Friday, March 9, 2012
I never watched Dawson's Creek when it was on the air. Honestly, I've never really been into the primetime soap opera shows. I swear I've only watched the entire run of O.C. and One Tree Hill because they were on Soap Opera Network on Sunday mornings during my bad breakup periods, so I would wake up hungover and curl up on the couch for a few hours forgetting I had a soul until I was ready to face the world. 90210 was a thing for my generation, but I find it insipid. All of those people are bony and boring, and I didn't want to picture any of them having sex ever. That's the real key to making a good teen soap, you have to want all the characters to be sexing each other all the time. Donna was a complete beast, it wasn't sexy at all.
But recently my friend and I decided we are going to watch the entire Dawson's Creek catalog. My only exposure to James Van Der Beek before this was Rules of Attraction, an awesome movie where he plays a crazy college student who's also American Psycho's little brother, and a guest spot he did on Criminal Minds where he played a serial killer who thinks he's an angel of god. He was really great in both, so I already liked him. He's just really good at playing crazy. He's like the pretty Vincent D'onofrio. Van Der Beek pulls off this "I'm an angel, I'm a innocent soul, oh wait what the fuck I'm lost, oh screw all of this" look. So this is my existing view of him before sitting down to watch Dawson.
My friend calls him "Cereal Box Head", an opinion backed up by this amazing google search she did.
Another thing it's important to know about me is that when I watch shows like this, I have a habit of creating an alternate motivation for my favorite characters. For example, when I watch Gossip Girl, in my head Blair Waldorf is actually being kept alive by the government in a sensory deprivation tank where they feed her this nightmare dream of Blair's life, in order to elicit extreme emotional distress which they then use like a battery charge to fuel an energy machine which runs on tears and fear. If you watch the entire show with this in mind, it becomes something completely different and darker and better. Also the clothes make sense.
So we're about through the first season, and Dawson just discovered Michelle Williams isn't a virgin, and just at that moment I figured out what was going on in this show. 1) Dawson is an emerging psycho killer. You can see it in his face when he finds out the girl he likes isn't perfect - his entire demeanor becomes cold and mechanical, and he makes this weird little pained expressions. I fully expect by the last season he will be murdering tourists and using Joey's little boat to dump their body parts in the marsh. Also, that weird little Greek memorial where Pacey has sex with the teacher? Totally a sacrificial staging ground. Obviously he is the monster in that little movie he's making. 2) I think that James Van Der Beek is actually basing all of Dawson's reactions onscreen on a telepathic feed he has with the audience. Dawson's character is the Audience Surrogate, which is a literary device/character designed to let the audience express their confusion at what is exactly happening, or why? His face accurately reflects the astonishment, incredulity, and wonderment we all feel at the fact that Pacey is just obviously fucking a teacher and nobody in this supposedly tiny little town notices, and also why is everyone's skirt so short, wtf 90s? Also this totally fits with my first point, because I would totally kill Michelle William's character too.
You guys should try this. It makes TV so much better. For instance, The Mentalist is an alien trying to get his spaceship back from Red John, so he can get home. Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey is actually D.H.Lawrence. Tyra on ANTM is a wicked fairy godmother, who preserves her youth by vampirically digesting the nervous breakdowns of young girls.