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This Is The Most Likable Character On Dawson's Creek

When The WB launched in 1995, it quickly became a must-watch channel for teens. Pop culture touchstones such as 7th Heaven, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Charmed helped catapult the nascent network into a true competitor to the Big 4 (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC). Dawson's Creek, with its Paula Cole earworm opening credits, followed its predecessors with its focus on teen angst and the pitfalls of growing up. Its four lead characters captured the hearts of the viewing audience as we watched them mature over the course of its six-season run. But one character would emerge as the most likable: Pacey Witter.

We first meet Pacey (Joshua Jackson) as a fifteen-year-old sophomore at Capeside High School. He and Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) are childhood best friends, though their home lives are drastically different. Unlike only child Dawson, whose parents are supportive, Pacey's family is more of a mixed bag. Neither his mother nor his father — an alcoholic and the local sheriff — believes their youngest child will amount to much, especially compared to his older brother, who would follow his father's path into law enforcement.

Pacey exceeds expectations on Dawson's Creek

Pacey's early storylines reinforce the image of a ne'er do well, down-on-his-luck black sheep. From his illicit affair with a teacher and his scholastic struggles to his physical altercations with his classmates and his family, Pacey seems destined for the very life his parents foresaw. It is in the context of his beginnings, and his eventual evolution, that Pacey wins the prize of most likable.

With each season, we see Pacey grow beyond Capeside's expectations. He becomes the strong rock Andie McPhee (Meredith Monroe) needs as she struggles with mental health issues. After the sudden death of Dawson's father, Pacey is there to offer support, despite their strained relationship due to Pacey's involvement with Joey (Katie Holmes). In the series finale's flash-forward, we find Pacey is the successful owner of a popular Capeside restaurant and the admitted true love of Joey.

Unlike his friends, Pacey exhibited significant growth over the series. The audience had little doubt that Dawson would one day achieve his filmmaking dreams. Though Joey, too, had a difficult childhood, we knew her brains would help her overcome. And while Jen (Michelle Williams) also had her fair share of struggles, the finale robbed her of a satisfying end. Thus, it is Pacey who, while lacking Dawson's support system and Joey's academic prowess, managed to confound all expectations and achieve the life he deserved. And for that, he'll always hold a place in our hearts.