I'm currently spending not insignificant chunks of my days re-watching Dawson's Creek. I think someone mentioned it on Rookie, and with nothing to do and wanting something comforting, I put it on one afternoon, and now I'm hooked in a nice, mild way.
It's funny reliving the late 90s, and subsequently, my youth, through my (kind of) adult perspective. I would never ever want to be young again - the stress! - but it's sad in a nostalgic way watching the show and remembering what it was like to worry about those things: my first kiss, when/if anybody was ever going to fall in love with me, if I was ever going to grow boobs, if Mum would buy me cargo pants. And taking for granted how meaningful the most mundane music could be, simply because it was around at a time when absolutely everything was meaningful.
This time around, I really like Dawson. I remember thinking he was a pain in the ass who looked every one of his twenty years, but now doesn't bother me in the least (perhaps because in my advanced age kids of fifteen and twenty don't look that different to me, or because now I know how tv works), and I find the aspects of his character that used to be so annoying - his idealism, neuroses, articulateness and propensity to talk about everything - appealing. I'm not nearly as sweet as he is, but in many ways I think I turned into Dawson, and maybe was all along (probably why he was so repugnant to me), when I was convincing myself I was Joey.
I was always on Joey's team, even when I kind of hated her; it's my Betty complex. I always thought I'd rather hang out with Veronica, but that it was right for Archie to be with Betty; I don't know if it was because she was an underdog, or because I thought nice girls weren't supposed to be like Veronica, or because I was afraid I was going to be Betty when I grew up, having neither money nor that specific type of confidence/entitlement that comes with it, and thus relying on The Way Things Should Be to get anything I wanted. Maybe I thought I was going to be a worker bee who did everything she could to make a decidedly unremarkable boy fall in love with her, and inevitably betray her (I read The Bell Jar young - too young, probably). But Joey wasn't Betty. As tragic as her story was, Joey was always undeniably beautiful; most importantly, not just to the other characters in the show, but to me. It made her not quite relatable; like she was sitting on something she just hadn't figured out yet (I was painfully aware of the importance of looks and perception). I felt as unimportant as she did, but I felt as if there was no key to the lock, as there was for her.
Sometimes I was aware that Jen made more sense to me, in spite of what is frequently referred to as her "experience". It makes me think of my best friend in form two, who was as worldly as I was naive. I was always so conscious of the fact that she was so beyond me in experience and knowledge; it's only as an adult that I recall friendships where I was that person, and how that made no difference, except maybe that the other person was a better listener. Jen is almost as I remember her, except in her vulnerability. Other shows always portrayed the Jen character as having an agenda all of the time, and I think I projected this onto her, whereas she's so obviously just as confused as everybody else about her feelings, and only seems less so because of her honesty. I would be friends with Jen (in fact, I would be friends with all of them, now, although Joey would be a lot of work, especially Pacey, who is as funny but far more insightful than I remember). At the time I just thought she was a bit of a sook, although I did get her short haircut when I was sixteen.
Watching it, I miss some things about being young. Even though it was nerve-wracking and stressful, I miss having things ahead of me; big things, like first love and university, even though I have no desire to go through them again. I miss the music; the terrible music that was so important to me. I miss the trends that seem so endearingly unflattering and bad, now. And I miss the people. I miss the friends I grew up to detest, or who grew up to detest me, or the ones who just went away. I miss the all-in relationships you have when you're fourteen and sure you're the only person in the world who ever felt the way you do. And I miss knowing where I was going every day of the week.
On to season two (once the tears from the season one finale have dried). And lastly, I should mention the direction; the frequent homages to various films, styles and directors. It's great. I don't know about youth being wasted on the young, but the tv? Definitely.