On Sunday, September 4, Hulu Summer Road Trip: Raleigh is bringing prizes, photo ops and an outdoor screening of Dawson's Creek to North Carolina's capital, so now is the perfect time to look back at this WB classic.
In January of 1998, Dawson's Creek premiered on The WB, a growing network that had had some success with Buffy the Vampire Slayer but still wasn't on every teen's radar. Needless to say, Dawson's Creek was the massive hit that the network needed.
I remember watching the show with my teenage sister in her room. We had just moved into a new house and we didn't have a lot of television to watch. I remember her saying how this was a "teenage soap opera."
But I Wasn't A Teenager. I Was Just Nine.
I knew what a soap opera was. (Something like Beverly Hills 90210.) I can't say that I was hooked on Dawson's Creek immediately, as I found most of the main characters to be annoying, especially Dawson.
Though James Van Der Beek's character was insufferable most of the time, I could relate to something: his finding a purpose in the arts. Dawson wanted so badly to be a filmmaker, inspired by his hero Steven Spielberg.
There's a scene where Dawson explains how he fell in love with filmmaking after seeing Jurassic Park for the first time — it captivated him so much, he could not understand why the teenage couple in front of him would be making out instead of watching it.
Though Dawson was a talented filmmaker, he had to learn dedication. He was not perfect and had many tumbles. Passion is one thing, I learned from the series, but you also have to put hard work into everything you love.
For me, it wasn't Spielberg films, but comic books. After stumbling upon my first stack of comics, I couldn't understand why my family wasn't equally enamored.
I Could Relate To Pacey's Struggle With His Father
I had always felt like the black sheep in my family, which is something that Pacey struggled with, so I related to him a great deal. Though my relationship with my father was never as vile as Pacey's got with his dad, I could identify with it.
All Pacey ever wanted was the love and acceptance of his dad, but Pacey's father — the local head of the police — was cold and distant at best, and domineering and bullying at worst. As with many relationships with parents, it was never clear-cut. There were times that Pacey's father could be loving and caring towards his son, but more often he was the opposite. This culminated with Pacey's father having a heart attack and failing to comprehend why Pacey would be at his bedside.
However, his dad revealed that he was proud of the man Pacey had become, which was hugely emotional. While I won't get into parallels with my own father, they felt palpable.
The Show Taught Me About Accepting Others Who Are Different
Back in the '90s, being gay was still something of a taboo. I am not proud to say that I had some intolerant beliefs as a child growing up, but the Dawson's Creek character Jack helped to open my eyes.
I remember the episode where Jack ultimately came out. It was a very messy and melodramatic episode that could have been handled better, as Jack reveals it in a poem that needed some words changed, but the message was still there. It was heartbreaking for Jack to come out and be immediately ostracized in their small town. The only person who had empathy for him was Pacey, already ostracized himself.
Though I am not a gay man, I have suffered bigotry, being a black male. So seeing a character go through hardships for being what he was, and struggling with it for years afterward, showed to me that the world was not as simple as I thought, and that people are people regardless of their sexual orientation.
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I Learned You Can't Put People On Pedestals
Dawson never really had any sort of struggle in his life, and instead just had things handed to him. So when life did not go his way, he would act irrationally. I think most of us can relate to the person of our dreams not living up to the standards that we've built up in our heads.
This is what happened with the character Jen, as Dawson wanted her to be something else. When she turned out to be completely different than his expectations, he was shattered. I can say that I have been there myself many times throughout my teenage years (and sometimes even into my adult years). Dawson's Creek t as a kid, and thought to myself that it would never happen to me. I was wrong, but that's life!
I Wondered If My Teenage Years Would Be This Melodramatic And Crazy
Dawson's Creek was a unique show to watch during the years as I was entering puberty. Even though it did have some outlandish moments, there were tons of serious issues and life lessons. Plus it helped me avoid some of the more dramatic moments that came with high school. (From watching the show, I knew that getting into a love triangle was pretty stupid!)
It was crazy and melodramatic to the max, but it turned out to be a nine-year-old's favorite show. I would not trade me watching those first few seasons for the world.
What are your favorite Dawson's Creek memories? Let us know in the comments below!