lmao I'm so impressed!

    2. Ohh your timeline theory about Pacey leaving a day early makes sense! We were just sitting here like, "Damn, why is everyone RUNNING THEIR HEARTS out in this show?"

    3. I NEVER thought about the timeline theory that makes sense!

      I agree I like season 4, but some of the Dawson stuff like dating Pacey's sister gets boring to me. I'd rather watch Pacey's Creek any day LOL

  2. Great podcast guys when you guys talk about the next episode coming home I think you guys should watch this clip it's the ending scene with the original music

  3. After all the low moments of The Longest Day and Anti-Prom, the end of True Love, at least, was such a relief. We needed that swell of happiness, and smiles from Joey and Pacey. It really did feel like Joey was an abused girlfriend in her "friendship" with Dawson in these episodes. My biggest gripe is that in the end, Dawson has to give Joey "permission" and THAT'S what finally pushes her to go to Pacey and do what she actually wanted. And still in the middle of giving her this so-called permission, Dawson still has to be as egotistical as to declare that it's going to be a colossal mistake and that "all roads lead back to [him]." Couldn't the writers have had Joey take SOME kind of active role in this decision? I wanted Joey to choose Pacey, not go to Pacey because she got Dawson's blessing.

    P.S. I was a freshman in high school when this season aired and was alllllll about Henry. It was the Leonardo DiCaprio/Nick Carter resemblance. Thankfully in my old age, I know better now.

    1. They were DEFINITELY going for a Leo DiCaprio thing with Henry's hair...

  4. I loved this episode! It's probably the one I've seen the most. I'm glad you talked about Dawson's behavior - I agree that they went a little too far in writing him this season. You can have someone be mad or upset without crossing over into abusive territory. And Dawson was supposed to be the lead, and I just wonder why they wrote their lead to be this way. Like other people have said, I hate that Dawson gives Joey his "permission" and only then doe she go to Pacey -- I truly don't think she would have gone on her own, much as she CLEARLY wanted to.

    I'm also glad that you guys talked about the timeline issues - I was just talking to Rachel about that! I thought maybe they sailed away in the morning, because that would make more sense than going when it would be dark in a few hours. Also so odd that neither of their parents cared they were sailing away for three months, like my parents would have never let me do that, but I'm willing to suspend disbelief haha. I do wonder, though, about the timeline when they come back. Like let's say they got done with school at the end of May. Sailing for three months meant they'd come home at the end of August, and maybe their school started in September. But then Pacey makes a comment about spending the "last 100 days" on the boat, was that to be dramatic? I'm probably way overthinking this haha.

    I hope it's okay to give our overall feelings about season 3 for maybe your study hall episode. :)

    I first watched this show when I was 16, on DVDs I got from the library (I'm a librarian now and besides the books, the fact that I could get anything I wanted from the library like this show, either from the library itself or from another one, was awesome, and still is).

    I watched the first four seasons and I think part of the fifth - I can't remember why I stopped, maybe because of Pacey and Joey, maybe because I didn't find the college years as relatable. (I've seen them now, and my reasons are still the same, but now I know more things about writing and tone, both of which were different in the last couple seasons.)

    Anyway. What I remembered about the show for years, before my obsession came back a few months ago and I watched it again, were moments from season 3. Pacey watching Joey sleep by the fire, the Witch Island episode, Pacey and Joey sailing away. (Also sidenote: I did not know the Dawson Crying face was gonna happen on first watch and I obviously didn't like Dawson at all so I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes.) A lot of what I remembered of this show were Pacey and Joey moments, and most from season 3. And they were moments, not lines or scenes, which I think speaks to the writers and how they wrote the show.

    It's funny that, to me, season 3 has one of the worst starts (Eve) but is overall one of the best and most widely loved seasons.

    This is long and full of ramble, sorry!

    1. Great idea Sarah!

      So in preparation of S3 Study Hall, I'm sharing my Top 10 Favorites and Top 5 least Favorites of the season (In Order)

      Top 10 Faves
      1. Stolen Kisses- Despite Aunt Gwen's awfulness, my tv otp finally gave in to their feelings

      2. Four To Tango- Just a very cute episode and any episode that has Pacey and Joey hanging out is great in my book. Also their sexual attention is hilariously called out by that annoying dance instructor.

      3. A Weekend In The Country- Very sweet episode where the whole cast is bonding and Pacey's new romantic feelings for Joey are cleverly revealed

      4. True Love- The Ending. Enough said

      5. Valentine's Day Massacre- This ep cracks me up

      6. Neverland- Not exactly sure why I love this episode so much but I think it's because the girls actually hang out, it's the last ep Pacey and Dawson are genuinely best friends... Is that a spoiler? lol Oh and after hearing Charles talk about it, I appreciate Jack and Mr McPhee's relationship progression.

      7. The Longest Day- It was different than other DC episodes and those scenes between Pacey and Joey in the boat house (before Dawson lifted his leg and tinkled all over her and her growing romance with Pacey) were hot and spicy lol

      8. None Of The Above- I love this episode despite stupid Eve. I think it has underrated Pacey and Joey moments that shows Joey has always believed in Pacey despite their antagonistic friendship before and it shows how close they had become when it's Joey that Pacey wants to hang out with after Andie gives him back the stuff he gave her. Granted Dawson is with Eve but regardless, I think he genuinely wanted to hang with Joey

      9. Home Movies- The funny PaJo moments... duh

      10. Anti- Prom (Would've been slightly higher if I didn't want to kick Dawson in the face the whole time) and That "I remember everything" moment is too iconic not to list this episode

      Top 5 Least Faves
      1. Native American Summer lol I refuse to call it "Indian Summer" - Who the heck gave a shit about Eve? This episode was dumb.

      2. Like A Virgin- Eve is introduced. Worst character (next to Aunt Gwen, homophobic s2 teacher, Tamara, Barbara Johns and Dawson) ever lmao

      3. First Encounters Of The Close Kind- No Pacey = SnoozeFest For Me

      4. Barefoot At Capeside- Again no Pacey = SnoozeFest in my book

      5. Show Me Love- Dawson sucks

      So yes basically my love for this show is 90% because of Pacey and Joey... just in case nobody noticed by my choices. The remaining 10% is my love for Jack, Jen and Grams. Ok and nostalgia.

    2. Oh good grief *Sexual Tension not sexual attention LOL

    3. This site needs a edit button- Just remembered Pacey is in that episode Barefoot at Capeside lol No idea why I forgot that but I didn't like that episode for some reason

    4. All of the Eve stuff makes season 3 feel like two different seasons lol

    5. It's so true! I always say season three is my favorite, but I can't bring myself to rewatch the Eve episodes.

  5. Great episode guys!!
    It’s strange because I once watched this episode on it’s own (without watching he rest of season 3) and The love triangle stuff was actually pretty boring. It’s so strange because when I binge watch and watch all the eps in order this is one of my favourites! I think it’s because this ep has a lot of the payoff from the rest of the season! On the episode it’s self a lot of the emotion comes from knowing the pain that pacey,joey and jack have been in for the last few episodes so the payoff feels great but as a stand alone episode it falls pretty flat actually haha

    Nevertheless love the podcast and can’t wait for season 4.

    1. True -- the emotional build-up of season 3 definitely helps this stand out as an episode!

  6. Great episode, can't wait for the study hall recap. I listen to another podcast The Shipping Room and every episode they read peoples top ten TV ship lists & for me Pacey & Joey will always be number one!

  7. I know I am coming into this a little late but I just started listening to some of your episodes that I have been interested in knowing others opinions on (some of my fav and least fav Creeks), and this is an episode that I have strong opinions on. As a high schooler watching this show when it originally aired, the nuances of this episode really went over my head, but watching and rewatching it as an adult, it gets me fired up. You are very correct that Dawson is completely emotionally abusive, and to add to that I think a few things were missed on this point that are glaringly obvious. Just a few episodes ago we see him having a fit when he found out about Joey and Pacey, crying, having a tantrum, giving Joey an ultimatum on their "friendship". Now in this episode he's like "why are you moping around, I don't deserve this", um yes he does, you did it to her, you MADE her sad by giving an ultimatum (ultimatums= totally great for any ship, friend or relation). Then he tells her to go see Pacey at his goodbye party, why would she do that, you literally threatened the friendship over Pacey, what the hell is Dawson trying to do to her head. He is so living in his own movie in this episode, a movie about how their friendship is back, but he not isnt happy about her reaction to it, GET OVER YOURSELF. Then when they are dancing and she is crying and hes like "I dont know what you are thinking anymore", YES YOU DO, YOU KNOW SHE IS THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU MADE HER GIVE UP, he is just in such a fantasy world this whole episode, and it literally takes her crying in his arms while dancing to wake him the F up (well sort of wake up, since he goes on to condescendingly tell her she is making a mistake and he wont be there to pick up the pieces).

    I dont know, and I dont know if an almost 40 year old women should still have such a strong reaction to a show she watched in high school, lol.


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