Analyzing the “Creek”
Dawson Leary, throughout a majority of the show, is pretty indecisive about the numerous issues with which he is faced. He spends a great amount of time in the middle of the “Identity Moratorium” and “Identity Achievement” states during this episode. From the moment the first scene appears on the television screen, you are greeted by the image of a blond-haired, blue-eyed male adolescent who speaks as though he is actually twice his age. He is somewhat entranced by a blond-haired, blue-eyed overly-promiscuous female adolescent named Eve. You can see that he is interested in her, but is surprised and somewhat overwhelmed by her frankness and overpowering demeanor. He has always lived up to the “good boy” reputation that he has made for himself throughout the years. Now, he has this girl, who he met just a week ago, in front of him. He knows that she is totally wrong for him, and that she is trouble in the making, but he cannot help but to think that maybe she is what he wants. Eve is everything that Dawson has never been; the whole concept of right versus wrong excites him to a certain extent, and now he has to make a decision between the two. He allows Eve to manipulate him into thinking and doing things that he normally would never do. When she gives him a copy of the PSAT, he jumps at the chance to bring his friends in on the “jewel.” When the test turns up missing, he immediately blames his friends, but allows them to make the decision to return the test anonymously. He trusts his friends enough to believe that they will return the test. When he finds that no one has confessed to swiping the test,
Eve hints to him that Pacey was the culprit. Dawson allows her to manipulate him into believing that Pacey actually did it. He and Pacey get into a fistfight over the test and their friendship. In the end, Dawson drops Eve and walks out during the PSAT. In the end, Dawson takes step closer to the “Identity Achievement” state by resolving some of the conflicts he was faced with in the episode.
Pacey Witter is very much a member of the “Identity Diffusion” state. While he did spend a minimal amount of time in the “Identity Foreclosure” state, a majority of the time was spent in the “Diffusion” state. Pacey has the reputation of being the trouble-maker, class clown, wise-cracking adolescent son of one of Capeside’s best law enforcement officials. He is also a self-proclaimed screw-up and failure, an idea of which was instilled by his father. After months of dating Andie McPhee, he ends the relationship after learning of her infidelity. Still hurt and angry over the fact that the “love of his life” cheated on him, he receives the final blow when Andie returns to him everything he ever gave her – piled into a cardboard box. The most harrowing part of the whole situation was when Andie told him that she was willing to take him back, but since he cannot forgive her, she has planned an alternative course in her “new” life – that doesn’t include him. On top of all of that, he has to deal with the fact that his life-long best friend thinks that he stole the test from him. He ends up getting drunk and accidentally trips over the box filled with the stuff Andie gave back to him, sending it flying into the water – where it is to remain until someone finds it. Dawson confronts him about the test, and Pacey is furious that he would accuse him of stealing it. They end up taking a few swings at each other before Joey jumps in and sends Dawson away. Joey helps Pacey by listening to what he has to say, and attempting to make him feel better by cracking a few sarcastic remarks. On the morning of the PSAT, Pacey watches as Dawson walks out of the test; he decides that the test was a stupid thing to lose a friend over, and subsequently follows Dawson out of the testing room. Pacey was very indecisive and kind of messed up throughout the entire episode. He seems to have no plans for the future, and gives off the impression that he really doesn’t care what happens to him. One minute, he plays the role of the dishonest student who is willing to do anything to keep from having to think too hard; the next minute, you see him as a student who decides not to cheat, but still scoffs at the thought of studying for a test. I see him as a lost soul who somewhat regrets the reputation he has made for himself throughout his life. Now he realizes what a joke he is, and is frustrated by the fact that he cannot run away from the mistakes he has made in the past.
Joey Potter is an extremely intelligent go-getter who isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She has been “cursed” with an extremely dysfunctional family, and is described by many as the “good girl from the wrong side of the creek.” She is determined to show the world that you don’t have to be rich or popular to make something of yourself. She has the intelligence and drive to go anywhere she wants to go in life, but the money issue is a huge problem – she has none. In this episode, she is extremely focused on taking the PSAT. She has nightmares about missing the test, and eventually being accused of cheating on it. When Dawson produces a copy of the PSAT and offers it to the group, she is suddenly forced to make a decision between wrong and right. She is well aware that her entire future is riding on the PSAT, and is very tempted by the chance to secure her future with a peek at its “key.” In the end, she opts to do what is right and takes the test guilt-free. I believe that Joey is at stage three at this point in her life. She has hinted at placing a foot into stage six, but I do not believe that she has fully achieved this stage yet. She is very motivated by the approval of others. She knows that the PSAT will determine whether or not she will receive the National Merit Scholarship. She wants the scholarship more than anything because she knows that it will secure the future that she wants for herself. Although she does a lot to please others, she does a number of things for herself as well. She is not caught up in being part of the popular crowd because it is not something that she believes in. When her boss asked her out, she refused because she wasn’t interested, and she knew that he wasn’t right for her. Because she made that decision, her boss turned around and made her work the night before the PSAT’s. He also deducted a large amount of money from her paycheck, the result of a little mistake she made. The flirtatious, charming, and sweet boss she once knew had turned into a cold, selfish jerk. Joey’s morals and values are very important to her, and she would never willingly abandon them to please another person or to take a step higher in life. She works hard for everything she gets, and therefore, she deserves everything good that comes her way.
Andie McPhee is a perfect example of a person living the life of “pain or pleasure”, stage zero. She is so caught up in being the best at everything and making everyone like her, that she doesn’t seem to notice when she has stepped on someone else’s toes. She sees herself as being number one in her life, and is not willing to shake that concept. On the outside, she seems like a perfectly normal teenager, but on the inside, she’s a time-bomb ready to explode. She is suffering from depression, and the therapy that she undergoes throughout the summer leads her to meet a guy with whom she had a lot in common. They grew very close and she ended up cheating on Pacey. When she broke the news to Pacey of her infidelity, he immediately called it quits. She didn’t seem to realize why he was taking it so hard and why he was so mad at her. She just expected him to forgive and forget, and when he couldn’t do that, she decided that she would be better off without him. She packed all of the things he gave her into a box and returned them to him. She basically told him that it’s basically all or nothing – he needs to forgive her completely, or else she doesn’t want anything to do with him. He tells her that he can forgive her, but he will never forget. She tells him that she wants him out of her life – completely. I see Andie McPhee as being very egotistical. You can see that she has been spoiled somewhat throughout her life. It’s either her way or no way. She wants nothing more than to be normal, to be perfect, but the depression has kept her from achieving that for herself. When Dawson showed up with the advanced copy of the PSAT, something inside Andie clicked. She knew that she wanted to be the best. She knew that she wanted to do well on the PSAT. The perfect opportunity for her to achieve both of those things was wrapped in a large envelope, lying right in front of her. When the fire alarm sounded, she knew that it was the perfect time to seize the moment, so she swiped the test. When the group discovered that it was missing, she played along and acted as if she knew nothing about where it had gone. Later on, when Dawson accused Pacey of taking the test, she went right along with it, knowing that no one would expect her of the crime. In the end, you see that she is filling out the answer sheet without having even opened up her test booklet. She was given the chance to do something completely dishonest, and she took it. She didn’t care that two friends were on the verge of ending a life-long relationship, nor did she care about the rising hostility among the group of friends; all she cared about was the fact that her chance at gaining the perfection she has always striven for was in her possession. She allowed her friends to gang up on her ex-boyfriend, and she allowed him to take the blame for stealing the test; but hey, that’s what friends are for, isn’t it?