To many fans of a certain age, Joshua Jackson will always be Pacey from Dawson’s Creek—and, as Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins explain on a recent episode of Thirst Aid Kit, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. In this excerpt of their conversation, condensed and edited for clarity, Bim and Nichole praise Jackson’s startlingly grown-up performance on the teen drama.
Bim Adewunmi: My initial introduction to Joshua Jackson was when we were both children. I watched him in—and I’m not even ashamed because I love those movies—he was in the Mighty Ducks movies. I was watching this shit in Nigeria. There’s no ice hockey in Nigeria.
Nichole Perkins: Shocking. [laughs]
Adewunmi: It is not our natural sport in Nigeria, but I remember for those years I was like, You know what? I think I could really get into ice hockey.
Perkins: I can understand why.
Adewunmi: I was really into it! But of course, my real full-on love for him didn’t form until Dawson’s Creek, which I watched diligently and you only discovered a couple of years ago.
Perkins: Right. And I was like, look, I’m not going to start this shit from the beginning. So I went on Twitter and I said, “Where should I start?” And everyone was like, “Season 3, that’s the most Pacey-centric one.” So I started watching it and I was like, “What in the hell? Why is this show not called Pacey’s Creek? Because Pacey is the motherfucking star.”
Adewunmi: We knew this.
Perkins: Oh, my God. Like, Dawson … OK, we’re not going to talk about Dawson because we’re not going to get into that kid.
Adewunmi: No. It’s not that episode. No.
Perkins: And it will never be.
Adewunmi: Way to lay that out there. “Let me tell you something, it’s never going to happen. Don’t even ask.”
Perkins: But I was like, “Who is the grown man that they have modeled Pacey after?” Because even though I know that he’s supposed to be in high school right now and whatever, there’s some weird time warp thing happening as I’m watching it in 2017, 2018, whatever. I was like, “Pacey, what it do?”
Adewunmi: He’s a man, and they’ve basically said, “Hey, why don’t you go be a 17-year-old boy in this school?” and it’s like, bruh. And it’s nothing to do with his physicality. It’s not like he’s some big man. He looks like a young guy. It’s not that. It’s the depths to him. You look at him, you look into his eyes, and you’re like, “Motherfucker, you are not acting.” He felt like a real man.
Perkins: He felt like a man. He felt like any romance novel hero that you kind of have to polish a little bit to get to. Like an ’80s, early ’90s romance novel hero where you have to do maybe a little bit more emotional labor than you would like to. But when he was with Joey and he would kind of touch her very softly on her arm and try to get her to open up about her reservations and the things that she was concerned about, the way that he would try to seduce somebody, that was a grown—I can’t say anything else.
Adewunmi: He was a grown man.
Perkins: He was so mature. Even though he was in his 20s playing this character, he was still so good. Just so earnest, and he was so sincere.
Perkins: And when he would be in pain, some kind of emotional situation that would happen, and he would be in pain and crying, I was just like, “Oh, my God, you are incredible.” His talent at such a young age—it’s mind-blowing.