Dawson’s Creek, the iconic WB teen drama that launched the careers of James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson and Michelle Williams, turns 20 today. Created by Kevin Williamson, Dawson’s ran from 1998-2003 on the WB, and gave the small screen one of its most infamous love triangles and SAT-worthy dialogue.
In honor of its milestone anniversary, E! News has compiled 20 secrets and fun facts you might not have known about Dawson’s Creek:
Original Theme Song: While Paula Cole‘s “I Don’t Want to Wait” became iconic, producers originally wanted Alanis Morissette‘s “Hand in My Pocket.” Alas, they couldn’t land the rights.
Those Names: Dawson. Pacey. Joey. Not names you hear every day. So how did Williamson come up with them? Williamson told The Hollywood Reporter, “Dawson came from a real place called Dawson’s Creek where we all hung out as kids and partied,” while Pacey “came from a friend of a friend named Pacey and I’d never met anyone with that name and thought it was a cool name.” (We agree!) And because Joey was a tomboy Williamson “wanted Josephine as a very girly name that could easily turn into a tomboy name like Joey.”
A Phrase Is Born: Remember Dawson’s infamous “walk the dog” line in the pilot? Williamson used it because the network would not let them say the word “masturbate.”
Joshua Jackson Was Almost Dawson: Williamson liked Jackson so much he didn’t care what role he took. “I fell in love with Josh Jackson because he could read any role, Dawson or Pacey,” he told THR. “But something wasn’t complete and that’s when the network said they didn’t see Josh as Dawson, and rightfully so. So, I went, “OK, he’s Pacey,” because I knew I wanted him in the show no matter what.
Charlie Hunnam Auditioned: The Sons of Anarchy star auditioned for a role on the WB drama, and while he didn’t land the part, he did meet his ex-wife Katherine Towne at his 1999 audition, marrying her three weeks later.
Dawson’s Hairstyle Was Inspired By Brad Pitt: When Van Der Beek was first cast, the studio wanted him to change his hair, with the star revealing to The Daily Beast, “We found an ad for The Devil’s Own, the movie with Brad Pitt. They said: ‘What about Brad Pitt’s haircut?’ That’s how I got my Season 1 haircut.
Before She Was Mrs. Cruise…: Before marrying (and eventually divorcing) Tom Cruise, Holmes dated Jackson in the show’s earlier seasons, even calling him her “first love” in a Rolling Stonecover story. (Oh, and Jackson and Van Der Beek were rommmates during the first season of the show.)
Jack’s Poem: Every fan remembers the moment Jack read his poem in class, the one that revealed he was gay. But many don’t know it was a real-life experience from then-producer Greg Berlanti.
Cause For Celebration: Dawson finally losing his virginity was such a big deal that Van Der Beek brought a very special gift to set the day it was filmed. “I remember bringing champagne for the crew—Dawson finally lost his virginity!” he told The Daily Beast.
Celebrity Guest Stars: A few actors who appeared on the show include Seth Rogen, Jane Lynch, Julie Bowen, Scott Foley, Jensen Ackles, Hilarie Burton, Rachel Leigh Cook, Ali Larterand Oliver Hudson.
“I wanted it to be a twist on the teen genre but also wanted it to be surprising, honest and real and say something about soul mates and what soul mates can be,” he explained at the ATX TV Festival. “That’s why we did it that way. When you left the show in that last moment, they’re a family and everyone got what they wanted. There was fulfillment and they were all happy.”
At the last minute, he changed his mind and the rest is TV history. But Williamson’s mom, who was Team Dawson, was not happy.