Early on January 1, 2015 I sat down and started watching Dawson's Creek, the teen drama that ran on the WB network from 1998 to 2003. Sometime towards noon on January 5, I finished watching Dawson's Creek. When I was done I'd been awake for 95 of the previous 103 hours and raised $7,510.01 for various charities. I tweeted about once every two minutes for four days. Thank you for doing that with me.
What's It Like To Watch Television For Four Days
Time starts to blend together. I spent 41 hours awake then 6 asleep then 22 up, 2 down, and finally 34 up. If you had caught me in the middle of any of that I'd have had trouble telling you how long I'd been awake. That wasn't so bad, all things considered. I'm not a person who sleeps well, and I found that outside of particular humps where my head was nodding (generally around 2am and 6am) I mostly felt like I always do. The show just kept going; sometime around Hour 40 I thought to myself "there is so much more show to watch" but in any given moment it was just watching television. I'm sorry there aren't more storifys and the like, but 3600 tweets is too many to pick through and in the end I kind of like that you had to be there.
So What About Dawson's Creek
Pacey is the protagonist. Don't let the name fool you, this is a story about Pacey. He's the one who learns things, he's the one who grows, he's the one who gets the girl in the end. He's the one in whom I got invested, and judging by the #TeamPacey presence on Twitter I was far from alone in that.
Really, I liked the show more than I thought I would. Grams is a steady moral presence who shines when everyone else loses it. A very young Katie Holmes demonstrates substantial side-eye game. Dawson's mom's hair forever looks like it's just been dropped on to her head, as if she were a Lego woman. Joey makes a "clapping to keep Tinkerbell alive" reference. Rachel Leigh Cook shows up for a few episodes, which may raise in you some unprocessed feelings about eggs. Dawson's dad has nice pecs. Really, there's a lot to enjoy if you go in with the right attitude.
Okay But What About Dawson
Dawson is an awful human being and I hope that someone straps him to a rocket and shoots him into the sun. I didn't go into the show expected to hate Dawson like I did, but man alive did he make it easy. I want to be clear on this, that I didn't do it as a joke or on a whim. Dawson is consistently dismissive of the feelings of the people he claims to care about, he lectures them about how their feelings are incorrect, he refuses to validate their experience, he consistently concludes that the blame for anything rests elsewhere. He refuses to ask for what he wants, preferring instead to offer tepid statements about how he feels, then he gets upset with people for not meeting the needs he didn't mention. This take on Dawson is another thing I found echoed on Twitter, and I'm grateful for that confirmation. He is, now and forever, a whiny idiot babyman trashdick narcissistic wet blanket. Every moment I spent watching him being an idiot was terrible.
What About $7,510.01 Though
That is ridiculous! I am immensely, immensely grateful to the 192 people who donated, some of whom did so more than once and some of whom did so in substantial amount. Twitter came through in a big way, and while a handful of Facebook friends came through I now have a "it's easier to get strangers to donate money than people who know me in real life" talking point to puzzle through. There's no good reason to sit down and watch a late-90s teen drama for four days, but I have this number to rest on when I need to explain it. Thank you. (I also have people asking me what I know about fundraising and my only response is "uh...do something stupid and ask nicely?")
What About Those Asterisks
Well, I didn't make it in one go. I was not honestly expected to do so, but I hope you'll forgive a fellow for trying to have a catchy pitch. I also didn't watch the full show, I skipped much of Season 5 because it is widely regarded as the show's worst season and I needed to finish ~18 hours before I had responsibilities to attend to, instead of ~45 minutes beforehand. If this bothers you feel free to contact me directly, we can talk about it.
Okay So What's Next
About halfway through I realized it was going well enough that there was no way I wasn't going to do it again. The OC has been suggested by more than a few folks and it seems like the right mix of length, goofiness, and fans likely to donate. Breaking Bad could legitimately be done without sleeping and I would have a lot of fun making fun of that show, because I feel it is stupid. Really, the world is rich with possibility and I hope you'll be around for the next one.
Again, thank you. This was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoyed it too. See you next time.