TELEVISION THAT CHANGED MY LIFE, I: Dawson’s Creek.

One blustery winter morning in 2004, my sister and I were lucky enough to have been blessed with a snow day. Midway through an intense AIM convo on the family computer, I was interrupted by my sister yelling, “Kate, what’s a condom?”

Yes, I attended Catholic school, but I was also extremely jaded and blissfully naïve. I had no idea what a condom was. I vividly remember typing the fated word into Google and receiving a bevy of information and photographs that gave me my answer and more. Looking back, I wonder if it really was LimeWire that crashed our computer…

I couldn’t imagine what kind of television program my sister was watching. This definitely wasn’t the Disney Channel. Nope. It was TBS reruns of Dawson’s Creek. I watched the remainder of the episode, which I later found out was 2.11 “Sex She Wrote.” Teenage drama, cheesy dialogue and boys giving monologues that profess their undying affection? Forget CSI and American Idol, I was hooked.

The walls of my room became peppered with Dawson’s Creek posters, eating up ink cartridges by the carton. I started a list of quotes I liked. I choreographed a dance to the theme song “I Don’t Want to Wait.” I even embarrassingly created my own character on the Creek, Kahle Weaverling. Yes, I am aware that this is pathetic.

I began setting tapes to record the show so I could watch after school. I purchased the first season on dvd so I could watch it from the beginning. I would countdown the days to the subsequent dvd releases and on most occasions, my mom would buy the dvd and have it waiting in the car when she picked me up from school. Gotta love mothers.

After some serious Wikipedia research, I realized that everything the critics had hated was everything I loved. I loved how the highschoolers spoke like learned scholars. I loved the sly sexual innuendos that the writers came up with to bypass network protocol. I’d like to think that’s where I got some of my wit. But most of all, I loved the will-they-won’t-they couple of Dawson and Joey. Pacey was good for a few one-liners but I never got all the Josh Jackson hype. I was never a fan of Jen either, but that might be due to my odd universal hatred of curly-blond haired actresses on tv shows. In fact, I disliked every character that threw a wrench in the DJ mechanism. I was a hardcore shipper and I was confident that my ship would sail all the way to the finale.

These were the days before I became a devoted reader of spoilers, so I walked into the show completely blind. During their countless fights I remained a very Dawson-like hopeless romantic, certain that DJ would reign triumphant in the end. My world was inevitably rocked the night I watched the Creek finale in its entirety for the first time. I cried uncontrollably, threw stuff at the screen and cursed Joey Potter for her poor choice in judgment.

If I ask myself what my favorite television show of all-time is, three titles immediately come to mind: Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill and Lost. OTH started out wonderful and if the show was anything like it used to be, it might have taken the title. Lost has to be one of the most beautifully crafted shows I’ve ever watched. I can’t fathom how people can say that the finale was not one of the finest two hours of television ever.

But if I look deep down to my core, there will always be a soft spot for the show that started my hideously long record of doomed couples. The show that had such precocious dialogue like, “Feelings and emotions have an inexplicable way of manifesting themselves in subconscious and not always self-aware behavior.”  The first show I obsessed over. The first show that I owned on dvd. The first show to severely piss me off. The show that ultimately made me love television.

I guess the Creek was right, “It’s the end of something simple…and the beginning of everything else.”

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