Throwback Thursday: Dawson's Creek
I love television, especially watching massive runs of shows in syndication. Have I watched the entirety of the Steve Harvey Show, Drew Carey Show and Yes, Dear? Of course I have - proud to have done it. But I also watched all of Friends, Seinfeld and just about any possible syndicated half-hour sitcom so I can at least provide the veneer of having some sort of discerning taste in television. One of my greatest joys in watching TV in syndication is that moment, first watching for weeks and seeing the show culminate in a series finale, then watching that next slot where it begins all over again with the pilot. You can see everything begin again and immediately see how characters have grown and changed over the years. There’s something infinitely reassuring about knowing that as the world grows and changes, this small avenue has a sort of reset switch that ensures it a neat little cycle of a story arc.
My post on this Throwback Thursday is a love letter which is going to stretch my veneer of taste, but since you've already clicked on the link, I’m assuming that I am among peers or people preparing to mock me. I love Dawson’s Creek. In fact, before reading this, I need you to get into the Dawson's Creek mindset...
I love this show in a completely un-ironic way. Not in a ‘that was a fun show that I used to watch’ way, but in a constantly debating re-watching the show in its entirety on Netflix sort of way (Except for the fact that they changed the theme song on Netflix! I know!). I came upon the show in the realm of syndication, playing on TNT and not the WB. I took the show in through that cycle of syndication, two episodes a day. There was one clear reason that I started watching the show – Katie Holmes. If I was at first drawn in by brooding attractive brunettes, the show's over-analysis of pretty much everything was what kept me coming back. Seriously, Dawson and Joey spent infinitely more time debating and verbally sparring about any hypothetical relationship and hypothetical (and actual) feelings between each other than actually dating. Is it weird that a teenage Mark was so attached to intellectualizing relationships? Nope, I’m going to put this in the category of me being ‘mature for my age.’
Cast – The initial cast revolved around teenage aspiring filmmaker Dawson Leery (James van der Beek), his childhood best friend and current potential romantic interest Joey Potter (Katie Holmes), Dawson’s buddy, comic relief - with a devil-may-care attitude - Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson). New girl Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams) throws a wrench into how everyone relates to each other and brother and sister combo – Jack and Andie McPhee – do nothing to calm the turmoil. The show follows these characters as they grow, relationships are created and destroyed, and it was great. Does this sound as terrible as it does while I read what I’m writing? I don’t care. If this is my guilty pleasure, I'm going to stand strong defending it.
Impressions – One of the things that gave this show staying power is the dynamics between the characters and the storylines that helped show off that chemistry. Dawson and Joey squabble like siblings but will always have a certain connection. Dawson and Pacey have a not-so-friendly rivalry that turns into a love triangle (SHOCKER). Jack McPhee was the first openly gay character that I’d ever seen, on TV or otherwise, so he will always have a big impact on my worldview. Seriously, Kerr Smith's portrayal of Jack is reason enough to watch this show. Pacey’s evolution was always so weird to me. He sleeps with a teacher in high school (I know!); dates Andie, who constantly struggles with mental health issues; is so sweet in his relationship with Joey; and goes through several more incarnations, most memorably being his businessman-with-his-hair-slicked-back-like-a-douche phase.
Gut-check Time – You can’t have watched this show without having strong feelings on the love triangle that was Dawson-Joey-Pacey. Yes I love Joshua Jackson, yes I loved Pacey, but I’m going to be with the vastly unpopular position that I wanted Joey to end up with Dawson. He and Joey had this sort of combative, witty repartee that was just too damn charming for words. For example, this is literally the first scene of the first episode. I'll wait while you watch and then decide to stay for the whole theme song... I KNOW. Is it bad that I desperately want to be them at that point in my life? Is my judgment clouded by the fact that I love James van der Beek and his somehow both flowing and immovable hair? I can only imagine so. After letting this confession out into the ether, I expect massive amounts of hateful comments that I will dutifully respond to.
Final Confession - ntil the fourth season, where Jack and Jen were mentioning NYU's proximity to Capeside, the fictional hometown of the show... I had spent seasons assuming that Capeside was in Florida, not Massachussets. There was a damn hurricane in the first season!
Guest Stars - Everyone remembers Chad Michael Murray's turn before starring in One Tree Hill as well as a 12 episode arc by Supernatural's ensen Ackles, but handy iMDB has reminded me that Harry Shearer, Jennifer Morrison, Ali Larter, Rachel Leigh Cook and Ken Marino all had appearances of more than one episode.