10. Abby Morgan’s Funeral : First it includes “Whatever Makes You Happy” by Paul Westerberg. Second, death and near death makes for good TV (see “Blind School Fire” episode of Little House on the Prairie, Pinky Tuscadero bumps her head episode of Happy Days, and that episode of Scrubs where Brenden Fraser dies). Anyway, badgirl Abby Morgan dies by falling off the pier and at her funeral Jen flames the entire congregation, the death also causes mousy-Andie to lose her mind. Literally.
9. Jr. Prom: So Jack, who is gay, is denied tickets to the Jr. prom by some Christian hooha. Since Dawson is trying to woo Joey away from Pacey he sets up this alternative prom at Leery’s Fresh Fish, and brings Joey as his date. Pacey goes with Andie (who sports some funky glittering alien makeup) and tension abounds. Finally, Joey and Pacey dance and their love cannot be denied by anyone watching. Dawson is outraged. Andie is heartbroke. I am totally cheering because it’s so awesome.
8. The one before Albert Brooks dies: I had a soft spot for ol’ Mr. Brooks. This cranky shut-in befriends young Dawson Leery, after Dawson wrecks his boat trying to save Pacey and Jen from some sort of tropical storm. While working off his debt, Dawson discovers that Mr. Brooks was a big-wig movie director back in like the 40s. The two become BFFs and work together on a documentary about Mr. Brooks. Eventually we learn that Brooks (who is romancing Grams) has some sort of cancer. Brooks decided to die with dignity by offing himself. Before he takes a mittful of pills, he and Dawson have a great conversation where Brooks hugs the boy while Louis Armstrong’s “It’s a Wonderful World” swells in the background. Gets me every time.
7. Pacey and Joey get stuck in a K-Mart: Who hasn’t had a fantasy about getting stuck in their favorite store overnight? The first step in Pacey and Joey getting back together.
6. The Ski Trip: Joey and Pacey do it. Albert Brooks dies (see reasoning behind #10). So awesome.
J. Principal Green resigns: After some rich dirtbag vandalizes Joey’s unity mural, Principal Green expels him. The PTA is up in arms and the School Board calls for Green’s resignation. Joey rallies the Capeside troops and tries to save the principal’s job. Despite what the students want, Green refuses to let the dirtbag back in school and he’s let go. He exits the school as the students line the hall and give him one final slow clap. Makes me cry every. single. time.
4. Christmas at the Leery’s: Audrey was easily the best thing to ever happen to the Capeside gang. After some sort of date-rapesque incident and breaking up with Pacey, Audrey spends much of the fall semester drinking her ass off and singing in Hell’s Belles (Emma’s band). The gang gathers for Christmas at Dawson’s house along with various hangers on including Audrey (who is taking every pill and slugging back every drink she can get her hands on); Todd, the movie director; Natasha, the starlet boinking Dawson; Eddie, Joey’s blue-collar boyfriend; and Joey’s Dad, who was recently released from prison after serving time for trafficking marijuana (or cocaine). Audrey calls out all the phonies in a most uncomfortable, yet hilarious manner, then she drives Pacey’s beemer through the front door.
3. Dawson’s dad dies : Mitch Leery is cut down in the prime of his life by a dude who falls asleep at the wheel. The gang runs back to Capeside to be by the mourning Dawson’s side. Everyone relives their best Mitch memories. Just typing about it gives me goosebumps. Dawson loses his shit when he hears his dad’s voice on the answering machine, ends up crying in his Jeep after the cashier at the convenience store tells him how proud of him his dad was.
2. The Potter girls open a B&B: After their dad burns down the Ice House because he doesn’t want to get caught dealing cocaine, the Potter girls decide to use the insurance money to turn their home into a bed and breakfast. Once the remodeling is complete the Capeside gang try to help the sisters fool the B&B dude from the Times by posing as guests. Of course nothing goes well, the furnace is out and the B&B dude is cold, and the gang spends the night hanging out in front of the fireplace talking about what memories certain smells bring back. Grams talks about how love is the hardest wood or something and that love is being content watching someone you love sleep, or some other kind of Gram-like wisdom. Anyway, this is the first time that we really understand how much Pacey loves Joey, because in the end he just sits in a chair and watches her sleep. Also, there is a dancing in the kitchen scene that makes me cry with embarrassment for everyone involved. I still love this episode.
1. Jen dies and Joey picks Pacey : Come on! Really you had any doubt?