Monday, August 26, 2013

I Don't Wanna Wait for My Life To Be Over

It's been on my to-do list since 2003, which is a long time to plan to do something without following through. It was in 2003 when TV-shows-on-DVD first became A Thing, & as soon as I learned that my all-time favorite show was available for a second round of viewing, I committed to a full-scale rewatch. As the years went on, I acquired all six seasons on DVD, plus the free-standing series finale disc. And yet, they've sat, for years, dusty & unwatched on a shelf.

Dawson's Creek, the love of my life.

It's been a decade & a half since the show first aired, the 15th anniversary of its debut this past January. I remember it well because I knew I'd love Dawson's Creek before the show even began. At age 13, I was a big fan of the WB, but I'd yet to latch on to "my" show, the one I'd obsess over. I wasn't supposed to watch Buffy because, you know, monsters & stuff, & Seventh Heaven was a little bit too implicitly Jesusy for me - so when the previews starting airing for the show by the creek, I committed to it. "I think this is going to be our new favorite show," I told my best friend, Christina.

And it was. It was "the end of something simple, & the beginning of everything else," as the show's marketing promised. For the next three years, we didn't miss a single episode. We tuned in every Tuesday night, usually together, to watch Dawson, Joey, Pacey, Jen, & the gang represent late-'90s teen angst in the most verbose way possible, relating their issues to our own & finding comfort in their wisdom. We never slept with our high school English teachers or sailed the Atlantic with our sophomore sweethearts or even experienced a Breakfast Club-esque Saturday in detention, but I'll be damned if we didn't feel - nay, know - that this show was meant to speak to us.

There was also the little matter of "The Shrine." It started out on my wall, I think, & expanded over time, & soon Christina began her own: Whenever a star of the show made it onto the cover of a magazine or even just appeared with its pages, I'd rip them out & tape them together into a massive collage, one I hung in my bedroom like wallpaper. When TV Guide put out four covers, each featuring a different star, we rode our bikes to the local grocery store & bought eight copies, four apiece. The shrines were massive, & we were so very proud:


As the years went on, extracurriculars beckoned, & we started missing episodes. We taped as many as we could, caught each other up on all the drama we were missing, & though we couldn't guarantee that we'd get to take our weekly visits to Capeside, our love for the show remained - strong, obsessive, you know. And when we went off to college, I kept watching & taped it for Christina because her college dorm didn't carry the WB (?!?). I watched the two-hour series finale alone in my dorm room, sitting in a beanbag chair, sobbing, feeling like my childhood was ending along with the show. I was dramatic, OK? Dawson's Creek let me be dramatic.

I own the entire series on DVD, but I've been too afraid to rewatch it all. Yes, afraid. Part of me worried that rewatching the show in its entirey would ruin the magic for me. Hear me out: At ages 13 through 18, I never dreamed the technology would exist to allow me to see the whole series again, so I took it in & lapped it up & loved it all & bid it adieu, fully expecting that I could never experience it again. Crazy, right? Well, sometimes I'm crazy.

But the time has come. In fact, you could even say that when I watched that series finale from my dorm room in Athens, Ohio, I just said goodnight, not goodbye. Thanks to the glory that is Netflix, I recently started watching the series from the beginning. I recently started with Season 1, Episode 1, & within seconds, all the nostalgia returned. I'm keeping a running running list of Times This Show Has Made Me Cry, so I think it's safe to say that even 15 years after first falling in love, the magic is alive & well. 

Capeside, I sure did miss you - but lucky for me, I can always go home again. Thanks for having me back, old friend.
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