In honor of that not-so-fabulous upcoming February Holiday that shall remain nameless, I decided to pay tribute to one of my favorite television couples of all time. Yes, boys and girls, before she met a man named Tom Cruise, before the “couch-jumping incident,” before Suri and scientology, Katie Holmes was just a girl named Joey Potter who fell in love with a boy named Pacey Witter.
What follows is the Cliff Notes version (clips that make you go “awww” included) of the aforementioned couple’s relationship, which was carried out during the course of the show’s six seasons. Special thanks go out to all the folks that posted these very special clips on YouTube, thus making my homage all the more complete . . .
Like all great television couples, Pacey Witter and Joey Potter began the series hating each other. Well, perhaps “hate” is too strong of a word. But the two definitely didn’t exactly enjoy one other’s company . . . at least at first.
When we first meet Joey, she is a shy and bookish tomboy from the wrong side of the Creek. With a mother who died of cancer when Joey was only thirteen and a father in prison for drug trafficking, Miss Potter’s idea of a good time is climbing a ladder into the bedroom of her childhood pal, Dawson Leery (with whom she is secretly in love) crawling into his bed, and spending the evening watching old Steven Spielberg movies.
Pacey is Dawson’s other best pal. Son of the alcoholic local police chief, and the youngest of five children, Pacey begins the series as a skirt-chasing underachiever, who uses humor and sarcasm to hide his insecurities. At this point in the series, Pacey is best known for having a brief and highly inappropriate sexual relationship with his English teacher.
Episode 11 – Double Date
In Season 1, Pacey and Joey have little to do with one another, aside from the exchange of a few nasty barbs here and there. After all, as I mentioned, Pacey is busy diddling the Teacher and Joey is coping with her unrequited feelings for Dawson. And yet, in Episode 11, we see the first signs that things between the two may be about to change. Forced to work together on an extra credit science project involving the mating habits of snails, Pacey and Joey find that they (gasp) actually enjoy one another’s company.
After a trip that the two take to the local pond gets hot and heavy, Pacey starts to think he may even have feelings for Joey.
Suddenly jonesing for some Joey-loving, Pacey confronts Dawson, while the latter is at a carnival pursuing his crush, Jen Lindley. Young Witter asks Dawson for permission to pursue Joey. After Dawson gives his OK (which he later reneges upon), Pacey tries to kiss Joey, but is rebuffed. As it turns out, she likes him as a friend, but does not return his affections . . . yet.
Most of Season 2 deals with the dramatic rise and fall of the relationship between Joey and Dawson (snooze), while Pacey is involved in a tumultuous fling with the annoyingly perky, and neurotically brainy Andie (double snooze). However, at the end of that Season, Joey dumps Dawson, after he forces her to turn her own father over to the cops for dealing cocaine once again. (A pretty good reason to dump someone, right?)
Episode 36 – Like a Virgin
Despite that, as Season 3 opens, Joey throws herself at Dawson, hoping to give their relationship another shot. And yet, Dumb Ass Dawson inexplicably denies her access to his manly parts. After totally embarrassing the woman he supposedly still loves, Dawson goes to his best friend Pacey, now newly single after his girlfriend Andie was shipped off to the funny farm, and asks him to “look out for Joey.” (Note to all of you men out there: It is a BAD idea to have your hotter, sexier, funnier, and more charming best friend take care of the woman you love, while you are busy figuring out your issues.)
Bad news for Dawson, but great news for us, because now the relationship between Pacey and Joey can truly begin in earnest. The chemistry between the prospective couple is already evident in this heartfelt scene between them at the conclusion of the episode.
Episode 44 – Four to Tango
So, while Dawson is busy contemplating his navel, Pacey and Joey begin to develop a friendship. In search of a college scholarship, Joey commandeers Pacey to partner up with her in a ballroom dancing class. Pacey agrees to do this for Joey in exchange for her tutoring him in math. Unbeknownst to Joey, Pacey, at this time, is engaging in a “friends with benefits” sort of relationship with the slutty Jen Lindley.
Unfortunately, slutty equals sloppy, for Pacey and Jen. And when Dawson finds a condom wrapper on the floor of his bedroom, shortly after Pacey has left, the former becomes convinced that Pacey is having an affair with Joey. Hilarity ensues when the four confront each other at a ballroom dancing class. There, Jen begins to suspect that romantic feelings are developing between Joey and Pacey. She, therefore, breaks things off with her former sex toy.
Episode 47 – A Weekend in the Country
In this almost sickeningly sweet episode, Pacey rallies the Capeside Scooby Gang to help Joey and her family to run a newly-opened bed and breakfast. Much to Joey’s chagrin, he even contacts a famous hotel reviewer to drop in on the place. Thanks mostly to Pacey, the bed and breakfast receives a favorable review.
That night, Jen’s grandmother tells the Scooby Gang a story about the love of her life. She explains that if a person truly loves someone, he or she could be content simply sitting for hours and watching that person sleep. At the episode’s conclusion, Pacey returns to the B&B to find Joey fast asleep on the couch. I think you can guess what happens . . . (No, not that . . . he actually just watches her sleep.)
Episode 48 – Valentine’s Day Massacre
In this episode, Pacey once again rallies the Scooby Gang around him, only this time it is to attend a keg party thrown by one of Capeside High’s resident assholes. When the party gets busted, the whole crew is thrown in the drunk tank. As Joey scolds Dawson for his uncharacteristically bad behavior that night, a highly inebriated Pacey interrupts her, jealously chastising the pair for their agonizing on-again, off-again relationship, before puking in a nearby toilet.
In the following scene, Pacey admits to his older brother that Joey is the kind of beautiful that “gives you butterflies.” At the end of the episode, Pacey stops by Joey’s house. But instead of telling her how he feels about her, he simply offers to teach her how to drive.
Episode 50 – Crime and Punishment
In this episode, the budding artist Joey is selected to paint a mural to be displayed at Capeside High School. When one of Capeside High’s resident assholes (coincidentally the same asshole who threw the party in Episode 48) defaces the mural, Pacey beats the crap out of him. He then rents Joey a wall in town so that she has an outlet for her artistic expression. Seriously, how many of your significant others would be willing to buy you a wall?
Episode 52 – Cinderella Story
When a romantic weekend with a random college guy goes horribly awry, a heartbroken Joey calls Pacey in the middle of the night to rescue her. On the drive home, Joey admits that Pacey and Dawson are the only two people in the world who really “know [Joey].” Overcome with emotion, Pacey abruptly pulls the car off the road, and plants a hot wet one on an unsuspecting Joey. Sparks fly . . .
Episode 54 – Stolen Kisses
When the Scooby Gang travels to Dawson’s aunt’s house for Spring Break, Pacey finds himself overwhelmed by the vast amount of history that exists between childhood friends and former lovers, Dawson and Joey. When he leaves the house in a huff, Joey runs after him. Joey then admits that Pacey’s touch “makes her feel alive.” Allowing her ten seconds to stop him, Pacey grabs Joey and the two share a passionate kiss with one another, before being discovered by Dawson’s aunt.
Later that night, Joey and Pacey discuss the difficulties inherent in their relationship. And yet, despite the problems they know it will cause in their social circle, Joey and Pacey find themselves overtaken by passion for one another. This time, Joey grabs Pacey and kisses him!
Episode 57 – The Anti Prom
Pacey and Joey’s new-found bliss is short-lived, however, and shortly after Stolen Kisses, the two break it off, in hopes of salvaging their now-broken respective relationships with a hurt Dawson. At an alternative prom that the Scooby Gang puts together so that their homosexual friend, Jack, can attend with his boyfriend, Pacey and Joey share a heart-wrenching slow dance. The fire between them becomes instantly apparent to everyone, including Dawson.
Episode 58 – True Love
Unable to cope with the loss of his relationship with Joey, Pacey decides to run away, choosing to spend the summer at sea on his boat, aptly named “True Love.” Joey is torn between spending the summer rebuilding her friendship with Dawson (zzzzzzz), and following her heart with Pacey (Yippeee!!!). In the final moments of the episode, she makes her choice . . .
Episode 72 – A Winter’s Tale
Joey and Pacey spend most of Season 4 as a couple. However, as is the case with most television couples, the actual relationship is never nearly as exciting as the build up. And yet, despite all this, Season 4 contains within it, one of the best Joey and Pacey moments of the whole series. This scene effectively defines and encapsulates the pair’s entire relationship. In this episode, Joey and Pacey finally decide to do the deed on a school ski trip.
Is it any wonder, that despite nearly two entire seasons apart (Season’s 5 and 6 were probably the show’s weakest, in my humble opinion), these two crazy kids got back together in the Series Finale? I was going to include a clip of this as well. However, seeing as most of the finale episode was fairly maudlin (a big chunk of time was spent coping with Jen’s untimely death), I decided the hot and steamy sex scene was a nicer place to end. Wouldn’t you agree?
Suffice it to say that, in my mind at least, Pacey and Joey lived happily ever after. (Coincidentally, in my mind, Tom Cruise eternally remains Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, his character from A Few Good Men. A nice and naively idealistic place, that mind of mine . . .).
Of course, all I got out of this relationship was a whole lot of baggage and a bunch of YouTube clips to fawn over. Happy V-day to me! 🙂