The World We Don't Live In


Steve Lippo
Final TV Essay
10/26/00
The World We Don't Live In
Television is not real life. It's not even close. From Friends to Frasier, people's lives do not resemble TV show plots by any means. Television's number one goal is to portray what viewers would want their lives to be like. Dawson's Creek is no different. The world does not revolve around a small group of high school students, yet in this show it seems to. Dawson's Creek chronicles the wry humor the undeniably intense period of awakening known as teenage years. Set in the Boston suburb of Capeside, this series explores the blooming self-awareness and growing pains that go hand-in-hand with the triumphs of growing up. Dawson's Creek's fantasy lifestyle and unrealistic dialogue create a world where consumerism rules over conflicting relationships and the search for true love.
Wisely intelligent and yet naively open, four teens are at the heart of this drama as they unknowingly embark on the road less traveled, going against the norm in the paths they choose. Together in this passage from adolescence to young adulthood, the series stars Dawson Leary, Joey Potter, Pacey Witter, and Jen Lindley. Dawson is a 17-year-old Steven Spielberg fanatic who is charmingly obsessive and passionate about his love of movies. Dawson's longtime best friend Joey is the tomboy and emerging beauty who lives a less functional home life down the creek. Pacey's gift for sarcasm is topped only by an over-confident knack for stumbling awkwardly and unprepared into adult situations. Rounding out the inseparable foursome, Jen may appear to be the girl next door, but she has an air of mystery surrounding her as she harbors a dark secret from her past. Together, they learn that growing up is never as easy as it seems in the movies. Blindly testing the waters towards young adulthood, these four astute teens shed their childlike innocence and endure the compromise of morality that accompanies so-called maturity. Exploring the passions that lie beneath the surface of Dawson's Creek, they deal with friendship, jealousy, family, school and love in their struggle to attain adulthood.
The opening of Dawson's Creek features these lyrics sung by Paula Cole: ?I don't want to wait for our lives to be over. I want to know right now what it will be. I don't want to wait for our lives to be over. Will it be yes or will it be?sorry.? Each episode begins with this song as clips of the group sitting around and laughing with each other are flashed by the viewer's eyes. The opening resembles one of the music videos commonly seen on MTV. This is significant because Dawson's Creek and MTV try to obtain the same teenage viewer demographics. By using this strategy for the opening package, the show relates to the pop culture side of their audience. It is that MTV lifestyle, that livelihood, which the show tries to focus on. The obvious consumeristic success of MTV is a desirable trait to networks. Teenagers today are savvy consumers, and this is becoming more and more evident to networks. If you tap into the consumer side of teens, you have opened up a whole new world of ratings never seen before.
The lyrics themselves also relate a message about the show. As in real life, the characters in the show grow up way too fast at this stage in life. Our society, along with our parents and authority figures, places such an emphasis on ?adult-like? behavior in teenagers that Dawson's Creek epitomizes the socially acceptable way to behave. Teens in real life along with the characters in the show are being pressured to grow up too fast. They're ready to go out and experience what life has to offer, and that's what this show is all about.
The fact that this show takes place in Capeside, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb, tells us that we should be prepared for anything. Arthur Berger states that ?Boston has an identity due, in part, to it's being on the east coast?The fact that this takes place in Boston prepares us for all kinds of characters? (236). There are noticeable differences between the large urban empire of Boston and the small town of Capeside. In comparison, Capeside is much smaller