When John Wesley Shipp made his first season 3 appearance on The Flash back in October, his character Jay Garrick grabbed Barry Allen and took him to Earth-3, where they had a heart-to-heart about Barry's then-recent abuse of his time-travel powers in the season premiere.
The conversation took place not between costumed speedsters in pitched battle, but at a diner on Earth-3, with Jay expressing exasperation and grim disappointment in the younger Flash -- a bit of a twist on the doting paternal figure Shipp had played in the first two seasons as Henry Allen.
The year, Jay revealed when asked, was 1998.
In the diner, the music was Soul Asylum and the TV was tuned to Dawson's Creek -- a show on which Shipp had appeared more than 80 times.
"It was not my idea," Shipp told ComicBook.com with a laugh. "That was weird! I couldn't even look at it! The writers did it as a little nod to Greg [Berlanti], who was the head writer after Kevin Williamson left, and to me. I think it informed the way I informed the line 'well, what year?' '1998,' you know? Like that was a really good year? But I couldn't look at the screen. I mean, I played a character in that world that had nothing to do with the character I was playing, which was still such a new character in the diner that I was trying to get a handle on how to make him different than Henry, and I didn't even need to be dealing with Mitch Leery and juggling all three in that scene."
Shipp, of course, played the disappointed father in his final episode of Dawson's Creek, leaving baggage between himself and his son, the title lead played by James Van Der Beek after Shipp's character died. Some fans had thought -- probably a little too deeply -- that the use of Dawson's Creek was an overt nod to that episode.
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. John Wesley Shipp appears in the midseason finale, titled "The Present," which airs tonight.