If ever there was a teen drama of musical relationships, it was Dawson’s Creek. Running for five seasons on the WB, Dawson’s Creek followed title character Dawson Leery and his group of friends as they navigated high school and university life.
Much of the conflict involved in the teenage years was the result of relationships. Dawson’s best friends Joey and Pacey eventually created two sides of what is now a classic teen television love triangle. Before everyone debated whether Joey would end up with Dawson or Pacey though, there were plenty of other relationships on the series. We’ve assembled the best and the worst.
Season two of the series introduced a fan favorite character named Andie McPhee. Andi never met a checklist she didn’t like. Bound and determined to get into an Ivy League school, studying was her favorite pastime. Needless to say, Pacey Witter was the exact opposite of that.
They shouldn’t have fit, but the two worked well together. Pacey got Andie to try new things. Andie got Pacey to buckle down and study. They made one another better people.
Once Dawson had already tried relationships with most of the young women he knew in Capeside, he went after another new girl in town. Eve was a hurricane, tearing apart everything in her wake, including the show’s storyline.
The only reason this relationship ranks as one of the worst is because of just how out of place it felt. Dawson somehow managed to maintain his earnestness and innocence while still trying to keep up with this wild child. It didn’t make any sense. Add to that the reveal that she was actually Jen’s sister, and the whole thing felt like a shoehorned plot piece that never found a place to fit.
On the flip side, Dawson also had a relationship with another friend’s sister that actually provided a bright spot in the show. Dawson briefly dated Pacey’s older sister Gretchen.
Gretchen decided to move back home for a while when she suffered a tragic loss. Dawson found himself at a crossroads in his life as well as he struggled to grow up. Feeling like his friends were passing him by, he connected to Gretchen. Though the two were never going to be an endgame couple for the show, they provided one another with comfort and perspective when they needed it.
Jen spent so much of her high school days in Capeside learning to trust people again. That’s why her relationship with Charlie when she started college was so disappointing for fans.
Charlie entered Jen’s life at a college party. Thanks to their mutual attraction, they spent a lot of time in his dorm room and not much else. When she decided she wanted a more serious relationship, she discovered he was cheating on her. It was another reason for Jen to hold people at arm’s length, and it dismantled a lot of the character development that happened as a result of one of her best relationships.
Much like Gretchen and Dawson, it was obvious this couple wouldn’t last forever. That doesn’t mean that Jen and Henry weren’t one of the sweetest couples to ever pair up on Dawson’s Creek.
When Jen met Henry, she was cynical and not looking for a boyfriend. In fact, her experiences to that point led her to believe that men couldn’t be trusted. Henry, on the other hand, was all wide-eyed innocence and thought he found true love. A couple of years behind her in school, it was clear Jen wouldn’t date him long term. Henry reminded her that not every guy was a bad guy though, and for that, the audience is eternally grateful.
Intellectually, Joey and Eddie were a great match. They could debate literary theory all day. Being able to discuss classic literature, however, isn’t enough to sustain a relationship.
Eddie was supposedly full of spontaneity in comparison to Joey’s anxiety. The writers showed that by having him change his mind and leave town a lot instead of facing his relationship fears. All that did was drive Joey (and the audience) crazy. In the end, the best thing we can say about Eddie is that he finally got Joey to take the trip to Europe she always wanted - even if he left her to go it alone.
One of the best couplings of the entire series didn’t even appear until the series finale. Jack McPhee came out to his friends after being teased about a poetry assignment in high school. He spent the next few seasons figuring out who he was and embracing his identity. Doug Witter could have learned a thing or two from him earlier in the show.
Doug frequently found himself the target of his little brother’s jokes, especially regarding his sexuality. It wasn’t until the series finale that the audience learned Doug was finally out of the closet and in a committed relationship with Jack. Jack gave Doug the courage to be himself, and plenty of fans wish they could have seen the start of that romance.
Before Pretty Little Liars or Riverdale had a main character embark on a relationship with their teacher, there was Dawson’s Creek. Pacey Witter, the perennial class clown, had his first serious relationship with one of his teachers.
The relationship between Tamara Jacobs and Pacey certainly taught the latter a lot. There’s no denying the writers gave him a great character arc. A fifteen-year-old boy had no business getting to know his teacher as intimately as he did though.
Pacey and Joey couldn’t stand one another in the pilot episode. Dawson’s best friends, they represented very different parts of his personality. Pacey was the impulsive, reckless part. Joey was the more logical dreamer.
Over the course of the show, these two went from rivals for Dawson’s undivided attention, to friends, to verbal sparring partners, and to the endgame couple. Pacey and Joey taught one another to grow up, accept their flaws, and live life in the real world instead of on the pedestal where Dawson placed them.
The early days of the show built on Joey’s pining for Dawson. By the time the two ended up together, the audience should have been rooting for them. It’s unfortunate then that they were never really a good fit.
Dawson and Joey had very idealized versions of one another. When neither of them fit the idea they had for one another, it just created more conflict between them. They were the long-standing will-they-or-won’t-they of the show. By the time the writers answered the question, very few audience members actually wanted them together.