Dawson's Creek DVD and Flowers

A Trip Down Memory Creek – The Power of Nostalgia

My entertainment choices lately have been fuelled by one emotion: nostalgia. Be it books, films or box sets, recently I’ve found myself retreating to old favourites I know I’ll love. If you read my Little Loves posts regularly, you’ll know that in recent months I’ve been reminiscing over 80’s classics like Top Gun, Pretty in Pink and The Karate Kid. Like a pair of comfortable slippers, I know I can slip these favourites on and be transported back to a time, a place, and the memories they evoke.

It’s not so much that I’m trying to relive my youth or recreate it. I’m 41 now and actually pretty happy as I am. I think it’s more about trying to latch onto the emotions these favourites stir up in me – childhood trips to the video rental store, weekends spent watching Grease on repeat, a battered poster of Ralph Macchio in my bedroom. After a good dose of nostalgia I feel more positive and grateful. And yes – I might also shed a little tear for something (or someone) long gone and distant too. Nostalgia is the perfect happy/sad emotion – it represents an appreciation of what is gone while bringing attention to what is now, and what will be in the future. Today will be the past someday. There is a certain grace in knowing that one day you will be nostalgic about right now.

Painting of Heart on Wall

And so it is with my latest nostalgia injection – all six seasons of Dawson’s Creek on DVD. My husband bought them for me on EBay (the romance!) after I’d been told about the casts’ 20th anniversary reunion earlier in the year. As I held the discs in my hands I couldn’t wait to settle down and return to Capeside – and as the opening credits began, do you know what? I was 21 again.

When Dawson’s Creek first aired in 1998, I was in Glasgow, living in a tiny flat with my boyfriend-slash-future-husband in the final months of my undergraduate degree. On Saturday evenings (and later Sundays), everything would stop for an hour with Dawson, Joey and the gang. I was mesmerised by their on-screen interactions, their raging hormones and the surprisingly big words in their vocabulary. Most of all, their constant analysing and dissecting of every situation reminded me of myself and some of my own friends at the time.

And so it continued for the next five or so years, through graduations, first jobs, engagements and first home renovations. It became a weekly ritual – this was in back the day when you had to wait a whole week for the next episode to air. No bingeing – just a steady, slow approach towards maturity. And in the manner of life and television, things changed, people died and time went marching on.

I look back at that era of Dawson’s Creek now as a simpler time, a place where the thrill of anticipation was perhaps a little more commonplace. After missing one episode, I recall pinning a cry for help on the electronic noticeboard at my then place of work. I spent a whole lunchtime walking the sprawling site of said workplace to pick up a borrowed VHS copy from another fan who had answered my call to action.  There was no on-demand, no catch-up, just grainy screens and fiddling about with video recorders. It all seems a bit prehistoric now, but do you know what? In my head it’s also coated with a faint yet gleaming glow.

Pink Roses and Sweet Williams in Jar

And dare I say it? I was always in the Team Dawson camp (we were a small but dedicated contingent numbering about 3). Perhaps my loyalties were in part due to my own experience of a teenage love affair, the ensuing drama, break-ups and reconciliations – and thankfully, the happy ending we got to in the final scenes. I suppose I always wanted Dawson and Joey to get that happy ending – and when the final episode aired I was…well let’s just say I was a little out of sorts. I could not believe I had invested all that time and effort to come to that particular conclusion. But after circling round the first four stages of the grief cycle several times I finally moved towards acceptance and grudgingly got on with my life.

And now, watching it again after all these years, all those memories come flooding back to me. Yes, the show may look a little dated now, and yes, they really do talk about those raging hormones quite a lot! But when I hear those cries of ‘I don’t wanna wait!’ ring out I’m back in that flat, back in my first job, back to the heady days of first love – and I can feel those emotions all around me. Emotions that help me write a bit better, feel a bit deeper and live every moment cherishing the present.

Well, that’s my excuse for bingeing my way through the next six seasons, anyway.

And the best bit of all? This time I know exactly how the story’s going to end.

G x

10 thoughts on “A Trip Down Memory Creek – The Power of Nostalgia

  1. hayleyfromhome says:

    Oh I just love this blog post, but you already knew I would 😉 I think that is exactly why I love it so much, it’s so nostalgic and comforting. Remembering those times when you had to wait a week to watch each episode, or tape it on video if you were going to miss it, my kids just wouldn’t understand it now. Parts of it are so awkward to watch now but it doesn’t stop me loving it! It will be so interesting to see if you still find yourself Team Dawson after all this time. I’ll be quite happy when I make it to the end of my rewatch, I always thought it had to be Pacey and I’d have been devastated had it been Dawson, haha! xx

    • welliesontheschoolrun says:

      I know what you mean about it being awkward to watch in places Hayley – I have been cringing a few times (while simultaneously loving it 😉 ) . We’re still on season 1 – you were right when you said Dawson doesn’t do himself any favours 😉 . Once the proper love triangle kicks off we will see if anything has changed! xx

  2. Kelly | To Become Mum says:

    Loved this! I’m 35 now so the lives on screen were like the teenager I longed to grow into, angst and all 🙂 I rewatched it a few years ago but hoping to do so again. Some of the episodes and journeys they went on were so epic, weren’t they? There was no such thing as ‘just a school dance’, everything always seemed to change forever! Ah, those were the days… I was also team Dawson. I liked Pacey but just thought Dawson would make it through. I never watched the ending at the time, so only found out what happened in the last few episodes a few years ago. Up to that point, my theory was that it was called Dawson’s Creek because in the end, he passed away and it was like a film about his life and of those he loved. Hell, I think that’s a better ending than the one they went with!! Xx

    • welliesontheschoolrun says:

      Yay Kelly! So there were other Team Dawson members! I always liked Pacey too, I just didn’t think it would be him and Joey – it will be interesting to see if my feelings change watching second time around. Yes, every tiny event was full of so much drama wasn’t it? But looking back to being a teenager, that was sort of the way life actually was – that’s probably what made people buy into for so long xx

  3. Rob says:

    Really enjoyed the blog. Used to love Dawson’s Creek which it was first aired and have watched it a bit in the past few years for that trip down memory lane.

  4. clemenriz says:

    I was OBSESSED with Dawson’s Creek as a teen. I was very young when it aired so I probably started watching it when I was around 12 yr old. I’m sorry to tell you I was TEAM PACEY all the way. I couldn’t really stand Dawson.. Capeside was my second home. I watched the episodes of the first season last year and my goodness, it does feel like it was a bit prehistoric… They didn’t have any cellphones: it’s hard to remember times like these today! Anyway, the teen in me thinks this was and still is the best show ever! I used to listen to the soundtrack everyday and record all the episodes on tapes so I could watch them multiple times during the week… Enjoy watching the whole show again x

    • welliesontheschoolrun says:

      It’s amazing to see how many people loved the show as much as I did! It definitely had that emotional resonance – I think that’s why the stories never really age xx

Leave a Reply