Alongside Dawson's Creek

Rev. 25-Feb-1998
Chaz Boston Baden,

Warning! Contains spoilers! If you haven't seen every episode aired, this page will give away big chunks of character development. You Have Been Warned.

The Dark Side

No means No. Does everybody here recognize that? It's the mantra that every teenager should be taught. (But most of them aren't, sadly enough.) No means no; if you say "no" (or "No, thank you" depending on the context) it should be accepted as such. And who on this show seems to have a little difficulty with that concept? Pacey. The poodle and the saint bernard. The li'l engine that's trying to Mount Everest. And succeeds, in A Prelude to a Kiss.

You see, Pacey wouldn't take "No" for an answer from Tamara Jacobs (or even Joey, for that matter). Now class, that's a warning sign - anyone recognize it? Ten points for everyone whose hand shot up with "Abusive Relationships" on their lips.

Pacey's relationship with Tamara fits the pattern of an abusive relationship. I'm not saying Pacey is physically abusing Miss Jacobs; but he is pushing, pushing, pushing too far. And she's giving in. This is also part of the problem with the relationship. And, surprise, she came to Capeside to get away from an abusive relationship. It would seem she hasn't learned to recognize the signs.

Let's run down a few of the signs of an abusive relationship. One of them is pushing too hard - she says "No," he says "oh please please please" or some other line. A variation on that is the old "Your lips say No, but your eyes say Yes" crap. Note that Pacey pulls that, and succeeds with it, in Blown Away with his "If you could do anything right now" line. Pacey has been forcing himself on Tamara. Kisses stolen here and there - trying to hold hands in inappropriate situations - trying to grope her in Blown Away. Also there's the "discovery risk" factor, which is sometimes cited in this kind of relationship. Pacey is taking risks that could blow the whole thing. What if Pacey's brother had come in quietly while Tamara and Pacey were in liplock?

And then there's the scene in Prelude to a Kiss. I'll let Shannon Anania describe it (taken from her synopsis of the episode):

Pacey insults her and explains that the only reason that he is bothering her is because the only thing he wants is her.

He insults her and tells her he wants her - sounds like he's running hot and cold unpredictably, like a shower nozzle gone amuck. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, anyone? They've quoted a soundbite from the scene - "What do you want?" "You." - in the "previously" segments - but by snipping it to just that part, they've taken it out of the context.

The fact that Tamara accepts it is not the issue - Pacey's behavior is. He's been at it since Emotions in Motion, when Tamara sashayed into the video store. And it's not just Tamara. As Shannon Anania noted in her synopsis of Prelude to a Kiss, when Joey spots Anderson, the cute boy passing through -

Pacey threatens to shout out that Joey likes that guy, but Joey says that she will kill him if he does so. Pacey does so anyway.

This is not what someone who respects women does - Pacey is demonstrating that it doesn't matter what the woman wants, he'll do as he chooses.

Where has he picked up this pattern of behavior? And why is Tamara putting up with it?

What Tamara is doing is self-destructive. She is a partner in the relationship - not an equal partner, she's surrendered power to Pacey. But she went into it with open eyes, or at least she thought so. It's going to blow up in Look Who's Talking, according to the teasers. And Tamara has gotten herself caught up in the same kind of relationship she came to Capeside to escape. It's that whole cycle thing again...

Now look at Pacey's brother. Another hallmark of abuse is the violence (the gunplay in this situation) followed by the "I was only playing around" phase. Tamara at least is repelled by this to the extent that flirt-time is over, when that comes up during The Calm Before The Storm. Somehow I don't think we've seen the last of Pacey's brother, though. My guess is they'll find something for him to do, sooner or later...

So: Tamara's ex-husband, Pacey, and Pacey's brother all fit the abusive personality mold. Gawd help us, what are Pacey's parents like?


Dawson's Mom, and Tamara Jacobs. Mom got bored with having everything be perfect, and set out to ruin her own life. She succeeded; in Blown Away she even witnessed her own husband of umpty-dump years say the coldest thing he could ever say to her. "I choose not to love you." Ouch. And meanwhile, Tamara is riding that young stallion, apparently bucking to go out in a blaze of glory. I don't think these two women are all that similar, but the fact that both are or were on self-destructive paths caught my attention.

No Happy Endings

"Isn't it possible that two people have sex, they both like it, and everything turns out okay?" (Or words to that effect. Anyone have a tape of Carnal Knowledge and can help quote it exactly?) Pacey touches on some prophetic words indeed with his plea for literature with "some action" in it, and his intended parallel to his own situation. Yes, Pacey, it's possible that two people might have sex, and it might work out or it might blow up in their faces. It really depends on which two people are involved.

We already know this is a prudish town, or at least Tamara thinks so. Her revelation that Mr. Gold's gayness would not be well-received is probably a bit of foreshadowing to the townspeople coming down hard on her and her young hunk of man meat.

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