Why We Started a 'Dawson's Creek' Podcast (and What #DawsonsCreekTaughtMe)

Sunday, January 14, 2018 / 9:00 AM

There were two reactions we got when we started telling people we would be starting a Dawson's Creek podcast: 1) "Why??" and 2) "omg I loved that show."

It's honestly not an obvious choice – there was nothing particularly newsworthy happening to warrant an entire re-watch podcast dedicated to the show. But I had been talking one day with someone about how unsatisfying many series finales are (most likely it came in light of the Switched at Birth finale), and the question of "What's the best series finale you've seen?" came up. After thinking about it for a bit, the answer was a no-brainer: it's Dawson's Creek.

(Before I continue: this post is spoiler-free, in case you haven't yet watched the series or you're Charles and are just about to start season 3.)

Inspired by A+ TV-centric podcasts like Gilmore Guys and The Shipping Room, I wanted to do something fun and creative as part of my "year of creating" in 2017. Podcasts were a territory I'd never considered learning how to do, but the challenge was enticing, and doing a Dawson's Creek podcast felt like low-pressure as I got my sea legs. Convincing Charles to do this podcast with me took a bit of work, but we spend about 80% of our day talking to each other right now, and we were looking for a break from thinking about work-related stuff.

Here's the thing about a show like Dawson's Creek: it's a show that you've probably seen. Maybe you weren't an avid viewer, but you've stumbled upon it sometime in your channel surfing habits. And those people who have seen it and watched it all through – well, they don't just remember watching the show. They love it.

I love it, let's be honest. Growing up, I wasn't of the right age to be watching a show like Dawson's Creek, but I was an avid WB viewer and I've always loved watching teen soaps. Something about the drama of it all felt so "other" to me, and I craved that 45 minute escape each week.

So I had seen a few episodes here and there, but when Netflix put Dawson's Creek up a few years ago, I binged it straight through without hesitation. I was hooked, but I had no one to talk to about it because it didn't seem to generate the kind of cult fan following the way Gilmore Girls or even Friends did.

Fast forward to 2017 and an age where you can force one of your friends to watch a 20-year-old show with you for a podcast – and voilà: Dawson's Speak.

With Jan. 20 being the 20th anniversary of the show's premiere, I've been thinking a lot about what #DawsonsCreekTaughtMe and, all jokes aside about the lingo and the '90s fashion trends, I think the one thing it's really taught me is that life goes on. No matter how many times you fall for someone who doesn't love you back, no matter how many times you struggle to tell your family who you really are, no matter how many times you experience loss – partings, endings, deaths ... life will always keep moving forward.

No matter how much you try to analyze it all, life will always keep moving forward.

At 15 years old, everything that Dawson and Joey are talking about and feeling in the first episode seems like it's either the end of the world, or the biggest thing to ever happen to them. As an adult watching that, it's easy to dismiss them as being overdramatic – but when I was 15 or 16, I'm positive I was the exact same way: fighting with a friend was the worst thing to happen and every school dance was a headline-making event. It was hard to see past the immediate situation around you, and even if you could, it didn't make much of a difference to how you were feeling in that single moment.

In some ways, life is like that no matter how old you get. But one thing you gain as you grow older is perspective. When I watch Dawson's Creek now, I'm struck by how intense everything feels, and so much of that is because you're seeing it through the eyes of these teenagers. And with that in mind, I've come around to feeling more empathy for Dawson (even if I still don't think he's the series' most compelling character) – which reminds me that empathy should not be reserved for only those I identify with.

There's a lot more I can go on and on about – why 2x14 and 2x15 are incredible episodes, why Pacey Witter and Jen Lindley are two of the most interesting characters on TV, etc. – but then this would be a novella. Instead, why don't you go check out the podcast? :)

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