Bessie Potter is the sister of main character Joey Potter. Ten years Joey's senior , Bessie was introduced in the pilot episode of the show. Bessie has taken care of her sister for the past few years, since their mother, Lilian, died of cancer in 1996, and their father, Mike, was imprisoned for trafficking marijuana. In the first two seasons, Bessie runs the family restaurant, 'The Ice House', and later the family bed and breakfast business that was a dream of their mother's. The family frequently struggles with money.
In the pilot episode of season one, Bessie is heavily pregnant with her first baby. She is living in the small family home with her boyfriend Bodie Wells, and her younger sister Joey. Bessie and Joey frequently argue, although the arguments are usually petty and forgiven quickly. Throughout the first half of the season, Bessie complains a lot about being in the final stages of pregnancy, and has repeated debates with Bodie about whether to circumcise the baby if it is a boy. During the hurricane that hits Capeside, Bessie and her family take refuge at the home of Joey's best friend Dawson Leery, and his parents, Gail and Mitch. While the family are at the house, Bessie clashes with Evelyn 'Grams' Ryan (the grandmother of main character Jen Lindley) over her life choices. Grams disapproves of the fact that Bessie unmarried and pregnant, and that her partner is black. Because of this, Bessie can barely tolerate Grams. Later in the season, Bessie goes into labour and her baby, a son named Alexander, is delivered by Grams (a retired nurse), and the only person close by with any medical knowledge. At the end of the season, Bessie encourages Joey to visit their jailed father in prison.
Bessie begins season two by teasing Joey about her feelings for Dawson. The sisters discuss the relationship, and whether it will impact Joey's potential study transfer to France. Eventually Joey decides not to go, staying in Capeside and helping Bessie with the family business. Bessie occasionally struggles with juggling her business commitments with caring for baby Alexander, frequently begging Joey for help. Bessie is later offended when Joey inadvertently insults her ability to handle everything, and temporarily fires her sister from the restaurant. Towards the end of the season, her father is parolled from prison and returns to the family home. With Mike's help, Bessie and Joey cater for a high class wedding reception, which is a success. During the final few episodes, The Ice House burns down, and through talking to Dawson (who had seen Mike acting suspiciously), Joey discovers that the fire was related to drug deals that Mike had done. Bessie stands by Mike, until he confesses and is arrested. She stands outside the Potter home with Alexander, and turns away when Mike walks over to her.
Bessie is unemployed at the beginning of season three, and is waiting for the insurance money from the restaurant fire to come through. The family is surviving on the wages of Joey's part-time job at Logan's Marina. Bessie encourages Joey to make peace with Dawson, who Joey blames for sending their father back to prison (as Dawson revealed the drug dealing and pushed Joey to talk to the police about it). When Bessie receives the insurance money, she plows it into opening a bed and breakfast. When the B&B opens, the Potter family struggle to find business, until one night they play host to most of the main characters, in an effort to impress a passing B&B critic, Fred Fricke. The visit is a success, and it brings home Bessie's boyfriend Bodie, who has previously been working elsewhere. Bodie later obtains part ownership of Gail Leery's restaurant, cementing his life in Capeside. Later in the season, Bessie becomes involved in the love triangle between Joey, Dawson and Pacey Witter, offering advice to her sister. In the season finale, Bessie attends the wedding of Mitch and Gail.
At the beginning of season four, Bessie welcomes Joey home from her summer sailing trip with new boyfriend, Pacey. She jokes with Joey about whether she has had sex with Pacey and then shows Joey the business accounts, showing that the B&B has become very successful in her absence. Midway through the season, Bessie finds a large stash of condoms in Joey's room, and becomes angry and judgemental, telling Joey that she is far too young to be having sex. They argue, but reconcile. Later in the season, Bessie attends a baby shower for Gail, who is overdue with her second child. When Gail gives birth, she names her daughter Lily, after Bessie and Joey's late mother. The sisters are clearly touched by the gesture. In the same episode, Bessie finds out that Joey believes she may be pregnant, and she argues with her about not being ready to have a baby, and having an immature boyfriend who would never cope with a child. Joey does a test and finds out she is not pregnant, but the situation draws the sister close together. During the week of Joey's graduation from high school, Bessie reveals to her that before she died, their mother wrote Joey a letter for her graduation day. Without reading it to Bessie, Joey reveals that their mother had faith in Bessie's abilities to raise her younger sister. Bessie tells Joey that she thinks it was unfair she was robbed of a mother so young and that she deserved more than what she got. Joey replies that she believes herself lucky, that Bessie was her second mother.
Bessie makes few appearances during season five, as most of the main characters are now living in Boston and the show focuses on this. When Dawson's father dies in a car accident towards the beginning of the season, Bessie attends the funeral. She also features during the university break times, when Joey briefly returns to Capeside and during Lily Leery's first birthday party.
Bessie doesn't appear on many occasions in season six. However, she is seen frequently during the Christmas episode, at which point it is revealed that her father has once again been released from prison and is living with the family again. Bessie attends Christmas dinner at the Leery house with most of the main characters. She appears briefly in a few episodes during the rest of the season.
Season Six finaleEdit
Bessie features heavily in the finale episode, which takes place five years in the future back in Capeside. Bessie attends the wedding of Gail Leery, and plays host at the B&B to multiple characters returning for the ceremony. When Jen falls ill at the wedding reception, Bessie takes Alexander and Lily Leery to the hospital to see her and is seen supervising them in the waiting room. When Jen dies, Bessie helps Pacey (the new owner of The Ice House) cater for the wake.
- ↑ season 3 "a weekend in the country"
|Episode list | Official Site|
|Production||Kevin Williamson | Paul Stupin | Young Americans|
|Primary Cast||James Van Der Beek | Katie Holmes | Joshua Jackson | Michelle Williams | Kerr Smith|
|Main characters||Dawson Leery | Joey Potter | Jen Lindley | Pacey Witter | Jack McPhee|
|Secondary characters||Audrey Liddell | Bessie Potter | Gail Leery | Mitch Leery | Andie McPhee | Doug Witter | Abby Morgan|
|Locations||Capeside | Capeside High | Worthington University|