I Remember Everything: Life Lessons from Dawson’s Creek

Rare Bird. Oct. 2020. 192p. ISBN 9781644281284. $20. TV
By equal turns earnest and tongue-in-cheek, this humorous and nostalgic treatise on all things Dawson’s Creek (1998–2003) will delight fans of the series. Hensley and Callahan, hosts of the podcast Dawson’s Critique, posit that the angsty program, a cornerstone of the up-and-coming CW television network, was ahead of its time with its exploration of consent, mental health, toxic masculinity, homosexuality, and other topics. Using mostly quotations from the show as examples, the authors argue why it was the first show created for millennials. Terms such as gaslighting and privilege weren’t part of most people’s lexicons during the show’s run, but the authors adeptly prove that the titular character, a white, well-off teen cinephile and aspiring director, turns out to be the least-liked protagonist and quite possibly the villain. Themes such as soul mates and love triangles crop up often in the volume. While filled with many fangirl moments, especially in regards to Pacey Witter (the town screw-up who eventually becomes the romantic hero), the book doesn’t shy away from critiquing the program. The show very rarely passed the Bechdel test, and the young women protagonists were often pitted against one another. The authors also don’t hesitate to point out characters’ tendencies to slut-shame.
VERDICT This light and breezy work will be thoroughly enjoyed by über-fans of Dawson’s Creek and might inspire neophytes to binge the whole series. Purchase where popular culture titles circulate well.
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