It may seem hard to believe now, but once upon a time, James Van Der Beek was one of the biggest stars on TV. After Dawson’s Creek debuted in 1998, his face was everywhere – he had truly hit his James Van Der Peak. But fast forward to the mid-'00s and his career was up Dawson’s Creek without a paddle.
So what happened? How did he go from pinup to punchline? Glad you asked. With Van Der Beek making a stunning return to form – he plays a fictionalised version of producer/DJ Diplo in SBS VICELAND's What Would Diplo Do? – what better time to relive the highs and lows of his career as told by memes and gifs.
Shall we get started?
1997: He scores the role of Dawson Leery in teen drama Dawson’s Creek. Time to get that moneyyyyy.
1998: Every girl in the world falls in love with Dawson (and by extension James VDB) because #SweetestGuyEver
1999: He does the film Varsity Blues and wins an MTV Movie Award. Attention: BIG STAR IN THE MAKING.
2000: The Ugly Cry Face episode goes to air. James doesn’t know his life is about to change forever. Attention: meme in the making.
2003: Dawson’s Creek comes to an end. In the finale, Joey (Katie Holmes) picks Pacey (Joshua Jackson) over Dawson.
2005: James turns down possible roles in The Amityville Horror and Wedding Crashers – those gigs go to Ryan Reynolds and Bradley Cooper respectively. Both become mucho famous. Instead, James does rom-com Standing Still, a critical and commercial flop.
2006 - 2011: All his Dawson’s Creek co-stars go on to bigger and better things. James is unimpressed.
2011: He teams up with the website Funny or Die for a series of hilarious parody videos.
2012: Plays a fictionalised version of himself in short-lived sitcom Don’t Trust The B---- in Apartment 23. Everyone is quietly impressed with his acting skills.
2017: Lands the role of Diplo in SBS VICELAND's scripted comedy, What Would Diplo Do? Reviews are glowing and the career comeback is complete. Dawson is back, baby.
We never should’ve doubted you, Dawson.
Watch What Would Diplo Do? on Tuesdays at 8:30pm on SBS VICELAND. Watch the latest episode at SBS On Demand: