Hey Internet, today we are taking an in depth look at one of my many teen obsessions, Dawson’s Creek. Back when it aired on tv, it was lauded for its smart talking, sensitive teen protagonists and criticized for its shocking and steamy subject matter. By today’s standards, I’m sure it’s going to be pretty light fare for most of you but these were innocent times, these were the late 90s.
The millennium had not yet reared its unimpressive head, the internet was all dial-up and made that awful screechy sound:
Yeah, that's the sound we had to listen to before we could access the internet.
Every. Single. Time.
and most importantly, the world was introduced to the likes of James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson and Michelle Williams. The 90s version of the fab four but for tv instead of music. That’s a thing, maybe.
|Pacey, Joey, Dawson and Jen. In all their glory.|
For those of you who were living in a rock during the late 90s or possibly weren’t born yet or old enough to remember, Dawson’s Creek was the story of a small town boy who dreams of becoming a film director and also love triangles and oodles of drama. That and that song which, to this day, I still picture the opening credits of this show to when I hear it on the radio. With that in mind, it’s time we delve into the pilot episode and find out what hooked a generation of teens.
The episode begins with the titular Dawson watching a movie with his best friend, Joey but shock, horror, Joey is a girl! Anyways, they are watching E.T. and actually trying to say that it deserved an Oscar over Ghandi. Now I, personally, have never seen Ghandi but I’m going to bet it deserved the Oscar it won over a film that greatly traumatized me as a child.
|E...T...wants to steal your fucking soul!|
Stupid E.T. Anyways, Dawson wants Joey to spend the night as usual because it's Saturday and she's stayed over every Saturday since she was 7. Joey points out that it's innappropriate for her to stay over since she's now got lovely lady bumps on her back and on her front and he's got a bigger dick now. Well she assumes he does because of his big fingers. Dawson laughs it off and convinces her to stay but is now totally weirded out.
|Why did you have to bring this up anyway?|
Cue cutesy theme song! It's after this that we learn that on top of being obsessed with Stephen Spielberg movies, Dawson also makes them with the help of Joey and his other friend, my teen crush, Pacey. Pacey is obviously the oddball because he's goofing around and having a good time which for some reason pisses everyone off. These teens need to lighten up a bit. Suddenly music cues the arrival of sexy new student, Jennifer Lindley.
|Watch out, Joey. She's blonde and is wearing a dress.|
Joey is not pleased at all. She immediately acts like a bitch because Jen is stealing attention away from her fabulousness and Joey ain't having none of that.
|I will destroy your life, Jen!|
After we are introduced to the fab four themselves, we now get introduced to Dawson's parents who are so hopelessly in love that they make out in the middle of their living room for their son and his friend to see.
|It's ok, son. I was just rocking your mother's world. Like a boss.|
This makes Dawson react badly and honestly, I can't blame him because I almost made this same face when I heard his mom call his dad "Mr. Man Meat" in front of her son and her son's friend. What the fuck, Dawson's mom?
|I like how Pacey is thinking "Awesome!" while Dawson is mortified.|
We then get introduced to Joey's family, her sister and her sister's *gasp* black boyfriend. An interracial couple on tv and they're pregnant out of wedlock?
|I think she finds more than just his cooking orgasmic.|
This is unheard of! She must be trailer trash. Hey, don't blame me, the late 90s implied it. It is revealed that Dawson and Pacey work at a video rental store. What's that? Oh well, way back when, people used to watch movies at home using these things called video tapes that they'd put into these large boxes called VCRs. If people wanted to watch new movies they had to actually go out to these stores and rent them.
|Our jobs are now obsolete.|
It's here that we are introduced to the bitch character to probably make Joey seem less bitchy in comparison.
|Her name is Nelly.|
Nelly? Seriously? You couldn't think of a name more obvious for the small town bitch? Alright, well since I barely remember this character, I'm going to ask you to picture her as this Nelly:
|So would this make Joey Half-Pint?|
We are also introduced to the eventual Mrs. Robinson who Pacey drools over while she actually rents the Graduate. FORESHADOWING! Pacey is convinced she was flirting with him and so am I. Dawson thinks she was laughing at him which leads me to think that Dawson is really not that bright.
|What this old thing? I just threw it on to rent a movie.|
Later on, Dawson sees Jen sitting on a dock and so he invites her into his room which is basically a shrine to Stephen Spielberg and this somehow doesn't scare her off. Joey eavesdrops outside his window and looks sad because Dawson is spending time with a girl other than her. Once Jen leaves, Joey finally climbs through his window. Dawson immediately asks her to watch his mom on the news which he has actually video taped. Kind of creepy. He then asks Joey if she thinks his mom is having an affair. Why? Because she says "Back to you, Bob." but with like, a soft 'b' or something. Joey tells him he's crazy and I once again have to agree as he obsessively rewinds and watches that clip of his mother over and over again.
Jen's Gram, is making her breakfast and warning her to stay away from Dawson and Joey. She disapproves of the way Joey climbs into Dawson's window at night and calls them the "wrong element". She then gets on Jen's case for not saying Grace at breakfast. So Jen, flat out tells her Grams that she's an atheist and I immediately love Jen. Now that we know our characters, it's time for the first day of high school.
Jen is approached by Nelly Olson. I'm not even kidding, by the way. This is the characters actual name, the show even points out the obvious joke as she explains her mother loved Little House on the Prairie. I guess her mother really wanted her daughter to be the town bully. She offers Jen an invite to a party but Jen says that she doesn't party with booze or drugs and Nelly insults Jen by saying they should call her Nelly instead. Except Nelly wasn't the goody two shoes of the show. The correct come back would have been "I guess we should call you Laura Ingalls then?"
|I think I know too much about Little House on the Prairie.|
Pacey finds out that Mrs. Robinson is actually his teacher, Mrs. Jacobs and he is shocked while Joey continues to act like a bitch to Jen by hiding from her as she walks into her Biology class.
|Oh my god, someone actually wants to be nice to me.|
Dawson, meanwhile tries to beg his way into film class. He tries to impress him with his film knowledge and his passion for movies but he insults the teacher's rule about priority going to upper classmen so the teacher wipes the smug grin off of Dawson's face by denying him admittance into his class. That'll teach you to have dreams, Dawson.
Jen meanwhile, is still trying to get Joey to be friends with her. She's perfectly nice to Joey but Joey is nothing but snark. God, Jen, can't you see that Joey only wants guy friends? Girls are icky! Jen asks why her Grams would rag on her and Joey gives a snippy exposition dump about her father being in jail for conspiracy to traffic marijuana and that her mother died of cancer which is why she lives with her sister and her black boyfriend. She then snaps that Dawson likes Jen and warns that Jen better not abuse his feelings. And here is my issue with Joey, well one of them. We barely know Jen, she barely knows Jen. So why does she automatically assume that she's an awful evil bitch and why should we feel the same way about her. I ask this because it was obvious that we were supposed to root for Joey, as many girls did, but I just never understood this. Jen has seemed perfectly nice while Joey is a complete bitch.
|Her niceness is giving me a headache.|
Why are we supposed to sympathize with her? Because she's poor and misunderstood? Because she's brunette and Jen is a blonde and therefore, evil? No, I don't think so, I'm not buying it.
|I swear to God, I will fucking knife you in the back|
if you keep getting along with my man!
Pacey approaches his teacher crush and tries to flirt with her again by suggesting she next watch the Summer of '42 which is another movie about an older woman who seduces a young boy. She says she's busy seeing a new movie at the Rialto, the town's movie theatre to see a new movie. Pacey decides his best course of action is to stalk her and asks Dawson to go to the movies with him. He does this by convincing Dawson to take Jen. Dawson then asks Joey to go with Pacey so that Jen won't feel uncomfortable going to the movies with two guys but it's probably so that she knows she's going on a date with him instead of Pacey.
Grams agrees to let Jen go to the movies with the "wrong element" but she expects Jen to go to church with her on Sunday. That crafty bitch. Jen counters that she'll go to church when Grams says the word penis.
Dawson goes down in history as the only non-horny teen in existence by complaining that everyone is too focused on sex to his father. He spouts off that Spielberg has never had a sex scene in one of his movies so sex can't be that great and we all know that Spielberg's word is law.
|Did you know that Spielberg died for our sins? True story.|
He then also defies teen convention by telling his father that he will be home early.
|What Homer said.|
Joey's sister teaches her how to put make up on and it's a pretty sweet scene. Then Joey ruins it by turning into a bitch after Jen compliments her. Seriously.
Jen: Hey Joey, I love your lipstick. What shade is that?
Joey: Wicked Red. I love your hair colour, what number is that?
So it is the blonde that she hates. Bitch. I'm not even blonde and I'm annoyed with her. You're giving us brunettes a bad name, Joey. For shame. Oh and she delightfully goes on to ask Jen if she's a virgin because "Dawson is a virgin and two virgin make for an awkward first encounter, don't you think?" Fuck. You. Joey. Way to go out of your way to be a bitch to the new girl and humiliate your supposed best friend in the process. And you know what? Through all of that, Jen still tries to be polite to Joey. In this respect, one of my opinions, so far, remains unchanged. Jen >>>>>>>>>>>> Joey
|But you have to deal with it.|
After Joey makes another rude comment, Dawson drags her out to the lobby to talk to her.
Meanwhile, Pacey goes to sit next to Mrs. Jacobs so that he can continue to flirt with her. This time, Mrs. Jacobs seems to actually not want to flirt with Pacey. She has a date with a man named Benji. She claims that she was just renting a movie which causes Pacey to spill popcorn over some guy who then decks him.
Dawson asks Joey why she is being such a bitch and she claims it's because ever since "Little Miss Highlights" showed up, Dawson doesn't talk to her. Which is bullshit, because he did talk to her, even confided in her about his worries about his mother having an affair. Dawson calls her out on it. Joey throws a bitch fit and trashes Dawson for living in a fairytale. I love that she is the one acting childish and immature and yet she thinks he is the one who needs to grow up.
|Hey Potter, meet kettle.|
Needless to say, the night was not pleasant for anyone. Yet Jen still likes Dawson because she thinks he's sweet. Pacey walks home miserably and runs into Mrs. Jacobs who wants to talk to him to clear the air. Pacey says he understands her perfectly, that she was just flirting with him to make herself feel better about being older and he's pretty fucking cruel about it. I did not really like Pacey in this episode, I thought he was cute but I didn't like him much. Although he does say probably the funniest line in the whole episode:
|You blew it, Lady, cuz I'm the best sex you'll never have!|
Excuse me, I think I peed a little from laughing so hard. He just says it with such pure conviction that it makes it even more funny. Somehow, his insults and that line serve only to soak Mrs. Jacobs' panties as she then begins to make out with him. It's ok, she says he's not a boy. Thus begins the squickiest storyline this show ever produced.
|I think I'm going to need this.|
Dawson finds Joey in his closet and somehow, he ends up apologizing. She was the one who was the complete bitch all night, why does he have to apologize? Fuck. You. Joey. Joey says that they can't be friends anymore because they can't talk to each other about everything. Dawson says that he can tell her everything so she asks him how many times he "walks his dog" in a day and what time of the day he does so. He can't answer and neither would I. What the fuck, Joey? Why is this your basis for your friendship with him? I don't know this about my female friends so why should I expect my male friends to tell me this to make sure we're friends? I'm not a prude but there are some things, I personally, don't need to know about my friends.
Joey is crushed that he won't tell her his masturbatory habits and runs away crying. Dawson feels guilty and yells out to her that he usually whacks one out in the morning to Katie Couric.
|He does what when I read the news?|
Joey laughs as she rides away in her row boat. Because they live by a creek. Get it? On her way home she spots Dawson's mom kissing another man. Dun, dun, DUN! Thus endeth the episode.
So that was our very first trip back to the Creek and I have to say it brings back so many nostalgic memories and oh my gosh the cast looks so young and so different than they do now.
Things that still bug me:
1) Joey being a bitch but everyone apologizing to her.
2) Pacey's affair with the teacher. Maybe this makes me a prude but it's gross and makes me feel uncomfortable and I can see why it might have made parents uncomfortable back then too in light of that other teacher who seduced a young boy. Not to mention that I remember being crushed that the character I had a crush on wanted to be with an older girl. As a self-conscious teen I basically thought, well if older and more experienced girls are what guys go for, I have absolutely no shot. Oh, young Blinvy, you were so cute and so pathetically driven by what you saw on tv.
3) Grams' strict attitude and coldness towards Jen. I actually didn't like her as a teen. As an adult and knowing how the show goes, I understand her a bit more here but I like her better when she's softened up a bit.
4) Nelly. I don't know if this counts because I don't know how I felt towards her when I first watched because I remembered nothing about her so she bugs me based on the fact that I doubt she offered anything to the show for me to forget her so completely like that.
Things I still like:
1) Jen! She's just awesome and I still sympathized with her.
2) The 90-ness of it all. This show is like a time-capsule of my teen years. The styles people were wearing, the hair, the music. It's just really neat to watch it again after so long and feel like I am stepping right back into the past.
3) Remembering my Pacey crush.
That's it for this time, stay tuned for the next episode, Dance. Until next time, I'm Blinvy and thank you for joining me in my Teenage Wasteland.