BENJAMIN GOLD has been a teacher at Capeside High for the past seven years. He went to college in upstate New York, and started teaching high school English to inner city youth in Boston. Always an avid movie buff, he minored in Film Studies in college and volunteered for the Boston Film Festival while teaching there. Benjamin, "Benji" to his friends, fell in love with Cape Cod during frequent visits there with his lover Jeff, an architect. They bought a beach home in Provincetown, and Mr. Gold took the first high school English teaching opening on the Cape -- at Capeside High. He introduced a film class to Capeside's curriculum in his second year, and it quickly became one of the most popular electives at the school. When Benji and Jeff split up two years ago, Benji bought out his former lover's half of the beach house. The Capeside High School Board, though very appreciative of Mr. Gold and the prestige his film class has brought the school, does request him to downplay his personal life. Mr. Gold complies, as he commutes from Provincetown, and doesn't have many social ties in Capeside. Mr. Gold's wish for a co-worker he can bond with is fulfilled in a synchronistic way when he gets a call early in the summer from his former college friend and fellow teacher Tamara Jacobs, who's restless and looking to make a change in her life. It just so happens there's a newly-open teaching position in the English department at Capeside High, and soon Benji is helping Tamara find a great beach house rental in town.
Mr. Gold is a good natured, firm and fair teacher, who is ambushed by a very eager Dawson Leery wishing to enter his class. Mr. Gold shows no favoritism toward Dawson, but seems to secretly find Dawson's spirit refreshing, not least when it appears that Dawson may actually be the most talented student "not in the class".
At Dawson's return to Capeside High School to visit his old film class, Mr. Gold and he develop a more equal relationship, now that Dawson's an adult and has worked in the film business.