- Actor Allusion: In the Season 1 episode "Detention," they're discussing the movie The Breakfast Club, and Pacey (played by Joshua Jackson, one of whose earliest roles was as Charlie Conway in The Mighty Ducks) disagrees with the others that Emilio Estevez is languishing in TV obscurity.
Pacey: No way! Emilio Estevez, he was in those Duck movies, remember? God, those were classic. So funny!
(Pacey laughs to himself, while the others look at him blankly.)
- California Doubling: The show's setting was Capeside, Massachusetts, though primarily filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, which would also became the filming location of One Tree Hill (which might as well have been Dawson's spiritual successor) though was actually set in North Carolina.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: They lost the rights to "I Don't Want to Wait" by Paula Cole after season 2 and a new song was chosen for the opening theme. Re-releases of the first two seasons, including the streaming of the seasons on Netflix, has the second song replace the iconic song.
- Playing Against Type: Michael Pitt, who would go on to play psychopathic characters such as Jimmy Darmody and Mason Verger plays Adorkable jock Henry. Coincidentally, Michael Pitt regards his time on the show as an Old Shame.
- Star-Making Role: Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson, and Michelle Williams.
- Throw It In!: Dawson's infamous crying face wasn't scripted. James Van Der Beek was genuinely crying.
- Trope Namer: For Dawson Casting. Particularly 20 year-old James van der Beek (Dawson), 26 year-old Kerr Smith (Jack), and 30 year-old Meredith Monroe (Andie) playing high school sophomores.
- What Could Have Been: Supposedly, Dawson was originally meant to be gay like the creator Kevin Williamson but Executive Meddling vetoed the idea and Jack was created instead. The World Was Not Ready.
- Upon having got hired back to write the finale, creator Kevin Williamson started scripting it with a clear vision that Joey and Dawson would end up together. After penning the first half, he changed his mind and wrote the rest of it with his new decision.