By Nerdy Spice and Janes
[In 2018, we rewatched all of Dawson’s Creek. See our posts here.]
Nerdy Spice: I’m so sad to have finished up this rewatch. It was bringing me so much pure delight–often to the point of tears, and even when an episode was sort of stupid or even infuriating or angering. Living with Dawson, Joey, Pacey, Jen, and Jack day in and day out remains a pleasurable and even magical experience.
I wrote about this in the first episode, but I also really appreciate how non-aspirational it is:
It’s about truly regular kids: kids who wear J. Crew, who don’t drive limos or hunt murderers or make out with vampires, who live in slightly shabby houses and work their way through college and borrow their sister’s lipsticks and fall in love with each other against the backdrop of a gorgeous waterside town where they aren’t visiting on a glamorous vacation but living as unglamorous “townies.”
Since I’m also watching Riverdale, where the kids are all wearing ballgowns to prison fight clubs and shit like that, I appreciate even more the fact that Dawson’s Creek decided the stories of four regular kids were worth telling. (Would it have been better if they’d decided that the stories of non-white kids were also worth telling, well, yeah. But the show did its share of good work, too, in fighting to represent gay kids and their love lives on network television.)
Once Keets asked me, before we were dating, what the big deal was for me and Dawson’s. I said it was like a 100-hour-long romantic comedy where the right couple ends up together. And really, that’s what it is to me: a story about two loves, one of which was never meant to survive to adulthood, and one of which was.
Janes: It’s amazing how well Dawson’s Creek hangs together as a 100-hour rom-com in the end, because so much of its magic is accidental. At the beginning, the writers bought their own hype: they told the audience over and over that Dawson was the last of the “nice guys” and that Dawson and Joey were soulmates because they honestly believed it. But just as in life, that self-mythologizing was stifling, and prevented the characters from building a healthy, dynamic relationship. They introduced P/J, not because they consciously changed their minds about Joey’s true love, but because the D/J ship had been crushed under its own weight.
As a result, Dawson’s Creek reflected real life more than anyone watching the first couple of seasons could have imagined. Like the writers, the characters thought they were destined to play prescribed roles in a predetermined story, and like the writers, they realized that things don’t always turn out the way you expect them to. As kids grow up, and their identities shift in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, the promises they made to their younger selves become at best irrelevant, at worst suffocating. As Joey would say, “Things change. Evolve.”
By all accounts, Pacey and Joey wasn’t “endgame” for the writers–it just sort of happened as a result of any number of interrelated factors: Katie and Josh’s amazing chemistry, Joey becoming the most rounded character and de facto protagonist, the need for fresh conflict, etc. Pacey and Joey came into the picture mostly to breathe new life into the proceedings, which also imitates real life. The relationship that breathes new life into you is usually the right one—at least for that moment, maybe for the long haul.
If you haven’t noticed, we have a deeply personal connection to this show. Growing up, when we had a quandary in our love lives, we always asked ourselves: “Who is the Pacey?” But when we called someone “the Pacey,” we didn’t mean the hotter one (although, yeah) or the “bad boy.” We meant the ones who encourage us to grow without needing us to change. We meant the ones who fit into our dreams for ourselves, rather than writing us into their own. I almost ended up with my Dawson, someone who tried to shoehorn me into the “Girl Friday” role, and I literally thank my lucky stars every day that I didn’t. At Nerdy Spice’s wedding, I said that Keets was “her Pacey” in my maid-of-honor speech. Dawson’s Creek didn’t make these things happen for us, but it empowered us to make healthy choices in our romantic lives and be the protagonists of our own stories (if only accidentally).
Nerdy Spice: You actually also quoted me saying that Pacey was “not as good as Keets.” So I just want to clear that up. 🙂
But yeah, almost every straight girl has experienced what Joey experienced–not in the sense of drawing out a love triangle for nine effing years but in the sense of being put on a pedestal by a boy and then being blamed for falling off of it, the way Joey was with Dawson. That is how boys, as opposed to men, relate to girls–and it’s the best most girls are taught to hope for. Crazily enough, Pacey the class clown really does represent adulthood and growing up.
And this love triangle remains eternal partially because it’s so archetypal. There’s the one path that’s safe, that represents a person (or a habit or a pattern) clinging to you and not letting you go; and another path that represents respect and autonomy and the terror of freedom. Adulthood, in other words.
Which–the fact that Joey Potter’s entry into adulthood is the real story of Dawson’s Creek–is another nice thing about this show, and another thing that was apparently completely accidental. The show was supposed to be about a nice boy and his girl next door. Only by the end, it turned out the real story was hers. Isn’t that kind of great? That scrappy, poverty-stricken Joey Potter’s ambition, her hard work (even if she so often seemed to end up watching the film adaptation instead of reading the assigned book), her charisma, and the force of her personality ended up the central through-line of this show which was originally supposed to be about the boy who had a dream–and dozens of people telling him he was sure to get it.
I mean, love triangles will do that to a show. Whoever is in the middle of the triangle gets to be in the middle of the story. But I like to think it’s also that the writers created a character in Joey Potter (as much as Janes, and most people, like to rag on Second-Gen Joey for being kind of an airhead) that transcended the limitations of her story.
Janes: Exactly. No matter how much we like to rag on her (which is approximately 50% more than Pacey and 1700% less than Dawson), it says a lot that we’ve basically forgotten to talk about any other characters. Like poor Jen, who became structurally and spiritually irrelevant once the original Dawson/Jen/Joey triangle was eclipsed by the real one. Or Jack, who made history with his mere presence in the show, yet was often relegated to the “sidekick” role in Jen’s increasingly isolated corner of the plot.
We’ve talked a lot about how Dawson’s Creek has aged over the last two decades (ah, we’re so old!!), but one of our most troubled relationships is with Jen. From a very unscientific examination of internet comments, it seems like a lot of feminist fans want to “take back” the character of Jen Lindley, the “bad girl” from the big city who is unfairly vilified for her sexuality. As a lifelong feminist who has only become more radical over the past few years, I thought I would sympathize with Jen on this rewatch a lot more than I do. But unfortunately, the writing of her character is too atrocious to salvage. She starts off as a romantic object/evangelical atheist, veers suddenly towards Eve-level cartoonish sex kitten in season two, graduates to fake feminist who shit-talks other women all the time, and then–God, I don’t even know how to condense the terribleness of CJ-era Jen. She is, indeed, unfairly vilified for her sexuality (despite almost never having sex) throughout the show. But even in retrospect, her tepid sex life is the very least of her problems.
Several 90s/early aughts teen shows followed an eerily similar formula: they would introduce the bombshell blonde/projected star (Marissa Cooper/Peyton Sawyer/Serena van der Woodsen) and a slightly antiheroic-but-equally-beautiful brunette as the side character (Summer/Brooke/Blair), realize that the brunette was becoming the fan favorite, and then flatten the blonde bombshell character beyond all recognition. And Dawson’s Creek was not immune from this affliction; once it became clear that Joey would be the primary love interest, she essentially sucked all of the appealing qualities out of all the other female characters. Jen didn’t even get to be the “blonde bombshell” anymore, and instead landed somewhere in the area of “blonde irritant” (where the once-wonderful Audrey also ended up, and where Andie was from the very beginning).
It would be relatively easy to recast Jen as a feminist hero–the rebel who refuses to conform to a small town’s ideal of femininity so perfectly embodied by girl-next-door Joey. But since Joey got an actual arc, maybe even a journey, she came out feeling like the most feminist character. Not to say she’s a feminist hero—she’s more like an earlier iteration of the “different from other girls” trope, similar to her namesake, Jo March. (Which makes Jen the… Amy?) But like Jo March, she was still an inspiring character, relatable to so many girls who were looking for permission to take their dreams as seriously as the Dawsons of the world.
Aaaaand, I’m talking about Joey again. Whoops!
Nerdy Spice: Yeah, I am SO not on board with reclaiming Jen Lindley. Let’s leave her fake feminism and whining in the past where it belongs.
Anyway, we just want to wrap this up by thanking everyone who read these recaps! We had a seriously fantastic time on this project and we were happy to hear from everyone else who has similar nostalgia for Dawson’s Creek. Thank you! Say goodnight, not good-bye!
Hi! I rewatched this glorious and silly show alongside you girls all the way from Argentina and i loved it!!! Loved your take on misogyny, poorly developed characters and just laugh out loud at mitchs death by ice cream and the best cry- face of all time. I really hope for a Gilmore Girls rewatch or at least a year in the life recap (I need to know your impressions on the whole thing)
Ooh we wanted to do a Year in the Life recap and then found it too depressing because Rory had turned out so … well, you know. But we should, now that the trauma has worn off a little 🙂
Thanks for reading!!!
YES YES YES this please!!! Gilmore Girls recaps by you would be HILARIOUS, so pleaaaase if you have the time, after Buffy of course! 🙂
❤ We do love GG!! But don't worry, we'll definitely finish Buffy before we start on any more huge projects. (And I'm loving it as a new viewer, in case you can't tell!) Also :waves: hello!
Reading this website from New Zealand where I have also recently completed a Dawson’s Creek rewatch (although admittedly I did skip a few episodes here and there, and I still refuse to watch the second half of Promicide, because if I don’t see it, I can pretend it never happened, right?). Your recaps are great, absolutely hilarious and your highlights are the true highlights of the episodes (basically any time Pacey and Joey are cute – or even together at all). This show wasn’t exactly a high water mark of television, especially in the later seasons, but I love it anyway, even after all these years. P/J forever.
Hi, AbbieJean again here. I missed your final thoughts. When I watched Dawson’s Creek live, I thought it was ridiculous and then came, season 3 and 4 (up to Promicide which I will never rewatch) when it became brilliant and must see tv. I always liked Joey and Pacey, but Dawson was just too much. It was sweet when he and Joey got together, but only for a few seconds and then it was a dirge.
I actually find Dawson to be the most problematic character with Jenn as a distant second. Dawson’s privilege and entitlement is beyond the pale. His ownership of Joey’s friendship, attention, and love was horrific. Then there was Dawson looked down on Pacey, constantly insulting him with the occasionally compliment and support to keep him hanging around. Honestly, I think that it was because Dawson was such a horror show that why so many fans happily embraced Pacey as the co-romantic male lead in season 3.
I always thought that the show ended on a good note and should never come back, but after the actor’s reunion last year, I can’t help wondering if they will ever do a reboot, maybe they should do the next generation in Capeside with Lily, Alexander, and Amy.
Thanks for all these thoughts! I totally agree, it got to the point where we would get legitimately confused every time we went for a whole scene without getting annoyed by Dawson. He just sucked so much it’s hard to believe it wasn’t on purpose!
The show did go out on a great note, and very few reunions live up to what the fans hope, and yet… can’t help but think it would be super awesome if there were a Dawson’s reunion!
Dear Janes and Nerdy Spice,
Let me start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog.
I just finished (re)watching “Dawson’s Creek” and reading your blog. I watched a number of episodes of “DC” on the other side of the ocean, over 20 years ago (I watched until part of season 3). I was already in my 20s, so I couldn’t really relate to the contents of the show. But shortly before starting watching it, I had spent one month in Rhode Island as a (very young) visiting scholar at a university. For me, watching “DC” was a way to remember my stay in an exotic region called New England. Little did I know that less than 10 years later I would move not too far from that exotic place! (luckily I didn’t watch seasons 5 and 6: I wouldn’t have wanted to pursue an academic career in North America if I had seen the awful, appalling characterization of American professors lol! More on that later).
(Re)watching DC is something that, a long time ago, I promised myself I would do one day. The movement restrictions of the last months have contributed to make that project come true.
I generally agree with your assessments on storylines, etc. Nevertheless, I have to notice that my perspective on some plotlines is different from yours. You have expressed in many cases very strong feeling towards any situation portrayed in the show that expresses any sort of patriarchal, sexist, or male-chauvinist values. While such feelings are often justified, in some cases your anger sounds excessive to me. Rather, in some cases I would just observe that until a couple of decades ago it was acceptable to portray on TV behaviors that are considered as inappropriate / unacceptable nowadays. Judging behaviors held by characters in a TV series from 20 years ago based on nowadays’ standards risks to anachronistically attribute to the (recent) past some values that back then were not as commonly accepted as they are now. This, because many societies around the world have changed a lot over the last years (for example, in the US a man who openly disrespects women could never get to a position of power… oops sorry, bad example!).
Being a university instructor, I was rather deeply disturbed by the portrayal of the behavior of Joey’s professors in seasons 5 and 6. You have an almost-affair with your student? Fired! You abuse verbally and break all sort of boundaries with your student? Go away! Seriously, what the two profs do and say to Joey is just ridiculous and unthinkable in any North American teaching institution (luckily!).
Another issue I have with your blog is the strong negative attitude towards whatever some characters do on the show, especially Dawson, Andy, and Jen. I understand that you are a fan of Pacey, but actually I wouldn’t say that Dawson is a monster. I would just say he’s just not a very interesting and definitely not an altruistic person. Andy is hard to bear (especially in season 3), but still she’s not the worst person on the planet (and on the show!). (I confess that I have a soft spot for her: I liked Meredith Monroe a lot when I watched the show the first time; which is fair enough as she is actually older than me. It would be quite disturbing if I liked the character of a high school girl now, plus God forbid I end up teaching at Worthington! Anyway, after seeing Meredith Monroe play many years later, I can say with Virgil “Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae” = I recognize the traces of the old flame [shot?]).
As for Jen, she is not always horrible, I think she is just stuck in uninteresting plot lines from season 2 to the before-last episode of the series… Which leads me to Jen’s death. I found her message to her daughter so moving, so heartfelt that it compensates all of the uninteresting / dumb / negative things she has done during the previous seasons. I add that the acting of the various actors on the show is in my opinion between passable and excellent (Joshua Jackson in particular did a great job, and the chemistry between him and Katie Holmes is fabuous!). But Michelle Williams, in representing the last days of Jen’s life, outdid all the performance I have previously seen by the other actors through the 6 seasons. That is why Jen’s goodbye message to her daughter is the only scene of the whole show that I feel like watching over and over!
The meaning of Jen’s death can be seen, as you pointed out, that her death is the only way for D, J and P to remain friends. Which creates an interesting contrast between Jen’s introduction, in season one, as the anti-Virgin Mary (a nonvirgin young girl who doesn’t believe in God), and her departure as a female version of Christ, who sacrifices her life for the good of the others. Plus, one could see her death as a meta-reference to the fact that Jen’s character ended up never finding a real place in the show after season 1…
Anyway, the finale of the series was really great. The series is perhaps not “great”, but it still deserves being considered as iconic.
Reading your blog made me feel less awkward watching it, as it showed that DC may lend itself to a deep analysis.
p.s. and thank you for adding the video to the last montage: very nice! I wouldn’t have known about it without your blog.
sorry for the typo: “Andie”, not “Andy”!
Thanks for the comment and for sharing your thoughts! I agree that Jen’s last message to her daughter is one of the best moments of the show. I cry soo much when I watch that (especially now I have a daughter). And that’s an excellent point about Jen becoming almost a Christ-like figure.
I think the thing about the sexism on the show is that a lot of people working on the show wouldn’t have seen it at the time, but *women* (and girls) would have seen it. Even then, we knew it was annoying to be held to different standards than men. And similarly, there are a lot of race-related things that I wouldn’t have noticed at the time, being a white/mostly white woman, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t problematic–just that I didn’t know enough to recognize certain stereotypes and patterns. And when stuff is problematic, we are compelled to talk about it! We are angry feminists after all. 🙂 But we love the show deeply: that’s why we spent a year of our lives dissecting it twenty years after the fact.
Great final impressions! I’m so happy to have found this when I decided to watch all of DC these last few months on my maternity leave.
My big unresolved question is… how could the writers have gotten themselves so lost on Dawson’s character? Did they MEAN for their “last nice guy” with heaps of potential to be so terrible ? Or, did their entire title character just land WRONG? OR, do we blame James Van der Beek for his portrayal? I remember a film criticism prof once telling us that good writing “shows” instead of “tells” – and I feel that all of these supposedly wonderful traits about Dawson were NEVER shown and always told. We never once actually experienced the great friendship of Dawson and Joey – it is always referred to as their childhood. And the actors never had enough chemistry to actually make it believable (at least in my opinion.)
No, I think it’s so interesting how it’s “Dawson’s Creek” but really Joey’s story. And my cynical opinion is that it is wholly attributable to ratings and fandom – Katie Holmes took off as an It Girl and therefore the story moved to feature her more and more to capitalize on it.
But still a fun and totally nostalgia-filled rewatch! Thank you thank you. 🙂 You gals are awesome thinkers and writers.
Thank you for commenting!! We’re so happy you enjoyed it. And I am on maternity leave myself… congratulations 🙂
It is such an interesting question about Dawson. How did they make him *so* far from what he seemingly was intended to be? Was it on purpose? It’s absolutely true that, as you point out, telling rather than showing that a character is great usually has the opposite effect of what’s intended–it tends to make the audience hate the character, especially when he truly doesn’t live up to it, like Dawson. I remember the same thing happening with Mark Greene on ER. So for that reason, I blame the writing rather than the acting. We made a little fun of James van der Beek’s acting, and certainly I’ve heard that he was kind of a pill at that age though he seems to be a great guy now, but I doubt even George Clooney could’ve made Dawson truly likeable! Or, OK, maybe Clooney, but no one else. 🙂
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PS. Not only am I on maternity leave but I also rewatched this whole show AGAIN during my maternity leave. High five!
This is actually not supposed to be a comment to your reply to Shannon’s comment.
It’s just that for some reason I can’t reply to your comment to my message. I just wanted to say thanks for replying. I definitely see your point, and it’s good you expressed your criticism on different questionable aspects of the show.
Happy maternity leave!
Thank you so much both of you for a hugely entertaining recap. I have just watched Dawson’s Creek for the first time in my 30s, after it somehow passed me by in my teens. Your commentary is thought-provoking, informative and at times so funny that I found myself laughing out loud at length. Plus I was relieved to hear I wasn’t the only one to find Dawson insufferable! I kind of want to go back and watch the entire thing all over again now that I’ve read your recap.
Yay! Thanks for reading! Love to hear of people watching this as an adult. I’ve watched it twice in my 30s and I’m not even halfway through them yet…
So, I did, in fact, rewatch the entire thing again and could read your recaps right after each episode this time as I wasn’t trying to avoid spoilers. Loved it, again, though there are certain aspects of the show that annoyed me more the second time around. Like, HOW do they not have any other friends? I get wanting to focus on the core group for the sake of the plot, but seriously. Also, the fact that Pacey dates Audrey and Joey doesn’t bat an eyelid, shows zero jealousy and actually encourages it made no sense to me. I guess they were trying to highlight the contrast between Pacey and Dawson, and thus had all the jealousy and ownership of each other play out with D/J while P/J are supposed to be more adult and healthy with each other, but was she seriously not even a tiny bit bothered when Pacey got together with her room mate? Gah.
Anyway, it’s been a fun ride once again, and I’m loving your Buffy recaps too. Thanks, both of you!
Ha! Yes, I think there are some things it’s easy to overlook the first time you watch, and then they bug you more and more. But no matter how often I watch I still love it 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the recaps a second time through!
I just watched Dawson’s Creek for the first time, at age of 24. I read all the recaps and I LOVE IT! Thank you! Of course, at this age, I no longer see things as a teenager but I indentified a lot with the problems experienced by the characteres trhouhout the end of the sixth season. I just finish college and this series was a fun. I had a lot of problems with the 5th and 6th seasons, but your reviews made me see many things in a different way and can also complement my thinking on some issues. I found myself laughing several times with you, girls (or women, as Pacey says). It was great to share that with you, really! I will certainly read Buffy’s reviews.
Love from Brazil!
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I have so many thoughts and feelings about this show… don’t know if I can express it all
I saw series some where about 2000s (don’t remember exactly when it was aired in my country), in Russia it ended on 4th season, I even didn’t remember “Coda” episode. But I remember how devastated I was by P/J break up and Pacey leaving for good. It still breaks my heart every time. I was Paceys fan from the very begining and I hated Dawson so much, never understood how could anybody like him… In 2011 I desided to improve my English by watching some old tv shows, fist one was Friends of course, second was DC. That was the first time when I saw 5 and 6 seasons, and till this year I didn’t remember any events exept that Pacey dated Audrey and 2 episods of P/J reunion: Clean and sober and of cause Castaways.
Last year my Grams got very sick and I needed something to put my mind at ease, so I’ve disided to rewatch the show. While the rewatch I found this comment on Youtube which mentioned your blog. And here comes the part when I needed to give thanks to this person who mentioned you and you girls. Because your recaps gave me so much laughter when I needed it the most, they gave me comfort and rescued me from sadness after my Grams past away last summer. So Janes, Nerdy Spice THANK YOU SO MUCH for this! You’ll never know how much these recaps gave me!
❤ ❤ ❤
Chertichego, I am so sorry that you lost your grandmother. I still remember when my grandma died, and how sad and lost I felt. I’m so glad that these recaps gave you a little comfort during a hard time. Thank you so much for sharing that, it really means a lot!
And thank you for reading and, of course, sharing the Pacey love with us!
First, a thank you: You’ve made my re-watch less lonely! It’s been a treat and delight to share with you, a huge gift in these pandemic times! Second: A confessional of contradicting opinions (as I wipe my eyes! Just finished!).
Dawson and Andie have always been my top favorite characters. If it weren’t for the Dawsons of this world, we wouldn’t have tv shows, poetry, books or films. I also really relate to Andie’s perfectionism, dysfunction and over-eagerness. These two characters make sense to me, in my bones! (Though THUMBS DOWN for Dawson participating in misogynistic Hollywood culture in later seasons) But I want to defend Dawson because he is pretty mensch-y in a lot of ways, even if he and Joey are just not meant for each other and he can’t get over it. But that’s a hopeless dreamer for ya, that’s who he is.
For me, Audrey, Jen, Grams and Gail are my second fave character grouping – simply for expressing authentic and unpopular POV’s in their personalities – something I relish, because it’s human. I’m a sucker for the conventionally less “likeable,” because it’s real. Or at least, real for me.
When Jack wasn’t dealing with more serious story-lines about his sexuality, or his family’s real dramas – I found Jack to be mostly whiney and baby-ish- though he comes in super strong in the finale!
For me, Joey was largely insufferable. I don’t understand or grasp her perpetual adorable-ness and digestibility, it makes me kind of nauseous. And over time Pacey was rather grating for me – pushy and beard-y and smarmy and ever-increasingly misogynistic and gross. And obviously Eddie and the professors can all drink poison. And Joey’s involvement with them made me vom.
By the final season I was close to loathing everybody, at large. But the last two episodes did bring us home.
I get it. Joey and Pacey are the more socially acceptable, sympathetic characters – they are kind, their “sins” seem more excusable because of their respective histories of abuse, abandonment and neglect. Still, they have no mental illness, and no extremes. And they were hot together – especially when they travelled on the boat, when they get stuck in a Kmart, and the episode in which she plays his secretary! (The movie secretary is a favorite!)
In no shape or form did I hope for Joey and Dawson to end up together – they felt so wrong on every level, weirdly and creepily codependent, and quite literally never worked as a couple. And I agree with some of the observations that the writers needed to show, not tell, Dawson’s character – but I also think he was missing a sympathetic back-story, so he came off as simply a spoiled/entitled dreamer. Which, ya know, maybe he is.
My second confession: I am a filmmaker, and know a lot of us. We’re f*cking weirdos who don’t belong in normal society. And in my misery, and joy, I do prefer the iconoclasts, the poets, the self-absorbed artists, the twisted, the tilted, and yes – the sometimes hopeless dreamers.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for having me play along! If I rewatch I’ll be back to start from scratch, and will gratefully count you all as a part of this experience. Good night. 🙂
First of all, i want to tell the story of how i ended up here, This whole Last year was some kind of a Sabatical year for me far, from home with no way to comeback due to the whole pandemic situation.
As i was feeling nostalgic i found a short video on FB of Dawson’s creek and instantly i enjoyed the dialogues, admired the characters and started the show.
As i was enjoying litterally each episode and each dialogues , wondering where this gem was in the past 25 years of my life, i was curious to watch or read some reviews, i didn’t find anything wholesome until i came across your EPIC RECAP, i have to say reading your opinions and detailed reviews of each episode really doubled the fun and the meaning of the whole show for me, SO THANK YOU Jane and Nerdy Spice !
So as i finished Dawson’s Creek, i realised how much i could relate to the characters and the bond between them, and how much those scenarios, dialogues and words got to me in the most touching and marvelous ways.
It made me realise that i am a Dawson who lost his Joey who was definetly a soulmate ,hopefully found my Jen, but always caring and having that deep unexplainable bond with my Joey……
Dawson’s Creek is now on my TOP 3 List of favortie TV shows alongside with Lost and How I met Your Mother !
BTW I rooted for Dawson to be the best version of himself, for Jen to finally find happiness, For Joey to find herself which she eventually did with Pacey, and for Pacey to finally getting of the loser labels.
As show wanted us to understand that soulmates doesn’t mean a couple so no room for Dawson and Joey, i think Dawson and Jen were supposed to be endgame, knowing that Joey and Pacey had a logical ending with their mature relationship.
So here’s a quick review :
Dawson’s Creek is a landemark and a revolutionnary show for its genra at that specefic Era of late 90s/ Early 00s, After watching the 2018 Reunion, i was actually surprised by the fact that the show is the real life story of t the Writer and film maker Kevin Williamson, Dawsons is based on his beliefs, ambitions and memories.
Van Der Beek in that reunion mentioned the dialogues were so eloquent, that he had pleasure performing them, While Kerr smith joked about the whole generation checking out their dictionnaries for the complexe words used in the show….. and personally i found all that brilliant as strong emotions got carried to the viewer by elegant words !
Katie Holmes spoke our minds by saying that Dawson’s Creek was a show pre- social media, and that even at that time it felt nostalgic shooting it, representing magical and simpler times !
Watching old Videos of the cast made me realise how each actor correspend to his character
I think that the love triangle even affected the casts backthen, as Katie Holmes, after being asked wether she wanted to end up with Dawson or Pacey, she looked back and forth to Van Der Beek and Joshua
Finally, for me the show was not just love triangle, it was about growing up (Take a shot XD), moving from teenaghood to adulthood, about the friendships and all those little stories and plot twists, and of course about making us realising who is the Dawson, The Jen , The Joey and The Pacey of our own stories.
How i related to it :
As i see myself as a hopeless dreamer , over analyser Dawson, i had my Joey who was my soulmate( Take shot XD), an anxious, self doubter, run away girl who is also annoyingly cute, spontaneous and full of surprises… eventually we parted away and actually we came to the same conclusion as Joey and Dawson, Soulmates doesn’t mean a good couple, but the bond is there, it always will be their in some unearthly way, as i still think about her, wanting her to be happy even far away, hoping she realised her dreams and found herself, and knowing exactly that she feels the same, wishing the best in return ….
The Characters Arcs and developmement :
– DAWSON: At season 1 he is introduced as a hopeless dreamer, an idealist, someone who sees life in black and white, and that made him self righteous and selfish for the first seasons, He actually started to grow up after season 5.
By the end of season 6 i think he could see life in Gray, he became much more realistic when he realised that his dreams came with a price which was separating him from his real life.
I think the problem with Dawson’s character was the presence of Joey in his life, I mean the guy was so obssessed about her, he left Jen he stopped being friend with Pacey and he dropped his first University just to be with her in the same region, his whole life was revolved around her which is actually pretty toxic, He deserved a better character developement.
Dawson at somepoint was defined by his reltionship with Joey more than he was defined by his dreams like in the begining…. WE understand that their sacred soulmates bond was the core of the whole show, we do also understand that no matter what happens they will always care for each other as they got so much history and were invloved to the core in each other’s lives… We do understand the nature of their relationship but we dont get why it is so toxic.. a relationship like that should bring the best out of each one of them not the opposite….
But then again i suppose Joey’s ultimate goal was to find herself far from Dawson, and Dawson’s ultimate goal was to be a film maker no matter what even if it means making her his muse and be obssessed about her …..at the end he didn’t end up with his soulmate, probably logical as their core childhood memories and what shaped their teenage hood and adulthood was the fact that they were so involved in each others lives… So Conclusion They were built one from another but not built to be with each other !
So like by season 5 him and Jen should have been a real long plot, I think he deserved a better ending than just a meeting with Spielberg, Although it makes a little bit of sens, Dawson is a dream from episode 1, so a happy ending for him would be finally to realise his dreams even if it meant he didn’t get the girl.
– JEN : Jen came in season 1 as the lead female character, i mean Michelle Willams name was right after Van Der Beek in the season 1 opening, she was introduced as a broken bird as the writer described her, looking to belong to the Creek but was also strong and mature somehow, Through the seasons, her character was overshadowed and left in the corner, but yet she managed to grow and evolve into a sweet, more confident and probably a happier Jen, knowing what her priorities in life were. The sad part is the final episode reveals that she is still a broken bird that didn’t feel like belonging anywhere, luckily Jack was there to oppose that feeling by telling her she belongs to him, she is his soulmate, and it made me realise, Jen was a broken bird looking for home and eventually , Jack and Grams became her Home.
So happy ending for her was to find the home she was longing for, but for the love part, just like Dawson, she didn’t find true love, but it would have been epic if Jen the girl who finally got the meaning of home and became home herself with her child, ended up with Dawson who after reasling his dreams, needed to comeback to real life and to have his own home and family.
– JOEY : Well, Well , Joey is introduced as the side kick girl who is an anxious, self doubter, run away girl who is also annoyingly cute, spontaneous and full of surprises… Joey was actually looking for a journey to self discovery , she didn’t have dreams like Dawson or looking for Home like Jen, she wanted to find her true self… Explains why she run away from Dawson each time as he consumes her, at one episode she told him “i feel like you partially invented me”..
Through the seasons, the show revolved more around her especially in season 5 and 6 that should have been called ” Joey’s Creek” , i believe that by season 5 she already had the luxury of escaping capeside and discovering herself in many ways, interact with different new characters and living multiple arcs more than any other character in the show…By the end of season 6, she became this successful women working in the publishing books industry, but i remember somewhere around season 3 or 4 , she told Pacey that she found herself whenever she was with him, which the opposite of feeling like Dawson’s shadow… that explains why she chose Pacey at the end, Pacey was the missing piece of her Journey finding her true self, where she found love too, she had the happiest ending i would say !
– PACEY : Oh Pacey, the funny cool guy but black sheep not too confident guy, Pacey is introduced as goofy but charismatic, sometimes more mature than the others especially in his relationship with Joey. Pacey through the seasons had a lot of rollercoasters, but he ended up in season 5 or 6 , outdoing himself and becoming successful againt all the bets against him… i think at that point Pacey grew up especially in that episode where his father finally acknowedged him, it was like he set him free from the loser label he always had on his forehead….
Pacey actually merged between his cooking passion and his i would say entrepreneurship skills to finally have his own restaurent… So he had as the others did, he found out what he was looking for, which is being responsable and successful….while being himself..
Part of that loser label, that was the ” im not the type of guys who gets the girl” he said somewhere in season 1..
Guess what Pacey really outdone himself, cuz eventually he got the girl.. a girl that he respected and loved and as he said in the season finale ” The simple act of falling in love with you is enough for me”…
So Joey and Pacey ending up together was logical, they both help each other to overcome the main obstacles in their lives, while filling the void in each other’s spirits.. They were end game indeed !
The friendship between the characters
– JEN/JACK/ GRAMS : The 3 of them had a great character developmement, they took care of each other and made one special little family where Jack belonged, Grams felt happy to take care of the kids, and Jen felt like belonging !
-Dawson / Pacey: Started as best friends and sadly were apart most of the show, in the finals i suppose they become best friends again…
– Dawson / Joey : A childhood friendship ruined by love i guess and the constant need of each others.
– Dawon /Jen : A friendship after love is always akward, Their friendship never was that genuine but they did deeply care for each other..
– Joey/ Pacey: they were never really friends, just having chemistry for love and not realising it …
– Joey/ Audrey: Finally a girls bond, they were true friends !
The Romance between The characters
– Dawson and Joey : Soulmates built from each other but not meant to be together !
– Dawson and Jen : For me the should have ended up together, great chemistry and as i said above Jen would have been the perfect home Dawson would return to after being stuck in realising his dreams.
– Joey and Pacey: as i said above, perfect chemistry,mature relationship, they filled the voids in each other’s lives and souls, they deserved to end up together !
The perfect Final and that little twist
Just like Kevin the writer of the show, Dawson Also makes a succesful TV show out of his life, and the main character in Dawson’s show ends up with Joey unlike Dawson, it made me wonder about two things : One did Kevin the writer of the show ended up with his soulmate in real life ? and did Dawson’s character Colby ended up making his own show XD That would make a beautiful infiinite loop where at one you end up with your soulmate and at the next one you dont !!!
Anyway i do think the final was perfect, especially those last two episodes who were made to solve the big conflict in each character, giving them all the perfect closure !
Conclusion and Inspiration
The ending held more meaning that i could ever wish for,endings are meant for an enlighting final station , and that exactly what this show did.
The complexe feelings or the whole conflict knot of the show was sorted out in the most realistic and satisfying way.
As all main characters grow all of those life phases and conflicts, into not necessarily the best but probably the happiest version of themeselves !
Finally the show inspired me to tell my own story, to write my own book and my own characters, in which i would leave a segment of my soul in each character and in each line !
I hope you guys enjoyed my review as much as i enjoyed yours.
Have a good Time.
Belatedly, thanks for posting this review!
>> They were built one from another but not built to be with each other !
I love this phrase about Dawson and Joey. What a good description of them!
>> One did Kevin the writer of the show ended up with his soulmate in real life ?
Kevin and the real-life inspiration for the “Joey” character didn’t end up together because Kevin Williamson eventually came out as gay! So kinda like Dawson and Joey he and his high school girlfriend weren’t destined to be together romantically.
Good luck on your book and thanks so much for reading and for this thoughtful response!
I agree with the opinion that Jen and Andie aren’t given many good storylines and are shafted in favor of Joey but I don’t understand get why you hate them.
– I don’t agree with the opinion that Andie had no appealing qualities. In S2 she is very warm and friendly. She gets the other characters to try new things (like going to a school dance), she’s a rock for her family, she takes care of her mom, she gets Jack a job, she is the first person to believe in Pacey and rails against the education system that has written Pacey off,, she helps him get good grades in school, she even gets Pacey’s father to show him a affection (Pacey is so confident with Andie that Dawson drunkenly admits he’s threatened by it). Tbh, after my rewatch, I found Pacey and Andie’s relationship to be more emotionally mature than Pacey and Joey’s relationship. For all of PJ’s talk about growing up in S4, they did the same thing DJ did in terms of rehashing the same conversation over and over. Andie/Pacey did the frenemies to lovers thing first. PJ was even given Pandie’s narrative. The speeches Pacey makes about Joey changing him or making him into the man his is are really about Andie, not Joey. Joey making men better versions of themselves was never shown to be true, it was contrived or unearned.
– I don’t see how Jen is “whiny” or a “fake feminist.” In fact, Joey is more whiny than Jen (I like Joey, but she complains about everything, including boys falling for her). She also judges/slut shames women more frequently than Jen. Jen could be boring, but she’s not unlikable. Joey is given an actual arc, yes, but during the college years she’s stagnant and doesn’t go through character growth. Once Joey dissents into a “Mary-Sue” she is no longer relatable but rather aspirational. Guys never get over her, girls want to be her. She is a fantasy, which is why other female characters feel more realistic or relatable when juxtaposed with Joey.
It’s true that Jen and Andie are shafted in favor of Joey and aren’t always given good storylines I don’t understand why you dislike them so much.
– I don’t agree with the opinion about Andie having no appealing qualities. In S2 she is very warm and friendly. She gets the other characters to try new things (for example, attend a school dance), she takes care of her mom, she gets Jack a job, she is the first person to believe in Pacey and rails against the education system that has written Pacey off, she helps him get good grades in school, she even gets Pacey’s father to show him a affection (Pacey is so confident with Andie that Dawson drunkenly admits he’s threatened by it). Tbh, after my rewatch, I found Pacey and Andie’s relationship to be more emotionally mature than Pacey and Joey’s relationship. For all of PJ’s talk about growing up in S4, they did the same thing DJ did in terms of rehashing the same conversation over and over. Andie/Pacey did the frenemies to lovers thing first. PJ was even given Pandie’s narrative. The speeches Pacey makes about Joey changing him are really about Andie, not Joey. Joey making men better versions of themselves was never shown to be true, it was contrived or unearned.
– I don’t think Jen is a “whiny, fake feminist.” In fact, Joey is more whiny than Jen (I like Joey, but she complains about everything, including boys falling for her). She also judges/slut shames women more frequently than Jen. Jen is very often boring, but she’s not unlikable. Joey is given an actual arc, yes, but during the college years she’s stagnant and doesn’t go through character development. Once Joey dissents into a “Mary-Sue” she is no longer relatable but rather aspirational. Guys never get over her, girls want to be her. She is a fantasy, which is why other female characters feel more realistic or relatable when juxtaposed with Joey.
Hey, thanks for reading! You make a lot of fair points! I think it’s funny, in real life I would probably like Andie as much as I would like Joey, or even more. Like in real life we hopefully aim to appreciate people for how good a person they are, not just how likable they are, and Andie is not generally a bad person. But the thing about TV is that certain things — like Andie’s incessant peppiness — are soooo grating to watch that they “count” more than they hopefully would in real life. For Jen though, it’s really annoying to watch her do things like saying “no” to sex and then get mad at her boyfriend for accepting it. Even if it comes from her own trauma, I just think it’s a bad trope and it makes me really not like Jen.
As for Joey she has always been a polarizing character, I think a lot of people do find her annoying in later seasons for very good reasons, but I never did! (And I hear you that Joey also acts like a feminist but then does things that aren’t consistent, like that she judges other women — so I guess I’m pretty inconsistent with my likes and dislikes too!)