Pacey Witter

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Pacey Witter
Dawson's Creek character
Pacey.jpg
Joshua Jackson as Pacey Witter
First appearance "Pilot"
(episode 1.01)
Last appearance "...Must Come To An End"
(episode 6.24)
Created by Kevin Williamson
Portrayed by Joshua Jackson
Information
Full name Pacey J. Witter
Nickname(s) Pace
Occupation Chef and Restaurateur
Video store clerk
Stockbroker
Security guard
Graduate of Capeside High
Title Owner of the Icehouse
Family John Witter (father)
Mrs. Witter (mother)
Doug Witter (brother)
Gretchen Witter (sister)
Kerry Witter (sister)
Significant other(s) Joey Potter
(current girlfriend)
Andie McPhee (ex-girlfriend)
Jen Lindley (fling)
Audrey Liddell (ex-girlfriend)
Melanie Shay Thompson
(ex- girlfriend)
Tamara Jacobs (ex-girlfriend)
Karen Torres (fling)
Alex Pearl (fling)
Sadia Shaw (fling)
Relatives Jack McPhee (brother in-law)
Amy Lindley (adoptive niece)
Hometown Capeside, Massachusetts
Residence New York City, New York
Formerly:
Boston, Massachusetts

Pacey J. Witter is a fictional character from the WB television drama Dawson's Creek, portrayed by Joshua Jackson, and appeared in 124 episodes.

Fictional biography[edit]

Background[edit]

Pacey Witter is the son of the local chief of police John Witter and is the youngest of four children, including his older policeman brother, Doug Witter, and older sisters Gretchen and Kerry Witter. He is an academic underachiever who uses humor and sarcasm to relate to people, as well as to hide his emotional pain stemming from his very unhappy childhood. Because of Pacey's underachiever status in school and lack of common sense, he is branded by his uneducated, working-class family as their "great disappointment", or "great embarrassment". Both of his parents frequently call him a loser right to his face, which has led to his very low self-esteem. Pacey's father is also an alcoholic and a domestic abuser, who either ignores or bullies Pacey every chance he gets. Pacey's best friend is Dawson Leery, and he appears in a few of Dawson's early films. Pacey is a romantic at heart, seeking from women the love and affection that he never receives from his parents. Some of Pacey's romantic interests were Tamara Jacobs (Season 1), Andie McPhee (Season 2), Audrey Liddel (Season 5), and Joey Potter, his true love.

Season 1[edit]

In season one, Pacey falls in love with and loses his virginity to his English teacher, Tamara Jacobs (Leann Hunley). Unfortunately for Pacey, Dawson had accidentally filmed Pacey's first time with Ms. Jacobs during a getaway to the ruins with Jen Lindley. When Pacey relays the details of his sexual encounter with Ms. Jacobs to Dawson in a school bathroom, the conversation is overheard by another boy smoking marijuana in the next stall over. Rumors quickly begin to spread about the nature of Pacey's relationship with the 36-year-old teacher. The ensuing scandal eventually forced Ms. Jacobs to break up with Pacey and leave town.

The gang lands themselves in Saturday detention for eight hours with the annoying librarian and class trouble maker, Abby Morgan. While Dawson reveals that he's in for breaking Pacey's nose with a basketball, Joey for slugging Grant Bodine, a senior who was sexually harassing her, and Jen for swearing in class, it is not revealed until later that Abby was only in for class tardiness (although she said she was in for having an orgy on the floor of the boy's bathroom) and Pacey finally reveals that he was caught masturbating by a male teacher.

Forced to do a biology project together Pacey and Joey spend the whole day together. Pacey feels some sort of a romantic interest in Joey. He realized that maybe he could like her, but when he asks Dawson if he can ask Joey out, it forces Dawson to assess his own feelings toward Joey. Pacey asks Joey out and kisses her, but Joey swiftly turns him down. Pacey also comically enters a beauty pageant and performs a skit from Braveheart.

Season 2[edit]

In season two, Pacey goes through a radical change, first when he frosted his tips in his hair, and later when he starts dating Andie McPhee, an academic overachiever who tries to help Pacey reform his study habits. She succeeds and Pacey begins to do well in school, even achieving his first-ever A. But Andie begins to suffer some psychological problems, which are due to the death of her eldest brother Tim, and the effect that it has on her family. This affects her relationship with Pacey. She suffers a nervous breakdown when she begins to hallucinate that she is seeing her deceased brother, and takes a leave of absence for a stay in a mental health facility. Pacey misses her terribly and when his abrasive father makes a rude and snide comment about Andie being crazy, he hits him.

In season 2, we see more of the strained relationship Pacey has with his neglectful and alcoholic father, and the effect Andie has on that relationship. Near the end of the season, Andie tells Pacey's father over the phone to give Pacey a hug for her, and his father does. This ultimately leads to a touching moment — it seems that they have put their past behind them and, for the first time on screen, Pacey looks for some support from his father and actually gets it.

Along with Andie, Pacey feels like he must protect her brother Jack. This is highlighted when Jack is forced to read a very personal poem in front of the class which reveals that Jack is possibly gay, and Pacey spits in the teacher's face.

Season 3[edit]

In season three, Pacey agrees to look after Joey Potter as a favor to Dawson as he says that he won't be around to look after Joey. He also breaks up with Andie due to her cheating on him with another patient while in treatment for her mental illness. He attempts a "friends with benefits" relationship with Jen which does not work out.

He buys and restores a wrecked boat, occupying himself with the project to get over Andie, in addition to looking after Joey. He gets into a fight with a bully who admits to vandalizing a mural Joey paints for the school. For Pacey's punishment, the principal has him participate in a community service program which requires him to act as a mentor for a young, neglected boy, named Buzz Thompson, with a similarly rebellious attitude.

As the season progresses, Pacey's feelings for Joey begin to deepen. In the episode, "A Weekend in the Country" the scene is set up where Jen's grandmother tells a story that you know you are in love with someone when you can spend the entire night sitting in front of the fire watching them sleep. At the end of the episode Pacey comes upon Joey asleep in front of the fire and he sits down to watch her. Conflicted of his feelings for Joey, Pacey continues to be there for her whether it is teaching her how to drive, organizing a student protest, or renting a wall for her next mural. He eventually acts on these feelings and kisses Joey in "A Cinderella Story".

Despite her concerns about Dawson and Andie's feelings, Joey finally gives into her feelings for Pacey during a weekend away from Capeside in "Stolen Kisses". Pacey and Dawson's friendship is ruined when Dawson learns of Pacey and Joey's relationship in the episode "The Longest Day". A romantic triangle develops between Joey, Pacey, and Dawson.

Joey decides that she needs some space and time to figure out her heart. At the end of the season, Pacey decides to leave Capeside and spend the summer sailing, but not before making one last grand gesture to Joey. Realizing that she is in love with Pacey, Joey races to meet him before he sets sail. Pacey and Joey then leave Capeside for the summer on his boat, True Love.

Season 4[edit]

In season four, Pacey and Joey return from their summer at sea very much in love. At this point it seems that Pacey's relationship with Dawson has been irrevocably altered as they both barely speak to each other for the duration of the season.

In the previous season, Pacey's older and first-born sister, Kerry, moved into his parents house and into his bedroom with her three children after leaving her abusive husband, thus leaving Pacey homeless. (Note: alcoholism and domestic abuse appears to be a pattern among nearly all the male relatives and in-laws of the Witter family... excluding Pacey and Doug.) Pacey moved in with his brother Doug, but was forced to move out when their other older sister, Gretchen (Sasha Alexander), returned to Capeside after taking a break from college and also moved in. Pacey and Gretchen then moved in together into a beach house that Gretchen leases. Pacey and Joey adjust to life back in Capeside as a couple. Still being the underachiever, Pacey continues to struggle with school as he and Joey ponder their futures beyond Capeside.

Throughout the majority of the season Pacey and Joey re-affirm their commitment to one another and are chosen "Class Couple". On the senior class ski trip, Pacey and Joey eventually consummate their relationship. Pacey is later hurt to learn that Joey lies to Dawson about this at first, though she eventually tells him the truth.

Towards the end of the season, Pacey and Joey begin having difficulties stemming from the future beyond high school. Believing that he's holding Joey back and growing frustrated with himself and what he sees as his lack of prospects beyond high school, Pacey eventually breaks up with Joey at the senior prom. Despite their strong feelings for each other, both sadly go their separate ways for now. The season ends with Pacey graduating high school and taking a job on a yacht and leaving Capeside once again.

Season 5[edit]

In season five, after working as a deck hand on a yacht all summer following graduation from high school, Pacey settles in Boston and takes a job working as a chef in a fancy restaurant, Civilization, which was set up by his brother Doug. During the summer Pacey dated law student Melanie Shay Thompson whose uncle owns the boat Pacey worked on over the summer and currently lives on. When Jen discovers that he's in town Pacey asks her not to tell anyone of his whereabouts, but Joey sees him at the restaurant. They share a sweet reunion on Pacey's boat, but there is little contact between the characters throughout the season.

Pacey has a relationship with one of the waitresses of Civilization, named Karen Torres. This turns out to be problematic because she is having an affair with the head chef, Danny, a married man that Pacey admires as his mentor. He also tries to help out Dawson, who is in a bad emotional state, as Mitch Leery died in the beginning of the season. He and Audrey Liddell (Joey's roommate) become interested in each other and quickly embark on a physical relationship.

During the gang's spring break trip to Florida, Audrey and Pacey decide to make their relationship official. Pacey's mentor, Danny, leaves Civilization (the restaurant) and a new manager, Alexandra Pearl (Sherilyn Fenn), takes over. Alex so alienated the rest of the restaurant staff that Pacey leads a walk-out en masse during a meeting with local investors to protest Alex's management policies. As a result, the restaurant is shut down and both Pacey and Alex are fired.

At the end of the season, Pacey goes back to Capeside, and picks up a job as a security guard at the Capeside Yacht Club for the summer, but he quits that to go in pursuit of Audrey. At the airport, after failing to contact her via the customer service phone, Pacey convinces a security officer to allow him to use the intercom to get to Audrey. He eventually convinces her to take him back and the two drive cross-country to Audrey's home in Los Angeles.

Season 6[edit]

In the sixth and final season, after hanging out all summer in Los Angeles with Audrey, Pacey returns to Boston and lands a new job as a stockbroker in a small stock trading firm which was set up by Audrey's father. Pacey soon proves himself at his new job and finds financial success. Audrey breaks things off with him as his new job has a dramatic effect on his lifestyle, which clashes with hers.

Soon after, Pacey admits that he is not completely over Joey. They share a kiss following a party at Pacey's apartment and in a later episode both are marooned overnight in a K-Mart. Being locked in together overnight, the situation forces the two to discuss their past (and current) relationship, with both admitting that they miss the other. They attempt a reconciliation, but Joey ends things when her recent ex-boyfriend, Eddie, suddenly reappears.

Afterwards, Pacey somewhat makes amends with his estranged father when he visits him in Capeside after learning that his father suffered a mild heart attack. With Pacey's father too sick to work anymore because of multiple health problems from his lifelong alcoholism, Pacey's brother, Doug, takes over as acting police chief of Capeside, and later full-time police chief.

While working as a stockbroker, Pacey clashes several times with his slick, arrogant boss, Rich Renaldi (Dana Ashbrook). Pacey and Joey briefly reunite in the latter part of the season. Pacey then loses his job following a physical argument with his boss over a significant financial loss from a bio-tech stock bust. Unfortunately, this stock bust also loses a significant amount of money for Dawson who had invested in the stock. The two have a serious argument regarding the money, the past and Joey.

Pacey returns to Capeside to look for a new job and moves in with Doug, and in the meantime, he gathers what money he can to pay Dawson back at least some of the money he's lost. He and Dawson are eventually forced to work out their issues after Joey tricks them into meeting up before leaving town.

Series finale[edit]

In 2008, a 25-year-old Pacey is now the proprietor of the Icehouse, a successful restaurant in Capeside bearing the same name as the one Joey's family used to operate. When everyone returns to Capeside for Gail Leery's wedding, sparks fly between Pacey and Joey, but their reunion is interrupted when they discover that Jen is dying. The two spend time together in Capeside while Jen is hospitalized. Following Jen's death, they admit that things have kept them apart over the years, but they realize that they're still in love with each other. The series ends with Pacey and Joey romantically together watching the season finale episode of Dawson's television series, The Creek, which is based on their childhood in Capeside.

Notable relationships[edit]

  • Tamara Jacobs
    • Kissed
      • "Pilot" (1.01)
        • Reason: After Pacey got punched by Tamara's date, they're talking on the dock and he tells her he's the best she'll never have and she gives in and kisses him.
    • Affair/Girlfriend
      • Beginning: "Kiss" (1.03)
      • End: "Baby" (1.06)
        • Reason: After Pacey talked about his relationship with Tamara in the bathroom at school, a student overhears in a stall and their relationship comes out to the whole town, but Pacey lies and says he made the whole thing up, but she chooses to leave town to deal with her issues and because her reputation as a teacher has been sullied.
    • Fling
      • Beginning: "Tamara's Return" (2.04)
      • End: "Tamara's Return" (2.04)
        • Reason: She said she was leaving town again.
  • Andie McPhee
    • Girlfriend
      • First Relationship:
        • Beginning: "The Dance" (2.06)
        • End: "Homecoming" (3.02)
          • Reason: She cheated on him.
      • Second Relationship:
        • Beginning: "Secrets and Lies" (3.06)
        • End: "Secrets and Lies" (3.06)
          • Reason: Pacey realized that she wasn't the one for him and he wasn't the one for her.
  • Jen Lindley
    • Fling
      • Beginning: "Escape From Witch Island" (3.07)
      • End: "Four To Tango" (3.09)
        • Reason: They both realized that there was nothing between them.
  • Joey Potter
    • Kissed
      • "Double Date" (1.10)
        • Reason: He was attracted to her, but she didn't feel the same way, and he knew she was still hung up on Dawson anyway.
    • Kissed
      • "Cinderella Story" (3.17)
      • "Neverland" (3.18)
        • Reason: Pacey fell in love with Joey while she hadn't realized it yet. At the end of the weekend they reluctantly agreed it was a mistake and to just be friends.
    • Girlfriend
      • First Relationship:
        • Beginning: "Stolen Kisses" (3.19)
        • End: "The Longest Day" (3.20)
          • Reason: When Dawson finds out about them, Joey feels that the only way she can save her friendship with Dawson is to not be with Pacey, so she breaks it off with him.
      • Second Relationship:
        • Beginning: "True Love" (3.23)
        • End: "Promicide" (4.20)
          • Reason: Pacey breaks up with Joey because he feels that she deserves better than him and that he is holding her back from living her life to the fullest.
      • Third Relationship:
        • Beginning: "Clean & Sober" (6.14)
        • End: "Love Bites" (6.18)
          • Reason: They toy with the idea of getting back together in these episodes, but Joey breaks it off when Eddie comes back.
      • Fourth Relationship:
        • Beginning: "...Must Come To An End" (6.24)
        • Note: Pacey tells her that he wants her to be happy more than anything, whether it be with Dawson or some other guy, but Joey chooses Pacey to be happy with in the end and they lived happily ever after.
  • Melanie Thompson
    • First Fling
      • Beginning: "The Lost Weekend" (5.02)
      • End: "The Lost Weekend" (5.02)
        • Reason: She leaves Boston.
    • Second Fling:
      • Beginning: "Sleeping Arrangements" (5.12)
      • End: "Sleeping Arrangements" (5.12)
        • Reason: She leaves Boston.
  • Karen Torres
    • Fling
      • Beginning: "Hotel New Hampshire" (5.08)
      • End: "Hotel New Hampshire" (5.08)
        • Reason: She leaves Boston.
  • Whitney
    • One Night Stand: "Something Wild" (5.11)
  • Rina
    • One Night Stand: "Guerilla Filmmaking" (5.14)
  • Audrey Liddell
    • Girlfriend
      • First Relationship:
        • Beginning: "Guerilla Filmmaking" (5.14)
        • End: "After Hours" (5.21)
          • Reason: Pacey cheated on her with his boss.
          • Note: Pacey didn't sleep with his boss, but he did make out with her and tried to sleep with her, before she stopped him.
      • Second Relationship:
        • Beginning: "Swan Song" (5.23)
        • End: "Living Dead Girl" (6.06)
          • Reason: Audrey overhears Pacey telling his roommate that he doesn't love Audrey anymore, and isn't sure if ever loved her at all. She promptly breaks up with him.
  • Alex Pearl
    • Fling
      • Beginning: "After Hours" (5.21)
      • End: "After Hours"(5.21)
        • Reason: She stops it before they go too far.
  • Emma Jones
    • Kissed
      • "Everything Put Together Falls Apart" (6.09)
  • Sadia Shaw
    • Fling
      • Beginning: "Catch-22" (6.20)
      • End: "Catch-22" (6.20)
        • Reason: She tells him she has a fiance.
  • Maddy
    • Affair
      • Beginning: Sometime before '"All Good Things..." (6.23)
      • End: '"All Good Things..." (6.23)
        • Reason: Her husband beats him up and Pacey breaks it off with her at the wedding by kissing Joey in front of her on the dance floor.

Popularity[edit]

Pacey was originally planned to be portrayed as Dawson's funny best friend who was just there to make a joke. However he soon became very popular with the media, causing the writers to give him a more prominent role in the series. It was eventually decided that Pacey would end up with Joey, due to the on-screen chemistry and fan devotion that culminated around the two, although Kevin Williamson had originally intended for Dawson to end up with Joey. He also outgrew some of his lethargic, clownish ways; becoming more mature.

Reception[edit]

His relationship with Joey Potter was included in TV Guide's list of the best TV couples of all time.[1]

References[edit]