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Pacey Witter is the Lennie Briscoe of the WB

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Jeff leaves Greendale College to become a really successful lawyer.

Jeff leaves Greendale College to reclaim the life that he once had. 

Jeff leaves Greendale College and refuses to look back.

Jeff fails.

 

 

 

“Intervention? Intervention? Intervention?”

“Hmm, yeah,” Britta says. “See, I was thinking of a more low-key approach. Us psychologists usually prefer a form of mediation—”

Annie cuts in with, “Mediation? Mediation? Mediation?” pointing at Shirley, Abed and Troy.

“Do we have to listen to nature sounds?” Troy asks, fingers reaching to tug on his pants. “Because rushing rivers and babbling brooks make me have to pee. A lot.”

“Mediation, Troy. Not meditation,” Annie says.

“Oh,” he says, somewhat disappointed. “Right.”

Britta clears her throat, starts again, “My textbook says that mediation is best when employed with a one on one approach. Less intimidating.” 

“I vote Annie,” Abed says. “She and Jeff have the most intimate connection out of the group.” 

“I knew it!” Pierce exclaims. “I knew you were zinging Jeff’s winger.”

Annie says, “Eww, Pierce. Gross!” at the same time that Shirley mutters, “Oh, Annie. With Jeffrey?” and Troy asks, “Is a winger like a penis and is zinging like humming? Because then I don’t know what that means.”

“Nothing is going on between me and Jeff,” Annie says, maybe too primly. She tries for an easy shrug of her shoulders, loosely waving her hand as she continues, “What Abed meant is that Jeff and I are friends. Good friends. Who care for one another with a sort of mutual respect and understanding. Right, Abed?”

“Actually, I meant that I saw you holding hands in the parking lot last week.”

Annie gasps. “Abed! That was private.”

“But you did it in a public place. If you wanted to keep parts of your relationship discrete, openly displaying affection for one another seems like it would have the opposite effect.” 

“Oh, they were holding hands?” Britta scoffs. “C’mon. If we’re talking about who here knows Jeff intimately I’m not sure that hand holding is comparable to hands and mouths, holding, um, other things.” She stops and sucks in a breath. “Yeah, you know what? Never mind. This is inappropriate.”

“Intimacy doesn’t have to be sexual,” Abed says. “In television there are other ways that two people can connect: emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. Let’s face it, Dawson’s Creek probably ruined the term soul mate, but with the right set of circumstances and some soft lighting, the sentiment might be applicable to Jeff and Annie.”

“Oh, that’s nice,” Shirley coos, hands clutched around the handle of her purse. She nods excitedly and says, “I vote Annie, too.”

Abed looks around the table. “All in favor of Annie going to Jeff’s for the mediation, raise your hand.”

Everyone raises his or her hand, except for Annie, who stiffly crosses her arms against her chest, and Pierce who lifts both his hands—and one of Troy’s, who is quietly sniffling, “Dawson just loved Joey so much, you know?”—high up in the air. 

“It’s unanimous,” Abed announces with a nod. 

“Uh, no, Abed. It’s not,” Annie says.

“No, I counted six hands. There are six of us. Unanimous.”

“But—”

“Soul mates!” Troy cuts in with a wail.

Annie rolls her eyes. “Oh, fine. I’ll go.”

 

 

 

 

When Annie enters Jeff’s living room, she finds him sitting on the sofa with a bowl of melted ice cream cupped in one hand and a television remote in the other. Both of his socks have holes in them (big toe on the left, heel on the right) and the coffee table is covered with fast food wrappers and empty beer bottles. He looks up at her, tips his bowl back to drink some Mint Fudge Delight, and then wipes his mouth on the sleeve of his shirt leaving behind smudge of green and brown.

“Annie, how did you get into my apartment?”

She shifts her weight from foot to foot, bites down on her lip and says, “Britta gave me a key.”

Said key quickly gets stuffed into the pocket of one of Annie’s ridiculously short skirts. 

“Funny,” Jeff says. “I don’t remember giving Britta a key.” 

“Oh,” Annie squeaks. And then her forehead scrunches down in confusion, making a little dent between her eyebrows. “Hmm.” 

“You know, in some states, Colorado, for example, that would be referred to as larceny.”

“Oh,” she says again. 

“Which, really, is only a misdemeanor. A decent defense attorney, a low cut blouse and a not so decent judge will have her trash picking on highways,” he says, sipping on his melted ice cream. His eyes narrow slightly and he adds, “Trespassing, however, can be considered a Class 2 Felony.”

“Jeff, did you even practice criminal law?”

“Yes. Also, I watch a lot of Law & Order now.”

She sighs. “Jeff.”

“Annie,” he parrots back. 

Annie sits next to him on the sofa. “What are you doing, Jeff?”

“I’m contemplating my future.”

“Oh, that’s good! I’m so proud of you.”

“And after some serious thought and deliberation, I think I know what I have to do.” He stops, looking Annie in the eye. “I have to find a way to be Lennie Briscoe.”

“Um. Hmm. Okay, that’s – okay. I mean, he’s a fictional character, so I’m not entirely sure how you would accomplish that. Do you want to be a detective?”

“Watch this,” Jeff says as he fumbles with the television remote control, pressing the play button on his PVR.

Detective Briscoe appears on the television screen, about to snap handcuffs on some scuzzy guy, who is just in no way cooperating, and quipping, I’m trying to decide what to arrest you for, obstruction of justice, harboring a fugitive or just being a general pain in the ass!”

Jeff hits stop and then looks over at Annie, excited and expectant.

“Well?” he prompts.

“I guess, well, I guess still don’t understand,” Annie says. The confused forehead dent appears again. “I mean, you can’t be Lennie Briscoe.”

“Oh, I have a back-up plan,” he continues, serious, vigorously nodding his head. “Alternatively, I would settle for being Jerry Orbach.”

Annie’s mouth pops open in surprise and she swallows, hard. “Um. Jeff, I think he’s dead.”

“WHAT?!”

“I’m sorry?” she offers.

“How did I miss the death of the great Dr. Houseman? What have I been doing with my life?”

She smiles brightly. “That’s what I’m here to talk to you about!” 

Jeff angrily sets the bowl of melted ice cream down on the coffee table and it tips over and leaks mint and fudge over an empty Whopper wrapper. “Draw the short straw or something, kiddo?”

“No straw,” she says. Annie rights the ice cream bowl, and then, quiet, “Something about Dawson’s Creek? Because Abed saw us in the parking lot last week and now he thinks we’re soul mates or whatever. Like Dawson and Joey?”

“Pfft. Dawson and Joey? No way. Her and that Witter kid were soul mates.”

“I, um, okay?” she says. “I didn’t think you were a fan of overwrought teen melodrama.”

“Pacey Witter is the Lennie Briscoe of the WB.”

Annie raises her eyebrows. 

“The wise-cracking smart-ass with a heart-of-gold?” he says. And then off of Annie’s somewhat bemused look, “Really? Do I have to use more hyphenated adjectives?”

“Jeff, you pretty much just described yourself.” 

“Oh, trust me Annie, I am no Lennie Briscoe,” he says. And then after a pause, he continues with a shrug and a, “Maybe a season five Pacey Witter.”

“Okay, I’m not sure what that means.”

“See, in season five, loveable slacker Pacey doesn’t get into college. So, he doesn’t get to hang out with the rest of the gang at the convenient stand-in Ivy League that miraculously happened to be located down the road, but that nobody ever mentioned, and instead he just ends up banging extras on boats or whatever.”

“Huh?”

“What I mean is that he becomes a sad, sad parody of himself, Annie. Not unlike most characters whose shows get a fifth season, actually.”

“I think you’re taking this Dawson’s Creek analogy way too far.”

Jeff gives another shrug. “I don’t know. Joey Potter was an uptight, academic, prissy, do-gooder. Maybe Abed was onto something.”

Annie clucks her tongue and scowls.

“Yeah,” he says, nodding. “Like that.”

“Well, that was just completely uncalled for.”

“Really?” he asks, lifting his brow. “Because I’m going to guess that you didn’t tell Abed the real reason that he saw us holding hands in the parking lot last week.”

“I don’t see what that has to do with anything.”

“I’m just saying he might not have leapt so easily to ‘soul mates’ if he actually knew you were glove shopping for Dr. Rich and wanted to compare hand sizes,” Jeff spits. Then adds, “And my hands are 100% bigger, than Dr. Tiny Hands, by the way.”

Annie scoffs. “Oh, yeah? And was Pacey Witter a jerk, too?”

Jeff considers this for a moment. “Yeah. Kind of.”

She softens. “Oh.” And then, tucking her hair behind her ears, she quietly asks, “And he and, uh, this Joey girl? They end up together?”

“Look, you can borrow my DVDS,” he says, frustrated edge returning to his voice. 

“Yeah, sure,” she agrees, nodding. “I’ll do that sometime.”

“We done here, kiddo?”

“Yeah, I guess so.” Annie starts to nod again, but then decides against it. Placing a hand on Jeff’s shoulder, she says, “Listen, Jeff, you don’t have to be Lennie Briscoe. And you’re not a season five Pacey Witter. You’re Jeff Winger. And you’re going to be fine, no matter what you do.” 

Naturally, what Jeff does is exactly what Pacey Witter would have done: He kisses the girl.

He messes his fingers through her hair and he presses his mouth against hers and he really, really kisses her. He kisses her as if she were one of the few things, perhaps the only thing, that ever made complete and total sense in his life. (And, okay, that schmaltz was from season six, but it still counts. Maybe.) 

“Oh, Abed was totally right about that soul mates thing.”

 

 

 

 

Jeff leaves Greendale College and becomes a somewhat, moderately successful lawyer. 

Jeff leaves Greendale College and starts a brand new life.

Jeff leaves Greendale College and refuses to look back. 

Jeff leaves Greendale College, but he still gets the girl.

Jeff wins.