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TV Rewind: Felicity, “Senioritis,” “It’s Raining Men,” & “The Last Summer Ever”

8 Jan

Felicity, Episodes 3.15, 3.16 & 3.17
“Senioritis,” “It’s Raining Men,” & “The Break-Up Kit”
Original Air Dates: May 9, 16, & 23

Felicity 3.17 wistful FelicityJulie: I thought these episodes were kind of interesting tonally. There’s nothing really “wrong” with Felicity and Ben’s relationship by the end of the season, but obviously not all is well. Maybe there has been too much hurt all season, too many Noels and Averies and that frat dude Ben punched. But it kind of feels like (spoiler alert) when the two of them say goodbye at the end of the season, there’s a bit of relief there. They’ve spent too much time worrying about the other’s intentions all season, Felicity and Ben are ready to have the summer to themselves, though I don’t think they (or at least Felicity; we don’t get to see Ben’s reaction) realized it until they found themselves on their own.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The trio of episodes kicked off with “Senioritis,” a reminder that Noel is a year older than everyone and he’s getting graduated this year. He’s taken a job in Seattle, doing…something, and he and Felicity are really going to miss each other’s…friendship. He offers her a job working under him for the summer. She’s interested, but she balks. She and Ben want to spend the summer together and Ben’s not sure he wants his girlfriend spending the summer with Noel (which, really, is kind of fair; she barred him from seeing any more of Avery).

Speaking of Avery, she did what I thought she’d do — she “accidentally” OD-ed on some pills in order to get Ben’s attention. It worked. And Felicity saw the two of them together again…a couple of times…and Ben really can’t get a clue about how to extricate Avery from his life. So Felicity tells him how: STOP TAKING HER CALLS AND INVITING HER TO STAY AT YOUR APARTMENT, YOU MORON. Ben finally gives Avery the official heave-ho at Dean & Deluca, and it seems to take. She’s gone, after too many episodes and too much of her trying to weasel herself between Ben and Felicity, it appears she has finally left the show. Thank goodness.

But, of course, Avery wasn’t the only ghost of relationships past to make an appearance during the final three hours of junior year. There are so many things to talk about with these episodes. Aaah! How sad are you to see Avery go?

Felicity 3.15 FelicityEmma: I am super sad to see Avery go… Okay maybe that is the biggest lie I’m going to tell all year because FINALLY this story has been put to bed but not before one almost rift causing hurrah! My problem with this plot and with the overall Ben and Felicity friction from this second half of the season is that it feels so contrived, it’s like they needed to find a reason to cause uncertainty and this was it. For me it hasn’t worked at all because I can’t see Ben being this dumb even when he has shared this huge experience with Avery. Girl is definitely persistent and the pills move is a sign that she definitely needs to be talking to someone. Her poor little rich girl “I am so alone” schtick doesn’t wash with me and she strikes me as someone who always gets her way and this is something she can’t buy.

I wonder if I’m being to harsh on her, but nope I don’t think I am. Take the way she dangles that ‘something’ happened at the Hamptons with Ben. Noel infers this as they slept together because that is the kind of thing you infer from this phrasing and while Ben doesn’t own up that he did kiss her back, it sounds way worse than it was. I’m surprised Noel showed such restraint and didn’t straight up tell Felicity about it and I’ve got to give him some kind of credit here, although I still think he has been petty at times with how he has dealt with his this is more than friendship feelings.

Avery is a temporary Felicity/Ben obstacle whereas Noel is more permanent even if he is meant to be moving to Seattle soon. Finishing college is causing this rush of aaaargh feelings and in this respect I understand why Noel is suddenly admitting how he feels and this has been a long time coming. Plus the S3 DVD cove might only be Felicity and Ben but this triangle is far from over. I’m glad they acknowledged the state of Ben and Noel’s friendship because they’ve never been BFFs and they shouldn’t have to be. In fact I think it would be pretty unhealthy if they were, living together is borderline huh. Don’t get me wrong I love Ben and Noel’s attempt at being friends because of Felicity but they really have nothing in common except her. Also Ben calls Noel a dick in two of these episodes which I also appreciated because he was being one.

What do you make of Noel’s big Felicity overtures?

Felicity 3.17 Felicity and NoelJulie: I’d like to be able to not buy the Ben/Avery thing, but I actually do. Ben is that big an idiot when it comes to beautiful, damaged girls. Noel hit the nail on the head. So, yeah. I’m fine with being hard on Avery (she deserves all the venom we and Felicity spew at her), but Ben is also a damn fool in this situation and he keeps making the same mistake over and over again until FINALLY he gets a clue and shows her the door.

Stop being your own biggest obstacle to happiness, Benjamin!

As far as Noel goes, his Felicity feelings definitely do stem from his being about to leave. Maybe there’s a bit of panic about wanting to hold on to some part of college. Maybe he realizes (just as I’ve realized) that Noel is at his best when his relationship with Felicity is in good shape. Even Felicity is at her best with Noel. She’s proactive (in a very business-like way) about her art. She’s FUN. She seems centered. When she’s with Ben, her whole being centers around the status of her relationship with Ben. There’s no fun. She tends to get lost and frets too much about making sure he’s happy. I don’t think that’s lost on Noel either.

Despite his dubious actions earlier this season — getting quickie married and stalking Tyra — I don’t think Noel’s initial actions are impure. I think asking her to work with him on Loser Pet Shop and giving her the break-up kit were totally “I care about you and think you’re talented as more than a friend, even though I realize you don’t see me that way” actions. I think Noel, at the beginning of this whole arc, was fine with friendship.

But THEN he was witness to how straight up shitty Ben was being, letting things happen with Avery and still seeing her despite Felicity’s feelings. Noel saw an opening, and I don’t blame him for that. He was leaving for Seattle. He had to take a shot. And so what if Ben got hurt, they were never friends anyway and Ben was constantly eating Noel’s food without asking (though, I’m on Team Ben here about putting peanut butter on a bagel).

I also buy Noel getting a little butt hurt that Felicity chooses Ben over him, because her past few months with Noel have been fun and easy, while her last few months with Ben have been torture. And I buy him deciding to cut her out so he can start fresh. And I completely buy all of that driving Felicity crazy because she needs everyone to like her.

So now we have Ben gone for the summer, and Noel (who has really been occupying more of Felicity’s mind space than Ben for the past few episodes) sharing an apartment together and “getting ice cream.” What do you think of this development? Where do you think Felicity’s head is at, and should Ben be worried?

Felicity 3.17 Felicity and BenEmma: Ben does have a saviour complex and I’m glad you brought that up as it had slipped my mind. It’s why he first connected with Julie and maybe Teri Polo too. Felicity is different and has never really needed saving, though if I recall correctly their night of breaking into the swimming pool came when she was feeling super low about her parents so it even works here a little bit.

For me Tracy’s speech to Elena works for the whole Felicity/Ben/Noel thing in that Felicity and Noel make the most sense for all the reasons you lay out, but it’s actually Ben who seems like the right choice despite their differences. This might be because I’ve been firmly in the Team Ben camp for a whole now and because I still can’t get over the Tyra thing. I might even at this moment suggest that Felicity goes for the “I choose me path” and I have a feeling that after this summer she might opt for that because something is definitely going to happen or almost happen while Ben is away.

It’s the joy and woes of having a love triangle is there needs to be conflict and harmony; Felicity has been with Ben all season and I think that’s been good at times but they’ve also had to create tension for other places so Avery, Noel, Felicity’s mom, Ben’s dad and I for one need a break from this so I hope they do break up, which sounds weird as I’m on this ship.

The most interesting thing to come out of the Avery situation was seeing Felicity have a strong negative reaction to someone because it’s so rare and as you point out she wants everyone to like her and like each other. It’s also why I’m glad to see Dr Pavone back (and chain smoking once again) because she doesn’t make things easy for Felicity even if I don’t always think she gives the most sound advice.

The panic of leaving college and how this structured life you’ve had for 3/4 years is suddenly going to be gone rang so true and I can understand why Noel’s departure makes them both question what their relationship means. It is scary and everything does change. It’s why the idea of the last summer for Ben and Felicity is a big deal. Realistically it isn’t necessarily their last summer but it is the last one before the real world. Also this show makes the decision of summer plans seem so fraught and stressful. I pretty much did the same thing every summer while I was at university and not once did I have a huge choice to make between dudes or taking a job or going camping. Maybe I missed out? Also if Noel does hookup with Felicity while Ben is away it’s the perfect revenge for Felicity picking Ben at the end of season 1

Felicity 3.15 tpJulie: Felicity does need a Kelly Taylor moment, doesn’t she? Has she really been single at all since freshman year? She’s either been pining after someone or outright dating them for the past three years. What do you want for you, Felicity? Which is why I actually think Noel (minus the Tyra stuff) is the better choice for her. He lets her be her. Ben keeps her mind too focused on Ben. Team Noel for me. Let’s just pretend the Tyra stalking never happened. shall we?

Thank you for mentioning the weirdness of the summer plans. Mine were always basically come home and get a job. There was no flitting around the country. (Maybe there should’ve been.)

I was going to ask you how you’d feel if Felicity hooked up with Noel during the summer. Would it be a little evening the Avery score? Or is hooking up with Noel kind of mean and unforgivable? This isn’t 90210 where everyone is constantly changing partners. This show does tend to have consequences. What consequences will arise from this pairing?

Maybe we’ve said a lot about the central trio and should move on to someone else…Like the WTF-ness that was Elena’s story? So, she started hanging out with DeForest when she was blind, then she saw him and still kept hanging out with him (both because she enjoyed his company and felt bad for being shallow about his looks), then he made a move and she rebuffed him, then she tried to backtrack and he told her to stop pitying him, then she genuinely wanted to jump his bones kind of, and now she’s all of a sudden dumping him because Tracy’s back? Poor DeForest is what this amounts to, and he’s so genial about the whole thing.

So, yeah. Tracy’s back. And he never had sex with Africa Rose. And that condom was meant for Elena, not for Rose. And now he has a ring and he wants to marry Elena. What do you make of all this? And what will Elena say?

Felicity 3.17 Tracy and ElenaEmma: I love that we’re going into this final season with each of us on the opposing team, but I think ultimately we are both Team Felicity. And if anything does happen in the loft while Ben is away then yes that will be very bad and much worse than the whole Avery situation because of all the history and the location.

Ben’s decision to become an EMT actually makes sense even if downplays it at every opportunity as he’s shown not only with the ladies he’s tried to save but with that kid he played basketball with. Yes that kid ended up with a broken finger but he did take him to a doctor so there’s that. For everything that has been said about Ben’s temper he did keep his cool when James threatened them (the first time) and this is a skill that will come in handy if he does become an EMT.

I think Ben’s fretting about careers is a little preempted but he see Noel as someone to be envied when it comes to this and so it’s not surprising to see him get nervous about his lack of direction. Noel knows what he wants to do, but alas his job in Seattle is no longer available. What a neat coincidence, eh? I did wonder how they were going to ehg Noel back to New York and this is it.

But on to other couples and I think they’ve had an issue with finding Elena a decent storyline after the gun incident and you’re right about DeForest being this kind of prop. Yeah Elena didn’t mean for this turn of events to take place, but still pretty shitty. And yes Tracy wrote her a long looking letter (I don’t think it is quite 18 pages front and back) and has said all the right things but this proposal still doesn’t seem like a good choice. It’s the romantic/impulsive choice and yet I don’t think it’s enough. And considering we know Scrubs started around the same time as Felicity S4 I think this might end in tears.

We’ve also got Sean and Meghan doing their merry breakup routine and the whole rabbi thing was beyond tedious. The couples counselling and vacation chat were a little better but I’m still a bit fed up of them. What did you make of their relationship woes?

Felicity 3.16 Sean and MeghanJulie: I also love the idea of Ben becoming an EMT. It just feels right for him. He doesn’t strike me as a 9-5 suit and tie kind of guy, so riding in an ambulance at all hours of the day sounds perfect. Though, his swoonyness might cause more heart attacks than it prevents.

Ugh, with Meghan and Sean again. I thought we were over the whole break up every week thing, but no. And I get Meghan not liking the rabbi, but calling her a Hooters girl? Not cool coming from someone who seems generally more openminded about other women’s looks and choices. The vacation thing was also dumb, because come on, Sean. Get over the money thing. Luckily he does by the end of the episode and the two of them are off to Switzerland for the summer (leaving Felicity and Noel alone in the loft).

This is probably a good time to start talking about our hopes and dreams for next season. Molly wasn’t even in the final episode, so could that be her death knell? Javier’s back, which is a good thing. I think you’re right about Elena and Tracy. Despite her (happy?) fainting, the two of them will not get engaged because he’ll be with JD Dorian instead (Whose father is also a bad dad John Ritter! Do Scrubs and Felicity take place in the same universe? Are JD and Ben secret brothers with different last names??? Discuss.)

Obviously things will get rocky for Felicity and Ben. How do you see it playing out? How do you want it to play out?

Felicity 3.17 groupEmma: The only aspect of the Meghan/Sean stuff I liked was when Meghan showed her softer side but yeah I’m done with them if this cycle continues and as Alias is a Sepetember 2001 show I think they will be going the same way as Tracy and Elena. Or maybe he will pull double duty as I don’t remember Weiss being around that much at the start. Which brings me to something else regarding season 4 and considering the location I was wondering how they’re going to address 9/11. I suspect there will be a subtle nod with maybe just a title card rather than a direct reference, but it is definitely something that crossed my mind.

I want everything good for Felicity and I have a feeling she has a whole lot of DRAMA heading her way. I do wonder how Noel will fit it now that he’s graduated – by the way I adore how his mom responded to Felicity – will he get a job at the bar, Dean & DeLuca or at NYU? One of those will be awkward no doubt. I do want her to end up with Ben, but I don’t want the whole season to be about this.

As you mentioned with Molly I think her days might be numbered as she’s pretty much just been there to make a comment about whatever story is going on so laying it on thick about Felicity’s amazing friendship with Noel. Javier has been rather absent considering he now goes to college (they seem to have forgotten that), but hopefully there will be more for him to do.

Season three has been a bit of a mess and that time jump was part of the problem so I hope the focus is stronger in the last season. Oh and you know how much I love the sexual health stories so more of those please.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention the Ruby reappearance and do you think this is the last we’ve seen of her? It seemed pretty final to me and you can tell Avery and Molly were bad because I really didn’t mind seeing her again. Also why was she wearing a red sleeveless turtleneck with a red sweater draped over her shoulders? That was confusing. Any other faces from the past you want to see for one last time?

Felicity 3.17 RubyJulie: That’s a good point about 9/11. I know most shows didn’t mention the attacks, but I also think that a college student in Manhattan at the time would’ve been deeply affected, so it would be weird for them not to mention it, really. If it had happened a year earlier, for sure Noel would’ve been the one freaking out about his mortality and whatnot, because that’s what Noel does.

This show desperately lacked sexual health stories this season. I’m hoping season four is nothing but Felicity dealing with the herp.

I think Ruby’s gone and probably Molly too, possibly without mention. I’m wondering if Julie comes back in the final season, for closure. I could do without seeing any of Felicity’s ex-boyfriends or her parents ever again.

I’ll leave you with two words: Ruby’s choker.

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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