Five Ways Something Ruined My Life

Top Five Ways Something Ruined My Life: Dawson's Creek Edition

You know how sometimes you just love SOMETHING so much it just ruins your life? It could be a movie, TV show, actor, food, place or ANYTHING, and it just takes over your entire brain and you think characters are your best friends and you even copy their fashion or speech patterns? Or you say about an actor, “I KNOW we’d be BFFs in real life”?

Well, I do.

The January 1998 debut of Dawson’s Creek (I was in 8th grade at the time) forever altered my life. I knew immediately from the promos that I needed to watch the Creek ASAP and often. I watched it religiously for its entire run, which lasted until my freshman year of college and, like so many things I have been obsessed with over the years, it ruined my life. But in the best way possible.

Because of Dawson’s Creek:

 1.     I Think Everyone Will Love Me For Being a Snarky Brunette

I think we all know what I’m talking about. This show made every girl think she was and, more importantly, SHOULD be Joey Potter. Did that make me unnecessarily tease new blonde girls in my school (behind their backs)? Yes. Did it also make me think I was a lot more clever than I was? Yes.

But it ALSO made me ASSUME I was worthy of a guy who would love me for being difficult. And for being holier-than-thou. And for being a bit of a know-it-all. And for being an outright jerk to newcomers who wanted to steal my always-been-a-best-friend-but-I’m-secretly-in-love-with-you boy from down the creek. Which is something I can’t let go of. It’s not always welcoming to people but it does make for good comments like, “Oh, so you’re FEISTY.”

Having brown hair and the ability to mimic the classic Katie Holmes move (tilt-your-head-down-lift-your-eyes-up-at-the-person-you’re-talking-to) is a deadly combo.

2.    I Make Big Life Decisions Hoping to One-Up Dawson Leery

Obviously, Dawson Leery LOVES film. We can tell that from his Spielberg posters, natch. But more importantly, he may have made ME think “Film School” was the only option for college.

Even at 13, I knew I wanted to live in New York City. I had Friends and Felicity to guide me to that point. But then I had to scheme how to get there. I loved movies and I loved talking about movies so I was basically told, “Okay, if you can get accepted to NYU for film school we’ll pay for that.” So duh, I applied to NYU for film like nobody’s business and was accepted early decision.

I totally forgot (until my recent full series re-watch) that Dawson got REJECTED from NYU for film school. This episode first aired on April 11, 2001, which was 5 months before I applied to NYU and 8 months before I found out I got in. So now, after graduating 6 years ago, I sometimes wonder if I didn’t decide to go to film school just to one-up Dawson Leery . . . but at least it worked if I did.

3.   I Think It’s Insanely Easy to Own a Restaurant or Become a Chef

I mean, how many people actually, in life, own successful restaurants? Not a lot. How many people own restaurants in the world of the Creek? Practically everyone at one point or another!

Joey’s family owns The Ice House; then after her dad burns it down, she and her sister open the Potter B&B out of their own home.

Then, it turns out Dawson’s dad, Mitch, has always dreamed of opening a restaurant; so even though his mom cheats on Mitch, they obviously still open Leery’s Fresh Fish together!

AND even perpetual slacker Pacey starts working in a restaurant and is a NATURAL (obviously) and at 26 owns the same restaurant everyone else used to own!

Grams is, apparently, the only one who didn’t harbor fantasies of running a diner. Which I will forever be upset about.

4.     I’ve Had Arguments For No Reason

So I already said I was addicted to the Creek from the get-go, right? So, obviously, I was aware it got criticized for using unnecessarily large vocab words and for generally being very, “Oh, we’re teenagers but so deep.”

But the thing is, this totally influenced my first relationships. I distinctly remember having a fight with a high school boyfriend where I may as well have been acting out a scene from the Creek. I basically had nothing to be upset about but just was really interested in testing out my Joey Potter faces and line delivery.

This one might be one of those “You Know You’re a Sociopath When…” kind of revelations but let’s let that slide.

5.     I Have Unrealistic Expectations About Romantic Gestures

I think the biggest and most important way Dawson’s Creek ruined my life was all of the amazing things guys have done for Joey over the series. Pacey bought her a wall and then took her sailing all summer, Jack (before he realized he was gay) let her paint him naked, Dawson wrote every movie and TV show his entire career ABOUT her, her college professor (played by a huge crush of mine – probably due to this role – Ken Marino) pushes her to continue writing (and also kisses her in the process) and even Chad Michael Murray’s character, who initially dates Jen, does a series of HUGE gestures for Joey involving her singing with his band and him wanting to change his life just to be with her, etc etc.

Not one of the aforementioned things have happened to me . . . ever. Or to anyone I know. So why would the Creek lie to us all?? WHY?

Many more things contributed to Dawson’s Creek ruining my life. I’d love to say it’s because the show was on from when I was 13-18 but The Vampire Diaries ruins my life weekly and I’ve only been watching that at the age of 27.  I like to think it’s because I have a lot of feelings. But probably it’s just because I’m perpetually 13 years old.

  • Chelsea Beck

    This is exactly how One Tree Hill has been making me feel since 8th grade as well. Never really stopped to think about it until now though, but this is crazy… forever a 13 year old girl =)

    • Sarah Khan

      OMGoshh! I totally feel the same way about One Tree Hill! I only started watching 1 year ago, but I have fully caught up, and have successfully gotten hooked! Any thoughts on the farewell season??

    • Erin Long

      I think we all have a little perpetually 13-year-old girl within us!

    • Natalie Borriello

      I regularly compare my boyfriend to Nathan scott (and the rest of the male cast…and female for that matter)

  • Stacey West

    I was only talking to my friends about this the other day. I’m such a big fan of the creek a few years ago I purchased the whole series and watched again from the beginning. I’m a little embarrassed to say that some weeks would pass where I watched 2 hours or more of Dawson and co. every day. When I started bringing Joey or Pacey up in everyday conversations I knew I had a problem! The haunting continues as I have recently been anointed with a new nickname of “Pacey” and now your article. So I think someone is trying to tell me I need to pull out the Dawson’s Creek box set and start all over again. Oh and I’m still waiting for someone to buy me a wall…

    • Erin Long

      YES! I did a complete series re-watch this summer/fall and it was…glorious. You really get to remember how bonkers everything gets when you watch it all in a row!

  • Lara Lima

    Dawson’s Creek ruined us all!

  • Heather Lester

    I agree with everything you have said! Especially the parts about being a snarky brunette.. i can’t help it, i’ve always been feisty. I’ve been watching this show since i was 10 and i’ve always wanted to be like Joey and always wanted the attention she gets too! I’ve had various moments that directly reflect scenes from The Creek and i still think about love in the same manor i did while watching this show initially. I’m glad to have someone else share this same dilemma. I still find the episode where Pacey and Joey get stuck in Kmart one of the greatest things ever. Great first post! Hope to see many more from you. #teamsnarkybrunettes #forevera13yearold

    • Erin Long

      I’m totally going to borrow (steal) those hashtags as my mantra. Also, yes…Kmart episode = pure gold. Also…ski trip.

  • Natalie Borriello

    This is amazing, as a fellow victim of the Dawson’s Creek unrealistic expectations I love this…and currently feel the same about Grey’s Anatomy, pretty convinced 80% of my conversations are about the characters/storylines and I have convinved myself I should have been a surgeon!

  • Kelly Millspaugh

    The OC was my Dawson’s creek, and now I watch the Vampire Diaries too….I could easily create a list of ways it ruins my life in such a good way.

  • Kate Payne

    I am the same way with things that I love!!

  • Meg Kehoe

    Dawson’s Creek was teenage crack, and I too have fallen victim to all of these issues. Amen, sister. (Please write abut how Damn ruins your life on a weekly basis next, thanks.)


    • Erin Long

      Siiiigh Damon. The. Best.

  • Meg Kehoe

    DAMON, DAMON. I meant to type Damon.

  • Michelle Johnson

    Is it sad that #5 was a legitimate issue for me? For years, I couldn’t understand why my husband wasn’t filling entire rooms with long-stemmed roses and naming stars after me. He never even stood outside my window holding a boom box over his head! Poor man just didn’t understand what was expected of him…clearly, he did not watch Dawson’s Creek.

  • Sarah Reamon

    Thanks for making me smile today…I too remember watching the promos for Dawson’s Creek and being addicted before the show began and your thoughts on the show are spot on.

    • Erin Long

      Thanks so much! Those promos were killer!

  • Conchita Danielle G

    HAHAH I so LOL’d and I never went to Rehab for my DC addiction/DC-OD (either) XD

    The “maker” of DC said he IS All the characters in-1 and I been noticing that I am too and so are alot of people cause shows “always” make a character an exaggerated-version of one characteristic-trait in a person so mostly a whole cast is bits and pieces of one Real person

    I Like DC because of the “University-Vocab” for teens and that the show has double the words of a normal tv-show ( Gilmore Girls has the aswell)

    and I sometimes did/do like making sneers to some of the billowy-bubble head blonds Aka less cooler versions of the “Jen Lindley’s” of the wOrld :O sorry -Guilty as charged- whaha

    BUT MOSTLY I am also Joey ,.. I sO am,..not because I want to be, but that’s just how my genetics are,.. I guess XD ..AND.. I’m a Picses XD ( he used the zodiac and those character-traits for the DC- characters aswell haha ) AND I like Joey because on some weird_(although semi-dormit) _self-perpetuating_narcissistic~self-idolizing Level,.. I like seeing mE projected into a TV character , OR it’s just therapeutic IDK,.. whaha and when I’m irritated with Joey(and sometimes “Jen” or Pacey etc.) it’s for the same issues/reasons as when I’m irritated with my self and vice versa. ( NOW mY irritation with Dawson is another story whaha)

    I am like J alot,like:
    Sarcastic /catty
    sudden exhilaration
    and live in A “crappy boredom-ville” town

    People said to me You’re:
    -walking dictionary/encyclopedia,..Know-it-all
    -The world on my shoulders/helpful
    -cheeky brown eyed
    -talk-machine,.never-ending-waterfall-of words
    euhm did I menton Tallll XD

    (but my funny side is def. the pace-meister 😛 and my sometimes more controversial side is like Jen)

    Like sometimes my life was actually lso ike DC it was not even funny :O hah

    O YEsss I too had to watch DC ALWAYS!!
    I have ALL the Episodes(luckily they had them in Holland) and I knOw most of the lines in the show especially the cool /funny/intricate ones and if not, I probably know what they’re gonna say in general XD
    I even made my girl-friends laugh when I acted out scenes from DC like for instance I said :

    “Oke S. turn around close your eyes and don’t peek” -I did my hair as Joey *tucked hair behind ear with semi-side part*” then said she could turn around and look …. and so

    I tilted-my-head-to-the-Side&down-and-eyes-up as well as 1 side of my mouth scrunched like this -> :/
    stretched out my arm to the side (On the sAme side as my head-tilt)
    theN with the other hand I *tucked my hair behind my ear* …
    ..scrunched my shoulder on the -> head-tilt and arm-stretch side
    and did a double shrug while sAying,..
    …-“DAwson, ..explain yourself” –

    WHAhaha my friend obviously knew instantly who I was impersonating even before I said a line! We Rotf-laughing and she coulden’t catch her breath from -> hahahahahaa while uttering you dork/geek,.. yeah I’ve been known to do that to people with my out-of the blue actions XD 😛

    OR I would say J’s Pageant speech ( but sometimes had trouble nOt giggling) 😀
    or Pacey’s pageant speech ,..and I’d make someone yell for me “Pacey Witter’s 7feet tall!” (and I’d be like : “noo,sayyy ittt” whaha
    Orrrr Nellie oleson’s video-store-sneer and I’d play the 3 character’s/voices by myself.
    Or for no apparent reason ( uhm other than being a fan and suffering from DC-Tourettes) I would say quotes/stuff like: I have b.’s AND you have g.’s! (-> I’ve always had g’s.. ->yeah bUt now there’s mOre Of iT) -1st Ep. – XD

    People just go OMG how can you remember All that ,..well like I said before ,: I just had to tell them.. I just.. wAsn’t going to go ( no I dOn’t mean to France ;D ) but to the DC’s anonymous-rehab-12 step program (^-^)

  • Chelsea Kaye Royse

    pacey whiter completely ruined real guys for me. no boy can ever live up to his standards.

    • Erin Long

      Totally true and an unfortunate situation for all of us.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t even paint but if someone bought me a wall, ala Pacey Whitter, I would definitely consider them my true love.

  • Sarah Heyward

    pretty sure we are long lost sisters, separated-at-birth style… and not just because we were both 13 at a really crucial moment.

    • Erin Long

      Um, we absolutely are! That post is amazing…I always sing songs from that album and then awkwardly question why no one else is familiar with them. Like, “London Rain.”

  • Paula Gonzalez

    I can’t even explain how much I relate to your article! To begin with, I’m aso 27 and I also started watching DC from the first episode, when I was 13 as you were. It has accompanied me throughout all these years, and it has definitely ruined my life. My expectations about love and romantic gestures are huge (and probably will never be fulfilled) thanks to this show. And of course, being a brunette myself, I also thought that all it took for a man to fall in love with me was to be sarcastic, witty, feisty and snarky. And damn, I did become a Joey Potter. Minus the Pacey, sadly.

  • Heather Marie Mckown

    Am i the only one who has had someone do really nice gestures for her? For our first date my fiance took me to Disneyland and paid for my ticket (because i had mentioned that i hadn’t been to Disneyland in years and really wanted to go)….And i have a tattoo of Frankenstein’s monster on my left arm and she got a tattoo of the bride of frankenstein on her right arm so they would be looking at one another when we hold hands.

    I am very much like Joey Potter my Pacey was just in the form of… Andy maybe…

  • Cydney Garbino

    omzg freaking Skins (u.k)!!!!!! been addicted since 7th grade. my life was ruined from episode 1. still love it tho. no matter what <3

  • Emma Farley


  • Adrianna Connelly

    Reading this I seriously couldn’t comprehend your existence. Are we the same person? I am watching Dawson’s Creek right now. Season 1, for the millionth time. Yes I own all six seasons on DVD and I’m a little bit ashamed but it is my favourite show of all time (even if it kind of ruins my life.) Dawson’s Creek makes forgiveness and understanding look so easy. Gale cheated on Mitch and broke his heart, yet I am currently disliking Mitch’s negative comments in regards to their reconciliation.. I just want him to be as understanding as me! as if I would feel this way in a real life situation though. Dawson’s Creek makes everybody seem so insightful and articulate.. even the characters who are supposed to be stupid are witty. People do not speak this dramatically and eloquently in real life!
    And Joey..although I don’t have legs like that (sigh) I just want to be her. Yeah she’s had a tough run, but she’s just so feisty and sexy and girl next door-sy. Very high maintenance, but aren’t we all? (probably because of Joey).

    • Erin Long

      :) DUH. Joey’s legs?! Gimme a break.

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