In honor of March Madness, EW is launching a tournament to determine the Greatest TV Couple of All Time. But before we can finalize the brackets, we are turning to you, our hopeless TV romantic readers, to decide which five couples – all part of a love triangle on their shows — make it out of a qualifying round to fill the final slots. Today, we’re debating Joey and Dawson versus Joey and Pacey on Dawson’s Creek.
Admit it, people: Whether you loved or despised America’s original hate-watching phenomenon back when it aired, on some level, you still care about Dawson‘s Creek. Maybe not enough to actually watch Don’t Trust the B– in Apt. 23, but definitely enough to want only the best for Michelle Williams. (She’s been through so much, you guys!) And caring about Dawson’s Creek necessarily means nursing a strong opinion about the show’s central love triangle, which cast BFFs Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) and Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson) as rivals for the heart of one Josephine Potter (Katie Holmes).
The funny thing about this conflict is that it wasn’t always Dawson‘s main throughline. When the soap began in 1998, its plot hinged on a totally different love triangle — the one between budding filmmaker Dawson, his lovelorn pal Joey, and sexy, sophisticated big city transplant Jen (Williams). In the series’s 10th episode, though, Joey and sarcastic screwup Pacey were forced to work on a school science project together — and suddenly, the show’s writers realized that their snappy, Beatrice and Benedick-esque dynamic might be more interesting than Joey’s unrequited love for the boy who lived across the creek.