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Thank you. For being my friend, for understanding me better than anyone, and for putting up with me for the last 16 years. I love you
—Joey[src]
Dawson & Joey is a relationship on Dawson's Creek, portrayed by Katie Holmes and James Van Der Beek.

Friendship

Joey and Dawson meet as children[1] and with Joey's family on shaky ground, she turns to Dawson's and is almost like a part of it by the time they turn 15. At this age, however, Dawson and Joey are never really friends as Joey hides an insatiable crush on Dawson[2] which informs all of their interactions, including Dawson's romance with Jen, over which Joey is a looming presence.

Joey almost tells him how she feels when they serve detention, but is interrupted.[3] Pacey constantly tries to get Dawson to realise that he returns Joey's romantic feelings[4][5], but not until Dawson sees Joey competing in a beauty pageant do they surface.[6] Joey rejects Dawson's newfound interest in her as superficial, but their relationship is altered from this point onwards. Dawson struggles with changing his relationship with Joey and is unable to tell her how he feels, but ultimately, when faced with her walking away, he kisses her.[7]

Romance

After their kiss, Joey worries that Dawson will somehow regret, but is relieved when he asks her out on their first real date.[8] Dawson sails over to Joey's and picks her a daisy. They're both nerve-wracked over this change in their relationship, putting a lot of weight on their interactions, which leads Joey to fear the worst when Jen (unknowingly) interrupts their date. Dawson is overwhelmed trying to balance his nervousness over his and Joey's beginnings with Jen's unhappiness and need for support. Dawson ultimately leaves Jen in a lurch and goes to find Joey at the water. They seal their new romance with a second kiss at the swing set.

Joey starts to feel nervous when Dawson assumes he knows everything about her.[9] She starts delving into art and realises that she feels her identity revolves around only Dawson.[10] He doesn't understand her feelings, as she has trouble expressing them to him, and lashes out feeling he might lose her, which was his worry before their kiss. The marital difficulties of his parents put Dawson unfairly in the middle[11], while being swept up in the new status quo of his closest relationship, resulting in Dawson neglecting Pacey and Jen. Joey's concerns become explicit when she and Jack kiss and Dawson finds out at a dance, which leads Joey to break up with Dawson after they say 'I love you' for the first time.[12]

Aftermath

Following their break-up, Joey wants to be friends again, while Dawson is devastated and angry at her for demanding a friendship.[13] Joey starts spending time with Jack, while Dawson joins Jen on her party circuit. Dawson treats Jack like a rival, but Dawson and Joey mostly just try to take a break from each other.[14] Joey tentatively starts dating Jack, while Dawson feels drawn to Jen who is there for him during his parents' separation.[15] Their linger feelings for each other put a break on those connections, however, as Joey and Dawson square off in front of everyone about their sex lives.[16] Dawson resolves to make a film about his relationship with Joey as catharsis, although it doesn't bring him any and only puts Joey's private life uncomfortably on display for everyone to see.[17]

Dawson switches gears after realising the impact of his film and is more civil towards Jack and Joey's relationship with him. When Jack suffers harassment at school and comes out, Dawson is there for Joey as emotional support and comforts her after her break-up.[18] While Joey is reeling, Dawson makes the mistake of assuming they will reunite and his birthday blues leads to a drunken, public declaration of frustration with Joey's reasons for not being with him. In spite of this, Joey forgives Dawson while she is still trying to cope with the aftermath of her break-up with Jack.[19] Dawson feels simultaneously emotionally and creatively destroyed when his film is trashed by a guest lecturer and he thinks Jack has replaced him as Joey's close relationship and soulmate.

Reunion

Joey finds a way to have a friendship with Jack and is knocked over when her felon father comes back into her life. With Jack's help, Dawson is emboldened to break through Joey's guards to truly be there for her and assuage her fears.[20] They get back together and almost sleep together, but find Jen distraught in Dawson's bedroom after Abby's death. This brings up unresolved grief with Joey, who was never allowed the space to properly deal with her mother's death.

Quotes

You're what I'm going to want, Dawson
—Joey[src]
I need to find out if I'm capable of being a whole person without you
—Joey to Dawson[src]
Joey, for these past three years you have been so unbelievably strong
—Dawson[src]
You think every Joey has a Dawson, and every Dawson has a Joey?
—Joey[src]

Trivia

  • Dawson and Joey almost ended up together in the series finale[21][22][23].

Songs

grace | MICHELLE MALONE
dare kiss
daydream believer | MARY BETH MAZIARZ
kiss in dawson's room/when dawson leaves for L.A.
london rain (nothing heals me like you do) | HEATHER NOVA
first date
kiss the rain | BILLIE MYERS
making up
harvest moon | DONNA LEWIS
at the ruins
feels like home | CHANTAL KREVIAZUK
reunited
i do | JUDE
dawson's video present
let that be enough | SWITCHFOOT
joey tells dawson she needs a friend

Photos

Dawson and Joey/Gallery

Notes and references