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Dawson's Creek is an American teen-drama television series that ran a total of six seasons. The series portrays the fictional lives of a group of hedonistic and sexually-compulsive teenagers and their apathetic parents, residing in the town of Capeside, Massachusetts, and Boston, Massachusetts in the later spin-off TV series, Dawson Goes to College.
The show has been broadcast in more than 50 countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom, France, and Iraq, and was one of the most popular new dramas of 1998. Dawson's Creek attracted a strong 6.5 billion viewers for its first episode, but ratings declined as the show went on. The renewal of every season has been attributed to the creation of the term, "Flogging a Dead Horse".
Aimed at a teenage audience, the show is set in the small fictional seaside of Capeside, Massachusetts. It focused on four friends who were in their final years of high school when the series began. The program, part of a new craze for generic teen-comedy movies and TV dramas, catapulted its leads to semi-stardom, where the cast would be able to make a reasonable living for themselves, but only as co-stars in films no-one has seen or would recognise them in.
Dawson's Creek is epitomised by its characters' incessant craving for sex, self-absorption and use of complex dialogue and sophisticated words that they do not understand. This formula has since been a staple in teen-themed television drama.
Characters and Season Overview
Dawson Leery, also referred to by his enemies as "Captain Forehead" is played by actor James van der Beek. Few who auditioned for the part received a call-back, due to not meeting the creators' requirements of having an "abnormally huge forehead". Van der Beek, a chronic sufferer of huge-headicitis, as well as Lionitis, a condition where facial features are similar to the Cat family of animals, was a natural fit for the part. As the series progresses, Dawson is shown to have a host of psychological problems and conditions. His vanity and selfishness are present as early as the pilot episode, when he changes the show's original title "Capeside Creek" to "Dawson's Creek". He even planted a flag with a portrait of his head in the creek, proclaiming himself as its owner, and the lead character of the show.
Dawson is the son of Mitch and Gail Leery, who are both all too aware of Dawson's oedipal complex. In an attempt to rectify this, Dawson's parents frequently invite the girl across the creek, Joey Potter (Katie Holmes) to sit on his bed and "watch movies" with him. Unfortunately, Joey is revealed to be a tease, only frustrating Dawson further.
Dawson is on the brink of taking his own life, when Jen Lindley arrives, a teenage prostitute from New York. Dawson attempts to pay her for sex, with money his Dad lent him in the hopes that it would stop Dawson from hiding in the closet to watch his Mother get undressed. However, Jen refused Dawson's offer, attempting to leave her past behind, and instead the two engaged in a steady relationship. This created a rift between Dawson and Joey, who became jealous, despite the fact that she had turned down Dawson 800 times. Dawson and Jen finally do attempt to consumate their relationship. However, during foreplay, Dawson accidentally headbutted Jen with his huge forehead, concussing her into a coma, ending the first season on this cliffhangar.
Dawson aspires to be a Film Director, with his idol being the mighty Jewish Visionary, Steven Spielberg. While at high school, he makes his own movies using a handheld video-recorder, and involves most of his friends in his productions. His film's are notable for sharing many of the same genre conventions as Pornography. Indeed, Dawson tailored the script in many of his films in order to get Joey in as many sexual scenes as possible. Strangely, many of the movies containing Joey are never fully screened for his friends, and when questioned about them, he would often claim that a raccoon had broken into the house in the middle of the night, and stolen his films.
Dawson eventually goes to Film School, and meets a young crackhead named Oliver Stone. Together, they set out to break into the mainstream pornography business. However, Dawson drops out when he becomes depressed at his father's untimely death. Mitch Leery was driving his truck whilst eating ice cream in one hand, and looking at pornography in the other, when he noticed the centrefold picture was Joey Potter. He became heavily distracted and drove over a set of train tracks; unfortunately, at the same time when a train was approaching. The driver of the train would have had enough time to spot him and slow down. However, he also was looking at the same pornographic magazine as Mitch was, and also became distracted by the centrefold picture of Joey, posing provacatively. Mitch was sadly crushed to death.
Josephine "Joey" Potter, a hard working girl who has been through a lot. She lost her mother when she was young and lives with her sister, Bessie. She helps with finances by working at her sister's restaurant, The Ice House. She is very smart. She is best friends with Dawson Leery. They date for a few months before Joey breaks up with him for Jack. Jack comes to the realization that he is gay, so they break up. SHe then starts dating Pacey and ends up losing her virginity to him. They date for a bout a year before breaking up. She has other relationships through college and living in New York. Eddie and Christopher to be exact. She eventually goes back to Dawson and they have a one night stand. In the end she is back with Pacey. Living with him in an apartment in New York. Jennifer Lindley, or "The Overgrown Slut-Baby", Jen moves to Capeside in order to escape from her troubled past in New York, when she was a Child Prostitute. She is markedly, the worst offender for using big words she doesn't understand, and speaks as though she were Frasier Crane on brain-steroids. She attends the same high school as the rest of the main characters, and doesn't really do much besides have sex with random people during the whole series. After contracting and having cured several Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the condom finally breaks and she becomes pregnant with the baby of Dean Winchester. Since he is a full-time demon hunter, and a male, he feels he is not ready to raise a child, and leaves her to deal with it herself.
Pacey Witter, also known as "The Fat One", is played by Joshua Jackson. He is the son of the local chief of police John Witter, and is one of several children, including his gay-brother Doug Witter, who used to be the police-officer in The Village People, but since the sexual nightmare of the 70's came to an end, he is now just a police officer. He is arguably the breakout character of the show, admired by fans for his extensive use of humour and sarcasm to relate to people, as well as being morbidly obese and an Academic underachiever (see retard). It is revealed as the series progresses that his sarcastic manner, aswell as overeating, is used comfort his emotional pain stemming from an unhappy childhood and domestic abuse at the hands of his parents. They did not bother to name him till he was 3 years old. His mother noticed that he would always eat his food at a tremendously fast pace, and she would constantly have to remind him to "Pace Himself". This developed into his family nickname of Pacey, and was then used as his real name. Because of his underachiever status at school, as well as a general lack of common sense, he is branded by his working-class family as their "Big disappointment", a pun on his weight aswell as his intelligence. Both of his parents frequently call him a fat loser right to his face, which has led to his very low self-esteem, causing him to comfort eat more. He has been noted through the series for his strong relationship with Dawson, putting up with Dawson's narcissism for much longer than any mortal man could without cutting his balls off. Despite this, Dawson has been known to take advantage of Pacey's good-natured naivity and has even attempted to kill Pacey on several different occasions.
When Dawson began seeing Jen, Joey became very jelous, and looked to Pacey for love. However, he was more interested in food, and so constantly rebuffed her advances while they ate cake watching TV together at the usual time Dawson would be asking her for sex, and Joey replying NO! Despite this, she still bragged to Dawson about sleeping with Pacey, which triggered a psychotic episode. Dawson cooked a chocolate cake laced with cyanide as a gift for Pacey. He watched Pacey eat it, and when he thought Pacey had eaten enough to die, he revealed his dastardly plan, supervillain style. However, Pacey then corrected Dawson and told him he had never slept with Joey, a rare quality in the town of Capeside, of which Badges are awarded if the person manages to turn 30 without doing so. Realizing his mistake, Dawson snaps out of his psychosis and rushes Pacey to the hospital. He stays by his bedside while he recovers, and Pacey lies to a nurse saying he has food poisoning. Luckily, hospital tests show Pacey has eaten worse things in his lifetime, and that his Metabolism has become more than adequate at dealing with substances as lethal as Cyanide. Pacey forgives Dawson on account of his confusion, and that "it was a really nice cake".
A similar situation occurred where Pacey had entered his boat into a race for charity. Dawson, jumping on the bandwagon, entered his father's boat aswell, and asked Joey to be his first mate. However, she had already agreed to help Pacey in the race, creating another frenzied resentment towards Pacey. In the middle of the race, Dawson lost control of his temper and tried to ram Pacey and Joey's boat into the Dockside Restaurant. Luckily, Pacey grabbed Joey and jumped out of the boat at the last second. The large surface-area of his blubber acted as a floatation device saving both of their lives. Fazed by the failure of his attemptive murder, Dawson passed it off as the steering on his boat acting out.
In the third and final attempt on Pacey's life, Dawson had decided it was finally time to end his life. He spent days constructing a plausible alibi for his murder, arriving home to his birthday party, pretending to be heavily drunk and collapsing in his room, to sleep it off for the rest of the next day, when in reality he would be killing Pacey. He rang Pacey up early in the morning to go fishing at the creek and talk about what he had said at the Party. After having a heart to heart conversation about Pacey's relationship with Joey, Dawson then pushed him into the creek and tried to drown him. However, Pacey had gone to McDonalds for breakfast earlier, and was extremely bloated. Rather than drowning, his immense body-mass caused a blockage in the creek, flooding the town of Capeside and creating a State of Emergency. The National Guard arrived to rescue the stranded residents, but could not find Dawson or Pacey due to their friends and parents having no knowledge of their whereabouts. They were stranded in the creek, with Dawson taking refuge on the flab of Pacey's shoulder. The two worked though their issues over the 3 days before they were found, and their friendship was ultimately strengthened and the two would never have an argument or be torn over girlfriends again.
Jack McPhee, also known as "the Gay Guy" was introduceed when he moved with his sister to Capeside. He was a complete jock who could barely add up or spell, yet because the American Educational System favours this clique over any other high-school subculture, he is automatically awarded a 4.0 GPA. He ensues a romantic relationship with Joey (who hasn't) which quickly culminates in sex. After realising Joey is a complete bitch, he began having gay thoughts, partly triggered by having sex with someone with a man's name, partly triggered by watching Joey shave her legs. Confused, he wrote a poem for it, and handed it in as a piece of homework for his homophobic English teacher who completely hated Jack anyway for being new and a jock. Totally unexpectadly, his english teacher chose to make Jack read it out in the middle of Class. Why would he do that, I wonder? Jack then ran out of the class, crying like a little girl, further reinforcing his new identity as "The Gay Guy".
Pacey, misinterpreting the poem to be about cake rather than Jack's homosexuality, became angry at the teacher and got into a heated argument, literally spitting in his face. As a result of this, Jack would have a crush on Pacey for the entire show. After 4 seasons of being single, seeing as homosexuality is an extremely uncommon phenomenon, and Pacey remaining unwilling to turn, Jack went for the next best thing...Pacey's brother, who is homosexual. They enjoy their time together engaging in the usual picnics and S&M sessions of a gay relationship. When Jen dies in childbirth, the town turn to the pair to adopt the baby, guilting them with the fact that they cannot make one themselves, and thus cannot be useful to society.
Andie McPhee, also known as "the Psychopath", is the sister of Jack McPhee, and moved with him to Capeside. Continuing the popular trend in the Creek, she rejected Dawson, and had a crush on Pacey. She was in a happy and steady relationship with him, and even managed to overcome his poor dieting habits and low academic progress, turning his life around for the better. However, when her brother is found out to be gay, the town cult abducts her and force her to go through witch-hunt style trials to find out if it is hereditary. Pacey attempts to search for her in the months she is missing, but eventually gives up and resumes his unhealthy lifestyle and poor grades. FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper stops by on his way to Twin Peaks, and assists Joey in finding Andie. Joey thanks him in her own special way...
Unfortunately, the torture she was subjected to had left her with long-lasting psychological damage. She spends the remaining seasons in a mental hospital in the nearby town of Silent Hill, where the gang visit her occasionally, just so they do not feel too guilty for neglecting her like they do to their incontinent grandparents.
Audrey Liddell, or "Barbie" meets Joey during their first year at College, and subsequently has her first lesbian experience there aswell. She is noted as a favorite by many Creek-Fans, and is recognisable by her blond hair, man-shoulders and how she can always remember her IQ off the top of her head, as it is the exact same number as her shoe-size.