James Van Der Beek randomly spots himself on a ’90s puzzle during family vacation: ‘Can I brag to my kids?’

Anyone old enough to remember the late ’90s and early 2000s knows that Dawson’s Creek was an absolute must-watch. The teen drama tugged at our heartstrings every single week, leaving us dying to know whether Joey would wind up with Dawson or Pacey and where exactly Jen would fall into the mix.

The show made mega-stars out of Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson, Michelle Williams and — of course — James Van Der Beek, who played the dreamy protagonist Dawson Leery. But it also turned the actors into ’90s icons who are perhaps still best remembered for their roles in the WB series.

That’s exactly why Van Der Beek (@vanderjames) had a hunch he’d see his face when he came across a ’90s-themed puzzle during a recent family vacation. Van Der Beek, his wife Kimberly and their six kids were apparently staying in a rental house at the time when the famous dad spotted the nostalgic game on a shelf and decided to take a look.

“I’m at this house, and I look, and I see this,” Van Der Beek says in a TikTok before reaching up to grab a puzzle labeled “’90s Icons.”

“And of course, because I’m vain, I’m wondering, ‘Am I in this puzzle? Can I brag to my kids?'” he continues.

After pulling the box down, Van Der Beek starts scanning the back of the box to see if he recognizes himself anywhere but quickly sounds a bit deflated.

“Oh no, it’s like Hugh Grant, Kurt Cobain, Princess Diana,” he starts to say.

Then, as if on cue, he cuts himself off with a laugh and a look of stunned amazement when he sees his own image staring back at him.

“I made it up there with Hugh Grant,” the actor says with pride while holding his youngest on one hip. “Alright!”

“Technically, I probably count more as ‘early aughts,’ but I’ll take it,” Van Der Beek later noted in his post caption.

Over in the comments section, his fans seemed just as psyched as he was.

“That’s amazing,” one person wrote.

“DAWSON!!!!!! I LOVE YOU,” said someone else.

“You should autograph the puzzle box but don’t tell anyone,” one person suggested.

The actor’s TikTok went viral and now has more than 6.7 million views. But despite the many positive comments from mega fans, there are also a ton from people who claimed to have no idea who this Van Der Beek person even was.

“who’s this guy,” one person asked.

“Dawson’s creek?” asked someone else who appeared to be unsure.

“POV you’re wondering who Vander James is,” another person wrote.

In response, many Dawson loyalists couldn’t believe what they were reading.

“Dawson was a legend of the 90’s,” one person clarified.

“How don’t y’all know who he is??” said another person in apparent shock.

“Do they realize how popular you were??? Or are???” added someone else. “Besides Dawson, there are so many good movies!”


To be fair, more people appeared to recognize the actor than those who didn’t, but the very fact that so many TikTokers were confused proves just how long it’s been since we were glued to the drama in Capeside.

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