Tonight, James Van Der Beek returns to series TV with the premiere of the ABC comedy Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 (9:30 p.m. ET) in which he stars as himself. Or rather, a single, childless version of himself who beds Dawson’s Creek fans, has appeared in a Guy Ritchie movie, and endorsed a Korean energy drink (you’ll see clips), is about to join the cast of Dancing With the Stars, and is best friends with the titular b—- Chloe (Krysten Ritter). Together, they will make the life of Chloe’s new naive roommate, June (Dreama Walker), far more interesting. To celebrate, we gave 35-year-old Van Der Beek, actually a married father of two (17-month-old Olivia and 1-month-old Joshua), an EW Pop Culture Personality Test.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
James Van Der Beek: Hmmm. I use songs when I create characters…. Oh, probably Rihanna’s “Disturbia.” That was my anthem for a character I played.
I did an arc on One Tree Hill. [Laughs] That was the song playing in that guy‘s head constantly.
What music do you use to create the character James Van Der Beek?
I actually go the opposite way. I listen to the National or something really mellow, calm and cool in my trailer. Then I go out and be ridiculous.
Is there a piece of pop-culture memorabilia from your childhood you lost and wish you still had?
Yeah, my Dukes of Hazzard lunch box. I would totally rock that on set if I could find that thing.
What is your geekiest possession today?
I’m looking around trying to think if I have anything geeky. [Laughs] A Teen Choice Awards surfboard that I don’t know what to do with. Does that count?
Is that in your home?
It’s in a storage facility somewhere. I don’t know what to do with it. Even if I did surf, I couldn’t surf on that, you know. What do I do with it?
Name an R-rated movie you saw too young.
A Clockwork Orange. I was like 11, 12 when I saw that. I remember I overheard a baseball coach talk about what a great movie it was. [Laughs] I don’t know how I got it in my hands. I just picked it up at the video store and my mom maybe didn’t look at the cover or something. I came back, popped it in the VCR, and I was like, “WHAT???” [Laughs] I probably have that to thank for having done The Rules of Attraction years later. [Laughs]
Did you write a fan letter to anyone when you were young?
Yeah. To my favorite baseball player, Don Mattingly.
Did you get a response?
I did not. But I’ve met him in subsequent years, and he’s awesome. And every time I meet him, I still become a 10-year-old kid. “Ohmygosh, ohmygosh, I’m gonna meet Don Mattingly.”
Let’s talk TV. Name a TV show that has made you cry.
I watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on an airplane. Something about airplanes, and I’ve talked to other people about this, it always makes you cry. You could watch any bad movie on an airplane, and all of the sudden you’re in tears. I don’t know if it’s that your mortality is right there or what. But yeah, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on an airplane, and I’m trying to hide the tears because the flight attendant is coming down the aisle and I’m embarrassed that I’m crying.
Name a movie you have to watch every time you spot it on cable.
Children of Men, I always have to watch. The other one is the original Footloose. There are so many actors in it giving really earnest performances. It’s such a ridiculous movie, really, if you look at, but it’s elevated by the people in it.
When do you yell at the TV?
The only time I yell at the TV is when I watch politicians distort their opponents’ point of view to score points instead of actually addressing the problem. That makes me nuts.
What’s the worst-case scenario for your DVR forgetting to record something?
My Sunday NFL football games. [Laughs] If little teeny tiny grubby fingers start pressing buttons on the DVR box and somehow inadvertently stop recording my football game, I have to take a breath. [Laughs]
Last question: If Apt. 23‘s James Van Der Beek endorses a Korean energy drink, what product would the real James Van Der Beek proudly endorse?
I think the world needs James Van Der Beek-endorsed baby wipes. [Laughs] I think somebody needs to get on that, pronto.