Dawson's Creek

Season 4 Episode 22

The Graduate

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM May 16, 2001 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
92 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

As graduation approaches, Joey has a tough time preparing her speech and Dawson helps her find some bittersweet inspiration. Joey gets an unexpected surprise gift from her late mother. Pacey wonders if he's going to graduate at all, and he worries that his last final will be the toughest one. He walks out of the test after the teacher makes a comment to him, nearly costing him his diploma. Meanwhile, Andie McPhee returns home for the cap and gown ceremony, and is surprised to meet Jack's new boyfriend, Tobey, and a devious Drue Valentine. Drue, who is staying at Jen's after being kicked out of his home by his mother after a fight, convinces her to help him pull a hilarious senior prank. Pacey tells Andie he has decided to take the job offer on a boat for the summer.moreless

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  • It's Graduation Day! Joey has trouble writing her speech. Pacey decides to take the job offer. Andie is back! Jen and Drue decide to pull a prank but get caught.

    10/10 just because Andie showed up. I am so glad that Andie showed up for graduation. OK let's begin. This episode was amazing. It's graduation time and Joey has trouble writing her speech. I love the letter her mom wrote, and I love the speech she gave at graduation. A teacher made a witty remark at Pacey before an exam, so Pacey decided not to take the exam. I am so glad that the teacher showed up at Pacey's house and allowed him to retake the exam. I'm also glad he passed it. I'm just sad that he didn't graduate with the rest of his class. Drue gets kicked out of his house and asks Jen if he can stay a couple nights. I love Grams. She is so smart. I thought the scene where the principal catches Jen and Drue, and makes them listen to him playing the cello was hilarious. The end of the episode was awesome. It's nice seeing Andie again. I just wish she wasn't going back to Italy. I give this episode a 10/10 just for Andie.moreless
  • An episode that features all of the cast of Dawson\'s Creek, and a stunning episode, and probably my favorite episode of Dawson\'s Creek that I\'ve seen of all time. The cast gets ready and prepares for Graduation Day.moreless

    Dawson's Creek is one of my favorite shows, but only when they have episodes like this is when you seem to realize how good it is. Each storyline seemed to be filled with meaning, rather it was the humorful storyline with Drue and Jen, the possiblity of his dream for Pacey, Joey reading a heart-felt letter, Jack hanging out with (his boyfriend)Tobey, or Andie's pleasant return to Cape Side. I don\'t think one segment was frustrating or boring, and this episode could be considered to be one of the strongest episodes of Dawson's Creek. Pure emotion can be felt throughout the episode, and a fateful goodbye from Pacey to Joey seems to make the episode more vital for Pacey and Joey romatics. However, Dawson and Joey have a nice moment, and her speech works pefectly as Pacey gets ready to leave on his exile. Overall, probably my favorite episode of the series, and a definite classic.moreless
  • Forever Classic

    I would have to say that this episode is by far one of the top 3 in the entire series. The writers nailed it with emotion, and just sewing up loose ends. Although I was not a huge fan of the 4th season; I have to say that the Drew Valentine character was great!. I wish they would have made him permenant. It is amazing how he transformed into such a likeable character. Dawson and Joey becoming close at the end made the entire season worth it; the writers did a great job at proving their point that their relationship transcends anything.moreless
James Van Der Beek

James Van Der Beek

Dawson Leery

Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes

Josephine "Joey" Potter

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

Jennifer "Jen" Lindley

Joshua Jackson

Joshua Jackson

Pacey J. Witter

Kerr Smith

Kerr Smith

Jack McPhee (recurring Season 2)

Meredith Monroe

Meredith Monroe

Andrea "Andie" McPhee (recurring Season 2)

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

Principal Peskin

Guest Star

Meredith Monroe

Meredith Monroe

Andie McPhee

Recurring Role

Dylan Neal

Dylan Neal

Doug Witter

Recurring Role

Mark Matkevich

Mark Matkevich

Drue Valentine

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Goof: Bessie insists on putting lipstick on Joey for Graduation and since she does it quickly, a noticeable smudge is seen on Joey's upper right lip. However it disappears in the next shot of Joey.

    • Goof: During the senior party, when Andie mentions that Pacey will be in the Caribbean that summer, he replies that she will be Florence. However, later in the episode during the graduation ceremony, Andie tells Jack that she is going back to Italy and that he is the first one to know. How did Pacey know the day before then?.

    • When Doug stops Pacey on the street to talk to him, Pacey's microphone sticks out of his upper shirt.

    • During the scene when Dawson and Joey are getting ready to graduate, James Van Der Beek asked to ad lib his dialogue and his improvised version of the script ended up on the air.

    • Immediately before the graduation, when Dawson is trying to distract Joey's mind from her speech, the wind blows Joey's tassle and it's partly caught on her left ear. However, it hangs normally again in the next shot.

    • Grams explains to Jen that she had the talk with Drue right after she left for school. But shouldn't Drue be at school at the same time that Jen?.

    • You can see that Joey and Andie are honor students due to the gold sash that they wear around their graduation robe.

    • The gang graduates high school.

    • Goof: The letter from Joey's mother reads that if she is reading the letter, she has graduated from high school and that Bessie has done a great job taking care of her.

      However, in previous episodes we have learned that at the time of Lillian Potter's death, she would not have known that her husband, Mike Potter, would be sent to jail and unable to raise Joey.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Dawson: You know, on occasions like this, it's nice that we can dress up in polyester choir robes and stupid hats, sit in the sun for a couple of hours to mark the occasion. What fashion Einstein came up with this whole outfit? I mean, is this a hat you really want to be wearing the day you know people are going to be taking pictures?

    • Mitch: When I brag to people and I tell them that my son wants to go off to Hollywood to be a filmmaker, they warn me. They say you'll be eaten alive. You know what I say to them? I say: "You don't know my son."
      Dawson: I just want to thank you guys for always believing in me. That, uh... it meant a lot. I... I love you guys. (They group hug).

    • Pacey: I was thinking about tomorrow.
      Joey: What about this tomorrowland? Does it look even remotely bright?
      Pacey: It certainly didn't when it held the prospect of never seeing you again.
      Joey: How is that any different from the here and now?
      Pacey: I think I... I should probably go off and live my own life for a little while. That certainly doesn't mean that this is how I want it to end between us. So hypothetically speaking... if I were lucky enough one day to find myself owning a sailboat again, and I were to ask the woman that I love to go sailing with me... would she?
      Joey: You wouldn't have to ask, Pace.

    • (Andie tells Dawson she's sorry having heard about his break up with Gretchen)
      Dawson: But, uh, you know, I got it out of my system, and, uh, you know, when I look back on it, I don't look back on it with an ounce of regret. You know? Joey was my first love, but Gretchen was my first mature relationship, and she made me realize that I am capable of loving somebody.
      Andie: I wish I were a memory like that to someone, you know, to someone who thinks back on me with a smile, even though we've long since gone our separate ways.
      Dawson: I'm pretty sure you are.

    • Mr. Kasdan: Did you study for that final you so dramatically walked out on?
      Pacey: I can categorically say that I studied my ass off, sir.
      Mr. Kasdan: Care to prove it?
      Pacey: You did hear everything that I had to say in class today, didn't you?
      Mr. Kasdan: Oh, I did. You're not an idiot or a punch line. You are why I teach. Those honor students that turn your stomach... they don't need me. They're gonna forget me as soon as they walk out the door. But you...
      Pacey: I have a funny feeling I'm gonna be telling this story for years to come.
      Mr. Kasdan: And if that should turn out to be the case, please describe me as a strapping, handsome man, possessed of an immense charity and a great, great goodwill.
      Pacey: I can do that.
      Mr. Kasdan: (Handing him a test) Mr. Witter, you have 45 minutes.

    • (Joey asks Dawson to read the letter that her mom left her for her graduation).
      Dawson: (Reads out loud) "My darling Joey, I know if you're reading these words it means you've graduated from high school. Congratulations, sweetheart. You didn't have a lot, growing up. You even have been shortchanged one mother. Still, I want you to be proud of your family. If our strife has caused you pain, remember, it also makes you strong. Bessie is strong, and I'm sure she's taking good care of you. Of all the things my illness has robbed me of, I count the greatest of them watching you grow up. You're barely 13 now, still a young girl. And so, I'm left to imagine the woman you've become. Strikingly beautiful, I'm sure, and equally unaware of it. Quick witted and strong willed. Possessing the deep, soulful eyes of an artist, and a shy smile that regularly betrays the tough facade you do your best to keep up. If any of this sounds remarkably on the nose, it's because it's the girl you always were, Joey. And it's the woman you'll always be. Whatever you decide to do with your life, I know your future will be luminous. Wherever you decide to go when you leave, remember your days in Capeside fondly, and keep close those who shared your childhood. They will always love you in a way no one else can. And they will always be with you. Just as I love you and will always be with you. Love, mom."

    • Pacey: Joey. I don't think there is a "we" anymore.
      Joey: Look... look, Pace, I know it's over. I just want to be your friend. I want to help you.
      Pacey: You want to know what the truth is, Jo? I still love you, and I probably will love you for a very long time. But I can't just be your buddy. 'Cause, as much as I enjoy the concept of being just friends, in reality, it's a bizarre form of torture, and I'm just not willing to participate in it. So, right now, what I want to do is just move on and get over you, and the only way for me to do that is to not be around you anymore.
      Joey: And you can't see any time in the future when you and I could be friends?
      Pacey: I don't want to think about the future.
      Joey: I guess I should go.
      Pacey: Look, Jo, I know that... I know coming over here couldn't have been easy for you.
      Joey: Nothing seems easy anymore.

    • (Mr.Kasdan mocks Pacey for being unprepared after having snapping his pencil).
      Pacey: (Chuckles) Boy, I sure deserved that one. Good joke, Mr. Kasdan. Stupid old me.
      Mr. Kasdan: Pacey, it was just…
      Pacey: No, no, no, no. I was agreeing with you. I mean, I got it, right? It was about me being stupid? How I'm some lame, know-nothing student who's just slowing down everyone around me? You know what really kills me about you people? I show up to class with a broken pencil, ok? Now, you assume that that means that I don't care, when the reality of the matter is, I've been busting my ass in your class for the last 5 months, just to keep my head above water, so that I could graduate from this place! So, if you ask me, you're the one who doesn't care. None of the teachers here care! I mean, for the honor students, you're willing to bend over backwards, but for me, a student who could actually use that help, you can't wait to get rid of me!
      Mr. Kasdan: All right, that's enough! Look, I have tolerated this outburst of yours because I know you need to pass this test, but you are this close to throwing away an opportunity, young man!
      Pacey: You know, maybe you are right. I must be an idiot, because I cannot for the life of me figure out why I try so damn hard for you. I mean, I don't know why I bother at all. (Grabs his stuff and walks out).

    • Jack: What do you want to talk about?
      Tobey: About us. What we are to each other. At least, what I think we are.
      Jack: (Sighs) Tobey, I've always been honest with you about where we stand.
      Tobey: Well, we are dating. And if the usual terminology applies, that would make me your... boyfriend. (Jack gives him a look) You can't say it, yet, can you? In fact, you go out of your way not to say it.

    • Pacey: You know what I don't understand? Why they won't just let me graduate, because it seems to me, the sooner I get out of that place, the better off everyone involved will be.

    • Mitch: Well, you're... well, you're right on the bubble of being able to graduate.
      Pacey: Don't tell me that, man. I have sacrificed my entire senior year for this, ok? I pulled double class loads, I have done everything that you people asked me to do.
      Mitch: I know you've worked hard. I do. And it's not over yet. Ok, now, how well you do on your final exam will determine if you can graduate. Mr. Peskin insists that, uh, you spend your time studying rather than attend the rehearsal.
      Pacey: What, so you're kicking me out? Ok, please don't do this to me here, Mr. Leery. I'm really under a microscope right now. Please.
      Mitch: I'm sorry, Pacey. Believe me, it's not my decision. You... you should go home now.

    • Joey: Principal Peskin, our families, my fellow graduates, I stand here before you aware of the similarities that we share. I know that you're feeling, outside of my incredible stage fright, the same things that I'm feeling... pride and accomplishment, closure and regret, and a hopeful outlook on the future. But I don't think you need me to elaborate on those feelings. Instead I... I wanted to share something personal and tell you that... that people in my life who are gone now, people I miss very much and people who I am haunted by in different ways, but whether we're separated by death or merely distance, I know that they're still with me because I keep them in my heart. The truth is, in time, that's all that we're going to be to each other anyway, this population of memories, some wonderful and endearing, some less so. But taken together, those memories help make us who we are and who we will be. So whether you're here with each other now or you're merely in each other's thoughts, remember each other on that road ahead. And I hope that no matter where your travels lead you in this life... you'll always take Capeside with you. Congratulations.

  • NOTES (9)

    • Dawson's parents give him a watch with an inscription as his graduation present. The inscription reads something like "If you will it, it is no dream". During the audio commentary for this episode, Alan Cross (who wrote that scene) explains that he originally intended to use a line from the Beatles' song "All You Need Is Love" for the inscription. However, the show producers thought that, despite fitting Dawson's parents generation, something a bit more profound would be better. So Alan Cross bought a book of quotes, and finally ended up improvising the aired version of the inscription.

    • Pacey's English Teacher in this episode was named "Mr. Kasdan". This was actually a deliberate reference to Jonathan Kasdan, who was one of the writers on Dawson's Creek during that season. He wrote the episode Unusual Suspects.

    • Alan Cross wrote Joey's Graduation speech. At the end of it, Joey tells everyone to "take a part of Capeside with them on their way through life". Katie Holmes acted about 99% of the original script, but she requested a slight change at the end. Originally, Alan Cross had written the speech to be more personal about Joey's character, and end she asked everyone to "take a memory of me with you as you go through life". However, Katie Holmes felt that it shouldn't really be about Joey but more about the spirit of the Community, the Class and the town of Capeside, and the speech was changed.

    • Because of the bad weather conditions and a long succession of rainy days, the Graduation scenes had to be put off. The opening scene in this episode was shot either the last day or the second to last day of filming.

    • As Paul Stupin mentions in the audio commentary for this episode, Wilmington's location so close to the ocean made it for a constant change of weather conditions. The storms were especially bad, so much so that almost everyone from the crew knew about someone whose house, shed, or garage had been hit by lightning.

    • Meredith Monroe has been in the opening credits since Season 3 and continued to be even when her character, Andie McPhee, went to Italy. However, in the opening for this episode she is listed as "Special Guest Star".

    • Music featured in the episode included:
      Pinch Me by Barenaked Ladies
      If It's Hurting You by Robbie Williams
      Dream Too Small by Amy Dalley
      If by Dragmatic
      Good Mother by Jann Arden
      Fields Of Gold by Eva Cassidy

    • This episode could have easily been considered the season finale, especially since the actual season finale was considered a Coda.

    • Meredith Monroe makes her final appearance on Dawson's Creek. She was written out of the show because writers couldn't come up with more stories for her character.

      She was supposed to make an appearance in the series finale but her scenes were cut due to time constraints. However, the scenes were restored on the DVD release of the series finale.


    • Dawson: What fashion Einstein came up with this whole outfit?

      Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was a German physicist, best known for his Theory of Relativity.

    • The title of this episode, The Graduate, refers to the classic 1967 film of the same name directed by Mike Nichols.