‘Dawson’s Creek’: One of the Show’s Most Salacious Storylines Is Based on Real Life Events

When Dawson’s Creek released back in 1998, nobody could have predicted the tremendous amount of success that the teen drama would have. The show made household names of its cast and was also considered to be extremely progressive. The show didn’t shy away from topics like sex, sexual orientation, or drugs. Furthermore, there were quite a few storylines that were considered risqué. One, in particular, was of course the affair between Pacey Witter and his teacher, Ms. Jacobs.

Dawson's Creek Pacey Ms. Jacobs
James Van Der Beek Michelle Williams, Joshua Jackson, Meredith Monroe Kerr Smith, and Katie Holmes | Columbia/TriStar International Television

Fans of Dawson’s Creek should have no trouble remembering the brief affair between Pacey and Ms. Jacobs. The pair meet while Pacey and Dawson were working their shift at the video store. Ms. Jacobs comes in and introduces herself as Tamara and has a bit of banter with Pacey. When she leaves, Pacey ensures Dawson that she was flirting with him, which Dawson laughs off. The exchange is all but forgotten until Pacey returns to school for his Sophomore year only to discover that Tamara is actually Ms. Jacobs, his new English teacher.

The affair between Pacey and Ms. Jacobs was a memorable storyline in ‘Dawson’s Creek’

Of course, Pacey is eventually proven right as Ms. Jacobs takes his virginity and they enter into a sexual relationship with one another. The storyline is rife with drama and ends when Pacey, thinking he’s alone with Dawson in the boys’ bathroom, talks about his relationship with Tamara and rumors spread around the school. Knowing that Ms. Jacobs could face serious consequences, he comes forward and claims to have made the entire affair up and Tamara wisely leaves town soon thereafter, though she does return briefly in Season 2 of Dawson’s Creek.

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Of course, fans of Dawson’s Creek have very mixed reactions to the aforementioned storyline. Considering Ms. Jacobs and Pacey’s affair is an example of statutory rape, some viewers weren’t happy with the storyline. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Kevin Williamson, who created the show, revealed that the President of The WB (the network on which Dawson’s Creek aired) got a lot of heat for the storyline.

The teacher/student affair caused backlash

“The only flak we ever got was for that storyline,” the creator of Dawson’s Creek recalled back in 2018. “Jamie Kellner, who was the president of The WB at that time, didn’t say we couldn’t do it but he was the father figure who would come in and ask, ‘How long is this storyline going to last?’ We told him six episodes and he responded: ‘OK, that’d be a good thing.’ There was a lot of criticism about that storyline and he was having to take all the flak for it.”

Pacey’s affair with his teacher, Tamara, was based on real-life events

Despite the backlash that the Pacey/Ms. Jacobs storyline received, Williamson shared that he wouldn’t change it if given the opportunity. In fact, the storyline was inspired by real-life events that happened in his own childhood. “But no, I wouldn’t change it because it served its purpose and it was based on a storyline from my own childhood,” Williamson shared. “If I was writing the show today I probably would not have it in the story.” We’d have to agree that the infamously salacious storyline in Dawson’s Creek would likely receive even more heat today. But that wouldn’t stop some fans from enjoying the drama.