TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Christening” & “The Anti-Natalie Intervention”

25 Sep

Felicity, Episodes 3.1 & 3.2
“The Christening” & “The Anti-Natalie Intervention”
Original Air Dates: Oct. 4 & 11, 2000

Felicity 3.01 Ben and FelicityEmma: There are new opening credits with a brand new song and it totally threw me at first. In the space of 30 seconds I went from ‘ugh these are awful’ to ‘I totally love them’ which is a quick about turn. I like the cheese factor and how it captures the fun of the show with some of the farcical elements. There’s also some deep and meaningful hug/talking clips used and while the black and white credits captured that self-serious aspect of early college, I think these new ones represent the less precious aspects of college. They’re now more self-assured than they were and at least it’s not like the Alias season 3 disaster.

After complaining about how flaky Felicity is when it comes to decision making she went and did something impulsive in the season 3 premiere. Sadly it wasn’t a wise move as she ditched her Elena/Julie commitments and instead got an apartment for Ben and herself. She just went ahead and did it before consulting either her friends or Ben so they all kind of have to go along with it. Felicity is all excited about seeing a Ben again and her decision is tied to this romantic notion about both her relationship and the apartment in question. It’s in Brooklyn and what you would definitely call a fixer-upper.

Felicity is flaky, but she can also be single minded and it’s why she doesn’t really consider the consequences of this huge decision. First of all it leaves Elena and Julie down a roommate; this is covered as Meghan’s living plans have fallen through (she was meant to move in with Earl) and she needs somewhere to live. This is one development I am so happy with – Meghan is still with Sean and even though they’ve had an amazing summer together, they don’t decide to move into together, they are not Felicity. Ben doesn’t get a say, yes he could tell Felicity what a dumb idea it is, but he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. Instead he just bitches about how much he hates it to Sean. Standard Ben behavior. Ben takes Sean’s terrible advice because, of course. This advice includes a huge screen and I don’t even understand what kind of TV that is. Pre flat screen I guess.

It’s far too early in their relationship to take this step and there’s a difference between staying over because your dorm is flooded versus actually living together. They should still very much be in the fun stage and an apartment with a bath in the front room is not the way to go. That and everything else that is wrong with it: bugs, rats, loud pipes, a hot neighbour with no boundaries and appliances that catch on fire. Felicity mentions she has experience with fire and the new opening credits helpfully show this experience. On both occasions fire interrupts a hook up.

What did you think about Felicity’s impulsive decision?

Felicity 3.01 JulieJulie: I knew the new credits were coming, but I kind of forgot about it until you mentioned them on Twitter. I remembered hating them (and the new song) on my first Felicity go-around, but this time, I’m loving them. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s just that I love reliving all those little moments and seeing how much Felicity and her friends have grown over the first two seasons.

Felicity in the first episode of Season 3 is not the Felicity of the second episode. I don’t know what that whole “let’s move in together, Ben” thing was, but it was bad. All-around bad. She put her mister before her sisters. She didn’t consult Ben on the decision. And she was just being so “I’m Felicity and I need to feel adult.” Plus, I don’t think she considered how annoying it would be to live in Brooklyn while commuting to Manhattan for school. I am a big proponent of living as close to campus as possible, preferably on campus. There will be plenty of time for apartments and adulthood after graduation. Be a kid for as long as you can. Plus, holy geez, was the girls’ student housing AMAZING!

The whole time Ben kept talking to Sean about it, I was like, “You fool! This is going to be on the Sundance Channel! She’ll see it.” Ben is kind of an idiot. He’s an idiot about their downstairs neighbor who wants to use their living room tub, as well. He, apparently, has very little control when it comes to beautiful women, which hopefully won’t get him into too much trouble. Felicity doesn’t deserve that, apartment renting aside. Also, I don’t know what’s going on with his hair this season. I’m not sure if it was my TV, but it looked like a football helmet.

Anyway, no harm, no foul, because Felicity is back with the girls and Ben is back with Sean. And maybe Richard is living there now? Have they established that? Or is Richard kind of the Phoebe? Regardless, it’s good because it seems like the show is focusing more on the fun, social aspects of college, which is what we were hoping for during sophomore year.

I’m especially liking the girl dynamic. Elena and Julie are getting more to do, just by virtue of playing off each other. There’s some major girl shit happening there. Meghan is there to stir things up and provide comic relief. Julie, especially, has some deep things happening beneath the surface. She, apparently, took the kidney test, wasn’t a match for her dad, and got to know him a bit before he died. I’m not sure I believe her whole story at this point. She’s also having to serve as a buffer between Elena and the hot guy across the hall. Once Elena realizes she doesn’t want to jeopardize her relationship with Tracy, Julie steps in and hooks up with the guy. Is this the first time Julie’s really been with someone since Ben? I think so. I’m concerned Julie’s headed for more dark times.

What do you think about Julie? Oh, and Elena’s little crisis of faith?

Felicity 3.01 NoelEmma: Ben’s hair makes me way more sad than even the hideous Felicity top knot. I have no idea what they did to it. Maybe we can blame the helmet he had to wear on his construction job. The mid-length Felicity is sporting is not nearly as awkward as I expected it to be. You know who has terrible hair? That’s right, Noel. But more on him later.

The girls’ apartment is incredible and I’m guessing is one of these kinds of places that only exist on TV as none of our student housing ever looked like this. And there are also super cute dudes living across the hall, also in a TV fantasy land kind of way and this provides both the entertainment and the friction in the second episode. There is no way that dude’s towel would have stayed up and I love how disappointed they all were when the game ended.

Felicity does seem constantly torn between wanting to be an adult and doing the fun thing which is probably pretty accurate of most 19/20 year old’s. You’re right in that college is very much the time for fun, where you can stay over but go back to your own place whenever you want. Plus nobody wants a 20 minute conversation about where to put the forks. Especially when it’s not even innuendo. With Felicity moving into the apartment does this mean the English student who hasn’t turned up is shit out of luck? Or are two of them going to have to share? I’m going with the latter and I have a feeling Meghan and Felicity might end up sharing again, which probably won’t be too much of a big deal seeing as they both have their boyfriends’ (who happen to live together) apartment to sleep over at.

Also Felicity and Meghan make the most sense doubling up as I sense a lot of icy tension with Julie and Elena thanks to hooks up and persistent questions. Felicity hasn’t been around much to ask Julie about her depressing summer and like you I feel like she isn’t being completely upfront with what happened. It sounds super shitty and I can understand why she is being standoffish, but if you don’t want someone to ask how you are don’t cry in the communal space. Elena asking Julie to third wheel for her while she contemplates other options outside of Tracy is a bit of a dick move, especially as Julie is as she mentions always the third wheel so when Elena decides Tracy is all she wants (thanks to a well timed photo falling over that Elena saw as a sign from God), Julie puts that getting to know you with this pre-law guy to good use. Oh hey awkward morning after bathroom scene.

In terms of dudes post Ben wasn’t there that dread lock guy from the party at the start of last season? Obviously there was the sleazy A&R guy that resulted in Zach flashbacks and a Noel smooch, but no one else that I can think of. I want Julie to get her own story and for them to explore the lady friendships, but I hope Julie’s spiral isn’t just a series of one night stands; I hope they don’t use sex as a way to have Julie question her self worth all over again. I kind of hope this is just Julie being really passive aggressive towards Elena using her and rubbing it in that she can’t have sex with her boyfriend rather. This is also a dick move and one that I hope settles the score.

Elena also commits the dumb move of talking about her Tracy problems on camera and I think they’ve all forgotten what Sean is going to do with the footage. Cut to a few episodes time and the first episode airing. SO many arguments are on the cards.

If everyone was to write an essay about what they did on their summer vacation then Noel would certainly get a “huh?” in his comments section and he doesn’t show up until near the end of the premiere and when he is a very different looking Noel to what we are used to. Gone are the tees, sweaters and floppy hair and in are the highlights, beard and leopard print. They really did find the best worst attire and I’m pretty sure he is very stoned or at least high on something. As Javier predicted his cousin is some kind of whirlwind and Noel’s fallen head over heels for this lack of responsibility schtick. What did you think of Noel’s – or should I say Leon’s? – big news?

Felicity 3.02 Elena and FelicityJulie: I think Noel’s hair gets a pass for the moment. That is deep crisis hair. That’s not real hair.

Junior year is a particularly troubling time for Felicity’s hair. She seems to have it all figured out personally, but not follicularly. I think I just made up that word. The top knot is horrible. It’s a curly man bun, and it only works on Joakim Noah.

As far as the Julie/Elena fight goes, I’m squarely on Team Julie here. Elena knew she was being an idiot. She knew she was playing with fire, and she dragged Julie into it. I’m thinking at this point Julie only slept with pre-law dude as an eff you to Elena. Like, “See, Elena, if you were single like me, this could’ve been you.” I don’t know. Good for Julie for standing up for herself…in some way.

I also want to point out, as far as pre-law dude goes, he knows WAAAAAAAY too much about New York divorce law for an undergrad. It was actually hilarious. I’m pretty sure most attorneys don’t get that far into divorce law until they actually become divorce attorneys.

OK, Noel. Or Leon. He’s a hot mess. I think this whole Natalie thing was good for him in the long run. As we’ve said, Noel has always been Mr. Responsible. He had a long-term girlfriend. He got serious with Felicity right away. When he went to Europe two summers ago, he was so hung up on Felicity, he didn’t really let himself have fun. Then he hooked up with Ruby, who went and got pregnant, and who tapped Noel as her caregiver/BFF. Noel was due for some irresponsibility.

Of course, this being television, they take it to the limit, turning Noel into some skeezy guy with cool guy tips. He even elopes. At least he didn’t get a tattoo (that we know of), so there’s that.

Noel needed to go through all this, however, because 1) now he knows he can go full-throttle with his life notebook plan to be a giant computer nerd and 2) since he never figured out his living situation before running off with Natalie, he can move into Sean’s loft. Everyone’s living together! Things are perfect! Show over!

How did you feel about the Noel/Natalie situation?

Felicity 3.02 Noel and FelicityEmma: Woah that definitely tops even the Jared Leto man bun.

The middle stage of a grow out is super awkward and this is why I stick to short hair now (and I really don’t suit long hair at all). So having seen recent photos of Keri Russell has she lost the tighter curls naturally or do you think she has something done to her hair to lose the Felicity style volume? I am no hair expert so have no idea.

I am also on Team Julie on this occasion, I just don’t want this living situation to descend into bitchiness and bad feelings.

That dude definitely seemed like he was an actual lawyer posing as a student as some elaborate scheme to hook up with college girls. That or he has a photographic memory or something, Super useful having him across the hall for all law emergencies. Speaking of which – what kind of lease did Felicity get where she could move in and out of somewhere and still get all of her money back?

During the second episode I ended up writing down that Noel is the Ross of this show, which I guess is appropriately timed as it is the Friends 20th anniversary week (ahh those feeling old feelings). He ends up in these really dumb situations and gets married while drunk, there’s just something very Ross about him. I think it’s good as well that he has had this experience even if it has put a kink in his plan – it might also put Noel in the same year as the rest of the group as I guess he might have to wait until next year to do his senior year. Noel’s freak outs are also reminiscent of Ross as is his realization that their collective assets are a plate. Scott Foely once again gets to flex his comedy chops and show how good he is at this.

The initial intervention is kinda shitty and it’s similar to how they were all interfering when they found out Ruby was pregnant and they discussed it vocally while he was in the room next door. Richard has gone into overdrive and was this a high point for interventions on TV? Or did that show come later? It doesn’t go well and Ben’s the only one who doesn’t think it’s any of their business. Part of this is down to Ben’s general not wanting to get up in other people’s business kind of personality, but there must also be an element of Noel being Felicity’s ex.

In the end Noel does start to freak out about this huge life choice and Felicity’s reference to his life plan notebook basically has him shitting himself about the whole thing. It isn’t surprising that Felicity is the one that gets through to him in her Felicity way and they have a pretty sweet and open conversation about the whole thing.

Natalie discovers the intervention paperwork and she’s pissed about the whole thing; she ends up punching Noel pretty hard, but then later on she wants to get back with him. He’s still pissed but he can’t resist her pizza for breakfast moves although I am assuming this is nothing more than goodbye sex. Do women like Natalie really exist? She feels very much to me like a wild child caricature and the whole vacation every month/move every two years is far more fantasy than reality. Just how could you financially sustain this She also has some terrible clothing choices including the shirt showing her stomach thanks to an oh so classy knot and all of Noel’s hideous outfits are courtesy of Natalie. Javier’s stories about Natalie are also crazy, but hilarious particularly with the defibrillator.

More daddy issues ahoy as Ben’s dad comes into town? What did you think about the John Ritter (*sob*) guest turn?

Felicity 3.02 John RitterJulie: I’ve always wondered that about Keri Russell’s curls. During senior year, after she’s gone through the awkward phase, Felicity’s hair is much more relaxed. I’m guessing Keri does something to it. I think her hair gets wet in the new Apes movie and it looks like it has maximum curl potential. Maybe she wants to stay far away from Felicity’s iconic hair. I wouldn’t really blame her, considering all the crap that came with her cutting it. That said, is she a little less recognizable without the curls? It’s not Jennifer Grey levels, of course, but she had a signature look and she ditched it.

That was a long paragraph about curls.

Aaah! Noel IS the Ross! He’s totally the guy who freaks out when things don’t go according to his plan. He just needs a pair of leather pants. Also, I could totally see Noel going Red Ross. Actually, I would love to see (you know, in honor of Friends‘ 20th — God, am I old) the entire Felicity cast get together to do an homage to friends. Or, really, just to see Scott Foley do all of Ross’s lines, because I think he’d be great. Does anyone else fit the Friends bill? Maybe Elena is Monica, because they’re both so Type A.

I think HIMYM took interventions to their height and then back down again.

While the Noel thing was unbelievable, I am glad that it gave us some nice FeliciNoel moments again. I’ve missed the two of them being friends. They were doing so well in the beginning of last season, but then he got all caught up in Ruby and she got all caught up in Greg. The two of them really do understand each other the best of everyone on this show.

John walked in the room while I was watching this episode and was all, “Aww, John Ritter.” My reaction as well. He kind of made a habit of playing deadbeat dads toward the end of his career, what with being Ben’s dad as well as J.D. Dorian’s (I guess two makes a habit?).

It was all pretty cliche, with no new ground covered on the deadbeat dad front, but I did love seeing Ritter again as well as the adorable moment between Felicity and Ben when his dad inevitably didn’t show up. They have each other. Miraculously, Felicity’s impulsive apartment hunting and moving-too-fast didn’t turn Ben off this time. It’s almost as if she was doing it as a test…

Felicity 3.02 Noel black eyeEmma: The Keri Russell curl situation makes me think of Julianna Margulies and why she didn’t want her ER curls on The Good Wife, but that’s a wig rather than her actual hair. I really like Russell’s softer wave and it looks more grownup I guess, plus I get all the hair envy at her amazing side sweep. Hmm the mystery of where her tighter curls continues I guess but I know what you mean about how it looked in Apes (I’m still so bummed out that she was essentially just the girlfriend in that movie). Moving away from iconic hairstyles is in part about differentiating from the character and also it must be a style thing to – the Rachel haircut would look like a hot mess now for example. I’m also getting images of Gillian Anderson and her Scully helmet hair from the early seasons of The X-Files. She also has amazing hair now.

This is also a long paragraph about curls and hair.

Now I definitely want to see Scott Foley doing some Ross cosplay and Noel could definitely blow up and go Red Ross. Yeah Elena as Monica works, but I’m not sure about the others. I kind of see Tracy as a Paul – the boyfriend from outside the group who manages to stick around as he is well liked. Richard is kind of a Phoebe. Julie has the aforementioned Rachel haircut four years too late.

John Ritter is so good in a role that isn’t breaking the mold of disappointing alcoholic dad, but both Ritter and Scott Speedman elevate the material they are given to make it more than just a cliche. Oh and the opposite of deadbeat dad is 8 Simple Rules so that breaks the trend a smidge, maybe it’s just when he is guest starring? John Ritter is always an excellent performer and despite only previously hearing super shitty things about Ben’s dad in the past I instantly warmed to him because it’s John Ritter. He also wears that beard well. Ritter is great, but it was actually Speedman that really impressed me with all his nervous ticks while waiting for his dad. It looked like he wasn’t going to turn up for their second arranged meet up and he looks like a little kid while he is waiting. He does show up and he has a gift – a random CD from Tower Records, how very year 2000 of him – and they share a sweet moment with his dad apologizing for being a super shitty parent. He can’t remember a single thing from Ben’s childhood and this is pretty high on the deadbeat dad chart.

Ben doesn’t want false promises, but after this display of contrition he buys into the whole thing which makes them getting stood up later on all the more devastating as he let his guard down, but as you mention at least he has Felicity to provide some form of comfort. I’m guessing we’re going to get to see more from John Ritter at some point. Every season of this show needs some daddy issues.This will provide some excellent material for our Ben Covington thesis.

Hmm I don’t think I have anything else to add – you?

Felicity 3.02 group interventionJulie: Poor Julie with her gross Rachel hair.

I just want to say that I’ve only seen this season once, about ten years ago, so it’s not very fresh in my mind. I remember thinking back then that the third and fourth seasons paled in comparison to the first two; but this time around, I think I like where the latter seasons are going. There’s a pull-back from the seriousness of seasons 1 and 2. The comedy and situations are a little more heightened, a little wackier, which on the surface I shouldn’t like, but for some reason I’m finding that I do.

I love the angst, but like Chandler and Monica, I also like the silliness.

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.

 

2 Responses to “TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Christening” & “The Anti-Natalie Intervention””

  1. zrinka September 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    i don’t think that keri did anything to her hair. if you look at her hair in MMC all the way through now, it has just changed. mine has done the exact same thing through similar years, from being very full and curly in late teens to something kind of straggly now. it sucks. also, having a child has totally made my hair straighter and thinner. i actually brought a picture of her season 3 hair to the salon a couple of months ago to try and get that cut (still learning how to deal with this new hair) 🙂

    • Emma Fraser September 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

      Ah, this is very good to know, so thank you! I didn’t realise that having kids can also impact your hair as well as your general body. Yeah new hair can be a real pain to manage, hope you find a style you love soon.

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