The World We Don't Live In Steve Lippo Final TV Essay 10/26/00 The World We Dont Live In Television is not real life. Its not even close. From Friends to Frasier, peoples lives do not resemble TV show plots by any means. Televisions number one goal is to portray what viewers would want their lives to be like. Dawsons 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. Dawsons Creeks 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.
Paceys 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 Dawsons Creek features these lyrics sung by Paula Cole: I dont want to wait for our lives to be over. I want to know right now what it will be. I dont want to wait for our lives to be over. Will it be yes or will it besorry. Each episode begins with this song as clips of the group sitting around and laughing with each other are flashed by the viewers eyes.
The opening resembles one of the music videos commonly seen on MTV. This is significant because Dawsons 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 Dawsons 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. Theyre ready to go out and experience what life has to offer, and thats 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 its being on the east coastThe 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 more closely knit. The fact that this show takes place in a small town takes away the usual traits of a city. There is nowhere to hide from problems, and conflicts always arise. This being said, the small town Dawsons Creek takes place in is the ideal setting for this type of drama.
It is a cosmopolitan script played out in a suburban setting. Capeside is not an extension of Boston, although the character analysis may say otherwise. Yes, there are many different types of characters in Dawsons Creek, but the families differ even more. All of the main characters come from different family backgrounds, therefore making the show appeal to a very wide range of people. Dawsons parents were divorced, but are now back together. Joeys mom is dead and her father is in jail. Pacey lives with his dad and brother, neither of whom he can relate to, and usually, ends up fighting with.
Jen came to Capeside to live with her grandmother not by choice, but because her parents sent her. The group in itself could be considered a family melting pot. Everyone in the group brings their own unique background to each new situation, and they all help each other through their problems. Without the support of all the other members of the group, problems would never be resolved. It is commonly a group effort when it comes to problem solving.
This is hardly a reality with the average group of high school students although its about as real as Dawsons Creek gets. The dialogue in this show is unrealistic to say the least. While watching the show, the viewer might think that they are in a parallel universe where high school students have a wider vocabulary than their parents. Throughout the show, all of the characters speak like English professors at some point. High school students do not talk like Dawson does.
They dont even talk like Pacey does, and hes supposed to be flunking out of school. In one of Dawsons famous ramblings, he says, What you and I have may never be simple..but that doesn't mean that we're not going to be scorching. Besides, who's to say that you can't have some of France right here in Capeside, hum? Here we are along the river Sende', a tour of the il de la city, the favorite spot of lovers and friends. And from here we also have a view of the magnificent structure that we simplists here in Capeside like to call...ze swingset. Granted, It's no Eiffel Tower, but it's all we got.
This overuse of the Websters Dictionary is used for a purpose. One thing teenagers lack in any normal high schools is the ability to carry on a conversation without using slang works such as like and uh. In Dawsons Creek, television puts the right words in the characters mouths every time they want to say something. The dialogue in this show is what separates it from other teen dramas. Without this detail, the show becomes just like every other teen drama on network TV.
Watching Dawson and Joey, who are supposed to be 16 years old, speaking with such an extensive vocabulary makes the viewers envious. They want to be a part of the teenage melodrama the see on TV. Dawsons Creek is selling a fantasy lifestyle to their viewers. Awkward silences are expected in real life, not in Capeside. The 800 SAT vocabulary score they all should be receiving would be nice, though. Love and conflict are two of the biggest themes in Dawsons Creek.
As in real life, the search for a companion can be one of the most enlightening adventures a teenager faces. It can also cause problems that tear friendships in half. At some point in the history of the show, all of the characters dated each other. Although finding true love can be one of the most rewarding experiences in a persons life, it only seems to cause conflict in the quiet town they reside in. It is the network of relationships that is crucial to the generation of meaning. Oppositions between the main characters and their parents create reasons for them to reach out to each other.
The oppositions between Dawson, Joey, Jen, and Pacey cause them to reach out to new places theyve never thought of before; usually a member of the opposite sex, and usually a new love interest. Everybody has conflict in relationships, but within this show, it is more heightened and dramatic. Without a doubt, conflict and love go hand in hand in Dawsons Creek. If only the real world was just like Dawsons Creek. Think about it. Problems are solved, no matter how big, on a weekly basis. Friends are always around to hang out with or to have a discussion on 13th century culture of the Far East.
The characters in this show are far from realistic in some aspects of life, but as close as you can get in many others. Its not the real world, but viewers can relate to the plot and the characters. In the end, everything is just going to change in next weeks episode anyway. Stay tuned. Bibliography none.