BY SAM CASS
Welcome to the third edition of ‘This week in nostalgia history,’ a new weekly column that delves into the wildest nuggets of news from the 90s, 2000s and beyond. We’re equal opportunists, which means the Bill Clinton scandal and that time Drew Barrymore flashed David Letterman are given equal weight. At a time when reality feels like something you’d like to turn away from, here’s a chance to look back at a time when a virus was just something you’d get after using LimeWire. This week in nostalgia history, Dawson’s Creek premiere, an iconic Golden Globe win and a high profile divorce.
Lisa Marie Presley Files for divorce From Michael Jackson, January 18, 1996
Before Lisa Marie Presley filed for divorce from Michael Jackson on January 18 1996, their relationship was full of bizarro details, from their secret marriage just 20 days after Presley divorced her previous husband, Danny Keough, to conspiracies suggesting the Jackson-Presley marriage was orchestrated as a public stunt to distract from allegations of child molestation against Jackson. From the start, Presley’s mother, Priscilla Presley, disapproved of the marriage because of similarities between Jackson and Presley’s father, Elvis Presley. It’s true that the Kind of Rock and the King of Pop shared many troubling qualities, namely poor health and drug addiction, which may have been a factor leading to the divorce. Differences aside, the couple never shied away from their fair share of PDA, including a kiss on stage of the MTV Video Music Awards and Presley’s nude appearance in Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone” music video.
Dawson’s Creek Premieres on WB, January 20, 1998
“Dawson’s Creek is My So-Called Sex Life, a hyperventilating soap that finds hit-making horror scribe Kevin Williamson pigeonholing the adolescent experience as a Freudian misadventure of boiling libidos and roaring psychobabble,” said Variety critic Ray Richmond upon the show’s premiere in January of 1998. The pilot set the scene: Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) and Joey Potter (Katie Holmes) are best friends aging out of co-ed sleepovers (“I have breasts and you have genitalia,” Joey tells Dawson), Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson) lusts after his teacher Tamara, and Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams) is the new girl in town, arriving just in time to shake things up.
“To this self-absorbed, self-aware bunch, the only thing better than having sex is talking endlessly about why sex is really all that matters in this crazy, mixed-up world. In other words, expect this serial to draw young America like nobody’s business.” Richmond’s read on the teenage melodrama couldn’t have been more accurate, drawing pubescent viewers in droves to watch the drama unfold in idyllic North Carolina, looking like a page out of an American Eagle catalogue all the while. Dawson’s Creek’s dialogue was too mature for its age, which made watching it feel important at the time, and fairly cringey in retrospect.
To those of the Netflix generation just dipping into the world of Dawson’s Creek today, just know that you’re missing out on the iconic theme song, removed for reasons to do with music licencing but linked here for your pleasure.
Audrey Hepburn dies at age 63, January 20, 1993
In the four years prior to her death of colon cancer, Audrey Hepburn was a philanthropist working with UNICEF as a Goodwill Ambassador, driven to aid because of her personal connection to the organization. As a child, Hepburn suffered malnutrition while in Holland during the German occupation in WWII, which is when she first encountered UNICEF.
As an actress, before her most famous role as Holly Golightly in 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hepburn starred in Roman Holiday and Sabrina, the latter of which launched her friendship with haute couture designer, Hubert de Givenchy. It wasn’t an immediate connection, though. When Givenchy got the call to dress “Miss Hepburn” for the film, Givenchy was under the impression that he would be working with the Hollywood star, Katharine Hepburn. Though he initially declined to help her, Hepburn convinced Givenchy to allow her to try on samples from the previous season’s collection, one of which being a version of the iconic strapless ball gown she would eventually wear in the film.
Madonna wins a Golden Globe for Her Performance in Evita, January 19, 1997
Madonna’s Hollywood career has been full of highs (Dick Tracy, A League of Their Own) and lows (W.E., Swept Away), but her greatest acting achievement was in 1997’s film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita, in which Madge played the titular role of Eva Peron, a struggling, poverty-stricken actress turned influential Argentinian first lady.
Back when Madonna had arrived in New York City in the late 1970s, she had reportedly tried out for the role on Broadway and was not only turned down but told that she would never have a role in Evita. After filming was complete, she sent him a copy of the final print.