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619 - Lovelines

We don't even know what to say about this episode, except ... watch this video of an adorable baby panda on a chase to cleanse your soul.

From Charles: "My Dawson’s Creek spec script to replace this episode: There’s no CJ. Jen is adjusting to Gram’s new needs. Jack and David fight. Jack finds out about Gram’s illness. They all come together. Now where’s my one-time writing credit??"

Episode links:

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  1. I get more and more bitter as this season goes on and this episode doesn't help. I just hate how completely lazy the writers were. Why have a sixth season just for Paul Stupin to just sit back and watch the writers room destroy everything that made this show charming? And what makes me want to bite a carrot through a wired fence is the fact that these same lazy writers wrote a charming and dare I say almost 'magical' episode like Castaways so I know they knew how to bring the charm! Okay so Katie and Joshua's chemistry made that episode as magical as it was but still, it was a pretty well written episode. How do you write so many bad episodes in two seasons and EP Stupin not step in and let them know they're erasing what made fans love the show? How did he not see how bad the past two seasons were? Frustrating. The finale is this show's saving grace imo.

    1. This is like everything I have been thinking articulated so well! Thank you! 'Destroying everything that made this show charming' hits the nail on the head. I think they should have finish the show at Season 4 with 'Graduation', completely ignored the mess that was Coda, then gone straight to Castaways followed by the Season Finale. That's how it is in my head anyway :)

    2. I think if I was to tell someone to watch Dawson's Creek for the first time, I'd say to watch the first four seasons (minus Coda) then go straight to the series finale. (Then go back and watch Castaways because I love it, but I don't think you'd need it in the middle.)

  2. Haven't listened to this one yet (it's just past midnight here so I'll listen on my way to work in the morning). But I did want to say that:

    - I am sorry for Charles. I have never rewatched Lovelines, I sat through it once but never again. I would prefer Charles' version too. Or even if they HAD to do an episode with some sort of 'let us help you with advice on your love life' storyline then it should have been Jen doing it on a radio show (remember how she used to do that?) except nobody calls in so her friends feel bad and they call in and shenanigans ensue. I don't know - it's just so dumb the way that it works out. This is the worst episode of Dawson's Creek ever, and I'm glad for Charles that it's over. The next ep is pretty bad too, from memory, but I like parts of 6x21. As sad and reductive as they may be, the acting from some of the cast is top notch.

    - I completely agree with Leslie's comment about the absolute annihilation of this show in the later seasons. I don't understand either how Stupin could just sit back and let it happen - it's so clear what the major problems are when the cast all splits up after high school. And I know that it's not realistic that they would all go to the same college or whatever, but they don't hang out anymore. Remember those Sunday dinners? There are SO MANY ways they could've continued hanging out. But no. Instead we got dumb side characters that were knock off versions of our beloved characters, who start acting like the worst versions of themselves, and why is everything SO ORANGE?

    - Also, re: the ScreenRant list, I actually came to The OC just recently because I'd watched the table read of the Dawson's Creek pilot from ATX Festival a few years back and loved it so much that I decided to also watch The OC one. I got about a third of the way in and was so intrigued that I had to go watch the pilot. I only watched a handful of episodes after that then got bored, because I just don't care to watch shows about insanely wealthy kids, but goddamn Ben McKenzie is a good actor. He had me glued to the screen in that pilot.

    1. YES why is everything SO ORANGE? I thought it was just my TV.

    2. LOL nope. If you ever listen to the Creek of the Week podcast, they are perpetually commenting on how orange everything is in seasons 5 and 6. And fanvids on YouTube also make it easy to spot which season they're in, unless they do a filter or colour correction. The later seasons are orange af.


  3. You know what, I'm going to give it to Screen Rant. The parents on the OC made a lot of questionable choices, but the OC did a much better job keeping the adults integral to the story, instead of having them fade in and out of the series. Even Grams was basically non-existent in the last two seasons.

    Okay, so my theory on Lovelines is this: the writers were sitting around joking about how tangled the core group of friends love lives were, and thought it would be hilarious to throw them in front of the audience and face super meta criticisms about their choices. Yeah, Twitter wasn't around in 2003, but there were plenty of message boards that made the opinion of the show's fans well known. The show Lovelines would be a perfect vehicle for this, although, I'm not sure Lovelines was even popular anymore at this point. A quick Wikipedia check confirms that it stopped airing on MTV in 2000, so, yes, the tie in remains a mystery. Anyway, it would have been a fun way to delve into the six seasons of history, especially since this was a filler episode anyway. Then they actually got to the episode and it all went to hell because half the cast isn't in it, all the main characters are in relationships nobody cares about (sorry David, I still love you!), and the writers had Joey dump Pacey five minutes ago and don't want to talk about it.

    This leads me into my big issue with the Joey and Eddie storyline. Eddie knows that Joey was seeing someone else while he was gone, and never once asks if maybe that's why she's not ready to fully commit to him. Joey is the star of the show, but the show avoids her POV like the plague. Things constantly happen to her and she reacts to them, but she rarely drives the story in later seasons, which is so frustrating. This episode is also such a terrible contrast between Eddie and Pacey. Pacey spent 4 episodes respecting Joey's space and letting her decide what she wanted, while Eddie can't go 45 seconds without complaining that Joey won't sleep with him. He was so out of character this episode though, no way would he go on stage and spill information about Joey's father. I don't like Eddie, but he's better than that.

    Jensen Ackles is hot, so people liked CJ. He and Henry were written similarly, but Michael Pitt's anemic Leonardo DiCaprio looks were no match for Jensen Ackles broad shoulders. I didn't hate CJ in this episode, even though he should have given Jen space and waited until after the show to address Jen's abrupt breakup. I did find their makeup scene to be kind of sweet, although I agree with you that it would have worked better with someone like Dawson.

    Welcome back, Jack! But also, get out of here Jack! He was such an asshole this episode. David has been nothing but patient and understanding with Jack (remember when Jack stood him up to go to that creepy professor's talk, and David was totally cool with it?) and deserved a genuine apology, even if Jack's intentions were innocent (which they did NOT seem to be.)

    Now, to forget this episode ever existed and make a Series Finale recommendation. If you're watching the special extended episode DVD, it also includes a commentary track with Kevin Williamson and Paul Stupin that I highly recommend for a second rewatch. They give a lot of context and insight as to why they made certain character decisions, and Kevin talks about what it was like jumping back into the show and how he reconnected with it. It also has some deleted Pilot scenes with original Bodie (who I think remains in the Pilot as aired) and original Mitch(!) as well as an alternate ending to the Pilot.

    1. That's a pretty solid theory. I was just listening to the Creek of the Week 'Lovelines' episode (the first one) and they had a similar theory. I can kind of see where they were coming from, but the Dr Drew/Adam gimmick kind of overshadowed it, and if they wanted to do an episode that called back to the past, maybe the guy who had never written an episode of DC before (and clearly didn't get it) wasn't the right choice to pen it. It's such a throwaway episode and I think everyone realised that at this point.

      "Joey is the star of the show, but the show avoids her POV like the plague. Things constantly happen to her and she reacts to them, but she rarely drives the story in later seasons, which is so frustrating."

      YES! Joey seems to have almost zero agency in the later seasons, and we never get inside her head. One of the few actual decisions that she makes is to break up with Pacey, but even then, it seems to come somewhat out of left field. I still needed a scene of her telling SOMEONE how she was feeling, to let the audience know and to build the suspense between Pacey thinking they were going to be endgame and Joey knowing they weren't. Then the build-up to her having to break it to him would have been excruciating but it would've created some tension and made the breakup feel more earned, IMO.

      "This episode is also such a terrible contrast between Eddie and Pacey. Pacey spent 4 episodes respecting Joey's space and letting her decide what she wanted, while Eddie can't go 45 seconds without complaining that Joey won't sleep with him."

      Ugh, Eddie. I agree he was out of character here though. So was Joey. No way either of them got up onstage to air out their dirty laundry like that.

      "Jensen Ackles is hot, so people liked CJ."
      Creek of the Week watched this episode pretty early on, I think it was their 21st episode, and at that point they were saying that CJ was a nice guy, and talking about how he's much better on Supernatural. By the end of their podcast, they have realised how much they hate him and call him CJ the rapist. So I think a lot of people had rose-tinted glasses on when it comes to CJ, I know I did at the time, but now we realise that he was a total jackass. He comes across much worse in soundbites than he does onscreen, because his beauty is very distracting.

      Justice for Jack. Maybe he's better off being offscreen if that's all they're going to do with him.

      Oh, I don't have the season 6 DVDs (just seasons 1-4). My friend does, but she lives in Australia now so probably doesn't want to ship them over. Wasn't the alternate ending to the pilot supposed to be Dawson seeing his mum cheating?

  4. I must have been in a good mood when I recently re-watched Lovelines in preparation of this pod....I mean I'm def NOT going to defend anything or die on the hill for it, so let's get that out of the way.

    Like many others, I haven't watched this one in a long time, I get that it's not great. All the critiques Traci, Charles and the above commenters make are totally justified. However, I kinda liked seeing this again in a dumb, fun way. The Audrey/Dr Drew stuff was cute. The awkwardness of the questions and having Joey/Jack/Jen on stage was a bit of fun. (Not a LOT though ha).

    So, I don't know. I would rather watch this one than Downtown Crossing, easily. Which kinda surprised me. Again, maybe I was just ready for this one or it caught me at a good time. I think I'd give it a 5.5 and it's still easily a top-5 cringe/dumb episode in series history, but I did enjoy it a bit more than I was expecting. Obviously there could have been much better usage of time to advance stories differently or in better ways.

    1. I haven't rewatched this one OR Downtown Crossing since the first time I saw them. And the only reason I know I've even seen Downtown Crossing is because I remember Harmony (from Buffy) being in it. Vaguely.

      I'd give this episode a 3. I can't stand it. I know I said I haven't watched it in years, but even the sound bites in this podcast and any other pods, recaps or reviews I've read of it make me even more certain that this is the worst episode of Dawson's Creek to ever air, and that it should be excised from everyone's collective memories.

      Maybe one day when I'm in the mood to hate myself, I'll watch this and Downtown Crossing and see which one I hate more. Or I'll just watch Castaways again. Yeah, probably the second one.

    2. I watched this episode too for the first time since my original rewatch in anticipation for the podcast. I hadn't realized that they pulled Dawson's Creek from Amazon Prime and I had just canceled my Hulu account because I was never using it, so I found a version on Daily Motion, which must have used the same source as Traci and Charles, because it had the original music and was playing at 0.9x the speed, which was actually great because the episode was shorter! The highlight of the episode is definitely the return of Season 5 Audrey! She was fun again! I would also pick this episode over Downtown Crossing, but I'm still traumatized from Katie Holmes singing the mugger to death.

    3. "I would also pick this episode over Downtown Crossing, but I'm still traumatized from Katie Holmes singing the mugger to death."


      Where can you find episodes with the original music? I'd love to see that!

  5. I don’t know what this episode was but it was NOT Dawson’s Creek.

    Joey is now 19 years old and I refuse to believe she is still SO SQUEAMISH about talking about sex with her boyfriend, especially after the speech she gave about changing the way she sees sex the first time they sleep together. I'm not saying that she can't be afraid he will hurt her or vulnerable but to just shut down any hint of a conversation about sex - it's just a complete back track of her character and displays how her main character trait is now simply 'uptight'. Not to mention what a shitty relationship her and Eddie must have if you can't even discuss any issues in a non-hostile way. Pacey and Joey sure did fight a lot but at least they actually discussed things, and were respectful of each other. Then to top it off Eddie is basically gaslighting her by saying that she ‘finds him repulsive’, negging her to try and make her feel bad and 'get with him' (vom) and the way he speaks about her on the stage is just straight up disgusting and so so rude (I agree it is at least somewhat out of character, he's not the devil). Anyway I have not seen a single tangible example of him supposedly ‘loving’ Joey yet. My God I can't wait until he just GOES AWAY.

    I do not understand this Adam character. As a British person I have never heard Lovelines so he is new to me. Are we meant to think he is funny and charming!?! He is sexist, homophobic, gross, painfully unfunny and speaks in a weirdly monotone and robotic voice?!? I know it was the early 2000s but surely noone ever found him likeable?

    The ONLY good things about this episode were Audrey’s blouse and camisole combo and when she does bunny ears to Jen from the audience.

    1. I don't get the Lovelines / Adam Carolla thing either. I think he was popular in a shock jock sort of way, because the show started out on radio?

      Joey's squeamishness about talking about sex is inconsistent, because she was sex positive in that ep with Eddie, but then told Pacey in Castaways that she doesn't like talking about sex with anybody. But he wasn't her boyfriend then, so it doesn't make sense that she wouldn't even talk to Eddie about it. On stage, in front of an audience isn't somewhere I'd want to talk about sex either, but you'd think they'd have had some kind of discussion.

      Eddie sucks, especially in this episode. Go away Eddie.

      (I just did a quick Google to see how many more episodes we have to suffer through Eddie in, and happily 6x20 is his series wrap. But I also found an article where he is quoted as saying there was no romantic feelings between him and Katie Holmes during filming of the show. Yeah, no kidding. We could tell.)

  6. This is def not my favorite episode by any means. I just want to point out that this is the one episode that Joshua Jackson directed. I don’t remember hearing that get mentioned in the podcast episode. He couldn’t help that the writing sucked. I didn’t notice anything negative about the scenes/flow/shots whatever it is that directors do lol so let’s hear it for Joshua Jackson and his directorial debut!! :-) I love me some JJ. Too bad his episode had such horrible writing but I wanted to say something positive about it.

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  8. Surprised nobody ever mentioned the tasteless midget joke.


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