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TV Rewind: Felicity, “And to All a Good Night” and “Girlfight”

4 Dec

Felicity, Episodes 3.11 & 3.12
“And to All a Good Night” & “Girlfight”
Original Air Dates: Dec. 13, 2000 & April. 18, 2001

Felicity 3.11 sparkly topEmma: Last time I hoped some holiday cheer would be coming our way and yes this is a festive episode, however the cheer levels are variable and Tag’s gun finally goes off (that Chekhov is a smart fella). The time hop between the two episodes is unnerving, but quick research revealed that the two episodes aired 4 months apart and that is a lot of time to find out who had been shot and also explains why they opted to leap that far ahead. I am jumping further than I want to and I’m guessing we both have thoughts on this amount of time passing, first let’s talk about what led to this event.

Felicity’s mom Barbara has come to say and because there has been so much back and forth with her parents relationship status I couldn’t remember if her singledom was brand new information. What I am very aware of is how often her parents put their own shit onto her and once again her mom uses her past relationship experiences and transfers it onto Felicity. Felicity isn’t entirely blameless in how her mom becomes yet another obstacle in the continuing ‘who/what is going to break up Felicity and Ben?’ guessing game as she hasn’t told her that she has plans to drive to Florida with Ben for Christmas, this is bad form Felicity. In her typical not really thinking things through way Felicity tells Ben that she might change these set plans and spend the holiday with her mom instead. Ben is rightly pissed off about this and this is further compounded by the awful dinner experience with Felicity’s mom fawning over Noel and being super judgmental of Ben’s lack of future plans (he doesn’t have a major! Whaaaaaat?!).

Of course Felicity’s mom is totally into Noel as Noel is great for boyfriend material – he’s charming in a slightly dorky way, he has ambition and he doesn’t beat people up – and Barbara is smitten. If only she knew about his marriage status (which we are reminded of in this episode) and his email stalking behavior. With Ben all she can see is this unambitious and dangerous guy she dated before Felicity’s dad. Ben’s position as the ‘bad boy’ is how he was positioned from the first episode, but they’ve done a really good job of subverting this trope since then. Yes he gets into fights and has some anger issues, however he is also beyond adorable at times and this season has positioned him in a way to get beyond these things that make him ‘bad.’

Bad timing means Ben gets viewed in a negative light as he’s late/forgetful when it comes to the theatre (he’s helping Sean out thanks to some emotional blackmail) and he is ranting about what a dick Tag is when her mom shows up. Gun and drugs are also mentioned in this awkwardly timed, but accurate diatribe. Ben does meet up with Barbara to try and clear the air and it works. He is adorable and charming in his explanation of how much he cares about Felicity and he pretty much quotes that Baz Luhrmann song to demonstrate why his lack of career ideas isn’t so bad. Once again everything is smoothed over and despite the fight they have been in they end the episode happy and dancing.

Some seeds of doubt have been sown and Felicity reacts in a slightly sad way when Noel claims the parrot is Ruby (it is clearly Felicity). What did you make of this moment?

Felicity 3.12 Ben and FelicityJulie: I’m with you that the time jump seems…odd. It’s like a lot has changed, but also not a lot has changed. I don’t know if that’s realistic or what, but it’s what we have.

In the second episode, Felicity and Ben appear to be unchanged (as a couple) in the months after the gun goes off. They’re still together. He still has no life plan. And I thought she’d be further along in her collaboration with Noel than she seems to be. After all the rushing to get the project handed to Scott Adsit, the time table of Loser Pet Shop has really slowed down. Noel is in the middle of (yet another) emotional meltdown. Last time he went rogue, he ended up married to Doritos girl. This time he’s ruminating on the meaning of life and hooking up with a girl who’s obsessed with Ben. Elena has taken to self-defense, and Molly is gone (yay!).

I find the Ben stuff most frustrating in these episodes. He’s a lovely guy and I’m rooting for him to succeed, but it’s like what Gwyneth said about Ben Affleck — he gets in his own way. He should’ve told Sean to fuck off with the tree thing. Ben knew he was meeting Felicity and her mom at the theatre, he knew that her mom wasn’t completely sold on their relationship, and he just should of simply told Sean that he wasn’t going to help. So what if Sean threatened to kick Ben out. It’s not like Sean would really have the balls (er…ball) to do that.

Also, I’m a little with Felicity’s mom here. Ben doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. Felicity barely knows what she wants to do. I thought that the experience in the ambulance would’ve knocked some sense into Ben, but apparently it hasn’t. He’s still very much the Brad Pitt here, only defined by the women (Felicity, Molly, rich girl), and not by who he truly is. Ben needs to figure out his identity separate from the girls.

But his speech to her mom, totally cute and charming, but also something a dick might do just to get in good with his girlfriend’s mom. But we know Ben’s not a dick, even if he does say dick a lot. It’s this show’s favorite word.

You asked about Felicity’s reaction to Noel saying the parrot was Ruby. She did look sad, but I kind of don’t get it at this point. What is she seeing in Noel? If Noel were walking around, graphic designing like a boss, not lying on the couch fretting about his existence, I could see it. But Noel as he is now is not worth it. He’s not worth screwing things up with Ben.

You mentioned on Twitter that you feel rage toward a character who’s not Molly. Is it the mom or is it Rich Girl Whose Name I Forget?

Felicity 3.12 FelicityEmma: Other than imprinting her own life onto Felicity’s I didn’t actually mind her mom too much. Even her hideous blouses were nowhere near as bad Avery who has quickly overtaken Molly for character who gives me instant rage. So two people got shot – Elena in the arm and it wasn’t too serious, scary but not life threatening. The other is rich girl Avery and it is still unclear why she was at the party in the first place as it seems like no one knows who the fuck she is even though she’s a big deal (or at least her family is in the publishing world). Avery almost dies, well she technically dies and we see this moment in the ambulance with Ben there holding her hand. Cue an instant infatuation with Ben thanks to the connection and being able to hear his unspoken thoughts ‘please stay’ isn’t exactly an unusual thing to be thinking when something is flat lining in front of you, but Avery sees this as an invite to pursue Ben.

And she is totally upfront about it and admitting to Felicity when she confronts her that she believes she is meant for Ben and vice versa, screw the girl he has been dating for a year and is in love with. The way Avery goes about this is with expensive gifts and court side basketball seats. She even gets a present for Felicity which is pretty much the perfect Felicity sweater and even though she doesn’t want to take it she ends up wearing it anyway (it is a nice sweater/color). This is after Avery has been underhand and not added Felicity and Noel to a club guest list which Noel rectifies by using his Leon magic (so paying the doorman) and later sleeping with Avery, because an existential crisis or something.

I’m glad Felicity confronted Avery about her suspicions and like Ben I couldn’t stop smiling when she was having a major rant about Avery’s behavior because a) I also hate her, b) it is fun seeing Felicity disliking someone. There is a super cute reassuring moment and they once again seem fine, though I am concerned that Avery is going to be a nuisance. Also who owns that many halter tops especially ones for exercise and going out?

Your observation about how Ben is defined by his relationships is so spot on and quite often there has been some element of helping a person out and it goes back to Julie even. Maybe he should look into being a counsellor or something like that as he is very good at it. He stays very calm post shooting as he did when Tag was being super aggressive before. And yeah like Goop Ben Affleck remark he really does get in his own way. Also so many of these communication issues would have been rectified if everyone at this point had a cell phone, but at this point only a few did – I was ahead of the Felicity curve and got my first one in 1999. Ben really does have to learn how to prioritize and sometimes it is fine to tell Sean to find someone else to help. Ben is still one of the most fascinating characters in terms of how he is presented, what you expect from a character like this and how he isn’t really any of these things. I still want to do an in-depth analysis of who is Ben Covington?

What did you make of Avery? Did you get similar rage levels to me? And I know you mentioned on Twitter how you thought Tracy was going to be one of the shooting victims – what did you make of this cliffhanger and how it panned out?

Felicity 3.12 Avery, Felicity and ElenaJulie: You can’t trust a trick in one halter top, let alone many halter tops.

The funny thing about the cliffhanger was that I’ve seen these episodes already. I watched all of Season 3 of Felicity. I just didn’t retain any of it, apparently.

I knew they were going to dispose of Tracy sooner or later (Scrubs started right after this season, actually), and the way they were talking about how he was going to Africa to help AIDS patients and how he and Elena were doing so well and making it work, I figured he’d be a goner. He lifts right out. I kind of wish they had done that. It would’ve been more interesting than introducing this completely new character who has very few redeeming qualities (other than her checkbook). Her getting shot was kind of like the “live” Arrested Development episode where one. of. these. people. will. die. by. the end. of. this episode. And then it was, of course, that random old lady in the promo.

If Tracy had died, Elena would be dealing with something much more major than self-defense and — oh — my boyfriend’s met a new girl and maybe he’s having sex with her too, that religious jerk. Noel could still be having his (recurring) existential crisis, though probably he wouldn’t also sleep with Tracy. And Ben could still be Ben, trying to figure out what he’s doing with his life. I thought that the incident in the ambulance would lead him to believe becoming an EMT is what he  should be doing with his life. Ben is very susceptible to what’s going on around him. I suppose that could still happen. Maybe it actually does happen and that’s why I jumped to this conclusion. Sorry, spoiler? Maybe not, though. I’ve already proved here how little I remember about Season 3.

As far as rage levels, I didn’t quite get there with Avery because I never saw her as a real threat. I mean, Ben didn’t seem interested in her at all, despite her obvious advances. I think he’s very solidly in love with Felicity right now and she should feel good about that.

What did you make of Elena’s story? What did you think about the condom in the wallet revelation?

Felicity 3.11 Tracy and ElenaEmma: In my notes for the self-defense class scenes other than hating on the halter I did ask for some Americans like moves from Keri Russell and they pretty much gave me some (she really does kick some serious ass on that show). The reason Felicity is at the class is because Elena has been regaining her sense of empowerment through learning how to protect herself. Elena has been showing off her new skills on Felicity and when it is Felicity’s turn to return the favor Elena is having none of it as her heart has been stomped all over.

It was very jarring to see Elena and Tracy going from loved up and sorting out whatever having sex has done to their relationship to him coming back loved up with someone else. I do wonder if the condom is in his wallet for just in case purposes, but I can also see why Elena is so upset by this discovery. Sex was their major obstacle and it got even more complicated after they slept together. It impacted Tracy’s entire belief system and no matter how hard Elena argues about what she feels in her heart, there is something much bigger at work here for Tracy. I’m not sure where this leaves Elena now, but I’m worried she is going to blame herself and her attitude towards sex (which is not at fault).

Like you I also think it would have been better to have his exit tied to the shooting in a more permanent manner. Instead the shooting ends up being really low stakes for everyone involved and if I had to wait four months to see the outcome of this story I think I would have been very pissed off with the results. The shot being fired when the screen turns to black is a very typical TV move because it does leave you in a state of uncertainty and coupled with the intercutting between smiling dancing characters it does imply that one of them has been hit. Yes Elena is shot, but that is also a cop out with how minor it is (not that I want Elena to get hurt at all). The whole resolution made me feel short changed in fact and I really did think it was effective how this sequence was shot even if I don’t find Tag all that believable in his drugged out angry state. Kudos Steven Gyllenhaal for the way he shot this scene (also completely unrelated but kudos for those excellent actor kids of yours).

Felicity wears a super slinky sparkly outfit to the holiday party which makes both Ben and Noel’s faces light up; this is her best dressed up look since the red dress at the start of season 2. Elena also wears a gorgeous metallic frock and it is a winner for the ladies and their festive attire. Suits were still for some reason on the baggier side in the year 2000 and how good would Ben look in slim fit suit with a skinny tie?! Alas baggy was a thing still.

After the Scott Foley awkward dance sequence in Scandal and the end of the Christmas episode I think I can declare that Noel is a better dancer than Jake. Still awkward, but with less elbows. Noel and Ben interactions are still some of my favorites for Ben’s deadpan responses as with when Noel asks Ben if he wants to dance. Ben does not and Noel claims he was joking (I don’t think he was).

I’m not sure if I see Avery as a threat, but for some reason her actions just really bugged me in that ‘sad rich girl who thinks she can do whatever kind of way’ and like Felicity I want her to back the fuck off. Too much? I wonder if now that she has slept with Noel whether she will be hanging around even more now.

What did you make of more Meghan and Sean bickering? Should he have given her a cut of the trees?

Felicity 3.12 Elena and FelicityJulie: Wow, you’re right. I would’ve been so pissed if I had waited four months for that shooting cliffhanger to be resolved. How lame. Someone we’ve hardly even met nearly dies and Elena is grazed in the shoulder. Also, how soon did Tracy leave after the shooting? You’d think Elena getting hit would’ve given him a moment of holy shit I almost lost this girl. Though, as Elena has concluded, maybe he never really loved her all that much. Sad.

Felicity’s outfit at the party is my everything. Especially as we’re going into the holiday sparkle season, I’m jonesing for some sequins. The early aughts were a good time for sequins. There just aren’t as many these days. Also sad.

If we can thank Tag for anything in all of this, it’s for giving us a great example of why we need better gun control in the US. If a cracked-out, derpy-looking mess like Tag can get a gun, then anyone can get a gun and we all need to reevaluate how things are done in this country.

The Meghan and Sean misunderstanding nonsense needs to stop. For the past few episodes it’s been all about them breaking up and getting back together. I guess after the shooting (when Sean called Meghan out for not taking her job at the school seriously or going about working there the right way) they didn’t actually break up, so, progress? I guess that’s how the shooting changed the two of them. They’re less likely to knee-jerk dump each other.

The tree thing was ridiculous. And I was a little squicky about Meghan calling out Sean for being cheap, after much had been made in the last few episodes about his Jewish heritage. I don’t know. I don’t think she really meant it *that* way, but still. Also, he was right, some of that money was going to be spent on her anyway and he was the one who was doing the legwork. I don’t think he really owed her anything, though if it actually were her idea, he should’ve just copped to it. This whole thing was just tired, from the fight down to Sean coercing Ben to help him move the trees.

I was a little more interested in Meghan as a teacher. I think that could work, if she gives the job the right amount of respect. She had a rough childhood and she likes telling people what to do and she does seem to have a good rapport with kids, even if she doesn’t think she does. She can be there for the kids who were different, like she was. I like it.

What did you think of Meghan and Sean?

Felicity 3.12 Meghan and SeanEmma: The constant bickering and breaking up is getting tiresome at this point and Sean did have some valid points when it came to splitting the money earned. Meghan was doing none of the work and she was still going to end up doing well out of this venture. Except it is pretty dumb to invest in this many trees this close to Christmas and instead of making a fortune Sean ended up seeing beyond money and gave them away for free. Felicity was very touched by this whole thing and made sure she told Meghan what an idiot she was being about this whole thing.

Meghan’s teaching story further explored who Meghan is and while I find it hard to believe that this character would a) turn up to school wearing a sheer shirt and b) teach a kid witchcraft it did show her softer side. Meghan and Sean tend to be the comedic pairing of the show so I’m glad to see the writers developing them beyond being here to be funny. As long as they can move past the whole breaking up/getting together thing. It was good to see her focusing on the kid who was being excluded and as you mention it sounds like she had a crappy time when she was younger so it makes sense for her to relate to this situation. Meghan still responds to things in a relatively immature manner so it will interesting to see if they pursue this new path.

So Noel’s existential crisis is caused by the near miss at the party – he bent down to tie his shoelace when the gun went off hitting Avery – and now all he can think about is how nothing matters. Noel has been flailing all year really and this is an extension what happened to him at the start of the season. Instead of clubbing Noel is reading nihilistic texts and eating a lot of spray cheese (I love cheese but even this might be going too far). Felicity tries to get him out of his funk and maybe sleeping with Avery is what he needed. Hey Felicity’s mom is this the kind of guy you want your daughter to be with?

Oh and I definitely agree with you on the sequins thing, you don’t know how happy I am that it is glitter eye makeup season.

Felicity 3.12 Noel and BenJulie: The spray cheese thing was the first time I really identified with Noel all season.

Also I’m with you on Meghan dressing like that for school didn’t jibe with what we already know about her. This is a girl who would put on a Laura Ashley dress to fool her parents. She knows how to dress in every situation.

And, yeah, if only Felicity’s mom could’ve seen this side of Noel. I guess it’s a lot of seeing what she wants to see. Also, she remembers Noel from when he was the responsible, dweeby RA. She does not know married stalker cheese crisis Noel. She also doesn’t know that Ben generally acts out of concern for others. He gets in fights, yes, but usually it’s because he’s been protecting someone and his face just gets in the way (except for the time he hit Sean, but, come on, Sean had it coming).

I’m hoping Noel’s romp with Avery will lead him to a better place because we only have a few episodes left in this season and that’s not a lot of time to compel me to jump back on the Team Noel bandwagon.

What else do you have to add?

Felicity 3.12 PS2Emma: I’m struggling to see how they will get me to jump back aboard the Noel ship too, Ben will have to monumentally fuck up to get me near that point. I’m also wondering how this time jump will impact how I see this season as a whole. It also occurred to me that the first season of Alias has a crossover period with Felicity and I wonder what that means for both Greg Grunberg as a Agent Weiss is in it from the start right? And also for the creative aspect of the show.

Julie: Wow, both Alias and Scrubs started in the fall of 2001 (not to mention 24 and Smallville). What a good time for television.

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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2 Responses to “TV Rewind: Felicity, “And to All a Good Night” and “Girlfight””

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Who brings a gun to a Christmas party? | Hammervision - December 8, 2014

    […] Emma Fraser and I discuss the junior year Christmas episode of Felicity where someone. gets. shot. You can find the post over at her blog, TV Ate My Wardrobe. […]

  2. TV Rewind: Felicity, “Felicity Interrupted” & “Back to the Future” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - June 18, 2015

    […] she was generally good when it came to party attire that didn’t involve double denim as this sparkly top from the shooting episode (I still can’t believe that is a thing that happened) is very […]

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