I know that you’re thinking, “Dawson’s Creek? What melodramatic claptrap.”
You’re mistaken. Sadly mistaken. Dawson’s Creek is not claptrap; it is a phenomenon. It stretches far beyond its roots as a nineties WB teen-drama. Dawson’s Creek is a way of life.
How do I know? Fans have demanded mail alerts in the voices of their favorite Creek characters. They’ve created English, Spanish, and even French Dawson’s Creek fanfiction. They’ve slaved over ever-so-slightly-creepy fan art. And their love isn’t the stuff of times gone bye. In 2010, fans came together to support Pacey Witter, Dawson’s Creek‘s break-out character and favorite ruffian, at PACEY-CON 2010:
This is a mere taste of what Dawson’s Creek inspires. The devotion was enough to make me (only 8 years old when Dawson’s made its debut) devour the entire 6-season series in one summer.
Gather round, non-believer, and I’ll tell you a tale.
FIVE REASONS DAWSON’S CREEK OWNS:
1. Dawson Leery was the O.G. hipster.
Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) spent hours in his room watching obscure French movies, name dropping existentialist works, and rocking an over-sized plaid shirt. Of course, the shirt wasn’t being worn with skinny jeans or Ray Bans, but Dawson’s M.O since birth was to a.) become a famous director and b.) leave his tiny New England town for the bright lights and smoke stacks of the cities. By Season 6, Dawson is a film-school dropout and all about the black and whites and the first-time directors and those movies with the words on the bottom. No, not Avatar. Foreign films.
2. Creek kids rocked banter pre-Juno
Remember when Juno came out and people over the age of fifty were like, “What? Teenagers can be clever and witty? But their minds have been melted by those damned lappytops! Their wills have been weakened by those damned microwaveraters! Their personalities have been destroyed by those damned cellular phones! Nice try, Diablo Cody.”
The show’s main characters, often referred to as the “will-they-won’t-they couple of the century”, Dawson and Joey, are always engaging in repartee and witty back and forth. In a heated moment at the beginning of Season 1, Joey tells Dawson, “Every day is the same. We watch a movie, preferably a Spielberg film, find the appropriate life correlation, and then we pat ourselves on the back for being so clever.” The scene ends with Joey climbing out the window because all of the subtext is giving her a headache. Her words.
3. The show was ironically self-aware before it was old enough to be considered ironic.
Dawson’s Creek is constantly winking at the fact that it is a teen melodrama. So even as modern pop culture makes snide remarks about the show (In Ten Things I Hate About You, the father asks, “What’s normal? Those damn Dawson’s River kids, sleeping in each other’s beds and whatnot?”), the show pokes fun at itself in equal measure. Jen comments on creek-side life, saying, “This is some alternate reality where our intellects are sharper, our quips are wittier and our hearts are repeatedly broken while faintly in the background some soon to be out of date contemporary pop music plays.
4. It dealt with srsbznss before the world thought teenagers could handle that kind of stuff.
Let’s look at the Creek girls of season three.
There’s Andy who pissed everyone off by not appreciating her love-nugget Pacey (mmm, Pacey) and had bipolar disorder, a delusional mother, a distant father, and one dead and one openly gay brother, Tim and Jack respectively.
Jen was sexually active when she was twelve, an alcoholic by thirteen, and sent away from her parents by fifteen. When her on again off again best friend, Abby, dies in a moment of drunken grandiose, Jen also becomes the only ‘alternative’ kid in Capeside. What does this mean? Combat boots. And scowling.
Joey’s father cheated on her mother when she was dying of cancer. He was later arrested and sent to jail for dealing drugs. Bessie, Joey’s sister, is raising her, but money is really tight. Like, tight enough that Joey has to have a JOB. Also, boys keep falling in love with her which is TRAGIC.
5. It birthed stars. STARS, DAMNIT.
Beyond Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain), Joshua Jackson (Fringe), and Katie Holmes (married to Tom Cruise), tons of familiar faces cropped up over the years. Seth Rogen (Knocked Up and Pineapple Express), Chad Michael Murray (known for hotness), Jonathan Lipnicki (the little kid from Jerry McGuire), Rachael Leigh Cook (She’s All That), and… GRAND FINALE… Jane Lynch of Sue Sylvester-y Glee fame who appeared in one episode of Creek as Pacey’s mother.
Because you’ve been so fantastic- you get a bonus.
6. It shifted the scope of YA media.
Dawson’s Creek was a major influence on both YA lit and teen TV. It heralded an age where teens got the juicy scandal they deserved. No longer content with Dick and Jane and Nancy and the Hardys, Dawson’s Creek paved the way for perennial favorites like Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, and Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging.
Emily is a level 10 master on Tetris, the mayor of the Figment offices on foursquare, and (according to Seventeen) a ‘winter‘.