August 5, 2015

Featurette! Emery Lord + Dawson's Creek



When I first started this feature, I talked about how I loved a lot of lesser-known or older movies so whenever I meet someone who happens to know, or better yet love, one of them — I can’t help but get excited over it. It’s the same thing with TV shows. I get very nostalgic over my favorites from the 90s and early 00s (My So-Called Life, Buffy, Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, anything from The WB!) and will happily talk about any of the aforementioned shows. So it seemed perfect to include TV in Featurette! And I am very, very excited about this first show because it’s.. DAWSON’S CREEK.

I started watching Dawson’s Creek because it came on after Buffy the Vampire Slayer so I figured I’d just check it out. Looking back, this is what I got from that first episode. I remember being very surprised by how they all talked (I mean, who wasn’t?). Joey Potter was the girl we could all relate to and I wanted her to get the boy (even though Dawson definitely wasn’t the guy *I* ever wanted). And I thought Pacey was so, so cute. I didn’t expect to get hooked on the show but I quickly became addicted. I watched and taped episodes religiously, started two fan sites and I just loved the characters.

Ok, I mean I mostly loved Pacey and Joey but I did love the friendship between Jack and Jen too.

But back to Pacey and Joey. They set the precedent for my love of couples that bicker and start off “disliking” each other before inevitably giving in to their attraction. To this day, that’s still my favorite relationship trope. While Dawson’s Creek had some missteps — mainly the college years, except for a lone episode in season 6 which will be mentioned later in this post — the one thing they got right was Pacey and Joey. They broke the typical TV mold by letting these two fall in love. The girl never ends up with the other guy but Joey did and it was amazing.

This show inspired me in many ways. It’s actually because of it that I started designing and developing websites. I wanted to create a fan site but had no experience so I had to teach myself and went on to create not one but two centered around Dawson’s Creek. It was a way to channel my creativity and talk about something I loved. Which I’m still doing now (except now it's books)!

Now, joining me today is one of my favorite authors Emery Lord
who's going to tell us why she loves this show. 

***

First of all, let me be really clear that I was super, super not allowed to watch Dawson's Creek. My mom's opinion on this was identical to the dad in 10 Things I Hate About You: "What's normal? Those damn Dawson's River kids sleeping in each other's beds and what not?" So I watched it at my friends' houses, obviously. Then, when it went into syndication summer after my senior year of high school, I watched two episodes every morning. Yep.

Since then, I've watched an episode here and there or gotten lost in a Joey/Pacey Youtube wormhole (Oh, what, like you're better than me??). But I haven't started watching the whole series from the beginning in YEARS. Until this month. And I can't really stress how excruciating it was to rewatch the first season. So much secondhand embarrassment.

But, man. If you can withstand the SAT words and the self-absorption and full articulation of awkward feelings of the first 2 seasons...let me tell you why I love it and what you will get out of it (other than the greatest "first time having sex" scene of all time, and Pacey banter to last you a LIFETIME).

Things are ANGSTY and UGLY. Everyone behaves badly--often. These teens are allowed to have complex feelings and vocabularies. There are class struggles. Navigation of mental health and the stigma. Complicated parental relationships. Frank discussion of sex! Slut-shaming! Drinking and drugs. A really honest exploration of coming out. They actually spend a considerable amount of time IN SCHOOL- in a classroom, in hallways, struggling with schoolwork or assignments or detention. Forgiveness and steadfastness in friendship. Religion vs outspoken atheism. We get to see characters into college. Thriving, screwing up. Death. Love. SOULMATES. And beneath it all, this thumping heartbeat of earnestness, of honesty. Of giving the nuances of your teen years the weight they deserve. The weight that, frankly, feels silly as an adult.

Emery's latest book
And the ship. Oh, the ship that actually GOT ON A SHIP CALLED "TRUE LOVE." I can't even talk about it. (Yes, I can. Joey Potter is a serious, introspective girl who's really focused on school and her very difficult family life. She can be, especially early on, a shrewish killjoy. Pacey Witter is an academic screwup who is quick, confident and primarily interested in FUN. None of that masks his smarts. They butt heads--they have their whole lives. And they are SO INTO EACH OTHER. Just talking about it, I FEEL ALIVE.)

So, how did old Creekside inspire my writing? Well. It made me feel like the real world- our quotidian stories- are actually special. That the indignities, the missteps, the cheesiness, the moments of glory that come with teenagerdom- they're worthy of being captured and canonized. It made me believe that fictional stories- when crafted just so- can hit a bone of truth that is otherwise difficult to reach. It showed me characters taking terrible situations and bending them into greater narrative arcs in their lives- not because a writers' room was commandeering plot left and right. But because it was character driven. Joey, Dawson, Pacey, Jen, Jack, Andie- MAKING their hardships meaningful. What a powerful lesson for a teen girl.  What a powerful lesson for anyone.

In conclusion, the Kmart episode is everything I aspire to be as a writer of characters. Thank you. Amen.

Thank you Emery for stopping by the blog today! 
I hope we convinced you all to check out or re-watch the show!

And with that, here's one of my favorite lines from the show and a clip:



See previous Featurette! posts here

8 comments:

  1. This. All of this. So awesome to see other people fangirling over Dawson Creek. I'm glad that I saw Andi from Andi's ABCs mention loving it. :)

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  2. OMG yes the K-Mart episode!!! I remember LOVING Dawson's Creek so so much. I would make my mom record it for me on a VCR so I could watch it when I got home if I was going to be out. Joey and Pacey are probably the first couple I ever shipped without knowing that definition at the time <3

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  3. THANK YOU FOR THIS, Rachel. Also, I should have reached out to you for my Emery Lord celebration! Why didn't I? Ugh, missed opportunity.

    I regularly rewatch the first season...and maybe other select episodes. The second season is a mess...but Emery is now reminding me of some of the really great parts, like Andie's mental illness and Jack's coming out. Ok, you've convinced me to rewatch.

    The K-mart episode is a gift to everyone on the show, the writers, and the fans. It's perfection. I don't know why Joey insisted on going back to Lesser Pacey after that, but I'm so glad that Kevin Williamson figured out that Pacey-Joey were the real endgame (if you read the ATV fest DC writer's room discussion, you'll know that that wasn't always the case - and yes, I am totally that big a fangirl).

    Question: what fan sites did you start, Rachel?

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  4. I haven't watched Dawson's Creek but just watching that video makes me feel all the emotions! XD So cool to hear that Emery's book was inspired by it as well! Great post :)

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  5. I'm a 36 year old dude who is unashamed to call Dawson's Creek my favorite Television Program. Pacey is my role model for life, and the Kmart episode is one of the best of all time. Great article!

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  6. I have SO many feelings just thinking about Dawson's Creek, and this post makes me want to watch the entirety of it from start to finish (painful and wonderful moments and all). It's such a beautiful tribute to this show to hear your thoughts and Emery's. And of course, now all I want to do is experience Pacey and Joey all over again, thank you very much!

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  7. Okay I REALLY need to watch Dawson's Creek! I don't think I was allowed to either but I remember my babysitter watching it and I'd always see teaser clips when I watched other WB shows of course. I think you and I are the same age Emery so I must have been watching those two hour summer mornings too because that's what I remember! Love your description and obvious enthusiasm for all the good and bad contained on the show. And I don't know the K Mart episode but if it has to do with being trapped together for an extended period of time, I'm all in. Great feature Rachel!

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