Dawson’s Creek producer shares the relatable true story behind the gay kiss that captivated a generation
Dawson’s Creek showrunner Greg Berlanti said he wanted to feature a prominent gay kiss on the series to right the wrongs done to past queer characters in other shows.
The teen drama broke new ground when Jack came out as gay in a 1998 episode and proceeded to share a kiss with another man.
It was the first passionate kiss between two male characters on American television and is remembered as a milestone in LGBT+ representation.
Reflecting on the groundbreaking episode more than 20 years on, Berlanti said he wanted to do it after seeing a botched attempt on soap opera Melrose Place.
The show featured one of the first romantic kisses between men on television, but left queer fans longing for more when the camera panned away before their lips touched.
Dawson’s Creek gay kiss was designed to ‘undo’ Melrose Place’s wrongs.
“I was old enough to be so upset about that, knowing [Dawson’s Creek] was going to be our shot to undo that,” Berlanti told the Paley Center’s Paley Front Row series.
“I was just taking over running the show and I said to the executives that this was a very important thing to me… and said, ‘If I run this show, you have to let me do this.'”
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He added: “I remember being pretty amped up at the time about thinking we have to get this right.”
Speaking about the impact of Dawson’s Creek’s gay kiss, Berlanti added: “There was a whole generation where that was a pivotal storyline for them and it was subsequent to them having their own coming out experience.
“It was nice to think that in some way we had sent a safety line to young people in a way that maybe hadn’t been there for us. It’s easy to forget about how valuable that is.”
Greg Berlanti met with ‘resistance’ when he suggested gay storyline.
Berlanti once told the Hollywood Reporter that he was met with “resistance” when he first suggested making a character on the famous show gay.
“When we did the Jack kiss on Dawson’s Creek, everyone was tentative. But I took over the show, and that was an important thing to me,” he said.
“If we were going to bring the character out, it seemed silly to me that he couldn’t kiss.”
Berlanti said he was prepared to quit the show if he was not allowed to air the same-sex kiss.