"ASK ME TO STAY."
If you're a massive fan of Dawson's Creek like I am, you accept some things to be true — like, we choose to pretend Season 5 doesn't exist, Dawson is the absolute worst, and Pacey and Joey's slow burn in Season 3 is simply the gold standard for teen TV romance.
10/10 would recommend rewatching Dawson's Creek over Zoom with your best friend to soothe your soul.
Together, Pacey and Joey are perfect. But it goes without saying that Pacey Witter is the single greatest teen TV boyfriend of all time.
OF ALL TIME.
And, since I just rewatched Season 3 in all its glory, I've decided to rank the absolute best romantic Pacey moments from that season from "Literally so fucking perfect" to "HE IS SO PERFECT I CAN'T STAND IT." Here goes nothing:
17. When Pacey foreshadowed the whole dang season:
And Joey retorted with the perfect line, "I'm already upset enough as it is." As Zac and Vanessa would sing years later, this really was the start of something new.
16. When Pacey named his boat "True Love":
If you looked up "hopeless romantic" in the dictionary, I'm pretty sure you would just see a picture of Pacey Witter's face.
15. When Pacey called Joey a "freaking goddess":
This was during the ballroom dance lesson episode "Four to Tango," which is deeply underrated IMO. Note that this was in the era before Pacey started calling Joey a "woman," which was a hallmark of their relationship.
14. When Pacey and Joey engaged in the all-time classic trope of reluctant bed sharing at Aunt Gwen's house:
Of course, this is just the first of several moments from the episode "Stolen Kisses" (we'll get there soon, I swear!), which not only was one of the first big Pacey and Joey episodes, but also featured a pre-Modern Family Julie Bowen! (Just a little fun fact for you.)
13. When Pacey had a brooding monologue about Joey when his brother, Deputy Doug, locked him in jail for the night:
Pacey says this to Doug about Joey while locked up in jail overnight, and then segues into the most amazingly dramatic monologue about the ramifications of this love triangle. Incredible content! You have to read the whole thing: "The tides would cease to rise. In fact, I'm betting there's a pretty good chance that the very earth would crack open and Capeside would become home to a huge hellmouth that would spew forth endless hordes of monsters and demons that would choke the denizens of the city, making them fall to their knees and pray for a return to the days before I took action. That's really what we're talking about here."
12. When Pacey taught Joey how to drive:
He was ~about~ to confess his feelings, but chickened out and taught her how to drive stick instead. (Which, if you'll recall, is actually one of the many listed reasons why Joey slept with Pacey in Season 4. "You taught me to drive, sweetheart.")
11. When Pacey shed this literal single tear after Joey ended things for the first time in "The Longest Day":
Have I ever wanted to jump through a TV screen and hug a fictional character more in my entire life? Answer: nope.
10. When Pacey had yet another monologue about how beautiful Joey is:
Yes, that's Jonathan Lipnicki. Yes, I would have watched a Pacey and Buzz spinoff. Yes, Pacey never ceases to amaze me with the descriptive ways he talks about loving Joey.
9. When Pacey BOUGHT JOEY A WALL:
HE BOUGHT HER A WALL! After her mural was trashed! (Remember back in Season 2 when Dawson called Joey's passion for art "a hobby"? Yeah, Pacey WOULD NEVER!) And, oh wait…it gets better. But more on that later.
8. In the final moments of Season 3, when Pacey threw it back to the beginning and had Joey ask for permission to come on board the boat…
And just…his face…as Joey finally confessed her love for him! He's so happy! And when Pacey is happy, I am happy.
7. …and then Joey got on the boat and Pacey kissed her with these teeny little mini kisses and it's so adorable and then they sailed off into the sunset together:
Now, of course, this is an amazing moment! And it feels wild to think it's not even in the top five, but that's just a testament to the amazing Pacey moments that came before it.
6. When Pacey finally kissed Joey for the first time (after a slow burn that basically ruined my life) when he picked her up after her bad date with AJ, that pretentious college dude:
The kiss that absolutely changed everything and set off the angstiest love triangle in teen TV history.
5. When Pacey watched Joey sleep while sitting in front of the fire:
I'm sorry, but the juxtaposition of Grams saying how you know you love someone if you can spend hours by the fire watching them sleep and then Pacey LITERALLY DOING JUST THAT — it's just priceless. To me, this moment really marks the beginning of Pacey and Joey because it's the first moment he's actively aware of his feelings. I SWOON.
4. When Pacey counted to 10 and then kissed Joey at Aunt Gwen's house…
If you didn't shriek when he got to 10, YOU ARE LYING. Honorary mention to when he said, "For a bright girl, you can be pretty daft sometimes, I came here to be with you!" MY HEART.
3. …and then, at the end of that same episode, when Pacey just, like…WENT AND SAID THIS:
As someone who rewatched this episode VERY recently, this simply never gets old. It's a perfect moment in a perfect episode and it's what Pacey and Joey fans slowly and patiently waited for all season long.
2. When Pacey painted "ask me to stay" on the wall that he bought for Joey:
As a last ditch effort to show Joey how he felt before sailing off for the summer, Pacey painted "ASK ME TO STAY" on the wall that he had bought for Joey! Who DOES that? A perfect angel, that's who! This very moment gave people AROUND THE WORLD unrealistic expectations about love for the rest of their lives. Pacey's impact.
1. When Pacey and Joey danced at the anti-prom and Pacey said, "I remember everything":
Pacey paints a story so vivid about Joey wearing a blue sweater with snowflakes on the day that she found her mother's bracelet, that you GENUINELY feel like it's a scene from an earlier episode in the season. Then, when she asks, "You remember that?" and Pacey barely whispers "I remember everything" with so much passion it could fuel a KISS reunion tour, it was the peak of romance. The chemistry between Joshua and Katie was always off the charts, but something about this really just takes the cake and I had to make it the top moment. Trust me, I surprised even myself!
And there is the definitive ranking of Season 3 Pacey moments that no one asked for, but I am so glad I made. Please share your favorites in the comments below!
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