Jessica Shaw wonders why ''Dawson'' and ''Felicity'' spend so much Sturm on so little Drang
Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson, ...
Credit: Dawson's Creek: Fred Norris/The WB

Has the WB’s young lineup lost its relevance?

Does Joey really love Dawson or has she said good-bye? Should Felicity study art or go for a more capitalist-friendly career? Should Pacey sail the world or confront his complex friendships? Is Ben cut out for the consuming life of a medical student?

Jeez, I could not be more over the WB’s angst-ridden Wednesday night. Once upon a time, I used to plan my schedule by when I could watch these love triangles and coed dilemmas. And in the current ”let’s get back to normal life” spirit, I figured I’d try to resume my former adoration for the tortured twentysomething genre.

But there’s something about our post-Sept. 11 culture that makes me cringe when people worry about the most trivial of topics. When Joey acted like she was headed off to a funeral when her destination was a frat party, I wanted to slap her. And when Felicity had to run to a pay phone to call Noel after poor daddy was mean to her, I wanted to surgically implant a backbone into her annoyingly spineless self.

Where’s the fun? Where’s the life? ”Alias”’ Sydney has a hell of a lot more to worry about and you don’t see her staring wistfully into the abyss while Lifetime-inspired songstresses strum their melancholy chords in the background. Those Gilmore girls don’t have the easiest of life situations and they’re not off tape recording their insecurities for some faceless, long-distance mentor. The ”Friends” characters are grappling with actual issues without bemoaning their existential selves. Hell, even ”Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” is starting to seem like grave reality programming compared to the silliness of ”Dawson’s Creek” and ”Felicity.”

I’m not saying these series need to address life in the post-terrorist attack world. I’m not saying the wartime we’re living in needs to touch every facet of our culture. But it wouldn’t hurt if 43 minutes each episode weren’t spent on the emotional equivalent to choosing an eyeshadow color.

Maybe it’s time for a cross-network, cross-series crossover in which the angstiest (I know that’s not a word) characters get a collective bitch-slap from the most well-adjusted TV characters. I could see Phoebe reading the riot act to Felicity and Sydney taking out Noel (even though in real-life they’re married and that might cause a tad of tension). Even little Gilmore could give Pacey or Dawson a harsh tongue-lashing.

When that happens, I’ll tune in again. Otherwise, it’s F/X re-runs for me.

Dawson's Creek
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