My Love/Hate Relationship with Dawson’s Creek

When Dawson’s Creek first began to invade the hearts of teeny boppers everywhere, I wasn’t old enough to watch it.

I know, I’m a baby. But it’s not like I was 5 or something. I was in the 6th grade, and I begged my mom for at least a week to let me watch it (that’s a long time to beg when you’re 12). She compromised with me, and said she would watch the first episode without me. If she thought it was okay, I could watch it. Long story short, she said no.

I was so angry. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why I couldn’t watch the show. I was 12 after all, practically an adult, right? Wrong. When I watched the first episode as an actual adult, I realized how right she was. For a 12-year-old, it’s COMPLETELY inappropriate. I think they rival ‘Secret Life of the American Teenager’ (which I flat-out loathe) in the number of times they say the word “sex” per episode. I would’ve made the same call my mom did.

It may have been inappropriate for me then, but for 24-year-old-me, it’s freakin’ crack.

About a month and a half ago (after seeing random episodes throughout the years, including half of the series finale), I decided it was time to cozy up and watch every episode of Dawson’s Creek. I have this weird TV habit. I find a show that’s been on for awhile, and then watch it almost non-stop via Netflix or Hulu until I’m either finished or caught up with the current season. In the past 2 years I’ve done it with Bones, Buffy, Doctor Who, 30 Rock, Community, and now Dawson’s Creek.

I officially finished it on Sunday. Now that I’ve soaked in all that Capeside has to offer me, I’ve come to a very important conclusion: I both love and hate Dawson’s Creek. Equally. I love that they reference teen TV dramas as if they are in the real world, how many random guest stars that are completely irrelevant now but you can pin point their appearance to the height of their career (Rachael Leigh Cook, Oliver Hudson, Chad Michael Murray, No Doubt), and the ridiculously magical way that Joshua Jackson managed to convince me of how in love he was with whatever woman he was with at the time. But I hate the fact that Joey doesn’t seem to own a brush for the first 3 seasons, Jen’s Amelie haircut in season 6, the fact that teachers keep trying to sleep with them, and everything involving Abby Morgan.

But it’s not just that there’s things I like about it and things I don’t like. That happens with everything, doesn’t it? It’s that I will love and hate one thing simultaneously. This dueling of emotions actually made it a struggle to keep watching. At some point around season 4 or 5, I just wanted to get to the finale so I could see Joey and Pacey finally end up together. Yep. Forget Edward v. Jacob. It’s all about Dawson v. Pacey. And I’m on team Pacey of the not-original-but-certainly-earlier-and-better teenage love triangle. Which brings me to one of the first love/hate:

Every boy fell in love with Joey Potter.

Why I hate it: Honestly, the only time I ever liked Joey was when she was with Pacey. Seriously. I don’t know if it was Katie Holmes’ fault or the director’s, but she was just soooo angry. I understand that she had it rough, and she had good reason for not letting people into her heart/life/pants very easily. But come on. Smile once in awhile. How did everyone fall in love with her when she was yelling and judging them all the time?

Why I love it: We all want to be that girl that every boy falls in love with. So we all secretly want to be Joey Potter. Even me. Touche, Kevin Williamson.

Even when Jen got her happy ending, she didn’t.

Why I hate it: I like happy endings. I like finales to be tied up in a nice bow, and everyone to be smiling–or at the very least, smirking. Before the flash forward, Jen was moving to NYC with her Mom, Grams and Jack, and hunky hunky boyfriend who was actually nice to her and didn’t fall in love with Joey (shocking). Things were looking up. Cue five years later: Jen dies. Seriously. The entire episode is just her dying. After, of course, getting knocked up and abandoned by a nameless boyfriend. Grams beats cancer and outlives her, and her daughter gets to grow up with two gay dads, but Jen’s life just flat out sucked. For more elaboration on that (and the article that pushed me over the edge into plunging into Capeside, click here).

Why I love it: Not everyone has a happy ending. I get that, it has to be realistic. I just wish it hadn’t have been poor Jen, her life was already bad enough.

They often date people way older than them.

Why I hate it: If when I was in college, somebody started dating someone in high school, I would have made soo much fun of them. Especially if the person they started dating was only 16. That’s borderline gross. And how were all of the adults just ok with these situations? I would’ve locked my daughter in a shed or something, but that’s just my opinion.

Why I love it: We all wanted to date older people when we were in high school. We didn’t understand how stupid it was. And since the actors playing 16-year-olds are usually like 22 in real life, it makes sense visually and I just go with it.

Joey takes an entire decade to decide between Dawson and Pacey.

Why I hate it: This is a big one. Let me sum up Joey Potter’s love life. Joey loves Dawson for a really long time. Then she dumps Dawson for Jack, who turns out to be gay. Then she gets back together with Dawson but they break up again. Then she falls in love with Pacey. Then Pacey dumps her and she tries it with Dawson again. Fails. Then she almost sleeps with her professor. Then she dates Charlie, who is stupid. Then she dates Eddie, who is adorbs, but kind of leaves without saying goodbye. Multiple times. She tries it again with Pacey, but chooses Eddie when he comes back. Sad face, Eddie leaves again. Then a five year gap where she starts dating some writer. She dumps him. Dawson and Pacey both basically declare their undying love for her, and she chooses Pacey. Fade out.

I know she was supposed to be in denial about it and all, but come on. She tells Jen that she’s “always known who she was supposed to be with” while Jen is on her deathbed. She had plenty of opportunities to make that happen, so she’s either full of shit or a pansy. Neither of which is good.

Why I love it: They know what they’re doing when they keep the “will-they-won’t-they” and “who-will-she-choose love triangle” story lines going as long as possible. It sucks us in. They know it. I know it. And even though I knew she ended up with Pacey, I still wanted to see all of the turmoil that got them there. Damn Hollywood’s ability to manipulate me.

Do I consider the past month I’ve spent with Dawson a waste of time? Absolutely not. Would I watch the whole series again? Probably not. But ask me again in a few years. I’m sure I’ll be dying for another dose of unrealistic teenage dramz 😉


10 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship with Dawson’s Creek

  1. That is in NO WAY a weird habit. I do it too! This year I’ve watched: LOST, 30 Rock, Scrubs (but that was for probably the 9th time) and Grey’s Anatomy (for the 3rd time). And I can’t decide which show to watch next! Watch a show that’s already completed and have closure at the end? Or watch a show that is NOT completed and end up hanging awaiting the next season to be put on netflix? Conundrum!


      1. I LOVE Downton Abbey! I only have instant watch though so I’ve watched all that’s available. I tried Doctor Who (newer version) and just couldn’t get into it. I think up next will be Parks & Rec or Community! or Breaking Bad… I can’t choose! (I’m also watching How I Met Your Mother from the beginning :))


  2. I loved Dawson’s Creek! Now I was to cozy up with it and watch every episode…thanks to your wonderfully-written post, I am now going to get nothing done in the next two weeks!

    Courtney Hosny


  3. Joey is one of the worst characters I have ever seen. The best in Dawson Creek’s are the details without doubt. The director is amazing, but it’s sad all was around Joey.


  4. I am very late to the conversation, because I swore I’d never watch it. Being sick and bored led me to watching it after hearing about it repeatedly on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt 23. My reason for continuing to watch initially was the writers having intelligence enough to know it is, “couldn’t care less.” Most show writers get that phrase incorrect, and it is annoying. Sure, it is a flimsy reason, but it is my reason. I am currently in season four, and it is obvious the writers are no longer the same. One of the characters said, “I could care less.” Then Pacey was speaking about his family saying, “they could give a care.” He meant to say his family couldn’t give a care, but the show writers ended up with him saying the opposite. I don’t mind people not being great writers as long as they aren’t being paid to do it.

    One of my biggest issues has been the adult and teen romances, because it seems as if there is an attempt to make it normal on television. It is creepy. The teacher should be in jail, and on the registry. Eve was one of the most ridiculous storylines, and it looked like a woman in her thirties was trying to groom a sixteen year old. It made me recall how uncomfortable I felt about the teacher being with Pacey. How are there so many creepy ebophiles in Capeside? Why were Dawson’s parents okay with the over twenty one year old bartender dating their sixteen year old son? I will never understand that!

    I love the points made by you. I knew next to nothing about the show except it was a teen drama. I ignored it based on that which is odd since I completely love the show Roswell. I have watched that more than once. I also enjoyed BtVS, so I don’t know what I had against Dawson’s Creek. I just learned the theme song which is the only one I have heard isn’t even the actual theme song for the show. Paula Cole is suing for not being paid fully. I know the show caused the song to be an instant hit which might not have happened otherwise, but she does deserve to be compensated. I knew none of the issues with the song until my sister in law happened to catch the intro to an episode I was watching. She informed me that it isn’t the theme song and she felt the show is ruined without the actual theme. All of her fond memories of the show are rekindled by hearing the theme song.


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