James Van Der Beek has been forced to once again confront the legacy of his own famous crying meme, thanks to his eldest daughter Olivia. 

“For some online learning, we got them iPads and they immediately discovered memes,” the father of six told People. “So it started, my eldest sent me a meme of myself.” Van Der Beek recalled sending his 12-year-old daughter “one of me dancing or something,” but she had an ace up her sleeve.

“She immediately hit me with the cry face,” he said, laughing and adding, “I thought, ‘That’s aggressive.’”

The 45-year-old became a household name in the late 1990s to early 2000s for his role as Dawson Leery in teen drama series Dawson’s Creek, which also starred Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson, and Oscar nominee Michelle Williams. It’s unclear when exactly his crying meme took hold, but the visual of his scrunched up facial expression appeared in the Season 3 finale “True Love,” according to Vox.

The moment has been revisited from time to time over the past two-plus decades. Van Der Beek poked fun at the meme in a Funny Or Die sketch. 

Large play button icon

Van Der Beek discussed his crying meme during a Dawson’s Creek cast reunion in 2018.

“I love it. It’s my favorite thing about the whole show,” he said jokingly. “It’s hilarious to me that you can work for six years on a show…and it gets boiled down to three seconds. It’s a perfect way-of-the-internet.” 

Large play button icon

Around that time, the cast discussed the prospect of a reboot. While James Van Der Beek was open to the idea of positioning Dawson’s Creek as a “reinvention,” Holmes was content with letting the show operate as a time capsule, presenting the world as it used to be. 

“What I love about this show is that it existed at a time pre-social media, pre-internet, and it was nostalgic when we were shooting it,” she explained. “So I really like it where it is, to be honest.”