It’s been nearly two decades since James Van Der Beek first appeared on Dawson’s Creek, so you can understand why it’s not high on his list of conversation topics.
But during a UK promotional tour for his latest role in British comedy Carters Get Rich, it’s all anyone wants to talk to him about.
Not one, but two live interviews on the same day had viewers cringing about the awkwardness of the line of questioning.
In one particularly painful exchange, he was reminded of the success of his former Creek colleagues – almost as if to highlight his less than award-winning achievements by comparison. Ouch.
So why can’t James Van Der Beek get a break?
It all started on ITV’s This Morning, where the actor was no doubt expecting hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby’s usual cosy line of questioning.
It was, after all, his first time on the daily show.
Whilst introducing James, viewers were reminded of how well his fellow Dawson’s Creek co-stars had done:.
“Katie Holmes is a leading Hollywood actress, Michelle Williams has received four Oscar nominations, Joshua Jackson plays the jilted husband in the Golden Globe winning drama The Affair,” they were told.
“But what happened to the main man himself, Mr James Van Der Beek?” pondered Schofield, cutting to an image of the actor 20 years ago as Dawson Leery – and an unsurprisingly slightly peeved-looking guest.
“I have been on television the last 20 years, just to let you know,” James shot back.
“You have been very busy,” Schofield replied, explaining the teasing intro “worked better as a link”.
When asked about playing a 15-year-old when he was 20, James (now a father of four and a very grown-up 40 years old) insisted “it was a long time ago”.
But the Schofe was undeterred, continuing with the Dawson’s Creek theme and asking if he imagined the teen drama would still be being discussed so many years later.
“No.. no.. no… no,” he said, at a bit of a loss for words, no doubt wondering when the subject was going to change.
He did admit the show changed his life and was a great opportunity, but added: “I wouldn’t change anything… but they were playing the music backstage, and I was like – what year is it?”
Lots of people watching tweeted that they’d found it all a bit uncomfortable.
And so, onto another chat show – The Nightly Show, hosted this week by chef Gordon Ramsay.
Lo and behold, Dawson’s Creek came up. Again.
This time, it was the crying meme that was brought up. Or rather, a highly emotive moment on the show where Dawson was dumped by Joey which has now been reduced to a four-second GIF which the internet – and chatshows – can’t wait to use to mock the star.
Admittedly, James seemed a bit more of a good sport this time, taking a bow after the clip was shown. And he then played along as Ramsay, hosting the ITV chat show this week, tried to mimic the sobbing face.
The actor’s previously said he thinks it’s funny he’s mocked with it, but what other choice does he have?
Perhaps in an effort to make light of the situation and hope people forget the meme, the star has arguably been trying to change public perception of him in recent years.
He made a Funny or Die sketch making fun of himself, and played an over-the-top fictionalised version of himself in US sitcom Don’t Trust the B- in Apt 23.
Maybe the thinking was if he mocks himself, others won’t have to.
But despite having more than 30 TV and film credits to his name since Dawson’s Creek (which was 20 years ago, again for those who hadn’t caught that) including, most recently, CSI: Cyber, it seems like people just can’t leave it alone.
Let’s just see if he’s still having to talk about it in another 20 years’ time…