I’m going to be fairly spoilery with this so heads up. (✿◠‿◠)
Do you know what I remember about Dawson’s Creek? I mean, we all remember: I don’t wanna wait for our lives to be overrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr ♫♪. But the standouts for me were Jensen Ackles’ showing up right before he started on Smallville and Supernatural, and of course Jack McPhee’s storyline.
For those don’t remember, Dawson’s Creek made television history with Jack’s LGBT storyline at the time. LGBT relationships, let alone kisses, weren’t commonplace on television in the US at the time and it was A BIG DEAL. I could count on one hand the number of gay storylines we got on network television when I was growing up: Dawson’s Creek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friends. So my everlasting memory of Dawson’s Creek was largely: thank you for giving us representation when so few would.
I also just adore the cast of Dawson’s Creek in general and continue to, to this day. Seriously, the core actors all went on to have lovely careers and seem so genuine in real life that I’ve always had a soft spot for the show as a result. Same with Firefly and Buffy and Supernatural. If the actors seem chill in real life, the show feels like comfort food, especially when you’re looking for escapism (and who isn’t this week?). Now it’s a decade since I last watched the series (I think?) and I’m finally getting a chance to rewatch it, and I’m finding that I remember – basically none of the storylines whatsoever! Which is making the rewatch so much fun and surprising. Somehow I even forgot about Dawson’s movie obsession??? Which is basically the foundation of the entire show, so that’s a wow at me. WOW.
Some more wows: I didn’t remember Dawson’s parents having an open marriage after a case of infidelity. Nor did I remember Pacey and his teacher in season one?! What the?! I feel like that storyline came out of left field. I didn’t remember Joey and Jack kissing??? Wut??? And he tells Dawson he’d do it again? To his face?? And Dawson punches him?! How did I forget this???? And wait, Jason Behr was in this, too? *SHOCK PIKACHU FACE*
Something that really struck me this time is Pacey’s fixation with his brother Doug’s sexuality in season one (Doug comes out in the final episode of the series and ends up with Jack), and while Pacey is being a jerk in the context of the scene (it’s evident that he’s mocking, not supporting), I wonder if it was foreshadowing on the part of the writers? If so, I’m really impressed by how early Doug’s homosexuality is brought in (1998) and how it comes full circle by the end (2003). I’d also forgotten about how awful and homophobic one of the high school teachers was to Jack. (Watch Jack’s poem.) And then, somehow, I forgot about Pacey’s response. Let it never be forgotten that Jack and Pacey were precious, loyal and deserved better.
I also really appreciate how much agency Joey starts to assert for herself after she begins dating Dawson. She starts pushing herself to have more of her own identity, which is something so important. The emphasis on friendship that’s really underscored in the show is wonderful, too. The characters are all well developed and have great individual storylines, from the high-schoolers to the parents and siblings.
Jen as a character is one I didn’t remember too much about, although I’ve followed Michelle Williams’ career as a result of Jen, so go figure. She’s a sweet, spunky girl who’s open minded and kind, befriending everyone and supportive to all. I really adore her from the get go, and much as I like Joey, she was being quite cruel to Jen at the start simply for existing. The progression of Jen’s relationship with her grandma is really lovely and well progressed. I love that they have that bond, and the scene where her grandpa dies is so heart-shattering.
I think it’s clear Pacey’s one of my favourites, but just as a character study he’s so lovely and mature to his friends. When I think of other 90s lead guys, Pacey really stands out as someone who cares more about the happiness of the ones he loves than his own. And that’s something, I think, that I’m noticing on this rewatch. There’s a lot of kindness amongst the characters of the show that I think is absent from a lot of television nowdays. Nineties show had a quality, a softness, a kindness. I miss that. Kinda wholesome, you know? I mean that in a truly sincere way. I love how wholesome it is.
Anyone else watch this show when they were younger? Thoughts?