Dawson's Creek

The beginning of each story is the most important part, decisive for making the right impression on the audience and essential for the characterization of the characters. Of this, every respectable film director is well aware. But there is a guy from Capeside who has a romantic vision of cinema, and there are still many things he has to learn. His name is Dawson Leery, and the one who always teases him is Joey Potter, his best friend.

Then “Action!”: get ready to shoot the first scene of Dawson’s Creek.

Immature youth

It was 1998 when a couple of immature teenagers made their first appearance on the screen. Joey Potter is aware of the huge embarrassment that puberty will soon bring to the friendship that has always linked her to Dawson; he, on the other hand, is immersed in the most complete naivety and keeps his dreamy eyes on the posters of Steven Spielberg’s films that cover his room. He does not know that everything is about to change and that adulthood will look for him sooner than he thinks, dangerously cracking his rosy vision of the future.

A few steps away from the two friends, we have Pacey Witter, Dawson’s best friend, in full hormonal crisis. Surrounded by a ruinous family situation, he has a pretty disillusioned outlook on life.

But with the start of the new school year, love – the real one, the youthful one – will creep into their everyday life, along with the arrival of a new girl: Jen Lindley.

In this perfect mix of fledgling teenagers, the drama cascades over the plot, while keeping the most innocent aspect of that age of trial, misunderstanding, mistakes, first love, and daydreams.

Dawson’s theoretical romanticism

James Van Der Beek in Dawson's Creek (1998)
James Van Der Beek in Dawson’s Creek (1998) © IMDb

Dawson’s Creek could be cataloged as one of the many American shows that have bombed the adolescence of millions of teenagers, yet there is something that differentiates it from the others.

Although Dawson is a bit of a sluggish and apathetic character – perhaps the least spontaneous in the whole story -, he’s the one that lightens the plot. Introducing his romantic vision of how things should go, he feels like a little adult desperate for the meaning of life. In his struggles with love, he lets slip many opportunities to experience the emotions he loves to talk about.

However, his dreamy vision is destined to crumble under the blows of failure, which will give him a new perspective and new future opportunities.

Pacey & Joey

It is the story between the two best friends of Dawson, who irremediably break his heart, to act as the glue to the whole show, especially during the first seasons. Spontaneity and squabbles chase each other in a first love that cannot be forgotten. Pacey’s impudence fits perfectly with Joey’s impertinence.

Together, they live a true, real, solid story. Full of those little moments of special intimacy that make two people a world apart. It’s well built, with the right push and pulls, and that “Pacey yearning” that complements his character, making him more adult than he looks. Together they manage to grow, each finding their own way, to separate and then rejoin.

Soulmates

James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson, and Michelle Williams in Dawson's Creek (
James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson, and Michelle Williams in Dawson’s Creek (1998) © IMDb

One of the best-expressed concepts of this show comes to light only in the last episodes of the sixth season, first through the incredible friendship between Jen and Jack, and then between that of Joey and Dawson: the soul mate.

Maybe we all have one, and maybe we all meet it in our life. Because the soul mate is not that special person we fall in love with and choose to carry in our hearts. No, it is that person we know will be there forever no matter what. Whoever we decide to love, wherever we choose to live, that person is under the same sky and will always have a piece of our soul with them.

That’s why I think the Dawson’s Creek finale was great. He ousted Dawson’s unhealthy philosophical romanticism and Joey’s futile rants to reward one of the most sincere forms of love, that between friends, which is always good to remember. Because we would be nobody without the people around us.

King of romantics

And so another show enters the ranks of the Old But Gold column. And in this case, it is a duty, in the name of friendship, in the name of love, and in the name of Steven Spielberg, to proclaim Dawson’s Creek the undisputed king of all romantics.

With all its honey, with all its adolescent insecurity, with all its dreaming soul, I recommend it as a medicine for all those who have lost sight of hopes, desires, and positive things in life. To remember what you have been, and what you have become; not to forget the progress, the mistakes, and how far is the way.

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