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There are two main truths about Dawson’s Creek that most fans will agree with. The first is that Dawson and Joey are soulmates and the second is that Pacey and Joey have undeniable chemistry. These facts, of course, made for quite the love triangle throughout the show’s six seasons. But Joey and Pacey’s love story did more than just surprise and entertain viewers, it also managed to reinvigorate the show.

Dawson's Creek cast: Kerr Smith, Joshua Jackson, Michelle Williams, James Van Der Beek, and Katie Holmes attend a special screening of the show
Kerr Smith, Joshua Jackson, Michelle Williams, James Van Der Beek and Katie Holmes | Richard Corkery/NY Daily News via Getty Images

Diehard fans of Dawson’s Creek can see that the show was struggling at the end of Season 2 and the beginning of Season 3, and there’s a good reason for that. When Kevin Williamson, the creator of the show, made his exit, the writers struggled to know how to proceed with the show. In fact, the actors were getting so frustrated with storylines that they went straight to the network to complain.

The chemistry between Pacey and Joey on ‘Dawson’s Creek’ was undeniable

In the end, it was the Pacey and Joey storyline that got the actors and wavering Dawson’s Creek fans back on board. In a 2015 interview with Vulture, Greg Berlanti, who went from a staff writer to showrunner after Williamson’s departure, revealed that the network asked him how he would manage to turn the show around. Instantly, Berlanti knew that Joey and Pacey were the key.

“I would get Pacey with Joey and have a King Arthur–esque story — Dawson being King Arthur — exploring what happens when Lancelot and Guinevere fall in love,” Berlanti shared about what he said to the WB executives when asked how he planned to breathe new life into Dawson’s Creek. “[Joey and Pacey] always had such wonderful chemistry, the two of them — they have a Tracy and Hepburn quality that I liked writing for.”

Joey and Pacey’s love story helped reinvigorate interest for ‘Dawson’s Creek’

Continuing on, the Dawson’s Creek showrunner shared that introducing Pacey and Joey as a couple allowed the show to go to new and exciting places. “It was something different and surprising because I don’t think people thought we were ever going to go there,” Berlanti shared. “Everyone was in a groove after season three. Everyone was excited about the twists and turns of that narrative.”


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But when does Pacey and Joey’s love story begin? Throughout Season 3, fans really start to see the relationship between the once frenemies shift. But when Pacey pulls over the car and plants a kiss on Joey in “Cinderella Story”, which is the seventeenth episode of Season 3, there’s truly no denying that there’s something between them. Because the kiss is so powerful and unexpected, fans of Dawson’s Creek often remember this as the couple’s first, but it’s actually not.

When do Pacey and Joey kiss for the first time?

In reality, Pacey and Joey first lock lips in the series’ very first season. During the episode “Double Date”, which is the tenth episode of Season 1, the two get paired up for an extra credit science project. After spending the day together, they come to understand each other a bit more, and Pacey plants a kiss on Joey after asking Dawson’s permission to pursue her. But, Joey is unreceptive at the time because of her feelings for Dawson. Clearly, a lot changed for Joey in just a year’s time. If you’d like to see the full trajectory of her love story, Dawson’s Creek is currently streaming on Netflix.