WATCH: James Van Der Beek's Return to Primetime: What Did You Think?

With his syrupy sweet days behind him, The Beek mocks his Creek days on the new ABC comedy and shows that he's pretty hilarious

Fans of James Van Der Beek, circa 1998, be warned: He's back on TV, but not like you remember him. And the chasm between The Beek, old and new, is one of the funniest parts of ABC's biting, new sitcom, Don't Trust The B--- in Apartment 23 (Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET). If you didn't catch last night's premiere, you can watch it here:

Van Der Beek plays a fictional version of himself, the former Dawson's Creek star who also happens to be the arrogant and jaded best friend of the titular b----, Chloe (Krysten Ritter). But he's not just conceited; he's also a cad who uses his Dawson's pedigree to bed women with Tiger Beat fantasies. He'd rather not put on the plaid shirt for a sexual conquest, but he'll negotiate. And he'll permit the playing of the Dawson's theme song in his presence only if it helps him get a girl in the sack. Nice, huh?

"I love doing it," says Van Der Beek, who has two kids with wife Kimberly. "I love the ego assassination that comes with it. It’s just so healthy and so good for me."

Truth is, the show's relatively good critical reviews are spiced with praise for evil Dawson. "Some of the show's most reliable humor comedy comes from this presumably fictional version of the Beek, who, in Apt. 23 anyway, is a pompous, self-absorbed jackass," wrote Maureen Ryan of The Huffington Post 

Back in the 90's, teen mags called him "drool-worthy," and he still is. Now his behavior is "cringe-worthy," and frankly, it's funny. Fans of his self-parody on Funny or Die have been acquainted with this newer, snarkier version of The Beek for years. Now that he's brought him to network TV, maybe he's killed the old, sweet Dawson for good.

So sad. But also, so funny.

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