• Publication date: June 29, 2010

Grappling with the Perils of Adolescence A Journey From Innocence to Experience

�Dawson�s Creek� follows the lives of four teenagers living in a small New England town as they cope with the dilemmas of adolescence. Its lead character, Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) is an aspiring filmmaker who enjoys creating short films with his friends; when not videotaping his mates he is recording some other event, such as a beauty contest, an affair, or the birth of a baby.

�Dawson�s Creek� follows the lives of four teenagers living in a small New England town as they cope with the dilemmas of adolescence. Its lead character, Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) is an aspiring filmmaker who enjoys creating short films with his friends; when not videotaping his mates he is recording some other event, such as a beauty contest, an affair, or the birth of a baby. Pacey (Joshua Jackson), Joey (Katie Holmes), and Jen (Michelle Williams) accompany Dawson in the teen drama. Joey (short for Josephine) is a tomboy unaware of her blossoming female beauty. She is Dawson�s best friend in Capeside, who moved there to live with her sister after her father�s imprisonment. Pacey is another close friend of Dawson, who works alongside him at a video store. Lastly, Jen has come to Capeside to escape the problems of city life under the guise of caring for her invalid grandmother.

As with any teen drama, �Dawson�s Creek� contains the inevitable hookups between friends, including associated breakups and their aftermath. Yet it wouldn�t be complete without parental affairs, crime, and sexual innuendos. When pitching the program to network executives creator Kevin Williamson described it as, �Some Kind of Wonderful, meets Pump Up the Volume, meets James at 15, meets My So-Called Life, meets Little House on the Prairie,� a fairly accurate summation. The high school setting is familiar territory for Williamson, who gained notoriety as the scriptwriter of 1996�s �Scream.� Prior to the airing of �Dawson�s Creek,� the program had already generated interest based on its intellectually aware characters and mature, occasionally racy plotlines. Television critics either praised the show, outlining its moments of genius, or disregarded it as utter trash. Regardless of which opinion is correct, one can at least assume that a work creating so much polarity must be somewhat interesting.

Season three jumps off with Dawson�s return from summer vacation, and his sudden hook up with Eve (Brittany Daniel), an attractive and unsophisticated blonde. Joey drifts through uncertainty, opening a bed and breakfast while having a fling with a college student. Meanwhile Jack (Kerr Smith) becomes the football team�s first gay star, and catches the attention of a local news program, which recruits Dawson to produce a piece on his experience. Jack also continues to explore his sexuality, pursuing his first date and managing the subsequent rejection.

Andie (Meredith Monroe) returns home after her stint in the psychiatric ward last season, though things may never be the same between her and Pacey. Jen hooks up with a football jock named Henry (Michael Pitt), though by means of some uninvited assistance from Jack. Lastly a new principal comes to Capeside with hopes of reform, but encounters unexpected political opposition. The principal�s daughter, however, prompts Dawson to reevaluate his true passion in life.

The show�s infamous introductory song, �I Don�t Want to Wait� by Paula Cole is featured on the soundtrack, along with artists such as Sophie B. Hawkins and Jessica Simpson. �Dawson�s Creek� was awarded a Teen Choice Award, while Joshua Jackson won three Teen Choice Awards for his depiction of Pacey Witter.