Felicity, Episodes 4.13 & 4.14
“Kiss and Tell” & “Raising Arizona”
Original Air Dates: Mar. 27, 2002 & Apr. 3, 2002
Emma: The baby drama continues as Ben moves from his original position of “I don’t want anything to do with this kid” to maybe moving to Arizona to help raise the baby over the course of two episodes. As we both predicted Ben doesn’t stick too long with the hands off approach which causes a whole lot of strain with Felicity as she finds it hard to talk to Ben about this predicament and old wounds are opened in the process.
Felicity has spent a lot of this season feeling lost particularly with what she’s going to do after college. Her worries in this department get solved rather conveniently this week, which leaves just the personal clusterfuck looming over her. The art world is not for Felicity. Shocker I know and after Noel starts going through the course guide to see if there’s anything that jumps out he strikes gold very early with architecture. It’s lucky zoology isn’t Felicity’s secret passion. It actually makes a lot of sense that Felicity would be drawn to this and as Noel points out it combines her creative sensibilities with her science background. But it still feels too easy particularly as she gets involved with a project which has instant success as soon as she signs on.
There are of course complications as the guy she has to work with is super mopey abut a recent breakup, he then doesn’t tell her what she is supposed to do which renders hours of work as useless and then he tries to kiss her at the random party they are throwing. Adam has misread Felicity as she hasn’t mentioned Ben, but it is also highly inappropriate as he’s her supervisor and really the dudes on this show find it really hard not to cross that line. Also Felicity is wearing a rather hideous satin shirt in this scene which isn’t really relevant to this discussion but I felt it needed mentioning.
It’s a little awkward between them but I don’t think he’s going to try anything like that again and unlike some of the other creeps on this show, Adam seems well meaning.
One reason this new venture is so good for Felicity is that it’s a distraction as Ben’s repeated assertion that nothing will change is far from reassuring – the more he says it the worse it makes her feel. It’s such a messy situation and I can understand why Felicity pretty much shuts down especially as they’ve only just got back together.
What did you make of Felicity’s actions post big reveal?
Julie: If everyone followed Noel’s advice, everyone would be an architect.
I’m with you that this all seemed to come VERY easy. Architecture is not necessarily something you can just jump into, even if you’re George Costanza. I don’t think Noel’s wrong that it’d be a good fit for Felicity, but it’s her senior year of college. This feels a little late. (As did Ben’s pre-med 180). Think of how much trouble and time she would’ve saved if she’d have just gone through the course catalog two years ago.
Adam seems like a decent guy, but he’s still in that same mold as the guy she met in the art studio (what was his name again?). They’re both dippy and bumbling and dorky. The kiss moment was unfortunate, but I can’t completely fault him. He was in a bad place. And she invited him to the party, and she said she’d have a drink with him, and he didn’t know she had a boyfriend. Also he stopped when she told him to, so all-in-all, a fairly stand-up guy. I’ll give him a pass on the boss thing, too. He’s only a year older than her and they seemed to be collaborating more than her working under him.
I, however, loved Keri Russell’s reaction to him kissing her. It’s was the best moment of WTF. Solid acting on her part.
The fashions in these episodes, since you pointed out her satin shirt, were not great, Bob. From Zoe’s ombre mohair sweater to Felicity’s baggy jeans, these clothes had early-aughts written all over them. Felicity’s hair, however, looks great. Zoe’s? Not so much.
As far as Felicity and Ben go, man I felt for her during these episodes. She’s the one who’s been dragged into this mess. It’s such a bizarre place for a 21-year-old girl to be in. She’s not even out of college; but she just got back together with this guy, with whom she feels she could have a future. And he’s going to be a dad. It’s just too much. And she has no one to talk to about it. You can feel the stress wafting off of her. Javier’s busy with Meghan. Noel’s off-limits. Elena’s nowhere to be found. And all she wants in her life right now is a little stability. The one constant she thought she had, Ben, is no longer so constant.
Obviously, we’re not surprised that Ben is manning up to take care of his kid, but how did you feel about his journey from absentee father to possibly moving to Arizona?
Emma: Keri Russell does have an excellent reaction face and while this jumps ahead to a conversation I’m sure we will discuss in detail later on when Ben basically blames her for this entire thing (because if she hadn’t slept with Noel then Lauren would not have been a thing) her reaction is incredible as it is pure “Are you fucking kidding me?!”
I maybe screamed a little at those baggy jeans because I definitely had a pair, Felicity’s red jeans also made a reappearance but luckily this time she did not pair them with a matching jacket. And you’re right, her hair does look great. I wonder if people were pissed that it isn’t as curly as her pre-chop hair.
The lack of Elena is really bothering me, we get a smidge of her in these episodes (it would appear she is still with Trevor, who by the way is in my bad books for planting the seed with Ben that Noel is trying to get with Felicity) and she is one person Felicity really needs at the moment. I kind of like that the party was for no reason because that’s what you do at college, but really I need more of Elena than a brief hello.
Like you I really feel for Felicity too, like it’s a super shitty thing for Ben to deal with after a long list of super shitty things and it keeps on piling on when Lauren tells Ben she’s moving to Arizona. Her reasons for going are good and after all she was having this baby alone up until Ben changed his mind. Her priority is this child, but I also can’t help but understand why he is so desperate to get her to stay. Ben is trying to do right by everyone which means he ends up doing right by no one. From his own experience he doesn’t want his child to experience the same absentee father, but if he moves to Arizona will he end up completely resenting Lauren anyway and maybe impacting his relationship with the child?
Arizona becomes a source of contention as he asks his professor (who he now has a father/son relationship with) whether he can transfer. When Noel hears an answer machine message (this device again) and mentions it to Felicity it causes old wounds to be opened when Ben accuses Noel of involving himself in their business so he can drive a wedge between them. The way they made up in the Christmas episode was too easy and I don’t mind that conflict resurfaces here because it makes sense that it would.
Later on Ben walks in on Felicity and Noel hugging in her room blowing things up further. Which leads me back to the remark I mentioned about where Ben blames Felicity for everything. It’s shit and an awful thing to say raising the question of whether Ben can ever move on from this. They look like they might be dunzo, but Noel steps in and tells them both to stop being so ridiculous and I for one cheered at this moment. This triangle has always leaned much further in the direction of Ben and Noel earned this moment to tell them how dumb they are. Do you agree with what Noel said?
Julie: Things are so messy right now. I think they will be able to get past this eventually, but maybe the two of them need a break, like a real break, for a while. I think it’s very important for Felicity to figure out for herself what she wants to do with her own life. The “easy” answer would be to follow Ben wherever he needs to go right now, but I don’t think that’s good in the long run for her. That’s kind of what her mother did, in a way. Her mother got pregnant and put the rest of her life on hold so that Felicity’s dad could go to med school and become a doctor. For Felicity, it would mean giving up the great architecture opportunity with Adam in New York to follow Ben to Arizona (and, gross, who wants to live in Arizona?)
They are both dealing with some really heavy stuff here, but I’m, honestly, not on Ben’s side in this instance. This whole season for him has been about him making rash choices without taking any time to consider Felicity’s feelings. He got upset with his dad a few episodes ago for being selfish in his relationship with Ben’s mom, but Ben is kind of doing the same thing to Felicity. He jumped into pre-med without considering her feelings, and now he’s making major life decisions without consulting her. They are not partners at this point, and she could consider living her life as such. If things are meant to work out, they will, but Felicity should not put her life on hold for Ben.
I’m also peeved at him about the Noel stuff. How long is he going to keep punishing Felicity for what happened? I get that he might not want to be BFF with Noel, but he needs to let go of the anger. Besides, I have a hard time believing he and Felicity would have made it through the fall without a breakup. They were headed in that direction. Maybe they’re only together now because Felicity slept with Noel and the whole thing forced them to deal with the fact that they weren’t doing well as a couple.
I’m still trying to figure out how/where Team Noel will come back into play, because I’m pretty sure it does. At this point, I don’t think Felicity would EVER consider hooking up with Noel again, because that would certainly mark the end of her relationship with Ben. Besides, he has Zoe, which, gross.
How are you feeling about Noel’s life choices in these episodes?
Emma: I hadn’t even considered the parallels with Felicity’s parents but your spot on here and in a roundabout way she is teetering on the edge of making the same choice/mistake without being the pregnant one. If Ben were to go to Arizona I can’t see Felicity going with him at this point even though they are both prone to making impulsive choices. I think this is part of why they are so great and so terrible for each other in equal amounts.
Another Ben thing I wanted to bring up is how easy he is to influence first with Trevor stirring the Noel pot and then with Sean suggesting he plays the “I can keep you in this state” card which is all kinds of ick. Ben is skeezed out by this and then yep he semi plays the card. Gross dude.
The only point that had me thinking that anything could ever happen between Felicity and Noel again is how she wistfully looks at him with Zoe at the end of “Kiss and Tell” but I read this as being envious of their relatively uncomplicated relationship. They’re in the beginning part so everything is fun. Or is it?
Zoe gets all funny about their relationship pretty damn quick including being really unreasonable in a meeting at work and then attempting to hide their relationship. I get the latter point because work and personal life mixing is complicated but she’s so obvious in her attempts to hide it that they’re clearly dating. So it turns out that she fell for someone hard and they didn’t feel the same way. She thinks it sounds dumb and Noel falls even harder because somehow he has found a girl who not only looks like one ex but also fits his own sorry love story. The big difference here is that Noel did not end up in the hospital. It’s already so dramatic that I can’t see this ending well.
At least for Noel things at home are okay again and like you mentioned I really can’t see how they are going to pivot this love triangle back the other way. And I really don’t want them to either.
Others are having relationship drama including Meghan and Sean with more super irritating bickering. I thought we were done with this. I was wrong. Did you care just as little as I did by this next chapter in the Meghan/Sean saga?
Julie: Before we move on from Ben, I want to point out how way harsh it was for him to look that little brother kid in the eye and then walk away. Oh, Ben. I am much disappoint.
As far as Zoe goes, I think I’m predisposed to hate anyone on this show who dates Ben or Noel, so obviously she gets a no from me. Also, I can’t figure out at all what he sees in her, or why she’s special. Other than the fact that she’s blond and cute. There’s no there there.
I really did not care about anything anyone who’s not Ben, Noel, or Felicity was doing in these episodes. The Megan/Sean stuff might have been interesting if a) it didn’t feel like a retread of things we’d seen before, vis a vis the sexy calendar shoot or b) if the writers had the balls to break the two of them up. I loved Meghan and Sean together at first, but now they’re just boring. There’s a ton of story to mine in a relationship between two people who marry so young and are still in college with actual roommates, but the Felicity writers are not digging anywhere deep enough.
I feel like Meghan and Sean should also be having an “oh shit” moment like Felicity. Meghan’s graduating, she doesn’t have her family fortune to fall back on. Sean is an “inventor” with no visible means of income. How are they going to live? If she actually wants to start pursuing acting, then the show should get serious about her pursuing acting. The way her theater class and the commercial auditions are portrayed in this show are comical. It’s as if no one on the writing staff has ever met an actor before.
And then there’s Elena, who basically doesn’t exist anymore. I wonder what the story was there. Was she working on something else? Did the writers just lose interest in her? Did Tangi Miller do something to piss them off? Because it’s ridiculous how little she has to do as a full cast member. Also, where’s Richard?
Emma: Oh yeah that was a really cold moment from Ben and I’m surprised they were waiting for him at the end. And of course he suggests basketball. Hopefully this kid won’t break his finger.
The Meghan/Sean story is so eye roll worthy in how repetitive it is and it’s probably a bad sign that I didn’t care if either of them ended up cheating on the other. If they did it would feel like a change in the bickering cycle at least. It is a complete retread of everything we have seen before and the shoe cover idea was indeed the dumbest. And your ideas of what they could do with this pairing sound far more interesting. If they did split it would put Meghan back at Felicity’s which I am all for.
Javier and Meghan’s acting storyline was essentially the comedic interlude for all the heavy shit which is going on right now and it was fine, but yeah it does come across like the writers are spinning their wheels with this pairing. The trying to hug moment was a delight thankfully.
Other disappearing cast members also include the two annoying roommates. I’m not sad they’re absent but it’s like they never lived there in the first place. And yeah I have to think Tangi Miller maybe had other commitments. Like you it is really just Felicity, Ben and Noel who are compelling at the moment and I’m really missing Elena’s presence.
Julie: Ha! I totally thought the same thing about Meghan and Sean. Just cheat on each other already. Break the cycle, kids.
I don’t have much to add here, but right now I feel like Felicity in Season 4 is one of those shows that would’ve benefitted from a shorter episode order. TV today has it right. 10-13 episodes is the sweet spot.
Julie Hammerle is, according to Klout, an expert in the areas of both Morgan Freeman and glasses. Her writing can be found at chicagonow.com/hammervision and you can holler at her on Twitter as well.