Drumroll please…yes, that’s right! It’s another new feature! So many exclamation points!
Guys, I have figured out two things: 1) I need structure and 2) reviewing stuff is fun but it means I don’t get to talk about past stuff I love. I have therefore come up with an ingenious plan, using a common internet trend, piggybacking on it shamelessly and introducing Pop Arts Revisits. Every Thursday I will be talking about something that I loved back in the day. To start us off, we have crown jewel of late 90s TV – Dawson’s Creek (If you’re not already singing ‘do do do do do doooo, I don’t wanna wait…’ then why are you here?)
[NB: I will be discussing major events and plot points from throughout the show, so look away now if you don’t want to be ‘spoiled’ although, it stopped airing over a decade ago dude, can you still have ‘spoilers’ that old?]
I was a very big Dawson’s Creek fan. I mean, how could you not be? Baggy cargo trousers, plaid, rowboats, overly-intellectual teenagers, Pacey…the list of enticements goes on and on. I was about 12 when T4 (hello UK Millenials!) started showing Dawson’s Creek on Sunday mornings. I was immediately hooked. To my 12 year old brain, the fancy way they talked made them the coolest people in the world and I was obsessed with being as smart and awesome as they were by the time I reached the grand old age of 15 (spoiler alert: I wasn’t). I – naturally – wanted to be Joey and nursed an ever growing crush on Pacey (who else?) for many a year. Pictures of Joshua Jackson still elicit a teen-like sigh from me, even now.
I can still recall so many key moments from the show and my – sometimes alarmingly – visceral reaction to them. I remember crying my eyes out as Jen sat with her dead grandfather, crying as Pacey helped Andie’s poor crazy Mum in the supermarket, crying yet again as Joey had to betray her no-good, drug smuggling father; wincing whenever Gail and Mitch were on screen (I mean, really, they were the worst), gasping as Abby fell off that pier? Dock? Whatever, her character was awful. Cheering Jack when he came out to his Dad, crying again as he moved in with Jen because his Dad was horrible. A lot of crying actually, now that I think about it.
And then, then there was the great love story of my – or any – generation: Dawson and Joey. IF THIS WAS OPPOSITE WORLD. Did anyone root for D & J? Really? Obviously the only pairing anyone should really care about was Pacey and Joey (though Pacey and Andie come a close second. I loved that little blonde nutball; she totally spoke to me). I lived on tenterhooks for virtually the whole of season three, waiting for Joey to realise that Pacey was perfect. I had to suffer through so much AJ you guys, to get to where we needed to be. Who was AJ? Why, exactly, were we supposed to care? And don’t get me started on that ridiculous storyline with his roller-skating friend. Ugh.
But still, so many glory moments for us to relive. I squee’d when Pacey bought Joey the wall, shrieked when they kissed for the first time, shrieked some more when they kissed again. I rolled my eyes at all the drama when Dawson found out (while secretly loving it), cried some more when they danced at the (anti)prom and cheered when they ran off on True Love (it was a boat). Ahh, bliss.
I remember most of season four, but season five is where it all started to get away from me a bit. I liked Busy Philips and her character Audrey, but it always stretches credulity when all your central characters wind up at the same college (this is currently a major concern for me regarding Pretty Little Liars – what will they do when school ends?). Plus, season five forced me to endure multiple episodes of Chad Michael Murray and Pacey’s goatee. So, when the news came that Channel 5* would be airing season six, the Creek and I reluctantly but inevitably, broke up.
It was hard for me to stop watching something that had been such a part of my teen years. I was 12 when it started and 16 when it ended, which is a pretty formative period. It taught me so much, you guys. I learnt that bitching about a cooler, prettier girl didn’t make you feel any better (Joey), that singing in a beauty pageant about your secret love for a boy is embarrassing (Joey), that being perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (Andie), that choosing your own path is best (Pacey), that parents are people and sometimes they mess up (everyone) and that sometimes, the supposed main character is actually just the worst (Dawson, obviously).
I returned for a short lived fling when I watched the two hour season finale, which somehow managed to be one of the best and worst season finales ever. I will never be able to forgive the decision to bump off poor Jen – what the fuck was that? – though my anger was tempered by confirmation that Pacey and Joey would end up together, Dawson wouldn’t be a bitch about it and all was (mostly) well. Oh! And I loved Jack and Deputy Doug getting together. Genius.
I feel that a shout out must go to my preferred supporting characters that appeared throughout the show: Gamma, Bess and Bodie, Gretchen, Henry, Deputy Doug and that crazy old film-maker guy Dawson liked. He was cool. But not Mitch and Gail. Never Mitch and Gail. There was also a whole host of recognisable guest actors appearing. As well as the aforementioned Chad Michael Murray, there was also the ageless Bianca Lawson, Jason Behr, Rachael Leigh Cook, Jensen Ackles, Scott Foley, Ken Marino…the list goes on. I still recognise people from DC first – just yesterday we watched the Mentalist and I shouted ‘That’s Joey’s no good drug-dealing father!’ at no one in particular.
Sometimes, I like to think that Dawson’s Creek started it all. That we wouldn’t have had The OC, One Tree Hill, The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars etc without it. It showed that a TV show about teenagers talking about nothing and being dramatic could be commercially successful and that people would fucking love it, to the extent that they’d still be talking and writing about it 15 years later. I really did love it and honestly, I doubt my taste in TV (or men) would be the same without it.
*In the UK, unless you had cable (which we didn’t) you had only four TV channels, plus channel 5, which in our house always had a snowy picture, and bad static-y reception. You had to REALLY want to watch something to view it on channel 5 back then. And sometimes now.