By T. Mack
I love Joshua Jackson. I will watch movies and television shows just because he’s in them. And it’s been that way for nearly 20 years now. Last week, there was a Cruel Intentions semi-reunion which prompted me to do a 10 Reasons list for that film. Joshua Jackson appeared on that list and got me to thinking about all the reasons there are to love him. Here are the top ten. Be forewarned that 80% of the list is about either Pacey Witter (Dawson’s Creek) or Peter Bishop (Fringe).
1. Pacey Witter was a wonderfully complex character
Pacey (Dawson’s Creek) was a witty, sarcastic smart-ass and confident to the point of being somewhat arrogant. He had charisma and flair. But he was also sweet and honest and vulnerable. Pacey would play and laugh and be completely goofy, then drop his smile and say something so sincere that it would instantly melt hearts and turn chicks to mush. Oh, and he could dance, which is always a plus.
2. Pacey was uber-cute
Even with the remnants of his youthful baby-face still showing, Joshua Jackson was good looking. So Pacey was good looking. I suppose Dawson (James Vanderbeek) had some appeal for some people, but for my 17-year old self, it was always the dark, funny Pacey with his crooked smile and twinkling eyes. It was never a stretch for me to believe that Pacey always got the girl, even when the girl was his high school teacher.
3. Pacey knew what he wanted and went after it.
Unlike Joey and Dawson, Pacey didn’t waffle about whether or not he wanted something or someone. He knew. And he went after it hard. I wasn’t like that in my teens, so I admired this quality in this character. I still do.
4. Team Pacey
Before “teams” for characters caught in love triangles was a thing, it still sort of existed. Team Pacey was the first team I was on, though we didn’t call it that at the time. We sat around and used more than two words to express our position and argue over who Joey should and eventually would end up with. I recall that I stopped watching the show soon after the characters left high school. But when the series finale was set to air, I knew Joey would finally make a decision. I was still rooting for Pacey all those years later and I stayed at work late to watch the episode in the back office on an old television. There was no DVR at the time. Going home would mean missing something and I was simply unwilling to do so.
5. He was a Mighty Duck
In the 90’s there was a film franchise about a motley crew of preteens who would go on to become a championship hockey team under the tutelage of Emilio Estevez. The movies were actually really good. Most preteens and young teens of the time enjoyed watching them more than once. I fell into that category. I haven’t watched a Mighty Ducks movie in years, but they still hold a special place in my heart. And Joshua Jackson is that much more endearing for having been part of them.
6. His distinguished list of late 90’s horror and suspense films
In the late 90’s and early 00’s, during the same time he was killing it as Pacey Witter on Dawson’s Creek, Joshua Jackson starred in a string of horror and suspense movies. Not really scary and mostly not terribly gruesome, the films haven’t and won’t go down in movie history as masterpieces. However, they each had their charms. Joshua Jackson happened to be one of them. I will say, though, that I did own both Cruel Intentions and The Skulls on VHS. And I watched Scream 2 and Gossip enough times to lose count.
7. Peter Bishop was a wonderfully complex character
Joshua Jackson seems to bring a certain underlying humor to almost everything he’s in. It’s one of the fantastic things about watching his characters. Peter Bishop (Fringe) was no exception. Although he was brilliant (to the point he should have been socially awkward) and bitter (from years of neglect from a father he was then strapped with caring for), he was also funny and sarcastic and personable and loyal. At the same time his sorrow ran deep, his anger was extreme and both could lead him down a road of vengeance that was less than pretty. The combination of all of this made him interesting, intriguing and magnetizing.
8. Peter was uber-sexy
Jackson outgrew his baby-face, but not the good looks that went along with it. While Pacey’s cuteness spoke to the teenage crush-lust of my youth, Peter’s sexiness speaks to the full-grown animal hunger of my womanhood. The man is simply delicious. Peter’s clean cut look, short hair and constant 5-o’clock shadow held a lot–and I mean A LOT–of appeal for me. Did I mention the smile? No? Then allow me to do that right now because it is worth talking about. It is wide, sparkling and adds a whole new degree of sexy to his face. Honestly, it just melts me. I own all five seasons of this show on DVD. I binge-watch it frequently and he is a significant reason why. Yum, yum, YUM!
9. Peter was a genius
Smart is the new sexy, ladies. And Peter Bishop is a genius! Yes, he used his IQ and skills to be a con-man for a while. But he puts that behind him to stick around Boston and use his smarts to save two universes instead. I’d say that’s turning over a new leaf.
10. Peter learned from his mistakes Peter’s crime-fighting partner, Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), was trying desperately to save her boyfriend’s life when she and Peter first met. That worked out and didn’t. As Peter and Olivia got closer, their feelings started to grow past fighting crime together. Things stood in the way, though. ***SPOILER ALERT*** Olivia knew Peter’s secret. Then Peter learned his secret and left. Then Peter accidentally started a relationship with someone else. Then Olivia struggled to get over it. Then Olivia became William Bell. Then Peter was erased from existence. Then he came back but she didn’t remember him. Then she remembered but he didn’t believe her. ***SPOILERS END*** So, lots of obstacles to overcome. The cool thing about Peter, though, is that each of these situations taught him something about Olivia and about himself. He always remembered what he’d learned. He never got her coffee order wrong after that one time, I imagine. He knew to look into her eyes to know if she was really his Olivia. And he would deprive himself of her altogether before making the same mistakes. It sounds weird. But it was actually really romantic and terribly sweet. There are scenes that still make me “squeeee” over this issue, no matter how many times I watch them.
I am aware that some of these seem more like reasons to love the characters rather than the actor, but in this case they’re both. Although the attributes belong to the characters, they all came through Josh. His skill as an actor allowed us to experience the complexity, sexiness and emotion of the characters he played. And for that, I adore him. These are my reasons for loving Joshua Jackson. I know they’re a bit heavy on Pacey and Peter, but that really just can’t be helped. Because of that, though, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What reasons did I miss or leave out? What do you love about Joshua Jackson? Let me know in the comments.