Jan 3 2016 10:30am

“I Remember Everything”: 15 Defining Moments for Dawson’s Creek’s Pacey/Joey

Dawson's Creek Joey and Pacey

Everyone knows the rule: the hero gets the girl in the end. But as we all know, the ’90s teen drama Dawson’s Creek switched things up by having charming sidekick Pacey Witter win the heart of the fair Joey Potter, Dawson’s “soulmate.” But for those of us who were paying attention, there were clues right from the start about who the ultimate DC OTP was. Check out this roundup of 15 of their most epic romantic moments and we think you’ll agree that the powers that be made the right call.

1) The Meet-Cute (Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot”)

Right from their first appearances on the show, Pacey and Joey had one of the key elements of any good romance: great banter. Forced into acting together in one of Dawson’s home movies, they splashed each other, all steamed up and squabbling about whether or not Pacey copped a butt squeeze in his swamp monster guise. Oh yeah, Dawson never had a chance from the start. 

2) The First Kiss (Season 1, Episode 10, “Double Date”):

While Joey, Dawson, and his “worldly” new neighbor Jen were embroiled in a simmering love triangle, Pacey had been living out a lot of high school boys’ fantasies by getting all hot for teacher with a torrid affair. But when thrown together for a science class extra-credit project, the chemistry started flowing between our OTP. A reluctant field trip into a local swamp to catch snails ended with our still-bickering couple wet, having to get naked in front of each other (Pacey can’t help sneaking a classic peek in the rearview mirror), and…having a surprisingly good time. And the real shocker? He lays a kiss on Joey that throws her for a loop, mainly because she doesn’t hate it as much as she thinks she should. Mmm hmmm. 

3) The New Alliance (Season 3, Episode 1, “Like a Virgin”):  

15 Defining Moments for Dawson's Creek Joey and Pacey

Since the first season ends with Joey and Dawson together and Pacey gets a new girlfriend in Season 2, romance is light on the ground but at the end of the third season’s first episode, Dawson has blown off Joey, who’s basically just offered herself to him, and asked Pacey to “keep an eye on her” for him. Big mistake, right?  A surprisingly sympathetic Pacey literally gives Jo a shoulder to cry on and a kiss on the forehead at the episode’s close and it was clear a whole new dimension to their relationship was starting. 

4) The Dance of Love (Season 3, Episode 9, “Four to Tango”):

Season 3 is the quintessential slow burn for P/Jo fans as they take halting steps towards each other as they become casual friends, then best friends, then enter that gray space of something more. The sexual tension is never on better display (or funnier) than in the episode where our four leads are taking tango dancing classes and the instructor calls them out explicitly as being in the “early stages of some screwball mating ritual” much to their horror. Pacey also calls Dawson out about taking Joey for granted, calling her a “goddess.” Best TV boyfriend ever? 

5)  The Grand Gesture, Part 1 (Season 3, Episode 12, “A Weekend in the Country”):  

When Joey’s family tries to launch a B&B, we get a real glimpse of Pacey’s extreme loyalty to those he loves. He pitches in to help build the inn with lots of nice, sweaty manual labour, and even gets a famous travel critic to come check the place out. That plan kind of backfires a bit, but it’s the thought that counts, and the episode ends with him a screen romance staple: hearts in his eyes, as he watches her sleep.

6) The Kiss That Counts (Season 3, Episode 17, “Cinderella Story”):

Dawson Creek Joey and Pacey Kissing

Oblivious Joey gets stranded on a college visit after a fight with her current boyfriend and calls Pacey, crying, to pick her up. But he’s had enough sitting on the sidelines and forces her to speculate on why it is that she always calls him when she needs support. Then he swoops in and lays a passionate smooch on her on the side of the highway.

7) The Declaration (Season 3, Episode 19, “Stolen Kisses”):

Joey’s still reeling from being blindsided by that smackeroo, and is unwilling to admit her feelings for another two episodes. Until a fraught fireside talk (after yet another kiss) where Pacey offers to back down if this isn’t what she wants, propels her into action. She grabs his hand and they have their first fully reciprocated and swoonworthy kiss as the flames of love flicker in the foreground.

8)  The Ultimatum (Season 3, Episode 20, “The Longest Day”):

Not wanting to hurt Dawson, the new couple decides to keep their relationship on the down-low, slipping away for hot makeout sessions in boathouses. But soon even the normally clueless Dawon gets hit with the cluestick and doesn’t like what he’s gleaned at all. He forces Joey to choose between him or Pacey – and sadly, the girl chooses all wrong. (S3, E20)

9)  The Anti-Prom (Season 3, Episode 22, “The Anti-Prom”):

Sad Pacey is the saddest ever, and Joey’s not feeling too great about her choice either. While she accompanies Dawson to the school’s anti-prom, she finally gets up the cojones to ask Pacey to dance with her.

“I remember everything”

He surprises her by noticing she’s wearing her late mom’s bracelet, and then stuns her by recounting the exact moment she found the bracelet six months prior and their conversation about it. Thus commences one of the most epic, romantic TV boyfriend speech ever that concludes with the ship’s most iconic and heartfelt line: “I remember everything.” 

10) The Grand Gesture, Part 2 (Season 3, Episode 23, “True Love”):

It’s the finale! But first let’s backtrack: earlier in the season, Pacey gave Joey a  brick wall to paint a mural on in the middle of town.  Being her usual dithering self, Joey has yet to paint anything on the wall, AND she’s still debating between Pacey and Dawson. But Pacey’s a man of action, so he decides he’s going to sail around the world on his new boat, the True Love (awww!), for the summer and invites Jo along. When she protests, he does one better and writes on her wall a simple message: ASK ME TO STAY. Sweetest gift ever? Naturally, she can’t resist and finally makes her choice, letting Dawson down as gently as possible (and launching the gif to end all gifs) and runs to the dock, jumping on the boat with Pacey and they sail off into the sunset together. (S3, E23)

Dawson crying in Dawson's Creek
via chokingjoffrey 
Dawson's Creek Joey and Pacey

11) The Last Hurrah (Season 4, Episode 14, “A Winter's Tale):  

All’s well until they get back to Capeside, where bitter Dawson and other tensions (like debating where, when and how they should finally have sex) bubble over. They finally do manage to do the deed on the school ski trip. They escape to a winter cabin and in a very sweet, steamy scene finally get down to it (it’s about as risqué as the WB network got back then, so you know, not very.) But trouble’s still a-brewing.

12) The Prom (Season 4, Episode 20, ”Promicide“):

They suffer through a few more episodes keeping secrets and lying to each other and eventually Joey has a pregnancy scare, because sex ruins everything on ’90s teen dramas, don’t you know? The unhappiness continues to fester between them, culminating in a break-up after a scorching rant by Pacey at this year’s prom (these two should never ever go to dances, obviously). It’s the anti-“I Remember Everything” and, ooof, it hurts. The ship is sinking and True Love is going down… metaphorically anyway.

13) The Reawakening (Season 6, Episode 14, ”Clean and Sober;“ Season 6, Episode 15, ”Castaways“):

If you’re a P/Jo shipper, you can just skip season 5 and the first half of Season 6. There’s a lot of filler-ish nonsense where Joey joins a rock band, and Pacey randomly becomes an investment banker and sports the world’s ugliest goatee. But then finally, halfway through season six, there’s a ray of light. A drunken truth-or-dare game gets Joey accusing Pacey of never getting over her…and Pacey admitting it!  Then the next episode they conveniently get stranded overnight in a department store where Joey finally manages to relocate the sense of humor she lost umpteen episodes ago. They have some fun, cavorting around like kids at first, until things get just a bit sexier when Pacey lets Joey shave that ugly goatee off and they unexpectedly share a kiss and then a sleeping bag (it’s PG though, WB remember?)  

14) The Short-Lived Reunion (Season 6, Episode 17, ”Sex and Violence;“ Episode 18, ”Love Bites“): 

Their night together makes Joey and Pacey evaluate a few things and they admit they miss each other, and there are more kisses! But Joey has an on-again, off-again boyfriend, who suddenly pops up again. She breaks things off again with Pacey to give boyfriend another chance…at yet another dance. Seriously guys, you should have just Netflixed and chilled. 

15) The Happy Ending (Season 6, Episode 23 & Episode 24, “All Good Things...” and “...Must Come to an End”)

The final two episodes of the last season flash forward five years to catch up with our quartet of friends who are in Capeside for Dawson’s mom’s wedding. Dawson’s an improbably young Hollywood director, Jen’s dying (Jen always got like the worst rap on this show), and Joey and Pacey? FINALLY GET THEIR HEADS OUT OF THEIR ASSES. She’s a book editor living in Manhattan with a boyfriend, he’s a chef in Capeside and owner of her family’s old restaurant, The Ice House.

They realize they still have unfinished business and kiss, but it takes poor Jen croaking before Joey will gonad up and choose for once and for all. She tells Dawson she’ll always be his soulmate (platonically) but that her heart belongs to Pacey. And in true romance novel fashion, they even get an epilogue as we glimpse them all lovingly coupled up and living together (in Joey’s amazing NYC apartment that she could never ever afford on a book editor’s salary!). Yep, the whole damn show ends with Pacey and Joey getting their HEA.


Tara Gelsomino is a reader, writer, pop culture junkie, and internet addict. You can tweet her at @taragel.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
I will savor this FOREVER. Thanks for including videos of the scenes, they maaaaay hold me over well enough that I won't need to start a whole rewatch or anything.
Laura Bracken
2. Night -owl
Aww, I love this! Joey & Pacey are one of my favourite couples ever. Whenever I rewatch Dawson's Creek I go straight to season 3(it's the best).
3. Taragel
@Heather I ran out of time to do a rewatch before I put the post together but it's amazing how convenient tumblr makes shipping--even if I hate their interface. Lol.

@Night-owl <3 <3 Season 3 is the besssst! Slow burn is my fave. They're so delicious doing that (metaphorical) dance!
5. My House of Books
I recently watched "Like a Virgin" on the Pop network, and it took me right back to 1999. I spent that summer after Pacey and Joey boarded "True Love" reading their online diary, via the WB website. Pacey and Joey is still one of my all-time favorite fictional couples. Joshua Jackson will always be Pacey!!

What was so remarkable is that the Pacey/Joey pairing took me completely by surprise -- just like Sawyer/Juliet on Lost -- but once I saw it, it made perfect sense!
Tara Gelsomino
6. Taragel
@MyHouseofBooks I remember that online diary! If I recall correctly, Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain (who are now the showrunners for the excellent Agent Carter) wrote those diary entries. Dawson's Desktop! Ah the memories.
Lana Baker
7. lanalucy
OMG You're making me want to rewatch Dawson's Creek, except only the parts that didn't have Dawson in them. lol
8. MaliaJackson
Pacey and Joey are forvever the number one OTP (one true pairing).
Besides Pacey was interested in Joey in the first season, whereas Dawson only noticed her after she was being the complete opposite of herself and entering a pagent.
9. Jack Faire
Actually you're half right it's the Hero that gets the girl yes but Dawson wasn't the hero just the protagonist.

If you sit back and watch the show and think one thing "what if this is real life" You realize that for the most part Dawson is an irredeemable asshole.

Recently while working on my own books and studying character development I have looked to this show as an example and have noticed something.

Pacey is the real Golden Boy.

Dawson is for the most part a sanctimonious ass that repeatedly judges the people in his life for not being perfect. His pretty girlfriend Jen is suddenly a slut for having slept around and a slut for not wanting to sleep with him.

As Malia points out Joey isn't even an option for him until she dresses up in a pretty dress.

When Joey finally realizes she loves Pacey Dawson acts like they went behind his back when Pacey had told Dawson that he liked Joey way back in mid season 1 before Dawson even realized she was a girl. Dawson after being told that went after the girl that his supposed best friend liked without so much as a "how do you do"

Dawson calls Pacey's actions towards Mr. Peterson childish and immature. Dawson always thinks he's the hero but he's always acting the Villain.

He enters a boat race to prove he's better than Pacey and literally almost kills him while cheating to try and win.

Whenever Pacey defends or saves anyone of their friends Dawson always acts like it's childish to do so.

When Dawson gives an ultimatum to Joey saying she can either have Pacey as a boyfriend or Dawson as a friend two things happen.

1) It shows he really doesn't care about Joey's happiness. She's his period. NO matter how she feels about it.

2) She agreed to his ultimatum and he immediately set up the next few episodes to get her to be his girlfriend even though she clearly wasn't interested in him like that.

He spent the rest of the series repeatedly trying to get her to be with him and then tossing her aside if it got in his way.

He referred to her Art as a hobby which would almost be fine if he himself had dreams of being a Lawyer someday but instead he had dreams of breaking into the field of Film Making a career that compared to the Art world is bloody Fort Knox.

No the entire show was about Villain (Dawson) trying to continuously and repeatedly destroy a group of friends and kidnap the girl and failing. The hero absolutely got the girl.

The protagonist did't.
10. jackfaire
I don't think you should have skipped season 2 because the timing is actually monumentally important to this list of moments.

After Pacey kisses Joey on the snail hunting episode he doesn't even look at another girl at all until season 2 episode 1. The moment that Dawson delights in telling Pacey "Hey I got the girl oh by the way did I forget to tell you I like the girl you like sorry not sorry" that's the moment Pacey decides to move on he frosts his tip and starts talking about "changing his fortunes" It's actually kind of heart breaking because while he meets Andie that episode at the end of it after getting rejected by a girl we all knew was going to reject him Andie asks him why he frosted his tips.

"I want to be the guy that gets the girl"

Anyone else notice that frosted tips are oh I dunno blonde and that the guy who got the girl is oh I dunno blonde.

Yeah Pacey frosted his tips in heartbreak.
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