The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible - Vladimir Nabokov

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you - Zora Neale Hurston

22 December 2009

Dirty Little Secret

I'm on holidays now (yay for me!), and, in addition to writing, I've had time to indulge in pre-Christmas sales and revel in a vice of mine--DVD watching. In particular, I couldn't resist buying an entire series for $20 per season (that's Australian dollars, which translates to about $17 U.S. See why I couldn't resist?). Now, this is the embarrassing bit--the series I bought is "Dawson's Creek". Yes, I love a teenage soap. When you stop laughing, I'll go on.

Now, I consider my love of the Creek my dirty little secret because of the way others, men in particular, react. I'm normally the chick who awes geeks with her encyclopedic knowledge of D&D, Warcraft and video games. I was buying "Borderlands" as a gift for my husband and chatting with the guy at EB games about how it compares to Fallout 3. There was nothing he could tell me that I didn't already know from my research, like the groundbreaking random weapon generator (which, personally, I don't think holds a candle to the devilishly brilliant AI developed for "Galactic Civilizations" but that's beside the point). I absorb knowledge without even wanting to sometimes. I don't play video games much, but when I do, it's usually "Sims", where I can create characters with different personalities and watch how they interact (the writer in me at work). Now, as soon as I asked the EB guy for the release date of the latest Sims add on, his smile vanished and I got the "you are such a girl" look. Sims is a girl's game. I got the same look when I asked for the last season of Dawson's Creek at my local DVD store. I HATE that look.

Allow me a moment to defend my forbidden love. First of all, the Creek has THE best vocabulary of any series I've ever watched. I'd never seen 'apotheosis' used in a sentence before and Dawson did it brilliantly. I know they're teenagers with a bigger vocabulary than most adults, but that's how I felt when I was a teenager--I thought I knew it all and was SO much smarter than everyone around me. Wisdom comes when you realize how little you truly know. Second, the show's writers were self-aware enough to make fun of themselves about the language and melodrama. I like self awareness. Third, the show tackled some great concepts (hidden cleverly behind shallow dramas to pull in the audience numbers) like platonic love, forgiveness and our self-destructive natures. When Dawson's mom cheated on her ideal husband and perfect life, she said it was because it was too perfect: "I wanted to want." Wanting to want is a demon I deal with myself. Fourth, I've mentioned I'm a sucker for romance, and I couldn't resist Pacey and Joey, especially since Pacey is like my husband (the cool slacker who is a hopeless romantic at heart). Finally, the reason I wanted to watch it again was the great ending. I love stories with sad endings (there was a bit of that in there too), but happy endings make me want to come back again and again to re-watch or re-read. The Creek has a happy ending.

Now, despite my irrefutable arguments in favor of Dawson's Creek as a storytelling vehicle, I am prepared for the jibes. Go ahead (not that I think any of you wonderful readers would say anything bad, but I support freedom of speech). Better yet, can you find sublime story elements in the basest entertainments? Do you learn from everything you encounter (be it Shakespeare or Dawson's Creek) or find wisdom in the strangest places? I'd like to hear about it.


  1. Out of all the post-90210 teen-oriented shows, Dawson's Creek was the best by a long way. It definitely inherits the John Hughes legacy and, as you said, it's very well written.

    Spot on! I'll be back :)


  2. Thanks Max-hope to see you back! BTW I love your profile "pop-culture junkie and media whore" mixed with philosophy student and music journalist. Very cool.