Set in a small coastal, Massachusetts town named Capeside, Dawson’s Creek tells the story of four teenagers as they struggle through adolescence. This is particularly true for 15-year-olds Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek), an introspective dreamer and Joey Potter (Katie Holmes), a precocious tomboy unaware of her beauty. Best friends since childhood, they are about to enter that confusing time in life where nothing is the way it was and nothing is as it seems.
Creator Kevin Williamson based Dawson’s Creek on his own youth, and sure, the characters may not really look or sound 15, but the interplay of the relationships gives the show its heart. Dawson’s Creek has a winking self-awareness, for example when Dawson says they’re having a “90210 moment” or explains that they use big words because they watch too many movies.
Highlights of the first season include Dawson’s discovery that his perfect home life may not be so perfect, an unwelcome reminder of Jen’s past, the Breakfast Club takeoff “Detention,” the Scream takeoff “The Scare,” a beauty contest in which two unlikely competitors square off, and the heart-rending finale.
Character to watch: Katie Holmes as Joey Potter.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the series.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?