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TV Rewind: Felicity, “Boooz” and “Oops…Noel Did It Again”

19 Feb

Felicity, Episodes 4.5 & 4.6
“Boooz” & “Oops…Noel Did It Again”
Original Air Dates: Nov. 7 & 14, 2001

felicity 4.05 wigJulie: The first episode is the Halloween episode, which feels very off-season to be watching right now in the middle of February (and the show aired the week after Halloween, as well, which seems weird). The girls are hosting a party for all of the friends we never see, which really worked out well the last time they hosted an event, i.e. when Tag from Friends showed up with a gun, i.e. when Ben met Avery.

This party is similarly fraught with peril. Ben shows up (not in costume) with his bio-chem friend, Trevor, after the two of them have been kicked out of class…for good. They failed an exam, because they didn’t study the information they were told wouldn’t be on the exam, and complained about it. Dick teacher (Ben actually calls him a dick because Ben loves that word) tells them they’re out. The boys go out drinking together and are over served. They show up drunk to Felicity’s party, and Trevor keeps drinking.

He drinks so much that he ends up passing out from alcohol poisoning. Ben performs CPR and takes him to the hospital. He goes to see dick teacher to tell him that Trevor is in the ICU. Dick teacher feels bad and lets them back in the class. Their pre-med journeys are saved!

And I wish they weren’t. As I watched this play out, I kept hoping that Ben would realize that being an EMT is really what he should be doing. He’s great in a crisis and, come on, he’s not cut out for med school. He’s not. He should be a paramedic. He’d be great at it. I think he’d be happy doing it. But, ugh, now he’s back floundering as a pre-med student.

It seemed like a waste of a Very Special Episode just to get us back to square one.

What did you think of Ben and the alcohol poisoning?

Felicity 4.06 Ben and FelicityEmma: They haven’t really done a booze is bad episode and the shows attitude towards alcohol has been pretty eh everyone does it. The only bad thing that happened involving alcohol is when Felicity woke up in that frat bro’s bed (which nicely links into the fact that Felicity has the worst birthdays). I didn’t get the sense that this was a beer is bad sermon, more that it was being used to show how good Ben is under pressure and so he could prove a point. Which he did. Dick teacher was a dick, but Ben was also pretty petulant as well. It also served to remind us that Ben has a difficult relationship with his dad. I wonder why they brought that up again?

Like you I think he is better suited as an EMT, he’s good in those kind of situations and I worry that he’s going to sink even further now that certain things have come out. Or it could make him more determined. I do think he needs a new lab partner. Drunk Ben is kinda adorbs though.

The Halloween party reminded me of whenever Friends did one, those characters do not know that many people. I guess at least on Felicity they’re at college so there’s potential for many friends of friends attending.

And the costumes while cute, a witch is a lazy lazy choice. I did enjoy Keri Russell in a wig pre Americans. Richard made a ton of effort but his costume ended up getting the attention of a Princess Leia but then his Darth helmet sabotaged it. Oh and Sean and Meghan went as JFK and Jackie, they argued a lot (surprise). What did you make of their continuing bickering and Meghan’s style change?

Felicity 4.05 halloweenJulie: That wig on Felicity was adorable. I always think of Keri Russell looking one way, but her features lend themselves to other styles really well. The sleek bob was very cute. Richard’s mask triggered claustrophobia feels for me. I yelled at the screen, “Just cut it off!” Also, he was blowing it with that cute girl. Get it together, Richard!

I thought Meghan as Jackie was pretty great, and really works for the character. The whole thing about her “individual” style not being for sale felt very Meghan. I thought this was going to create another big rift between Meghan and Sean, but instead she woke up to the fact that she’s not a unique flower. Girls all over New York are dressing like her, and her look has become ubiquitous. So she decides to revert back to ’60s style, which makes total sense, going back in time to primmer clothing to be edgier. And, since this was 2001, pre-Mad Men and all that, she’s right on the cutting edge. I’m sad that we’ll never see a Norm Core Meghan.

Also, I hope these T-shirts make Meghan and Sean a ton of money so that we never have to hear about their money problems again.

The other situation during this episode was Felicity serving as TA for an art class she never took. This all feels like a bit of a retread, too, and it’s a pretty boring storyline. The students don’t respect her, they chastise her for entering a beauty pageant, and she tries to poke fun at herself by wearing that great evening gown again. I was mostly put off by the poor behavior of the students. Like they’ve never done anything embarrassing in their lives. And they kept piling on her. Do you watch Downton Abbey? They reminded me of terrible Sarah Bunting at the Downton dinner parties. Who taught these people social skills?

What did you think of the jackass art students?

Felicity 4.05 richardEmma: If their company makes money I will be so happy, alas it would seem that they still have plenty of bickering to do as Sean mentions a disagreement over their company name. Thankfully most of this happens off screen and the word blend version comes into play. I’m pretty sure this was prior to Bennifer making word blends a big thing again so kudos Felicity with this one. I can understand why Meghan was pissed off at first with Sean trying to make money off her look especially as he repeatedly ignored her request for him to quit it. It did lead to this new style for Meghan and I love the moment when she realized that she isn’t as unique as she perhaps thought she is with her clothing choices. I’m still pretty eh about their relationship and I don’t think it helps that they aren’t involved with a lot of the other storylines and by isolating them like this is means we get a repeated cycle of Meghan/Sean plot points. Maybe now the big secret is out they will be featured in these other stories.

Felicity’s students are completely unreasonable and the dude who tells everyone is the worst. He worked the pageant for money so why isn’t he getting shit for selling out? Oh I know it’s because he is a dude. Felicity takes a lot of shit from her class and while the evening gown is a cute move I kinda wish she had gone for a more fuck you response, but I guess that isn’t her way. Elena’s pep talk was much needed and Felicity really shouldn’t have to apologize to these students who believe their own hype far too quickly. It does lead to another awkward encounter with Professor Cavallo who will take the creepster teacher supreme title in the second episode. What is it with the male teachers on this show? They’re either dicks or creeps.

One thing I really enjoyed about “Boooz” (other than the title of course) is that it took the focus off the relationship dramaz with the love triangle and considering what happened in the next episode I think it is going to be a while before that happens again. Yeah Javier discussed in passing the Felicity thing with Noel but overall this was a triangle light episode. And then there was also Lionel Richie in one of the most bizarre and unexpected celebrity cameos I can remember. Javier loves Lionel and wants to go see him to make up for a huge fight he has had with Samuel. The set up is incredibly contrived but it still manages to be fun by pairing Noel and Javier together. Lionel isn’t too bad when it comes to his bathroom scene (!) and he offers some love advice that isn’t too enlightening but it does solve the Javier/Samuel situation with “Honey, you’re right.”

Were you surprised to see Lionel?

Felicity 4.05 Javier and LionelJulie: I wish we had heard Javier mention Lionel Richie before, that would’ve made this cameo much more satisfying. As it stood, it was just Lionel Richie in a bathroom, randomly.

I suppose the trip to Atlantic City gave Noel something to do besides stew about his future and Felicity, so there was that. I do love when Scott Foley has to play awkward, and his face during the bathroom encounter was perfect.

As you said, “Boooz” gave us a nice reprieve from the love triangle for a second, but after the second episode, things are out in the open. It appears that for the next few episodes at least, Ben and Felicity’s relationship will take center stage.

I suppose the big thing about the second episode, cheekily called “Oops…Noel Did it Again,” thank you 2001, is how Ben eventually finds out about Felicity sleeping with Noel. We go through a red herring here, where Elena is leaving Noel a message on the apartment answering machine (remember answering machines?) and Richard accidentally on purpose drops the bombshell about Felicity and Noel’s rooftop bang. This was a big “oh, crap” moment and it seemed like this was how the info would reach Ben, but Elena and Richard, using a bit of secret agent trickery, fool Sean and Meghan into letting them into the loft so they can erase the tape.

And then I kind of forgot about it. I forgot about Noel sleeping with Felicity, because the rest of the episode is so fraught with STUFF. It seems like there are too many things going on here, too much that Ben, specifically, is dealing with. The writers wouldn’t pile THIS on him, on top of everything else, would they? I mean, his lab partner almost died, he nearly got kicked out of class, and now his dad’s back in town and suffering from liver failure.

But no. They do it. They drop that bombshell right on Ben’s lap. And, of course, Noel does it. And it’s hard to blame him, honestly. It’s easy to think, “Noel, you dick,” but from his perspective, he was in the right. All he knew was that Ben was seeing his dad that night, Felicity’s birthday, and Noel saw him with another woman. It was the moment he had probably been waiting for, on some level, and when Ben belittled Noel’s relationship with Felicity, he’s completely justified in snapping.

It’s really a sad situation. Ben’s dealing with so much stuff, and probably really needs friends at this moment, but his girlfriend has cheated on him with his basketball-buddy roommate, whom he was just starting to like again. And Noel has to feel horrible, even though, really, I can’t blame him.

What about you? Can you blame Noel?

Felicity 4.05 NoelEmma: The second episode involved a lot of me shouting at my screen and from the ‘previously on’ where it reminded us that Richard knew it was clear that this was going to be the episode where Ben found out. Plus it’s Felicity’s birthday which means a bad thing must happen to her, she’s like Buffy Summers but with fewer demons. It’s a really cute intro and everything is good between Ben and Felicity. He did the age old TV tradition of giving a present a day early – why do they do this? – but then he gets a call about his dad and their weekend in the snow is out on hold.

Ben is not a sharer so I can maybe forgive the show for including the clunky ‘don’t tell anyone’ line to Felicity which provides the contrivance as to why Felicity is super vague about why Ben has bailed on her birthday. Does anyone else even know about his difficult relationship with his dad?

I have to admit and I know you’re already aware of this because of some of the tweets I sent you but I was super pissed at Noel for how it came out. And yet after reading your take on the situation I have to admit that maybe I was a little harsh when I called him a selfish prick. I have the Team Ben blinders on. You’re right Noel doesn’t know the whole story and Ben does poke, plus I bristled at the general concept of ‘having her’ like she’s an object or something. Ben is in crisis but he doesn’t want to share that with anyone, he doesn’t even want Felicity at the hospital. In part I think that’s because he doesn’t want to ruin her birthday but mostly because he hates this whole aspect of his life and how it makes him feel. So while I don’t blame Noel necessarily, I am still a touch mad at him (and the writers) for all the shit they’re putting him through.

The answer machine message scenario was how I pictured it playing out but I guess they’d already done the accidental reveal with the frat photo. That was a bit of stressful hijinks and showed off Elena’s best look of horror when Richard blurted out the secret. And yeah really it had to come from one of the doers of the deed to really make it hurt. That whole conversation between Ben and Noel had me pulling my best Home Alone face, it was pretty gut wrenching. Instead of going fists of fury Ben instead leaves and instead deals with the more pressing situation. I somehow feel like Noel might meet the end of Ben’s fists soon though. Ugh this is SO messy.

And what about Noel and Felicity? I’m not sure their relationship friends or something else will be okay for the time being. I think there will be part of her that will be relieved that it’s finally out in the open, but I also think she’s going to be furious that he told Ben. And all for macho reasons. The way she asks “Why would you do that?” slayed me. It’s worth repeating that it is all about to get messy up in here.

Felicity 4.06 ElenaJulie: I think I may have been more sympathetic to Noel, because I actually watched this all go down twice (I fell asleep during the first go around). If I’d watched it only once, I probably would’ve thought Noel was being petty; but on second viewing, he really had no clue. Also, it’s not like Ben has been an perfect faithful angel in the past.

Ooh, and yeah, “having her” was a problematic phrase for me. And it felt weird coming from Ben, because I feel like the two of them have a pretty equitable, balanced relationship. I don’t think he actually sees his relationship with her that way, so it was odd to hear him say it.

I don’t see this working out well for Noel and Felicity, and I think he knows that. It’s probably what he regrets most of all in this situation. During his convo with Ben, he seemed content to walk away without things getting too messy, but then Ben had to bring up the “having her” thing, and it felt personal, so Noel just went there. I don’t blame him, in the heat of the moment. And I think he’d take it back if he could.

The Ben secrecy thing seems like classic Ben to me. He never wants help to deal with any of his problems, and a dying dad is probably the kind of situation where supportive friends could be a good thing. At least he has his dad’s mentee/friend, who really knows Mr. Covington and gets the gravity of the situation. Now that he and Felicity are a bust, do you see the two of them hooking up?

Felicity 4.06 LaurenEmma: I went back and rewatched the scene where Noel told Felicity and I think you’re right that he would take it back if he could. He finds it super hard to tell her what he did and the scene is so well done for how quiet it is – she doesn’t yell at him, she’s incredibly measured I think in part due to shock that it has come out and because she knows her relationship with both guys is fucked. She’s just lost a boyfriend and a best friend effectively.

We’ve dealt with a Felicity/Ben breakup in the past, which divided the groupings on the show and this time it is so much worse and because they’ve been sitting on the Noel/Felicity hookup since the premiere I’ve sort of been waiting to find out how this will impact the overall dynamic of the show especially now Noel has landed himself a non college job – after his brief/terrible sting as a counselor – which will surely isolate him even more now.

With Ben I can see him throwing himself into school, which he needs to do anyway. The obvious thing would be for him to spiral but as was the case in this episode he responded to Noel’s revelation by going back to the hospital to make hard decisions about his dad rather than going on a bender and getting into a fight. Maybe this will be the making of Ben. With Lauren I got a very sibling vibe, but that doesn’t mean it won’t turn into something reboundy now that this has happened. Also Lisa Edelstein sure gets around (in a guest starring sense). Ben decides to go against his dad’s wishes which is a ballsy move but he still has a chance to get better, or at least live a little longer (and maybe get back on the transplant list) so I totally understand why he did it. Ugh seeing John Ritter with all those tubes in him was hard.

Oh and they got super annoying new roommates and Felicity has a creepy professor situation (not with her but he’s definitely ‘romancing’ another student). That’s a lot of crap to put up with. Both of these stories have been done before – are these the same girls who drove Julie up the wall? – but I appreciate the slight change in direction with the perv professor and that Elena gets to use her past experience to help Felicity. If this breakup does anything (they aren’t officially broken up but I think I’m good to call it a breakup) I hope it means more Elena screen time.

Felicity 4.06 FelicityJulie: I thought Ben putting his dad on life support was a really poignant, interesting choice for the writers. Ben has given up on his dad so often in the past, and this decision is fraught with so much emotion. He’s giving his dad another chance, and he’s going against his wishes, which may, in a perverse way, make it sweeter for Ben. He’s the captain now. Also, he’s already lost Felicity in this episode and maybe he’s not ready to lose his dad as well.

The rest of the episode is nonsense, and I am pretty sure those are the same girls that drove Julie bonkers? But are these girls supposed to be freshmen? I don’t know. Either way, they’re obnoxious. Though I did love the dancing with Richard and the random “Girl from Ipanema”-type music they chose to dance to. So ’60s.

Are all male college professors pervs and/or jerks? It would seem so, based on what we’ve seen. The “good” teachers all want to sleep with the coeds, and the “bad” teachers are sociopaths and kleptomaniacs, apparently. How does the University of New York continue to exist with all these horrible instructors?

Like you, I’m hoping this break up finally gives Felicity some much-needed alone time and some gal time with Elena. It’s time for everybody to get their lives on track.

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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4 Responses to “TV Rewind: Felicity, “Boooz” and “Oops…Noel Did It Again””

  1. wanted now February 19, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    What has been established by your discussion is that one of you is a horrible, horrible person. I guess it takes one to love one (Noel).

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