One thing is true of every teen drama: the characters are going to behave badly and make some mistakes along the way. And on Dawson's Creek, the TV series which aired for six seasons, that is definitely the case.
Both the high schoolers and adults on this show have done the wrong thing and hurt the people that they care about, but these moments have also served as lessons (which tends to be typical of this TV genre). Here is the worst thing that each of the main characters on Dawson's Creek has done.
11 Mitch Leery: Not Supporting Dawson
In the fifth season episode "Capeside Revisited," Mitch Leery (John Wesley Shipp) doesn't support Dawson when he says that he's quitting film school and wants to do something else. This is a really rough moment for their father/son relationship, especially since after they have a huge fight, Mitch goes for a drive and gets into a fatal accident. (Let's ignore the fact that he reached down to rescue his ice cream, which is definitely silly.)
Mitch has always been a great father to Dawson, giving him advice on life and love, so this is really surprising.
10 Gail Leery: Cheating On Her Husband
In the early days of Dawson's Creek, Joey and Dawson often talk about how perfect and in love his parents are. They're fans of PDA, even in front of Dawson, which of course he hates.
But they're not so perfect after all, and it's revealed that Gail (Mary-Margaret Humes) has been cheating on her husband, which is the worst thing that she has ever done. What makes it even worse? The fact that she sleeps with Bob, her coworker at the news station where she works, and also the fact that she says it had no significance. This is so devastating for her, Mitch, and Dawson. Yes, they do get back together later on, but it's still a tragic moment in their family life.
9 Abby Morgan: Saying That Joey Is In Love With Dawson
Abby Morgan (Monica Keena) is the troublemaker in Capeside, and it's not good news when she and Jen become best friends since she's a pretty bad influence.
The worst thing that Abby has done has got to be in the season one episode "Detention" when she says that Joey is in love with Dawson. That's not the way that Joey wanted that truth to get out, and it's really none of Abby's business. She's a mean-spirited, insecure bully who wants to hurt others, and she shouldn't have said anything at all.
8 Andie McPhee: Cheating On The PSATs
Andie McPhee (Meredith Monroe) is an important character as she brings to light many mental health struggles that teenagers deal with. When she cheats on the PSATs, it's part of her depression and anxiety as she wants to be perfect and she can't accept anything less from herself.
As cheating is, of course, morally wrong, it's definitely the worst thing that Andie has done. Like some of the other character actions on this list, though, she is really just hurting herself.
7 Audrey Liddell: Crashing A Car Into Dawson's Parents' House
It's difficult to watch Audrey Liddell (Busy Philipps) struggle with drinking as she's a kind, good friend to Joey and the rest of the gang. Things get messy when, in the season six episode "Merry Mayhem," Audrey drinks too much, takes some prescription pills, and drives a car (Pacey's, to be exact) right into Dawson's parents' house. Oops.
Before that, she also starts sharing the rest of the group's secrets, which could also compete for the worst thing that she has ever done. Crashing the car is definitely the worst, though, because it's super dangerous and people could have gotten hurt, including her.
6 Evelyn "Grams" Ryan: Being Too Strict With Jen In The Early Seasons
Grams (Mary Beth Peil) is a beloved character on Dawson's Creek, but everyone makes mistakes, and she begins the show by being very strict, firm, and stubborn about her religious beliefs.
While the best thing that she has ever done is agreeing to have Jen live with her, as that changes both of their lives, the worst thing that she has ever done is definitely her strict attitude in the early seasons of the show. She acts like Jen can't be trusted and wants her to pray and act the way that she does. What she should be doing is respecting Jen's beliefs and helping her heal after the trouble that she had back home in New York.
5 Jack McPhee: Treats Audrey Badly
Jack McPhee (Kerr Smith) is a true sweetheart, becoming like family to Jen and Grams. He's an important part of the group and he's a kind, calm presence.
Unlike the other characters on the show, Jack rarely treats anyone poorly or gets into arguments. He's a loyal friend and a great brother to Andie, making sure to be there for her. But in the fifth season, when Jack joins a frat, he definitely starts acting a bit differently than usual. He wants Joey and Audrey to go to a dance with him, and he's not very nice to Audrey, which is the worst thing that he's done. It's not like him at all to make someone feel like they don't matter.
4 Jen Lindley: Insults Grams
Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams) is her own worst enemy. She had a tough time in high school, resulting in her parents thinking that the best thing was her moving to Capeside to live with her grandmother. When she acted out, dating a lot and running kind of wild, she was only hurting herself.
It's clear that Jen and Grams don't agree about religion and God, and they both treat each other badly because of their different belief systems, so the worst thing that Jen has ever done has to do with religion as well. In the second season episode "Abby Morgan, Rest In Peace," Jen explains that Abby convinced her that God isn't real. She insults Grams and makes her feel bad.
3 Pacey Witter: Humiliating Joey At Prom
Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson) and Joey might not seem like a perfect match since he's a goofball and class clown type of guy and she's an ambitious perfectionist, but they have way more in common than fans might have originally thought. They connect with one another and have a truly beautiful, meaningful relationship.
Unfortunately, Pacey completely humiliates Joey at their senior prom by screaming at her and actually ending their relationship... in front of everyone that they go to school with. Yikes. Couldn't he have done that in private? Or better yet, not dumped her at all? He was concerned that her going away to college would alter their love story, when in reality, Joey was crazy in love with him.
2 Joey Potter: Betraying Dawson By Dating His Best Friend
Since both life and teen dramas are complicated, the worst thing that Joey (Katie Holmes) has ever done is also the best thing that has ever happened to her. After being annoyed by Pacey since forever, she can't help but fall head-over-heels in love with him.
But since Pacey is Dawson's best friend, this is a massive betrayal and a huge problem. It creates some tension in their friendship and it really, really gets to Dawson.
1 Dawson Leery: Guilts Joey For Her Summer Plans
At the end of the first season, Dawson (James Van Der Beek) makes it clear to Joey that it would be tough on him if she spent the summer in France. This is really unfair because Joey has a lot of ambition and she's got goals just like him, and if she wants to spend some time away from Capeside so she can see the world, why shouldn't she?
This is the worst thing that Dawson has done because he's trying to make her feel guilty, being selfish, and trying to hold her back. That's just not the way that you treat someone who you supposedly love.