This past weekend marked 20 years since the premiere of Dawson's Creek. Yep, it's been two whole decades since we were first introduced to the lovable and remarkably well-spoken teenagers of a small town in America that we all wished we lived in.
Dawson's Creek went on to become one of the most successful teen dramas ever, paving the way for so many other shows down the line with their groundbreaking storylines that tackled everything from mental health to coming out while also giving us one of the most famous TV love triangles of all time. To this day arguments are still had over whether you were Team Dawson or Team Pacey.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the show, its creator Kevin Williamson recently did an in-depth interview with The Hollywood Reporter where he disclosed so much stuff we had never known about the show, that we just had to do this article to share some of it with you. (Catch the full interview here.)
1. Kevin Williamson initially made up the plot of the show on the spot
The premise of this iconic series was the result of Williamson being caught on the hop with a meeting with a TV producer. Now that's some impressive thinking on your feet.
He said: "I was still starting out and at a smaller agency at the time and they had said there was this TV producer named Paul Stupin who wanted to meet with me. I had only been meeting feature film producers. At this stage, I was an assistant who had just sold a big script and I didn't know how to navigate my way through Hollywood. He asked if I had ideas for TV and, in the moment, I started making up a show. I had no idea! I started talking about growing up in North Carolina on a creek with my video camera, filming movies in the backyard and wishing to be Steven Spielberg. I just kept talking: it was about me and my friends. Paul said, "I like that. When you work that out, come back and pitch that to me." I went home and stayed up all night long and wrote this 20-page outline."
2. Fox originally bought the show, and then passed. Williamson thought the show was dead in the water so got a dog and named it Dawson to mark the idea in some way.
"It was when Party of Five was struggling and Fox wondered if they needed another teen drama," Williamson said. "They were putting their support into that and they didn't know if Dawson's was going to be a headache. It went away and my life was over. I went and got a dog and named him Dawson. I thought that would be my only memory of this script."
It was off the back of the success of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that Dawson's Creek would eventually come to air. The network (The WB) that broadcast the popular Joss Whedon show were on the lookout for another teen drama. Williamson says he went for a meeting with [then-chief programmer] Garth Ancier and [entertainment president] Susanne Daniels: "We just clicked and that was it".
3. Joshua Jackon was originally in line to play Dawson.
Joshua Jackon won us all over as the lovable smartarse Pacey Witter, but at one stage, there was a lot of talk of him taking the role of Dawson.
"I fell in love with Josh Jackson because he could read any role, Dawson or Pacey. But something wasn't complete and that's when the network said they didn't see Josh as Dawson, and rightfully so. So, I went, "OK, he's Pacey," because I knew I wanted him in the show no matter what."
4. Selma Blair was a strong contender to play Joey.
"We were very close to going with Selma Blair, who was amazing. She read it very tough, with a lot of heart."
5. Katie Holmes' audition tape was just her in her basement reading lines with her mum as Dawson.
"She was sitting in a chair with her hair all around her and all you saw were these two big eyes. I just went holy shit, who is this?! What are those eyes?! Is this how they grow them in Toledo?! Can we get her on a plane today?"
6. When Holmes got the call she said she couldn't come to LA as she was in the middle of doing her high school play.
How sweet is this - Williamson called Katie and said: "You don't know me but can you please come to L.A. because I think you're Joey Potter and I really want to meet you." However, Holmes said she had a big part in ther high school play and didn't want to let her classmates down. "I didn't know if she was even going to get the part, but we waited," Williamson said. "When she walked in, she was all that and more."
7. The storyline of Jack was based on Williamson's own experiences of coming out in a small town.
It's hard to imagine now just how groundbreaking it was to have a character coming out and an eventual gay kiss on TV in the nineties and the impact of Jack's (Kerr Smith's) storyline is not to be underestimated.
"Even before we brought Jack onto the show, it was always designed to have him come out of the closet and be gay. I didn't share it with everyone because I was scared as a gay writer in Hollywood that that storyline would be rejected."
He went on to say: "When we actually aired it, it was really important to me because it was the first time I got to write that side of myself and express all my feelings and emotions about growing up in a small town and being scared to be honest about myself and tell people about myself."
8. In fact most of the storylines were based on the writers' real-life experiences.
"One of the things that happened with this show was when we sat down in the writer's room in season one, it turned into a therapy session of what happened in our high school days. We were a bunch of nerds and theater majors who were bullied and made fun of our whole lives so we tried to take all of those feelings and emotions and storylines and put them in a show. I could go through every episode and I can tell you Dawson read Joey's journal? That happened to me. I can tell you where every moment came from and if it was rooted in a real story that a writer came into the room with. Greg had that storyline about writing a poem and being outed through the adjectives that he used in it."
9. The decision to break up Dawson and Joey was down to Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson's real life chemistry.
You may remember that long before Katie Holmes was on the arms of Tom Cruise or the like, it was co-star Joshua Jackson she was loved up with. "We saw that chemistry between Katie and Josh and decided it would be the thing that breaks up Dawson and Joey and that it would come between Dawson and Pacey's friendship.
"We wanted to be very careful not to sacrifice our characters. If the audience had turned against Joey or Pacey, I would have died. We had to be careful about when we did it."
10. Williamson was actually Team Dawson, despite writing the ending differently
The final episode saw Joey ultimately deciding that while Dawson was her bessie for life, it was in fact Pacey she wanted to be with. (Hurrah!) However, it seems Kevin actually was always rooting for Dawson saying: "It ended the way it was supposed to end — but I am Team Dawson. It's always Dawson and Joey forever. He explains: "I actually wrote the ending with them together and then something was troubling me about it. I wanted to honour the show and what you start with. But where you end is just never in the same place."
He went on to say: "Soul mates are not always your romantic love. The way that I see it, Dawson and Joey ended up together. They're soul mates forever. And they have that deep bond of friendship that will never, ever go away. But her romantic love for Pacey was who she wanted to be with and share her life with. And in a weird way they're all soul mates. Dawson and Pacey were always going to be best friends."
*Sob* They WERE all soulmates.
11. Kevin used two boys names for Dawson and Joey as a private wink to his own sexuality.
"That was me just sitting home and writing at my kitchen counter thinking that I was never going to be able to write a story about me as a gay man. And sure enough, in season two we did it [with Jack]. But I didn't know we'd be able to do anything like that at the time. At the time, I was writing a love story between Dawson and Joey, a boy and a girl, but I did give them two boys' names just so I could have a private little wink and no one would ever know. I grew up in a small town in the closet and that was my closeted way of naming characters. [Laughs.]
True story. It was used in the pilot presentation episode but they couldn't get the rights to it.
13. There were a few storylines in later seasons Williamson didn't like (probably the ones you didn't either)
Williamson had to leave the show after two seasons (though ultimately returning to write the finale) to focus on the production of Scream and he admits that there were one or two storylines he wasn't a fan of: "I didn't like the ones I wasn't a part of! [Laughs.] I don't want to dismiss anyone's work but if we're being blatantly honest I wasn't a big fan of Eve (Brittany Daniel) in season three. And I wasn't thrilled with the way Andie left the show because I really loved that character when she first came on. And by the time she left, everyone hated her. I didn't think the audience needed to turn against her the way they did."
14. There's no hope for a reunion special any time soon
"What would we do?! One of the reasons we did the finale five years in the future was to put a button on it. What would a reunion be? What would that look like? Why would you? I don't see it and I don't feel it. The finale was such a beautiful moment in time and the show was always meant to be a nostalgia piece. Let it stay there and live in its nostalgia and its nostalgic universe."
It's for the best really, we don't need to reboot EVERYTHING.
15. Where are the characters now?
Williamson also shared with The Hollywood Reporter where he envisioned the characters would be now and fans will be pretty happy with his synopsis.
Of Joey, Pacey and Dawson he said: "I think they're still best friends. I don't think they see enough of each other and they really wish they could. I think that they probably text each other a lot (laughs). I think Pacey and Joey are very much still together and have kids. I think they have had some ups and downs that have only enriched their relationship and made them stronger."
And what about Jack, Doug and Jen's (RIP) daughter, Amy?
"I don't know if they're still in Capeside but I feel like Doug is someone that we don't recognize because he has grown so much. And they are probably still together with their beautiful daughter. And if they're not together, they're best friends. And they've raised an amazing daughter. I think Jack is a star in life. He's the favorite teacher in school 10 years in a row or the star employee in whatever job he's working at. He's just a star in live and people love him."
Now if that doesn't make you want to go back and watch the whole damn heartbreaking thing from the start we don't know what will. Netflix, get on it already.