TV Rewind: Felicity, “Ancient History”

24 Apr

Felicity, Episode 2.03
“Ancient History”
Original Air Date: Oct. 10, 1999

Felicity 2.03 haircut

Julie: We left off last time with The Haircut, which deserves some capital letters. This was The Haircut that killed Felicity, the show not the character. Season 1, Felicity was a critical darling and cult hit. With The Haircut in Season 2, people started to wonder what they ever saw in this show anyway.

Which is really not fair. We’re only three episodes in and I see Felicity doing some pretty great stuff. During freshman year, Felicity (the character) was all about overthinking things and, ultimately, not acting on them. But as a sophomore, she is ready to take charge of her life, even if that means stumbling a little bit.

The first drastic step we saw last week: Breaking up with Ben. In the wake of all that drama, Felicity turned to her local barber and asked for the Justin Timberlake. She is now sporting an itsy bitsy curly pixie.

I think it’s adorable on her. She looks great. She has such a fantastic, angular face, the big hair was a little too much for her. And I love what they’re doing with her clothes and makeup so far this season. She’s wearing a little darker lipstick, and the cute tank tops. She just seems breezy at this point, not the high strung girl in all the sweaters. Of course, it is only September right now in Felicity Land. We haven’t yet stumbled into fall.

I do want to say one more thing about the hair: It gets worse. I think the Powers That Be from the show or the network, realized that this was a Colossal Mistake, and they had Keri Russell start growing it out right away. I’m pretty sure junior year is simply one big hair fail, if I can remember correctly. But right now, freshly shorn, she looks fantastic.

Before we move on to other matters, what say you about The Haircut?

Felicity 2.03

Emma: So The Haircut! Since we started our Felicity endeavor it feels like it has been leading to this point and while Noel or Ben is one aspect I had heard mentioned repeatedly, the reference to the show-killing haircut is pop culture legend. So I was expecting something WAY worse and as you mention it actually really suits her, the DVD box cover (the same DVD which also includes a description on the back of something that happens at the end of the season?! WHAT?! Yeah I’m still mad about this) clearly shows the growing out disaster and I’m sad they back pedaled this quickly. When it aired do you remember it being a huge deal?

Now as someone who has gone for the drastic chop on more than one occasion (which I have written about here) I know how amazing and terrifying it feels. The reason I cut mine was never as drastic as Felicity, I just suit shorter hair better and neither did I have the incredible amount of curls that Felicity has. The stranger reaction could come across as weird, but with Felicity her curly hair is so distinctive that it’s not surprising she gets so many comments from people she doesn’t know.

I love that Meghan is the first person we see react to it and her verdict is that it’s “wow bad.” Meghan follows this up with how much guys are going to hate it, which is of course a huge generalization as I know guys who both adore and dislike the pixie look on ladies. Micheal Pena is in the former camp, but I think that’s also because he’s still crushing hard on Felicity even after the party incident. There’s also the assumption that Felicity just broke up with someone and this isn’t the only thing Felicity is changing as she’s also dropping pre-med (as Elena predicted when she saw Felicity’s hair). It’s all change around these parts. This change also includes the opening credits where they’ve got both pre and post haircut photos.

Watching The Americans, I’ve got so used to seeing Keri Russell sporting many different hairstyles (including a pixie cut this week) that this hair chop is probably nowhere near as shocking as it would have been a) at the time and b) if I’d only seen her with the mass of curls.

As you mention everything about her seems way more chilled out than last season, even as she makes some pretty big personal changes. Early fall in New York really suits her.

What do you think of the reactions to her hair, particularly Noel and his cruel laughter?

Felicity S2 opening credits

Julie: Looking at the covers of the DVD boxed sets, I definitely think junior year is where it gets really bad. It’s like this curly halo around her head with no real style. The super short look is adorable and I wish I had the face/hair to pull it off. I’ve never gone super drastic with a haircut. I usually hover somewhere around shoulder length, though I’m growing it out a bit now for summer. Maybe In the fall I’ll get a Claire Underwood. We’ll see how that goes. (Though I couldn’t go full Underwood; I was not meant to be a blonde.)

The reactions were kind of awesome. I love that random people stopped to tell her they noticed. This is a very high school/college thing, because everybody is always all up in each other’s business even if they’ve never met. And, yeah, Felicity totally stood out because of her hair. Maybe now, with that burden off her shoulders (ha), she can really figure out who she is.

I thought Noel’s reaction was perfect. He had every right to be just the amount of dick he needed to be. Maybe he’s one who doesn’t dig the pixie look (considering the kinds of girls we’ve seen him pursue, I’m guessing that’s the case), so perhaps this was just the thing to help him officially and for real get over Felicity. I loved seeing the two of them together in this episode, not pining over each other or with one crushing on the other, but just dealing with the shitty hand they’ve dealt themselves. They always were great as friends, and it’s nice to see that he’s willing to stick up for her and support her and I like that this means we’ll be able to see more scenes with Noel and Felicity hanging out (with Elena at the cool apartment).

All of this is vague and ignores the fact that Noel found himself in pursuit of not one, but two women in this episode. What did you think of Brigid and Ruby and Noel? And how do you feel about the other ex-couple (Ben and Julie) mending their fences?

Felicity 2.03 loft

Emma: So at first I read that as Carrie Underwood, which would be a whole other kind of haircut (or extensions I guess) and yes you really should. I’ve always wanted to do the blonde thing but dealing with roots is not something I’d be good at. I like my hair to be as low maintenance as possible.

Noel’s laugh upon realizing who Elena is talking to is so spontaneously mean, but at the same time I can’t really fault him for getting the digs in where he can and I’m glad they’re not making him Mr Nice Guy all of the time. His “It will grow out, right?” remark deserves all the side eye Elena gives him and I’m also happy Felicity basically told him to fuck off rather than turning into a teary mess. Considering how much hair she’s lopped off, she’s not spiralling as much as she could be. What this shows it that while Felicity is prone to making huge, rash decisions – her hair is to season 2 as coming to NYU was to season 1 – when she makes those choices she sticks at it. She’s so thoughtful, but also incredibly impulsive at times and it’s those choices that feel like the right ones.

It’s why she chose Ben over Noel, in her gut she knew she had to see what would happen and even though they’re broken up now, I think for this character and for the story it was the right choice in that moment. Noel wants to know why she chose Ben and instead of giving him an answer she instead asks would it make him feel better if she said it was a mistake? There’s nothing she can say to make up for that summer and that choice, instead they have to learn how to be in the same room as each other considering they are in the same class. Like you I’m happy with how their scenes play out and that Elena’s apartment is no longer a Felicity free zone, even if Richard (!) won’t be too happy about this.

What really gets Noel back in Felicity’s corner is the drawing teacher and several of their classmates shitting all over Felicity’s hand drawings, which in my esteemed art opinion (ha) looked way better than the saggy backpack. They have a heart to heart and it reaffirms one important thing and that’s the close relationship they share that goes way beyond anything romantic. That’s the thing about these two is that they’re besties at heart and the smooching got in the way of this. Noel also tells her that her “hair is not so bad” which I guess is a lot better than laughing in her face.

So onto Noel’s new romantic interests and it turns out that Brigid (no T) gave him a pizza number instead of her own in the last episode. Noel decides to try his luck again, but unbeknownst to him, Bridgid is a lesbian. Bridgid tells Felicity this and at first I thought this was going to turn into some not so hilarious misunderstanding but luckily she tells Noel and he doesn’t react like he did when he found out his brother is gay last season. Brigid also has an extreme zigzag center parting which gave me so many 90s flashbacks and I’m not sure why we ever thought this looked good. I hope she sticks around as a recurring character.

One person I don’t want to be a regular fixture (and IMDB sadly lets me know that she is) is Ruby and I’m sure it’s not all Amy Smart, but urgh is Ruby annoying and pretty self involved. Noel’s totally into her as she’s a Mac person. The instant way to Noel Crane’s heart.

Ah, Ben and Julie and what to make of this. Hmm, well I actually really like the loft dynamic as long as Sean lays off crushing on Julie as I’m worried this could enter creepy territory. I’m glad Julie can forgive Ben, but it’s also kinda BS that she’s pretty much fine with him and not with Felicity. What do you think of this setup?

Felicity 2.03 RichardJulie: Yes, thank you! Richard is BACK.

It’s funny you mention Felicity’s impulsiveness. She comes across as such a labored thinker, but then she goes and does these crazy things and makes these big decisions without a second thought. The most we’ve seen her hem and haw about anything has been over whether or not she wants to be with Ben or Noel.

That art class was just painful. I’ve taken a lot of writing workshops, and you always start with something positive. Even if it’s the worst thing you’ve ever read, you at least compliment the spelling. This art teacher was so mean, needlessly mean. These kids are students; give a little constructive criticism, please.

Brigid’s whole aura is so deliciously ’90s. The zigzag part. The hair strategically escaping from her ponytail. She’s got it all. And she’s our first bonafide lesbian on Felicity, so good for her. She seems delightful, and I’m glad they’ve decided not to just let her “fall for Noel” because he’s so hot he’d turn her straight (that seems more like a future Ben Covington plot line).

Ugh. You’d better get used to Ruby. She’ll be sticking around. And, yes, she’s kind of annoying. What’s with all the freshmen this year? Get a clue. Also, probably part of the Ruby hatred is that Noel seems to dig her, and he and Felicity seem to be getting along so much better. Maybe Ruby appears to be getting in the way of that (though I really, truly like Noel and Felicity as friends right now).

You touched on what really gets my goad about the whole Ben and Julie situation. It’s too easy. She’s too fine with him. I get that the summer has passed, but were Julie and Ben ever really “friends?” He was her savior and her boyfriend, but they admittedly never had any fun together. And yet, she’s still really mad at Felicity. I suppose they (Julie, Ben, and Sean) all lived a happy coexistence, and figured they’d recapture the magic.

What do you think?

Felicity 2.03 zigzag partingEmma: Ugh to the Ruby thing, so far she’s coming across as the kind of person who acts dumb (with both dudes and ladies) but is actually smart and so doesn’t really need to resort to this kind of manipulation. She made me bristle a lot. Random observation time – when Ruby was listing the different kinds of computers she mentioned an iPad. Is this JJ time traveling?

I don’t know how sustainable the loft coexistence happiness is as there’s too much going left unsaid – Sean’s crush, built-up resentment, Felicity – I predict it will all come crashing down around episode 9.

One thing I thought was really smart was the absence of Ben/Felicity scenes, there’s so much going on in the episode and this would have left it feeling over stuffed. It’s more realistic on a campus like this that she would only have run ins with one ex and not two as there’s plenty you can do to avoid someone, like switching shifts at D&D. How heartbroken is Javier by the turn of events?

We don’t get Ben’s reaction to her hair and I’m glad we didn’t yet; if this was now, her haircut would be all over Instagram and the initial shock would come while looking at a smartphone screen rather than in real life. Now I’m longing for some Felicity Instagram shots.

Felicity 2.03 NoelJulie: That’s an interesting call about Ruby being a girl who plays dumb. I don’t remember everything about how her storyline plays out, but that could be true. She definitely feels that way. She got into college, presumably a good college, she can’t be that moronic. The windmills in the Norwegian landscape thing was either dumb, playing dumb, or just one of those dumb things that kids hear when they’re younger and carry with them until someone finally sets them straight. (I thought for longer than I’d care to disclose that you had to present a marriage license in order to book a room at the Sybaris. Do you know what the Sybaris is? You don’t want to go to there.)

I remember there being a big stink made a few years ago about Ruby listing the iPad. My guess is that she was just spouting names and combined a couple of them into iPad by accident. Kind of awesome. Or Ruby is a time traveler, because that would make her character ever so much more interesting.

There should definitely be a What Would Felicity Tweet/Instagram thingy somewhere on the internet. That would be awesome. How many favorites/likes/whatevers would her new hair get?

Emma: I do not know what the Sybaris is, the quick look at that link terrified me.

I think Felicity would get a lot of likes/hearts, especially if she used the right filter/wrote a meaningful blog post about chopping it all off for her and not because of some guy. Also where’s the Buzzfeed “Which Felicity character are you?” quiz? That’s something I really want to know.

Julie Hammerle is, according to Klout, an expert in the areas of both Morgan Freeman and glasses. Her writing can be found at and you can holler at her on Twitter as well.

3 Responses to “TV Rewind: Felicity, “Ancient History””


  1. Thanksgiving Rewind: Felicity’s Majestic Tangled Hair | TV Ate My Wardrobe - November 27, 2014

    […] want to talk about (as the title of this post suggests) is Felicity’s hair. Long before she chopped it all off my favorite (so far) Felicity hair moment came courtesy of “Thanksgiving” as she […]

  2. Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set | TV Ate My Wardrobe - March 25, 2015

    […] And now a season finale which is now the series finale and I’m super sad about today’s Looking news. Yes, they’re going to get a special to wrap it up so that’s something, but not the something I was hoping for despite the teeeerible viewing figures. Here is Patrick’s big Felicity moment. […]

  3. Out of the Box: Look of the Week | TV Ate My Wardrobe - July 10, 2015

    […] Before the domination of Comic-Con panel and party pictures we’ve got a mix of magazine editorials, fashion week styling and a hair conspiracy that could eclipse Felicity. […]

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