Almost exactly twenty years ago, in January 1998, a fifteen-year-old girl played by a nineteen-year-old woman climbed into the bed of a fifteen-year-old boy played by a twenty-three-year-old man, and history was made.
Dawson’s Creek became a cliché of itself almost immediately and set the standard for every teen drama that came after it: constant navel-gazing about sex and growing up; supposedly “precocious” kids who were constantly using five-dollar words… wrongly; meta-references to John Hughes and the other cornerstones of pop culture; and the love triangle to end all love triangles. (Side note: Recapping Dawson’s Creek was also the pastime that brought Mighty Big TV, which would become TWoP, into being; and the now-defunct TWoP’s snarky blow-by-blow recaps were a huge part of the inspiration for this blog.)
In honor of this milestone anniversary, we are going to be rewatching every single episode of Dawson’s Creek, rediscovering the magic and the madness of this era-defining show. The hairstyles! The J. Crew clothes! The well-chosen folk music! The network-appropriate sexual euphemisms! And of course, the time Dawson made this face and changed the future of internet culture:
Naturally, such an exercise in nostalgia with such an easily mockable show calls for a (virtual, not-at-all-real) drinking game. Rules may be redefined as we get to later seasons, but so far, the rule card is as follows:
- 1 shot every time Joey mentions growing up.
- 5 shots every time Joey talks about things “changing” or “evolving.”
- 1 shot every time Dawson or Joey calls their relationship “complicated.”
- 1 shot every time Dawson or Joey uses the word “soulmates.”
- 20 shots every time Dawson or Joey uses the phrase “inextricably intertwined.”
- 1 shot every time Jack looks grossed out after kissing another dude.
- 1 shot every time Pacey complains about being the black sheep of his family.
- 1 shot for literary and movie references that are annoyingly on the nose, 5 for literary references that are clearly supposed to be on the nose and yet make NO DAMN SENSE AT ALL.
- 1 shot for meta-movie references, 10 if that movie was made by Kevin Williamson.
- 1 shot for every Freud reference, 2 if it’s completely incorrect.
- 1 shot for every delusional discussion of the fact that Dawson is a nice guy.
- 20 shots for every mention of the fact that Dawson has a heart or that it’s beating.
- 1 shot every time Jen gets on her high horse about being an atheist.
- 1 shot for every Jen Lindley pity party
- 1 shot for anyone slut-shaming Jen when she hasn’t had sex for 5 or more episodes
- 1 shot every time someone gratuitously brings up sex. 2 if they do it while claiming to hope that no one else will bring up sex.
- 1 shot every time the writers come up with ridiculous words for sexual acts to get past the network censors.
- 1 shot every time Dawson pulls out his camera at an extremely inappropriate moment.
- 1 shot every time Joey plays the dead-mom card.
- 2 shots for every time Joey expresses abject terror at the thought of having sex (been there, sister)
- 1 shot every time Dawson’s hair is gag-worthy, even for the 90s.
We’ll be watching three episodes a week and posting every Monday. Join us if you too wish to re-live the nausea-inducing, multisyllabic, never-very-wacky hijinks of the Capeside Four: Joey, Dawson, Pacey, and poor neglected Jen. We will also be liberally referencing old fandom in-jokes, so be aware that some of our turns of phrase owe their existence to TWoP and the first generation of fans, as well. Happy 2018!
Rules updated for season 2:
Rules updated for season 3:
- One shot every time Dawson gets called a “hero.”
- One shot every time men blame women for their problems.
- One shot every time Pacey refers to Joey as a woman or “Joay.”
- One shot every time Pacey And Joey Ruined Everything.
Rules updated for season 4:
- Joey or Pacey inappropriately mentions Dawson.
- Completely inaccurate interpretations of “feminism” and “girl power” or completely unreasonable instances of women getting mad at men in some vaguely “men are dogs” way.
- Every time they mention “last spring” in hushed, reverent tones.
- Every time Jack stands up for the misogynistic straight guys who treat his female friends like crap.
- Every time Jen tries to make out with someone extremely inappropriate.
Rules updated for season 5:
- Every time Audrey is the MVP of a scene
- Every time someone assumes that Audrey having sex means that she’s stupid
- Every time Joey or Dawson says a Grand Goodbye to the other.
- Every time Joey hates fun.
- Every time people talk about Chad Michael Murray being hot.
- Every time Chad Michael Murray pretends to be sensitive.
- Every time Professor Creeper negs Joey.
- Every time the characters blatantly rewrite history and/or forget that Pacey and Joey ever dated.
Rules updated for season 6:
- Every time Professor Hedson negs Joey
- Every time Eddie negs Joey
- Every time Nerdy Spice melts down in Pacey-Joey shipper rage like she’s twelve years old.
- Every mention of Pacey’s facial hair.
- Every time Pacey suddenly becomes a misogynist.
- Every time Dawson and Joey talk about how much they Hurt Each Other.
First installment here.