- Creator's Pet: Dawson himself, arguably. For the first three seasons, he was touted by the other characters as being a golden boy who others should strive to be like. For a great number of viewers, he came off as an entitled, coddled man-child a lot of the time. His flaws were very rarely acknowledged in-show and even encouraged (such as his actions during the boat race in Season 3 that could've killed Pacey--his father justified it as him fighting for love). His characterization was so awful that the writers seemed to set out to redeem him in the next season, practically making him a saint. He was almost a non-entity in the final two seasons, which switched focus from him to...
- Joey, who went from being the Ensemble Darkhorse to a Creator's Pet in some fans' eyes as the show progressed. She lost a lot of the traits that made her popular with fans in the first place, becoming a more standard leading lady as her prominence increased. In spite of that, similar to Dawson's problem, her flaws went unacknowledged and characters continued to go and go about how amazing she was and that she had "It!" (mentioned on the main page).
- Die for Our Ship: Jen in Season 1-2, and either Dawson or Pacey (depending on your preferences) from Season 3 onwards.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Pacey originally was just supposed to be Dawson's goofy sidekick, but his role grew more prominent in the second season and beyond. An even better example is Joey--Katie Holmes went from last billing to second billing between the first and second seasons, she was the center of the show's most well-known love triangle, and is the only character to appear in all episodes.
- Fan-Preferred Couple: Dawson/Joey, to begin with, and later Pacey/Joey.
- Narm: Anytime Joey sang! Also, the expression Dawson made at the end of Season 3 dubbed "The I Ate Poo Face".
- Retroactive Recognition: Jensen Ackles before Smallville & Supernatural; Brittany Daniel before The Game; Ali Larter before Heroes, the Final Destination & Resident Evil series; Jason Behr before Roswell; Chad Michael Murray before One Tree Hill.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: As mentioned in the introduction. the main characters were very articulate for... anyone.
- The Scrappy: Main characters aside, a big example was Eve Whitman, a stripper who weeded herself into Dawson's life in Season 3. She was so widely despised that despite major potential storylines she brought to the show (being Jen's half-sister and taking Dawson's virginity), her character was written out abruptly in the second half of the season and all the above mentioned plot points were retconned.