This Old WB Promo Brought Me Right Back to My Teenage Feels

In the late 90/early 00s, no TV network had a chokehold on me quite like the WB. It was the home of most of my favorite shows at the time, including Dawson’s Creek and Popular. We only had one TV, so we watched it together a lot as a family, even though my parents would tune out Dawson’s Creek. At 13/14, I was so desperate to be a cool teenager. Those shows made me feel like one.

When I came across this old WB promo from 2000, I was instantly transported back to those days.

The promo video is so jam packed that you couldn’t swing a stick without hitting one of the hottest network stars of the time. James Van Der Beek, Sarah Michelle Gellar (my birthday twin), Melissa Joan Hart, Jamie Foxx. It’s been 22 years (!!) since this promo aired, but somehow it still feels like yesterday?? I turned watching it into my own sort of memory game to see how many people I could not only recognize but correctly guess what show they were on. I’ll have it be known that my ability to name literally almost every face I saw, when I cannot remember what day of the week it currently is, proves that youth is wasted on the young. Why do I still remember Brendan Fehr, but it took me three trips to the grocery store to remember to buy my kid cereal? (And for the record, I didn’t even watch Roswell.)

I know that it wasn’t meant this way, but the dream-like quality of the video now creates a nostalgic haze. Back then it was supposed to be the party you wish you could attend because of how many cool people were there. Now, I wish I could attend that party to recapture some of the sheer joy of youth, but only if it was over by 10pm. There are so many pairs of bootcut leather pants, it’s amazing. I genuinely tried to forget those, even though I owned a faux pair myself! I can’t help but look at the clothes and think ”teenagers want to dress like this now?” I mean, I did back then, but I didn’t know better!

Aside from the ridiculous fashion, there are new things I realize. I can now identify my undying love for Katie Holmes as a serious crush. Back then she just felt like the girl that I wanted to be best friends with. But while I thought Dawson was cute, Joey Potter and her smile would turn me into a heart-eye emoji. Even now, I can feel that pang of seeing her shyly mess around with everyone else. I’ve also realized that I most certainly had a crush on Nikki Cox, who starred on the comedy Unhappily Ever After — the show wasn’t even that funny, but I watched it every week. A lot of these shows were airing during the time where I was really figuring out my bisexuality, except back in the year 2000, I didn’t have a word for it.

The most defining example of my teenage bisexual feels is tucked away in a few blink or you’ll miss it moments in this promo video. During the summer of 2000, there was a show called Young Americans. I was OBSESSED. It was a weak spinoff of Dawson’s Creek and its major corporate sponsor was Coca-Cola. (Seriously, the corporate sponsor thing was out of control.) It was the only original show on during the summer, and at 14, I spent most of that summer in the house talking to my friends on AIM and needed something new to watch. It was full of pretty, young unknown actors including Kate Bosworth and Ian Somerhalder.

One of the plotlines was a tale-as-old-as-time “girl who pretends to be a boy” stories. Jacqueline, desperate for her mom’s attention, enrolls at the prestigious all-boys prep school as Jake. Jake was played by Kate Moennig, and she finds herself falling for Hamilton, who was played by Ian Somerhalder. I didn’t know what a bisexual was, but I knew that I was jealous of both of them whenever they would find themselves alone together. It was the first example of what I like to call a bisexual nightmare and set off my decades long crush on Kate Moennig that still burns.

Nostalgia is such a fascinating thing, isn’t it? One little commercial from 20 years ago opened a Pandora’s box of feelings that transported me right back to being a horny 14-year-old, for only a few minutes at least.


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Sa'iyda Shabazz

Sa'iyda is a writer and mom who lives in LA with her partner, son and 3 adorable, albeit very extra animals. She has yet to meet a chocolate chip cookie she doesn't like, spends her free time (lol) reading as many queer romances as she can, and has spent the better part of her life obsessed with late 90s pop culture.

Sa'iyda has written 20 articles for us.

7 Comments

  1. How does this make me feel both incredibly young and ancient?!

    Ah, I still remember back when “The L Word” came out and I was all excited. “I don’t care what this show is all about, I’ll be watching it! That’s Jake from Young Americans!!!” Good times. <3

  2. Wild how a lot of these celebs, except for Jamie Foxx, aren’t seen as much on tv or movies currently. I’m sure you also noticed at one point two women were holding hands, but kind of hard to tell if they are gal pals or gal pals in the way the media would describe it.

  3. What Katie Holmes was to you, Keri Russell was (and still is) for me. It started with a little-seen Aaron Spelling soap called Malibu Shores and has lasted through Felicity, The Americans, and beyond. God, I love her so much.

    Alyssa Milano was another one, from back in the Who’s the Boss days – my room was papered with her posters when I was a kid, because I just wanted to be her friend, dammit, lol.

    Also, I really loved Popular and wish there was more nostalgia for that show – still Ryan Murphy’s finest achievement, in my opinion.

    • fun fact: i once saw Keri Russell on the subway. i only know it was her because she was visibly creeped out by me staring. i loved her way back to her MMC days, which was before Malibu Shores!

      i fucking loved Popular, and i too wish more people talked about it! i once met Leslie Grossman and told her how much me and my dad loved Mary Cherry, even 10 years after the show went off

  4. All these shows started pretty much in first & second year of high school and, along with a couple albums, I think must have one the strongest pulls straight back to that era. I watched almost all of them.

    I remember watching Young Americans as summer filler – I think the Kate Moennig/Ian Somerhalder combo definitely had a special pull for us baby bisexuals. Does anyone remember the fake re-boot trailer someone made a while back with L Word & Vampire Diaries mashup footage?

    We got a second TV later in high school but it was in the spare room that was also my dad’s office so he ended up knowing way more about 00’s era teen soaps than he probably ever wanted to know.

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