[[quoteright:383:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dawsons-creek-cast-shot-c10038492.jpg]]
The reigning TeenDrama of the late 90's/early 00's. Revolved around a bunch of teenagers who live in the small fictional town of Capeside, Massachusetts. Particular focus on lead character Dawson Leery (James Van der Beek) and his 'girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-creek' best friend Joey Potter (Katie Holmes)

Its gimmick was to show teenagers as well-spoken individuals with [[SesquipedalianLoquaciousness vocabularies]] that would make [[CalvinAndHobbes Calvin]] dizzy, rather than resort to the usual TV [[TotallyRadical teenspeak]]. Fans of the show praised its respectful portrayal of how teens talk and think. Others were less enthralled by the characters' habit of twisting every minor thing into [[ContemplateOurNavels a soliloquy on life's mysteries]].

Everybody can agree on one thing, though. No other works of man, past or present, can ever top the [[{{Melodrama}} maudlin madness]] of ''Dawson's Creek''. The show inspired such passionate feelings that it indirectly spawned TelevisionWithoutPity (originally called "Dawson's Wrap").

Famous both for its actors being [[DawsonCasting much older than their on-screen counterparts]] and the infamous Dawson/Joey [[WillTheyOrWontThey will-they-won't-they]] storyline.

Also a notable example of the [[FanPreferredCouple fan preferred couple]] getting together in the end.

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!!Tropes:
* AbortedArc: The entire first half of Season 3 was disregarded,[[LampshadeHanging getting only a passing mention]] in the finale.
* AlphaBitch: [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]]: Abby Morgan acts like a stereotypical Libby...except she isn't popular at all and has no friends whatsoever aside from her on-again, off-again friendship with Jen. A straight example was [[NamesTheSame Nellie]] [[LittleHouseOnThePrairie Oleson]], but even she wasn't as bitchy as the typical example (she explicitly had nothing against Dawson) and disappeared after the first few episodes.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Deputy Doug, played with [[spoiler: until the end of the series.]]
* AscendedExtra: It's believed that Jack and Andie were not meant to last past the second season originally. In later seasons, Audrey in Season 5, who was added to the opening credits the following season.
* AuthorAvatar: Dawson and Joey's initial friendship was based off the (platonic) relationship Kevin Williamson and a female friend had as children. Their personalities are derived from them in part as well.
* BackForTheFinale: Andie, though the scenes were cut in the original broadcast.
* BetterThanSex: Audrey once says that the one thing she misses the most about having a boyfriend is snuggling, which is, in her view, better than sex.
* BettyAndVeronica: Dawson between Joey and Jen is the most straight example.
* BigApplesauce: Where Jen hails from.
* BookDumb: Pacey.
* BrokenStreak
* ButNotTooBlack: Nikki, aka Principal Green's daughter.
* [[CaliforniaDoubling Carolina Doubling]]
* CharacterBlog: One of the first shows to feature character diaries on the show's official site. This allowed the fans to find out what the characters were doing during the Summer breaks. Occasionally the writers would use the diaries to hint at upcoming characters or storylines for the Fall season. During the Fall season, fans could also access e-mail conversations and online chats between the characters.
* ClosetKey: [[spoiler: Jack for Doug, although he had to, y'know, actually reach ''adulthood'' first]].
* CoolOldGuy: Mr. Brooks, a crotchety Yacht Club member who befriends Dawson ([[GrumpyOldMan sort of]]) after he steals Brooks' boat.
* CoolOldLady : Evelyn "Grams" Ryan.
* DatingDoSiDo: Joey dated all three of the main male characters, Dawson dated Jen and Joey twice each (and would have hooked up with Andie per WordOfGod), Pacey dated all four girls that were in the main cast (if his friends-with-benefits deal with Jen counts), and they were trying to hook up Jack and Jen in early Season 2 before he went for Joey.
* DeadpanSnarker: Mostly Pacey. Joey has her moments too.
** Abby Morgan as well, she's arguably the biggest snarker.
* DidNotGetTheGirl: [[spoiler: Dawson]]
* DistantFinale : The finale took place five years after the previous episode.
* DoggedNiceGuy : Dawson perceives himself to be this.
* DumbAndDrummer: Over [[ICantHearYou the noise of a pool bar]], Pacey approaches a blonde and tells her, "I'm drummer for Music/PearlJam." She replies, "You're [[FreudianSlip dumber]] than ''who''?" He slinks away.
* EgocentricallyReligious: Barbara Johns.
* EngineeredPublicConfession
* EnterStageWindow
* FagHag: Jen for Jack.
* FamilyOfChoice: Jack is taken in by Jen's grandmother when he needs a place to live, even though she barely knows him. She and Jen treat him like family for the rest of the series.
* [[spoiler: FastForwardToReunion]]. How the series ends.
* FemmeFatale : Eve, annoyingly so.
* FriendsWithBenefits: Pacey and Jen at some point, or at least they tried.
* GenkiGirl : Andie, and in later seasons Audrey.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar : In Mr. Peterson's English class, there's a huge word search on the bulletin board with the names of famous authors circled. Right across the top is Dickens. The three letters preceding it? B-I-G.
* GirlNextDoor: Joey.
* GoodBadGirl: Jen.
* GymBunny: Jack, in the later seasons.
* [[HasTwoMommies Has Two Daddies]]: [[spoiler: Jack and Doug raise Jen's daughter Amy.]]
* HeteroNormativeCrusader: Barbara Johns, Capeside High's resident battleaxe.
* HollywoodAtheist: Subverted as Jen is a genuinely nice person.
* HollywoodNerd: Joey Potter.
* HotScoop: Gale Leary.
* IJustWantToBeNormal: Poor Jack has trouble coming to terms with being gay. Though his various boyfriends make it abundantly clear that he's got it comparatively easy.
* InformedAbility: Dawson's directing skills. Although many of the show's plotlines revolve around Dawson's genius directing ability, what the audience primarily sees are rough or rejected projects. However, we know he is talented because an [[OffscreenMomentofAwesome unseen breakout film]] will land him an award or his final gig as a TV series director.
* InformedAttribute: Joey's "It"--beginning with the college years, Joey went from merely being seen as very pretty to an absolute knockout whom no heterosexual male in her vicinity could resist falling in love with.
* IronicEcho: Joey's first breakup speech with Dawson and Gail's explanation of her affair to Mitch.
* JerkJock: Averted with Jen's boyfriends Cliff (Season 1) and Henry (Season 3), and Jack himself when he joined the school football team.
* LampshadeHanging: This is done in a subtle and tragic way in the finale. [[spoiler: A dying]] Jen tells Jack that she felt like she never really fit in:
--> "From the moment I stepped out of that cab and onto the creek, I was the instigator. The one who caused problems, rocked the creek and disrupted the delicate emotional balance of Capeside. And I don't want [her daughter] Amy to be that person. I want her to belong. I feel that I never really did."
** This was her pretty much exact role on the show at the beginning.
* LastNameBasis: Pacey towards his girlfriends (McPhee and Potter).
* MasterOfTheMixedMessage: Dawson and Joey (to each other as well as their rebound dates).
* MissingMom: Jack and Andie's mother made appearances early in the second season, but was later sent to live with relatives due to her mental instability and was seldom mentioned again.
** Joey's mom, who died of cancer before the series began.
* MockMillionaire: In the episode "Kiss", Joey pretends to be wealthy to avoid looking like a small-town girl when she pursues a handsome stranger named Anderson.
* MonochromeCasting: Aside from a few minority extras, the one of the only important black characters was the High School principal.
* MostWritersAreAdults: On purpose.
* MostWritersAreMale: [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] by Jen in The Longest Day.
* MyGirlIsASlut: Dawson's philandering mom. His father, Mitch, proposes an open marriage as the solution. Well, this ''is'' The WB.
* MyGirlIsNotASlut: Dawson had a hard time reconciling his near-angelic view of Jen with what he knew of her past in New York, which ultimately led to their breakup.
* OddFriendship: Joey and Audrey.
* OutOfFocus: Jen's role in the series was diminished in the later seasons, with Michelle Williams even going from second to third billing.
* ParentalAbandonment : At the beginning of the series, Joey's mother was dead and her father was in prison, leaving [[ParentalSubstitute her sister Bessie]] as her primary caretaker.
* PlatonicLifePartners: Jack and Jen.
** Dawson and Joey as childhood friends were this before their RelationshipUpgrade.
* PopularIsDumb: Chris Wolfe, the resident BigManOnCampus.
* PrettyWhiteKidsWithProblems: The inspiration for the TropeNamer.
* PromotionToOpeningTitles: Jack, Andie, Audrey.
* PutOnABus: Andie is written out of the show halfway through Season 4, and only returns in a few (cut) scenes in the SeriesFinale. Also, Audrey doesn't appear in the finale despite being a major character since Season 5.
* ReallyGetsAround: Jen Lindley.
* RelationshipUpgrade: The love triangle, square, [[LoveDodecahedron dodecahedron]]... whatever one chooses to call it, persists right up until the series finale. Only then is the matter finally settled: [[spoiler: Joey chooses Pacey over Dawson, citing that Dawson will always be her "soulmate" and best friend, but not her romantic partner. Jack and Doug likewise get together, although their relationship only existed in the finale itself and not the previous seasons]].
* [[RememberTheNewGuy Remember The New Girl]]: Gretchen (Pacey's sister that we've never heard of before Season 4).
** Will Krudski, Pacey's childhood friend, from Season 3.
* SecretRelationship: Joey and Pacey during The Longest Day. [[spoiler: Jack and Doug for most of the finale]].
* SelfParody: The TimeSkip finale shows Dawson grudgingly at work on an overwrought teen drama entitled (wait for it) ''The Creek'', based on his own life.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: As mentioned in the introduction. the main characters were very articulate for... anyone.
* ShooOutTheNewGuy: Each season introduced new characters (love interests, old friends, antagonists etc) who would be involved with the main cast, only to disappear and never be seen again by season's end. Notable examples include Nikki Green, Drue Valentine, Gretchen Witter, and Charlie Todd. And, of course, the infamous Eve.
** Drue was essentially being setup to return for a another season (as evidenced by the fact that he even told Jen that they were going to the same college after graduation). Unfortunately for Drue, The WB forced Chad Michael Murray onto the show after failing to find a starring project for him (this was right after his "Lone Ranger" pilot failed) which meant Drue was out and Drue-clone Charlie Todd was in.
* SlapSlapKiss: Pacey had this dynamic with Andie when they first met. Also, in the long run, Pacey and Joey.
* SuddenlySexuality: Jack was presumably straight and interested in Joey in the first half of Season 2 before coming out. While such a thing is not impossible in real life, it's believed that his [[ComingOutStory coming out story]] was due to creator Kevin Williamson wanting one of the main characters to be gay like himself.
%% * TakeThat: in one episode, a textbook [[BrattyHalfPint Bratty And]] AnnoyingYoungerSibling keeps asking Pacey to get him some ''{{Pokemon}}'' cards. By the end of the episode, Pacey has already told him off. Keep in mind the show was produced by Sony. Yeah, the same company behind the PlayStation. In another episode, one character was playing - end enjoying - a ''CrashBandicoot'' game. So... ConsoleWars, much? %%
* TeacherStudentRomance: Pacey and his English teacher Ms. Jacobs. Joey and Jack also attempted this with their college professors, though neither went any further.
* TheirFirstTime: Joey losing her virginity to Pacey was such a beautiful scene that it caused girls everywhere to get wildly unrealistic expectations.
** Although the next episode, "Four Stories," reveals that it wasn't ''entirely'' perfect--it's implied that Joey didn't enjoy herself as much as she might have--but she's still glad it happened and eager to do it again.
* TomboyishName: Josephine "Joey" Potter
* TheUnfairSex: Averted--Gail was having an extra-marital affair in the first season, but was not especially sympathetic, and the excuse she told Joey when she was discovered was treated as just that.
* TheUnfavourite: Pacey, to his family.
* UnluckyChildhoodFriend: [[spoiler: Dawson himself]]
* UnrequitedLoveSwitcheroo: It's sometimes easy to forget that most of the first season had Joey pining over Dawson, since for much of the rest of the series it's the other way around.
* UptownGirl: This is how Pacey views Joey, though it's mostly in his head.
* WillTheyOrWontThey: Again, Dawson/Joey and later Pacey/Joey. [[spoiler:Both did, though Joey ended up with Pacey for good in the finale]].
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