With the release of Dawson’s Creek on Netflix on November 1, I revisited the series 22 years after it premiered on TV.
When it originally went to air, I was only 12-years-old, so you can imagine that the lusty love square between Jen (Michelle Williams — arguably the most underrated actor of our time), Joey (Katie Holmes), Dawson (James Van der Beek) and Pacey (Joshua Jackson) went straight over my head.
Watching as an adult was a very different story. Not only am I 22 years wiser, but I have also experienced more relationship woes than Dawson’s dramatic love life. And that’s a lot.
So, after watching the first season for the first time since 1998, I had A LOT of thoughts.
The storylines were extremely controversial, although progressive for the time
Pacey, having sex with a teacher? What?
I honestly had forgotten all about this storyline — which proves that I wasn’t very aware as a tween. This particular plot is a very risque storyline even now, let alone back in the early 90s.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, series creator Kevin Williamson stood by his decision to add in such a storyline.
“The only flak we ever got was for that storyline,” he told the outlet before adding, “There was a lot of criticism about that storyline and he was having to take all the flak for it. But no, I wouldn’t change it because it served its purpose and it was based on a storyline from my own childhood. If I was writing the show today I probably would not have it in the story.”
Joey’s sister, Bessie (Nina Repeta) and her African-American boyfriend, Bodie’s storyline (Obi Ndefo) was also extremely progressive for its time. While it’s certainly the norm now, back in the early 90s it was positively unheard of. The pair even had a baby out of wedlock — oh, the horror!
Joey’s use of language was extremely problematic, no matter the decade, including calling her nephew “interracial and illegitimate” and referring to Bodie as her sister’s “Black boyfriend.”
The series gave us some of the most popular actors of our generation
While the core cast has all gone on to have extremely successful careers, there were a few other notable actors who got their start on the series.
Busy Phillips (Cougar Town — who has remained besties with Williams since the show wrapped), Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill), Jensen Ackles (Supernatural), Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Hilarie Burton (One Tree Hill) and Scott Foley from Felicity and more recently, Scandal.
Dawson’s love for Joey was awkward and just too much
One of the more central storylines was Dawson and Joey’s on-again-off-again romance/friendship, which was quite frankly too much.
That coupled with the fact that the series was built around the fact that Dawson “owned” Joey and wouldn’t allow her to love anyone else is exactly why it was painful to watch.
They speak like adults and sometimes I don’t even understand what they’re saying
This is an observation that is well documented. The kids in Dawson’s Creek don’t speak like kids. They speak like extremely educated adults and sometimes, I don’t even understand what they’re saying.
This show is deep. Their hormones are raging and along with that, dissections of everything that ever lived in the universe. It’s a lot.
In fact, Joey even laments that she has “breasts” and Dawson has “genitalia”… who talks like this??
Dawson is the worst
And that’s all I have to say about that.