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TV Rewind: Felicity, “Surprise” & “One Ball, Two Strikes”

23 Oct

Felicity, Episodes 3.5 & 3.6
“Surprise” & “One Ball, Two Strikes”
Original Air Dates: Nov. 1 & 8, 2000

Felicity 3.06 Elena

Emma: As we predicted Ben did indeed find out about Felicity’s drunken mistake and the mistake is she passed out in another dude’s bed. It doesn’t matter to Ben that she didn’t do anything besides take her top off because a) she couldn’t initially remember whether she had slept with Randy (I can’t believe this is his name) and b) she didn’t tell Ben it happened and he found out via an email. His anger at this whole thing is understandable, except for the super anger part, that is not cool. Of course he’s going to pissed that his girlfriend got so wasted she took her top off and slept in another dudes bed. Plus the whole lying factor.

Bad form from Noel and Dr Pavone encouraging her to keep it a secret as this is terrible advice. I get that Noel was trying to do the right thing by both Ben and Felicity as he knew there was a surprise party, but with that email flyer out there it is some Sean levels of dumb advice. Dr Pavone thinks Felicity just wants to unburden her guilt, which yeah she probably does but it’s also the adult thing to do when he’s blatantly going to find out.

I’ve skipped ahead so I’m going to go back to the beginning and raise an eyebrow at the timeline of this episode and the last one we discussed – so this is meant to be the same day as the end of “Greeks and Geeks” and we’ve not heard Felicity’s birthday getting mentioned until now. Hmm. Scepticism aside, we do get to see Felicity going to see the doctor and getting the morning after pill (not from the NYU health service by the looks of things) and getting a small dose of judgement from the doctor. Look lady she already feels shitty enough without your sneering that tomorrow is her birthday.

The email discovery comes courtesy of Noel’s new computer fixing job and this brings up issues of consent with the photo of Felicity that has been used. She is very rightly hacked off they’ve used her image and a photo she can’t remember being taken. This plot is not as insidious as some of the very horrific, real life college/frat video/photo stories in the recent press and I wonder if this show was on now how they would deal with this. It’s 2000 and this email blast feels so quaint considering where we are now, but I had full on stomach churning tension feelings as Richard was checking his emails.

Once again I am impressed with how this show deals with sexual health issues and general health issues over both episodes with Sean. Felicity has made a mistake and it did in love getting blackout drunk, however I don’t get the impression that this is a ‘don’t drink, kids’ PSA. It’s definitely more of a ‘check your balls and go see a doctor if there is anything unusual’ PSA. Before we head into Sean territory, what did you think of the whole Felicity reveal?

And doesn’t Randy look a whole lot like MPDG Eli from S1?! Which also brings me to slight trouble in Ben and Noel friendship paradise. And the episode started so adorably between them.

Felicity 3.05 Ben and NoelJulie: OK. I just put randy and Randy together.

And, yeah, that nurse was every timid patient’s worst nightmare. You’re supposed to be helpful, woman. You’re supposed to want people to feel comfortable seeking help from you. You’re not doing your job.

Also the email thing vs. today’s media onslaught was really interesting. I mean, I check my email 4700 times a day, thanks to the phone. But back in 2000, we were only checking whenever we had access to a computer. And, if I remember correctly, I think we only moved to webmail right around that time. Before that, you had to be at a computer with an internet portal for the university, I think. I don’t remember, but I do remember that our early college emails were text only and all black and white. I am old.

As far as the Ben and Felicity stuff, A) she did not handle ANY of this well and B) I definitely told my TV after Ben got jumped at the end of the second episode, “Yup, he had to see that coming.” These two episodes were a master class in doing the wrong thing.

I don’t think Dr. Pavone’s advice was completely off, other than the fact that there was no way Ben wasn’t going to find out about Felicity’s night. EVERYONE knew she didn’t sleep back at her dorm that night. Someone was going to slip about that, and then the truth would come out. The email just sped everything up. But, since Dr. Pavone didn’t know that there were other friends involved in the situation, I think her telling Felicity to keep it to herself was kinder (assuming Felicity could find a way to fend off Ben’s sex advances while waiting for her STD test results). OK, never mind. Dr. Pavone was way wrong.

What Felicity did that was the MOST wrong, though, was asking Randy to talk to Ben. Give it up, girl. Move on. Yes, Ben is mad at you. Quit dragging Randy into this. What good could POSSIBLY come from Ben talking to Randy? No good. No good, and a lot of punching.

Ben, other than the punching, was in the right, in my opinion. Yes, he was hard on Felicity, but all he had was the fact that she didn’t remember anything, there was a picture of her topless, and Randy’s word. That’s not a lot to go on. Merely the fact that she allowed herself to get into that situation had to be disturbing for him. That said, I think a lot of this problem could’ve been rectified if he had just let Felicity talk for once, and if she had just apologized and said, “I understand why you’re mad. Yes, nothing happened with Randy, but the fact that I allowed myself to get into the position where something might have happened, is also problematic. I’m very sorry, and I promise never to let it happen again.” But of course, things had to get much more dramatic than that.

Before we move on to Sean’s balls, I just want to say before I forget, that when Felicity was telling everyone that the paintings with the red dots had been sold, I said (to my TV), “Has Molly also been sold, because she has a red dot on her forehead.”

Felicity 3.06 paintingEmma: It’s now clear why Ben’s father stopped by at the start of this season and not only to show the daddy issues are strong here, but also to emphasize where Ben gets his anger issues from. It’s dumb that Felicity asked Randy to talk to Ben and it’s even more dumb that Randy did it while Ben was sitting at a bar with a drink in his hands. Terrible, terrible idea. Randy didn’t deserve the four punches he took (and the way Ben was going I thought he was going to put his hand through his skull), but this really wasn’t the best way to go about it. And yeah Ben also did deserve the retribution, even if it was very melodramatic in the set up.

Now that Ben and Felicity have made up is this going to be the elephant in every argument? I always knew there were going to be issues this season between them, but ugh I’m annoyed it happened this quickly. It’s surprising that Felicity is the one who fucked up and I pretty much had Ben pegged for the one to cause the friction. I’m glad our lead has flaws and she does fuck up, I just hope the next run of episodes isn’t miserable.

Approaching Ben in a bar doesn’t go so well for Noel and I get why Noel is reaching out to his now friend, however it’s one thing Ben coming to him and crossing the personal boundary line telling him his “I knocked a girl up in school” as opposed to Noel’s “oh I’ve been there with Felicity” comparison. He’s trying to be a good friend and I bet he feels guilty for telling Felicity to wait, this is not the solution and it’s not surprising Ben isn’t receptive to this advice.

Ha on the Molly thing at the art show and yeah she continues to wear bindis and be generally annoying.

This was also the very rare instance where someone’s art on TV didn’t make me cringe, the symbolism is on the nose, but it was a rather good simple image. Yay Felicity!

Now onto Sean’s balls and I’m glad Sean has been given a story that doesn’t involve his documentary or some other scheme. Yes it’s super shitty they’ve given him cancer, but this is a meaty (hmm maybe bad word choice) opportunity for this character. It’s also an important story to tell as dudes are less likely to go see a doctor about these matters and particularly at a younger age (how old is Sean?). This is around the time Steve from Sex and the City also had testicular cancer (and also had to have a testicle removed) and I wonder if this was a story trend (Lance Armstrong had become the famous face of testicular cancer in the mid-90s, I might be reaching for a link).

Regardless, they did the whole it’s awkward for dudes to talk about this stuff for each other, though I do get why Ben and Noel passed on looking at his balls and told him to go to the doctor instead. Ben doesn’t want Sean to say the word testicles because it’s gross and Noel pipes up that it’s like when a woman says labia. I don’t know if I’ve ever said labia, except right now of course.

Sean is embarrassed to tell Meghan and she’s worried he has crabs. The moral of these two episodes is tell your beloved about whatever shit you have going on. Meghan is pretty great with walking Sean down off the ledge as he goes into denial about what’s going on and I’m so glad they’ve made them a for real couple. Everyone has a story about someone they know who died from not getting treatment/getting treatment too late and Meghan doesn’t want to have her own story like that. This is extra great coming from her as she has stories for everything.

Cancer isn’t funny, but I’m glad there was still humor after all the trauma and denial. The peanuts gag could have come across as cruel, but it’s Richard and it’s rather sweet.

There’s a whole thing between Ben and Sean, with Sean telling a Ben that he’s needs to get his shit together. It’s something Ben needs to hear and it’s the first bit of advice he gives a go. In this scene Ben is wearing a black beanie, he should never wear it again because it looks awful. And yes Ben you are out of control and he needs to find a better way to deal with things

What did you make of this Sean centric story?

Felicity 3.06 Richard and NoelJulie: I loved the way Meghan handled Sean’s ball scare. The speech about not wanting to have a horrible story about testicular cancer was spot on. I also loved the way she called him out for being a dreamer, who just assumes everything is going to work out, and this time, in this instance, he actually has to live in reality and face the fact that this is serious business. The two of them together are delightful. They really bring out the best in each other.

And while this was definitely a Hot Topic of the Times that they were tackling on this show (I’m pretty sure Lance Armstrong was the impetus), I think giving one of the characters access to the kind of perspective that comes with a death scare like that worked well. Sean was the one who called out Ben for running away from Felicity, and he was able to tell Ben, with certainty, that if he didn’t forgive her, it would eat away at him.

It also gave us a little insight into Tracy’s faith, and while I’m not religious, I thought what he said was beautiful and positive and exactly what Sean needed to hear.

And, yeah, Sean should’ve definitely told Ben to torch that hat.

Now, I think we can move on to what we really want to talk about, which is Noel’s new job as a computer genius. In the first episode, he became the object of his client’s affection (and started to suspect that Richard might be gay, which I’m really sad he isn’t because he’d be a great gay character and very different from Javier). In the second episode, Noel’s client was a hot junior dance major played by none other than Ms. TYRA BANKS.

How was Tyra’s acting for you? Did you catch her smizing at all? Was her hooch tooched?

Felicity 3.06 Meghan and SeanEmma: I agree with you on the Tracy/Sean conversation and like you I am not religious, but it shows how it can offer comfort particularly at a time like this in the form of a universal language. Tracy’s beliefs have only been spoken about it terms of sex before marriage prior to this and I’m glad to see them referenced in a different way for once.

While I’m on the subject of Tracy he goes away for the weekend in “One Ball, Two Strikes” as part of Habit for Humanity and Elena says she’ll help Tracy’s partner with his sociology work. In a point of contrivance Tracy’s partner happens to be Finn, the hot guy from across the hall who Elena has a crush on. Of course they end up doing the work in Elena’s bedroom and even though they don’t do anything initially, Finn falls asleep and when he wakes up smooching happens. Gross morning breath alert. Finn’s all Tracy is my friend, but who cares because I’m into you and Elena succumbs to the long standing crush. Elena feels guilty for what she did and I wonder if she’ll take the Dr Pavone don’t say anything route or whether she’ll end up spilling (I predict the latter).

Noel makes a couple of misteps other than the Felicity/Ben shenanigans. First he assumes Richard is gay because of a photo and while he’s trying to be a good friend it’s so awkward and he goes about it in a very naive way. I really wish we could have seen the apology email. Richard is a virgin and he’s never kissed a girl, something he is very embarrassed about – Meghan finds the whole thing hilarious and while Richard is embarrasses it’s clear none of his friends think any less of him because of it – but by the end of the episode he gets a smooch off Molly. Which, I guess is the best thing she’s done so far. Maybe.

The other bad Noel act is some of his creeper antics with the one and only Tyra. He peeks on her while she is getting changed, which makes me question why no one on TV ever shuts the bathroom door when there is someone in the next room and they’re getting into their undies/naked. He also looks in her diary. Bad Noel.

Ah yes the acting style is very much a combination of her whisper voice and that super upbeat thing she does whenever they do anything awful and over acted on ANTM. It’s not terrible, but it definitely in a different lane to everyone else on the show. If only Tyra had been to Harvard Business School at this point.

Does Noel stand a chance with Tyra? Were you just as skeezed out by his creeping as I was?

Felicity 3.06 TyraJulie: I feel like the less said about the Elena/Finn situation the better. He’s super skeevy. He hooked up with Julie and now he’s willing to throw a bro under the bus to get to his ‘ho. Not cool, Finn. And not cool, Elena. Tracy doesn’t deserve any of this.

While Noel did not handle the “Is Richard gay thing” well, I did like the storyline, because I think we all had those friends in college everyone assumed was gay but not out yet. Most people (at least back in the late ’90s) do not show up at school out and proud and sure of their sexuality. I think Noel was trying to be supportive (like he wasn’t with his brother back in Season 1), but I don’t think this is a mistake he’ll make again.

I’m assuming Tyra’s coming back, otherwise what was the point of Noel looking in her journal (other than to have him spill the coffee). Maybe that was it. I don’t know. I thought she acquitted herself well, but yeah, what’s with the open door policy? Between that and Feliciben’s living room bathtub, there’s not a lot of privacy at the University of New York.

Where does the show go from here? Ben and Felicity are back on track. Sean’s going to be dealing with the cancer stuff. Whence will the drama come? Elena? Noel?

Felicity 3.06 BenEmma: I worry that Ben and Felicity despite reconciling aren’t going to be able shake this bump in the road, especially with Ben getting jumped like that and he’s going to have a big dent in his pride as a result. I dunno, I hope they can but I keep thinking that they’re going to reintroduce Noel as a possible love interest soon and ugh I’m not looking forward to that. I liked Noel and Felicity together, but the way things are now with Noel and Ben living together and as friends, I don’t want to see the implosion of this set up.

Yeah I think Tyra will be back as it did seem like this was setting up for something more. Don’t be a stalker Noel. I just checked to see when ANTM started (2003) so this must have been when Tyra was trying her hand at the acting thing.

Drama wise there’s no way the Elena cheating thing isn’t going to come up soon and now she has kissed Finn I think she’s only going to get more tempted, plus he lives across the hall so she won’t be able to avoid him. I predict an awkward elevator ride that ends in a smooch.

Any other thoughts?

Felicity 3.05 Ben and FelicityJulie: I just can’t believe how young Tyra looked in 2000.  I guess that was fourteen years ago, so, yeah. We probably all looked young.

You know Felicity and Noel is on the return, but I’m not sure how they’re going to get there at this point. Right now both characters seem so far from being romantically interested in each other. It would be kind of out of left field. But that’s TV for you.

Emma: I am super intrigued as to how we will get back to that place of Felicity and Noel. I predict booze or beets will be involved.

Julie: Maybe some of Meghan’s smart powder 🙂

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.

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