‘Dawson’s Creek’: The Cast Hated This Storyline so Much They Complained to the Network

Though Dawson’s Creek is still finding new audiences decades after it premiered, there are some storylines that fans find pretty polarizing. One great example of this is Pacey’s affair with his high school English teacher, Ms. Jacobs. The storyline earned the WB (the network that originally housed the popular teen drama) no shortage of backlash from fans who found it deeply inappropriate. But, funnily enough, the Ms. Jacobs narrative wasn’t the one that the Dawson’s Creek cast took most offense to.

Dawson's Creek cast poses for the show
James Van Der Beek Michelle Williams, Joshua Jackson, Meredith Monroe, Kerr Smith, and Katie Holmes | Columbia/TriStar International Television

Dawson’s Creek was pretty famous for discussing issues that had previously been considered taboo in teen dramas. Sex and drugs were often talked about openly but the show also tackled more intense themes like adultery, mental health, and sexual orientation. In fact, Dawson’s Creek was the show that featured the first gay male kiss on primetime television.

‘Dawson’s Creek’ had its fair share of unpopular storylines

But while some storylines were revered, e.g. Jack’s coming out story, some were considered to be pretty disastrous. One that was considered particularly bad was the one involving Eve, Jen Lindley’s possible half-sister who wreaked havoc on Capeside before disappearing completley, never to be seen again. The Dawson’s Creek cast also took offense to other storylines, but one, in particular, caused quite the controversy.

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Any fan of Dawson’s Creek knows that the six main characters were a part of a pretty incestuous friend group, with the friends constantly hooking up with different people in their group. But the cast was particularly unhappy with the short-lived Pacey and Jen sex pact that began in Season 3 during the episode “Escape From Witch Island.” When Pacey and Jen questioned why they’ve never hooked up, despite their combined sexual experiences, they decided to create a “friends with benefits” pact.

The cast hated one particular arc and complained to The WB

Of course, the pact never actually goes past a few makeout sessions and there may be a deeper reason for that than fans of Dawson’s Creek previously believed. In a 2018 interview with Vanity Fair, it was revealed that the cast was deeply unhappy with their storylines at the beginning of Season 3. The arc featuring Jen and Pacey’s pact was particularly offensive to the actors and they actually went straight to the network to express their grievances.

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Because of the chaotic storylines and ever-changing writer’s room during Season 3 of Dawson’s Creek, the cast had lost faith in the writers for the show. “Everything had been so tumultuous and I knew that the actors didn’t trust us,” Gina Fattore, who wrote for the show at the time, revealed. In fact, the cast didn’t begin to start trusting the writers again until they introduced the famous Joey and Pacey storyline.

How starting the Joey and Pacey timeline helped the ‘Dawson’s Creek’ cast get back on board

In fact, Fattore shared that the Dawson’s Creek cast felt a new sense of reinvigoration after they had the table read for “The Longest Day” episode, in which Dawson discovers that Pacey and Joey have developed a romantic relationship. “The feeling in the room was that the cast was experiencing the script the way that we in the writers’ room intended for it to be experienced,” Fattore recalled. “It’s still one of the most rewarding creative experiences of my life.” Thankfully, the actors and writers eventually got on similar pages. The show likely wouldn’t have lasted as long if they didn’t.