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TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Storm” & “The Last Thanksgiving”

4 Mar

Felicity, Episodes 4.7 & 4.8
“The Storm” & “The Last Thanksgiving”
Original Air Dates: Nov. 21 & 28, 2001

Felicity 4.08 FelicityEmma: Ben knows about Felicity and Noel thanks to Noel spilling (which we discussed in detail last time) and he reacts exactly how I expected. Except for the part where he didn’t hit Noel, that was unexpected. He doesn’t want to talk to Felicity and this plays up to his putting up all the barriers that we have seen so many times. The episode also starts with Ben playing basketball and this is the most Ben reaction. Felicity tries to talk to him and I can’t blame him when he tells her to go as this is a very shitty thing that she has done.

There’s a divide with how all their friends feel but the overall tone is a lot calmer considering what has gone on. I dunno I was expecting more shouting and screaming, although this isn’t really Ben or Felicity’s style so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Instead he comes to get his stuff and returns her key and it’s all just really sad. Ben can’t find his favorite tatty green hoodie and the sadness lingers. It turns out the new awful roommates like to wear clothes that aren’t theirs and this includes Ben’s hoodie and really want is the point of them? Comic relief? Because eh they’re just really annoying and clearly have toilet issues. And why is the only bathroom through Felicity’s room? Surely that’s not the only one. Thankfully Meghan threatens one of them and in the next episode they are absent. I am already bored of their shenanigans.

Meghan is mad at both the guys and I’m glad we finally get a story that isn’t just bickering with Sean even if I think she went too hard on Ben. Yes he should talk to Felicity at some point rather than just ignoring her, however he also has the right to be pissed off as the person who has been cheated on. And it’s not like Felicity slept with a random guy, there is so much history here that it’s got to burn even more that it was with Noel. Elena does a good job of straddling the demands of being bestie and also as Ben’s friend/tutor, ending up in her own romantic entanglement after debating gender sexual politics with Trevor. What did you make of this subplot? Are you into this hookup?

I’m glad Elena pointed out that sex for women is sometimes just that, which it is but in this case I think it was maybe more than that because of the HISTORY. I dunno was it just sexy between Noel and Felicity? Maybe more in Felicity’s end that was the case. Nothing has happened since and it’s Ben she’s in love with and as she tries to explain to Ben there was so much going on. Does this excuse the cheating? Probably not and yet I completely understand Felicity’s point of view and ugh it’s just all so messy.

The storm itself is not actually that dramatic but it does punctuate certain emotionally charged scenes prompting letter writing and a rain soaked discussion. Were you disappointed there wasn’t another blackout or are you glad they went in this direction instead?

Felicity 4.07 BenJulie: I’m with you that everyone’s reactions to Felicity cheating on Ben were kind of weird. There wasn’t a lot of sympathy for him from Meghan or Elena, but that was to be expected. They’re Felicity’s friends, not Ben’s. That said, Meghan lives with Ben now and I expected her to be a bit more sympathetic. She’s very cavalier about the whole cheating thing, and I’d like to see her reaction if Sean ever cheats on her (not really because that would probably just lead to more fighting). I suspect she’d be a little less all, “It happens.”

Elena’s point about men and women was right on…except in this situation. For neither Felicity nor Noel was what they did on the rooftop “just sex.” That said, Ben was way harsh in how poorly he took the news. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it had more to do with the stress of school and his father than it did with Felicity herself. I just don’t think he wants to deal with the headiness of ONE MORE THING. Making up with Felicity would require a lot of soul searching and talking, and I don’t think he’s ready to deal with that. Also, Felicity is the one person who has never let him down, and now she has.

Which I think is unfair to her. Ben has been a boob to Felicity many times (a-hem, AVERY), and she’s owed a slip-up, a freebee. Though maybe using that freebee on Noel was a bridge too far.

I was surprised that “The Storm” wasn’t a bottle episode. I kept waiting for it to happen, Ben and Felicity stuck together in an apartment or an elevator or a subway car (callback) with no electricity, but it never happened. I think this added to the tension, actually. They weren’t going to be given the easy way out. They weren’t going to be provided with an outlet.

I actually kept thinking of Friends and Ross and Rachel during these episodes, what with Felicity’s letter to Ben and the make up and break up sex and friends standing just outside the door during all of this.

What did you think of Ben and Felicity’s brief reconciliation?

Felicity 4.08 Felicity and BenEmma: With Meghan look how insanely jealous she was about the hot rabbi. She is definitely all mouth sometimes and while Ben needed someone to point out he should talk to Felicity it could have maybe been handled a little less callously. This is Meghan’s style and yes at least it gets them talking even if that ends without a reconciliation of any kind. I get where Ben is coming from with his trust issues and why he is concerned about his mom taking his dad back even with his dad’s condition. He has heard the same apology and excuses time and time again; for him the love explanation is not enough and I don’t know what will be. It is heartbreaking because you know Felicity means it when she says she wishes she could take it back, but it isn’t enough. You’re right that Felicity is the only one who has never let him down and the pressure of being put on this pedestal is too much.

Felicity definitely falls into my favorite kind of lady character on TV – the flawed and conflicted – and by allowing her to make mistakes they have been able to explore a range of very real topics particularly in the arena of guys and sex, which as you know I love it when this show tackles these things. So the brief Thanksgiving Ben and Felicity union makes sense and is devastating all at once because you know that he isn’t going to be able to forgive her as simply as that. Ben is a bit of dick in this episode and while it is painful to watch I can also sympathize with him through his dickishness. Using Lauren as a jealous prop is gross and I find it a little weird that Lauren is okay with it and is even the one who suggests going over there despite the ex factor. Okay Lauren also is the one who tells Ben to call Felicity, but I am still narrowing my eyes at her over this one. Maybe Meghan should put a hex on her.

So Ben comes back to the apartment to say sorry – after getting a barrage of abuse from Meghan and once again I dig how protective over Felicity she is – and they go into her bedroom (once again I want to know more about the bathroom situation in this house as I’m sure there is another one) and Ben explains that yes he was trying to hurt Felicity. Oh and here is one of the many places where the sad piano music theme of the Ben and Felicity breakup kicks in, it gets a lot of airtime in these two episodes. Felicity asks Ben to stay for a moment and he sits next to her on the bed, he holds her hand, they kiss and then they get horizontal. And despite how lovely this all is and how much they love each other Ben just can’t forget about what has happened. I like his explanation that he could understand it a year ago (or really earlier in the year when the Avery stuff went down, Ben) but he doesn’t deserve to be cheated on now and she knows this is a fair assessment of the situation. Both Keri Russell and Scott Speedman nail the pain of this kind of breakup and I wonder if they were still together in real life at this point? Not that their real relationship ended badly if interviews with either actor suggest and I love it when actors on shows are still besties in real life.

When Ben says he will call her I believe him and even though I think it is going to be tough for the next few episodes I also think Ben and Felicity are not going to be how they were when they broke up at the start of season 2 not being able to be in the same room. And I totally agree with you about the Friends comparison – do people write handwritten letters on shows anymore? – and Meghan with her love spells is definitely the Phoebe of the group. Remember when she did that spell on Felicity at the end of season 1?

While Ben and Felicity are dealing with the repercussions of the roof hookup Noel is messing up in a whole bunch of other ways. What do you make of his escapades in both episodes?

Felicity 4.07 Elena and TrevorJulie: Regarding the sleeping arrangements in Felicity’s apartment — does she share a room with Elena? I’ve never been able to figure that out. What’s their hooking up system? Also, their apartment is giving me all the nostalgia, but not really for having a bunch of roommates and everyone being privy to everyone else’s sexual habits.

Many years ago, Conan O’Brien did a segment about the NBA on NBC theme song (one of the greatest theme songs of all time, which was written by John Tesh), where he’d insert the music into inappropriate movie scenes. (This will give you an idea of the conceit.) I want to do the same thing with the sad Felicity piano music.

We do need to talk about Noel. He’s a mess. He’s been a mess for a very long time, and nobody has really called him on it. Nobody’s sat him down and made a list of all the ridiculous stuff he’s done (getting married, getting cool guy tips, staying married, STALKING TYRA, making a play for his roommate’s girlfriend, etc.), but at least, I think, he himself sees it now. He has hit bottom. Stalking Tyra, shockingly, was not bottom. Hooking up with his new boss’s daughter and getting robbed a la George Costanza in a hotel is his bottom.

I was really pissed at him in these episodes. You know I’ve been cheering for Noel, trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he has become such a far cry from freshman year, sweet, smart, driven Noel that I don’t even know him anymore. Old Noel would think things through. Old Noel was not a cliched horn dog. Old Noel would’ve seen the danger in taking a barfly back to some hotel room. I guess it speaks to him “needing” a grounded figure like Felicity in his life, or it speaks to him going through some quarter-life crisis after being the good guy for most of his life. But this has been going on for too long. With Meghan and Sean, they’re always fighting and making up. With Noel, it’s him getting his life back on track before dragging it back into the crapper. Good thing he put in a call to Dr. Pavone.

What are your Noel-based thoughts?

Felicity 4.08 Naked noelEmma: I am so on board with the Felicity sad piano music idea because it really did scream YOU MUST FEEL SAD NOW in scenes where we don’t really need to be told how to feel. It’s pretty obvious.

Noel is spiraling big time and it’s not pretty, which as the designated nice guy he’s breaking with the teen show norms. For this reason I actually don’t mind him going off the rails because it messes with this archetype but as you mentioned he’s done it far, far too much and no one really seems too concerned well until his brother comes to town. First he loses his dream new job, which considering it took so long for him to find one he fucked up pretty quickly. I know he tries to explain that he knows when he’s doing something stupid but can’t stop himself and yet this seems like something he wouldn’t risk this early on in the job. Also that girl looked a whole lot like Ruby.

At first I thought the girl in the bar was a hooker, but nope Noel just gets robbed instead. It would have been a farcical step too far if he had turned up to dinner at Felicity’s and I’m pretty sure Ben would have definitely punched him in the face. I’m repeating myself but I still can’t believe Noel has not been punched yet. Maybe it would help Noel if he widened his circle of friends because having Richard as your bestie is definitely not helping. Am I alone in finding him more annoying than funny this season?

Noel claims that his rock bottom face planting is not just due to Felicity and I actually believe him as other than when he told Ben he hasn’t really been pining after her. This is something deeper and therapy is a very good idea. Going back to the counselor position is surely going to bum him out even further. Do you think he’s still hung up on Felicity?

Felicity 4.07 Ben and NoelJulie: I think I did mention it on Twitter that most of Noel’s girlfriends tend to be some variation on Amy Smart. Or, well, this girl was and so was Avery. That’s two. I’ll consider that a pattern.

That’s a good question: Is Noel actually hung upon on Felicity? I want to say no. I think the Felicity thing was a symptom of him trying to get his shit together. He’s his best self when he’s with her, but he needs to figure out a way to do that without her. That’s where I think Dr. Pavone will help, unless she continues her streak of giving dubious advice, and he winds up back at Felicity’s door.

Really, both Noel and Felicity need to figure out how to be great without each other. Felicity was just starting to be happy when she was deep in her friendship with Noel. She’s always put her own needs on the back burner while she’s dated Ben, but Noel always encouraged her. Now that she’s without both of them, I hope she can truly figure out her own life and take that MUCH NEEDED break from men. More girl times, thanks, especially since Elena is also single now.

Because she is, right? The thing with Ugly Betty‘s boyfriend is over? I kind of forgot to pay attention to how that whole thing ended. They had a fling, he thinks she’s beautiful, she’s pretty sure he’s a moron. And, of course, she took Meghan’s (bad) advice to quiz him on stupid facts in order to decide whether or not he’s smart enough to be with. While I think the writers did make him a little TOO dumb, he was still a decent guy who seemed to really like Elena, and I wasn’t pleased with how he was discarded. What did you think of Elena’s new boyfriend?

And, yeah, Richard is the worst this season. I was just thinking the other day how Hannah on Girls really needs to surround herself with new, better people (my god, I want to kick Jessa in the head), but the same kind of goes for all these people on Felicity. It goes for a lot of people on a lot of TV shows. These folks are all stuck with each other for the duration of the show, but are they really the best people for one another?

Felicity 4.08 MeghanEmma: Did Dr Pavone give Ben bad advice too? I can’t remember clearly but I have a hazy belief that she was better with Ben than she was with Felicity, maybe she will be the same with Noel. I wonder if there are any psychiatrists/consellors/psychologists who have had to deal with a love triangle like this isn real life. I feel like this would be pretty hard to stay completely impartial if that was the case.

Yes, yes, yes to Felicity being without a guy for awhile, but as this is TV I sense the break from dudes won’t be sustained. There’s a whole array of dudes in her art class but they all seem pretty terrible so hopefully she will steer clear and just hangout with her friends.

I think Elena and Trevor are still a thing as she went to the bar after he stormed out to tell him she needed more fun in her life rather than just being about the books. Her argument was that she has spent her college experience doing nothing but studying and yet I seem to recall her doing far more than just this. Yes the work has been her focus but she has still had an active social and love life so this doesn’t ring all that true to me. And she’s still going to tutor him so it looks like Ugly Betty’s boyfriend is sticking around for now. But I still vote they go out on girls night. Felicity and Elena should steer clear of any advice Meghan attempts to give them.

Ooh I really like this idea of looking at friendship groups on TV and working out who would actually still be friends if they weren’t on a TV show as I’m sure we’ve all had a Richard or Jessa in our life – Jessa is ultimate awful and they’re going to have to go a long way to justify why anyone would still answer her calls/texts – and sometimes something as simple as finishing college is a way to eek out the people you no longer want to see. On TV people are stuck with each other for way longer and I liked how New Girl addressed the ‘would we be friends if we met each other now?” dilemma with Cece/Jess and Nick/Schmidt. History counts for a lot but that can only take it so far. I figure after they are done with college none of them are seeing Richard ever again.

Felicity and Ben aren’t the only ones who are dunzo as Javier leaves Samuel and I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this. Javier is generally the comic relief story and while he is also often there for Feliicty in her time of crisis I’m not sure if the show treats his issues in his relationship with the same gravitas. We saw Javier get married and then go through the surrogacy process before that failed but now he’s broken up with Samuel it doesn’t seem that important to the show. First there was the Lionel mission which was definitely played for laughs and now there is this fight about Javier’s cat. I’m guessing Noel and Javier get a place together now and narratively at least it will include him in the overall story more but I still think the writers have handled this in a clunky manner. What are your thoughts on this?

Felicity 4.07 Meghan and FelicityJulie: I think that can’t be too ethical, counseling three branches of a love triangle. Of course it’s TV, so anything goes. In real life, she probably would’ve referred at least one person to another doctor. As far as the bad advice goes, maybe she’s better with guys? Maybe she sees herself in the mistakes Felicity’s making? And now I’m counseling the counselor.

Oh, that’s right about her med school exam. I forgot that she went back to Trevor (obviously I’m very invested in this storyline). I would like to see Elena do something outside of pre-med again. She did take that self-defense course, so there was that. Maybe she could meet a guy in one of her new endeavors, someone outside of medicine for once. She’s stuck with doctors for her past three “relationships,” and she needs to give some other guys a shot, guys with whom she won’t be competing/comparing herself.

Now that I’m thinking about it, even I have friends where it’s like, “Why?” Sometimes it’s history, sometimes it’s circumstance and geography I guess that makes sense, as it would be boring to befriend only those people who are just like you. And as time goes on, and as you have less and less time to spend with all the different people in your life, some friendships naturally fade away and some stick.

(I have one friend who actually broke up with some of her peripheral college friends, instead of letting nature take its course. She told them she no longer wanted to hang out with them, which, yeah, way harsh, but also very honest.)

We brought this up with Julie a lot. Would she and Felicity really be friends? And now she’s gone, so I guess the answer is no. I do see Meghan and Felicity remaining friends after college, but maybe Sean doesn’t get invited to their reunions. And Richard lifts right out. They’ll keep tabs on him on Facebook, but that’s about it.

I was very whatever about Javier and Samuel breaking up, because I’m guessing it won’t take. Those two have a very volatile relationship. Also, we haven’t seen Samuel for a while, so it’s not like I’ve missed him.

The show really does not give a lot of emotional heft to any of the relationships outside of the Ben/Noel/Felicity triangle. Meghan and Sean are constantly breaking up and getting back together. We hardly saw the Elena/Tracy reunion. Even Ruby was just a place holder for Noel and Felicity. I’m not surprised that the show gave Javier and Samuel the short end of the stick, but the should could’ve been much richer if the other characters had been given more to do on screen.

Felicity 4.07 FelicityEmma: It is pretty much Felicity centric stories > everyone else and as the show has her name in the title I guess that’s to be expected, but it is a shame that other characters don’t get to be more than just players in the Felicity sphere at times.

The breaking up with friends thing can be hard and woah that your friend went the honest route. I’ve definitely always been a ‘let nature take its course.’ At least with the honest way you don’t up doing the ‘sure we’ll meet up soon’ fakeries.

Oh one other thing and the Felicity Emmy snub video I posted on Twitter a few days ago which is super fun and poking fun at the lack of nominations for the show after what looks like its first season (Keri Russell still has the hair). Russell won at the Golden Globes which tend to recognize new talent from shows that are just ‘prestige’ such as Gina Rodriguez this year. I can’t imagine the Emmys nominating Jane the Virgin for the same reason they didn’t nominate Felicity as they don’t look to teen TV in this way because of snobbery and the like. But it does lead to videos like this and I loved seeing the various ways they inserted Felicity into popular shows of the 90s. I was especially fond of the ER one just so we could see what Ben might look like in his now dream job.

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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One Response to “TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Storm” & “The Last Thanksgiving””

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  1. Faking Everything on Girls | TV Ate My Wardrobe - March 17, 2015

    […] get with a guy – that it has been increasingly hard to empathize with her and also understand why they hell anyone is still friends with her, even with all that history. History only gives you a certain amount of free passes and Jessa used […]

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