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TV Rewind: Felicity, “A Perfect Match” & “Future Shock”

2 Apr

Felicity, Episodes 4.11 & 4.12
“A Perfect Match” & “Future Shock”
Original Air Dates: Dec. 19, 2001 & Mar. 20, 2002

FelicityEmma: Big things happen this week on Felicity and by big things it seems like this episode could have been the series finale as everything wraps up in a big way. It is the Christmas break and Felicity is going home for the holidays and when she leaves for the airport within the first 10 minutes of the episode it is clear that something or someone will stop her getting on the plane or there will be some kind of time jump.

Since their breakup and after the initial animosity Ben and Felicity have been pretty civil with each other and even though he reacted to seeing her going on a date in a very obvious way by leaving her maybe misleading answer machine messages something lingers between them. Felicity did a bad thing and it is understandable as to the why of the breakup but Ben’s late night visit is indicative of how he really feels. Felicity is right to call him out on why he is doing this explaining that every time he ends up pulling away and it hurts all over again. She tells him that she wants to be with him but she also doesn’t think this is what he is saying except it totally is and he just needs a gentle reminder of this. Like I said I get why they broke up and why Ben is reticent to make a move as he’s just protecting himself, but other than maybe a slight moment after Noel rescued Felicity there has been zero hint that Felicity feels romantically towards Noel.

The push Ben needs comes from his parents and in part his reaction to Felicity’s error is informed by his desire to not repeat his mom’s mistakes, but Felicity is not John Ritter and Ben is not his mom. Ben’s dad hasn’t always been there for him and yes he has been pretty shitty, however he does have some advice to impart about matters of the heart (let’s pretend that he didn’t try to kiss Felicity that one time) and when Ben says that he still loves Felicity his dad uses his near death bed situation to emphasize how love is the only thing that matters. Also a new liver would be nice and one is coming from Philadelphia!

Felicity loves the snow and snow in New York and so does Ben, maybe because they are from somewhere where it doesn’t snow. I have a feeling they might not like the snow so much in New York if it was as much as they (and you in Chicago) had this year. In the pilot when she had her big rooftop chat and first heart to heart with Ben he mentions how he can’t wait to see it snow and this came to mind as Ben looks up and notices it has started snowing. What follows is the ultimate cheesy romantic moment and I am all in. First he runs to her apartment only to find she has already left for the airport – I enjoyed Javier’s reaction and Ben flat out telling him no he can’t come with him to the airport. Now we didn’t get to see the classic buying a ticket to get through to the departure lounge moment but I’m going to pretend that definitely happened and luckily for Ben the snow delayed Felicity’s plane (not so luckily it also means his dad can’t get that liver) and he got to make the big declaration followed by all the smooching. Yes there was flailing on my end and yes I have watched this moment several times.

I had seen a photo from this scene (the one above) and I just figured it was from the series finale so I didn’t expect them to get back together as soon as this. I am very happy they did though. Speaking of finales there is so much wrapping up especially towards the end that it felt very final, but before we get to that what did you make of this reunion?

Felicity 4.11 Ben and FelicityJulie: Even though I apparently watched this season/episode before, I was also surprised that they got together this soon. Also, I remember there being more Team Noel vs. Team Ben mischief leading up to the series finale; so it will be interesting to see how that plays out, because right now Noel doesn’t appear to be in the picture at all. He’s moving on. Felicity’s moving on. Even Ben is willing to move on. I loved the bygones moment between him and Noel at the dance. Because obviously Ben is not that innocent in this reunion, but we’ll get to that in the second episode.

The reunion was very cute (though I was wondering, since this happened post-9/11, which flight Ben bought a decoy ticket for. Was he heading to Yemen?). The kiss was everything I wanted it to be, and I’m assuming Keri Russell and Scott Speedman were together at this point, because there’s a lot of familiar touching in these two episodes — especially when he puts his hand on her stomach.

Your assessment that this feels like a series finale is on point. It totally does. The very last scene where they’re all walking home (in fancy clothes), talking about the future, feels very final, but it also feels final in a way that would have fans up in arms screaming, “What?!?”

I really thought that the show would do a Parks & Rec jump at that point, taking us post graduation, to some point in the future. Or that we’d get a “What if?” episode, like Friends and the one where Monica was still fat (that’s probably not the title, but it sounds like a Friends title). But, while we get the three-month time jump, not much has changed. Remembering what I do about the finale, I think we will get one of those episodes in the second half of the season. I think.

Also in this episode, we see Noel moving on (again), this time with Sean. Sean, the ideas guy, the one who has the big enough ball (ha) to approach potential business clients, is trying to drum up graphics business for Noel. What do you think of this business pairing? Do you see Noel as a pushover? I do. Really, what is Sean bringing to this venture besides headaches?

Felicity 4.11 snowEmma: Love triangle politics on TV shows which last for more than a season fascinate me, especially when one coupling becomes the one which makes sense. And then you’ve got to think about keeping the audience happy so when a side gets chosen if you will, you also don’t want to alienate the other fans. Where it becomes extra sticky is if there is too much back and forth then they risk pissing off just about everyone else and this is something I have found with The Vampire Diaries at times. I figured there would be more Felicity and Noel shenanigans but where we are currently I don’t know how they can do it in a way that will make sense and not just as an empty gesture towards the Team Noel fans. But I am certainly intrigued even if right now I am happy with the outcome.

The Ben/Noel dance moment was nice and yet at the same time I can’t believe that Ben would be this chilled out about it. Maybe this shows personal growth and I guess after a super shitty time stressing about his parents he really is fine with Noel. And it’s nice to lose the tension in the loft even if I find it implausible. Felicity’s ‘what are you guys talking about?’ was super awkward but also played into the everyone has moved on notion.

I am so with you on the reunion kiss and how natural it seems between Keri Russell and Scott Speedman; the theory is that couples lose their on screen chemistry when they start sleeping together and yet there are many cases where this is clearly not true. Case in point right here and these hugs look full of genuine emotion (I’ve noticed this on The Americans, maybe Keri Russell gives good hug acting or the connection also helps). Going back to The Vampire Diaries there was a moment where Stefan and Elena hugged and it looked like their groins were repelling each other there was that much space between them. It’s super distracting and really takes you out of a moment that is meant to mean something.

Felicity 4.11 hugTime travel is something I have heard mentioned in relation to Felicity so I was expecting the second episode to be this one because it’s called “Future Shock” and sadly this was not the case. If I don’t get random time travel at some point I will be disappointed.

So yes Sean has somehow wormed his way into Noel’s new business and while he is eager he is also far too precious and sensitive about his ideas. In that meeting he acted like a spoiled brat and it’s no wonder Noel went back without him. Noel is far too nice and must be lying when he mentions how much he enjoys working with him. Although I did think the snowboarder wasn’t a terrible idea. The sports store owner was also kind of an ungrateful dick really. But Sean should also shut the fuck up.

So not only do Felicity and Ben get back together in this episode – how great is Meghan’s reaction when she sees them together?! – but Ben also has some super heavy shit to deal with to do with his dad’s health condition and his role as power of attorney. It’s a good thing he has Felicity as this would be super awful by himself. It’s also worth noting that at two different points Ben asks if she’s going to leave and it’s like he can’t quite believe this is a reality again. He’s pretty adorable when he’s super vulnerable.

And the plinky plonky super sad music is back! This combined with parental drama meant a whole lot of sad posturing – how well do you think Ben dealt with it all?

Felicity 4.11 MeghanJulie: I also think the Ben-Noel forgiveness tour seems a tad unreal, but at the same time…everybody’s moving on. I like that they’re not dragging this out. (Unless they’re only going to complicate things further by letting Felicity and Noel be at thing again). Also, maybe things aren’t super perfect at this point. When the group was walking in the snow, Noel was apart from everyone else. He was kind of in the street.

I haven’t seen much of The Americans, but it seems that Keri Russell has a tendency toward dating her costars. Maybe she confuses her character’s connection with real connection? Maybe she just acts against really hot guys and why not? It would be interesting to do a study of real-life couples who didn’t lose their chemistry on screen. Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise would not be included. (I just watched Going Clear last night.)

The plinky-plonk! I really want to take that music and put it over, like, a Fast and Furious 6 action scene or something. Ben did have a lot going on in this episode (both episodes, really) and I think, for all his vast experience with the ladies, he has somewhat immature thoughts when it comes to real grown-up love. He realizes (thanks to John Ritter and Dee Wallace Stone) that love is not perfect, that even though you trust someone and think you know them, you don’t. You can’t. He realizes too, through his mom, that you can’t always help who you fall in love with. We don’t get to see a lot of Ben’s parents together, but I find their relationship really interesting. He has hurt her in a lot of ways, but she stands by him. I can’t decide whether that’s noble or sad or a little of both.

Ultimately, Ben goes against his dad’s wishes and lets his mom give up part of her liver. The whole time I was like, “Livers regenerate, Ben! She’ll be okay!” But then his mom almost died, and how sad would that have been? It would’ve been like the time everyone died on Scrubs after the rabies transplants. (I’m hoping you’ve seen that episode.)

But Ben’s parents are fine. His dad is doing better. Everything is great for Ben now! Oh, except for that one thing… What did you think of the big bombshell in episode two?

Felicity 4.12 BenEmma: It makes me sad that Noel is always kind of on the outside, but in the second episode it is good to see him attempting to prioritize and not repeat the same mistakes even if it doesn’t quite go according to plan (more on that later).

I am so up for a study like that and we can throw in couples who have broken up IRL but are still together on the show (see The Vampire Diaries once again – it’s weirdly not awkward at all). Chemistry between actors is so interesting because it isn’t something that isn’t really quantifiable so rules like if they’re sleeping together then they will have no chemistry doesn’t always play out. But in the case of Nicole and Tom, well yeah that’s not good. And I guess some actors are naturally charming and have chemistry with pretty much whoever plays opposite them (Ruffalo and Tucci spring to mind and I would consider Keri Russell in this category as well).

Now I really want to hear the plinky-plonk theme over Fast and Furious 6.

This year has not been kind to Ben what with family drama, girlfriend drama and his sudden decision to become a doctor. And I very much agree with you about his parents and considering his decision to go to college in New York was mostly to get away from his family, this city has brought them back together. I find this dynamic far more interesting than Felicity’s constant battles with her parents as they try to curtail her artistic dreams (ugh the whole real estate stuff).

I was concerned they were going to kill off Ben’s mom for a moment but that would have been far too bleak I think, especially if they didn’t know if this was the series finale. It’s like yay Ben and Felicity are back together but now his mom is dead. I liked how awkward Felicity was in the hospital at first because it made a lot of sense after her last encounter with his dad and the fact they are only just back together. Her chat with Ben gave further insight into his outlook and his childhood experience does sound pretty shitty. It reminded me of The Mindy Project finale and Danny’s chat with his mom about why he doesn’t want to marry Mindy.

And because this show doesn’t like to give Ben a break this season it turns out that Lauren is pregnant from that one time they slept together because of course she is. TV really loves this storyline far too much and there have been a whole lot of pregnancy dramas on Felicity over four seasons. As you know I have strong positive feelings about the way this show deals with sexual health storylines but I have to admit I rolled my eyes at this. I maybe also laughed at Ben’s incredulous reaction that it can’t be his and doesn’t he remember he’s got a girl pregnant before. I guess he doesn’t want to admit it is a reality because everything is finally back on track and this is a huge setback.

So Ben is a bit shitty in how he reacts, but I also can’t blame him as this is not part of his big plan. The Lauren incident happened while they were broken up and so it shouldn’t impact his relationship with Felicity, however he doesn’t tell her until he has confirmation. This I also get and I even understand why he tells Laurent that he can’t be part of their child’s life as she has given him that option. The whole thing is so messy and this is far from the end of it because it is one thing saying you don’t want to be involved and it is another matter when the child is born. How do you feel Ben dealt with this news?

Felicity 4.12 Ben resultsJulie: First of all, I’m going to say it — I think Lauren got pregnant on purpose. Or at least, didn’t try not to get pregnant on purpose. She’s of a certain age. She recently got out of a serious relationship. I think she rolled the dice on this one, figuring, if it worked, she’d have a baby who was half Scott Speedman, and that’s not half bad. Also she probably figured that she wouldn’t have to deal with him wanting to co-parent, since he’s a kid who’s not even out of college yet. Otherwise, that’s just too many unplanned pregnancies for one show. Whenever I hear about an “unplanned” pregnancy these days I do question it. Was it unplanned? Really? On everyone’s part? There are just too many ways to not get pregnant. Even in 2001.

I don’t really blame Ben for how he reacted. It was a gut reaction, really. He’s finally getting his life back on track — he’s with Felicity again, his parents are doing well, his douchebag professor is giving him big jobs — and now this. Of course he doesn’t want anything to do with the kid. Of course he’s perfectly reasonable to request a paternity test.

You’re exactly right, though, that things change when there’s an actual baby involved. I don’t see him writing this kid off. He’s had such a fraught relationship with his dad, he’s naturally going to want to be in the kid’s life in some capacity. I don’t see Ben Covington being able to walk away from his spawn. Of course, when this inevitably happens (a few months from now, right around graduation/sweeps), that will be a pretty big thing Felicity will have to deal with. What if you’re 22-years-old and your boyfriend suddenly has a kid? That’s having to grow up pretty fast.

Speaking of growing up, let’s talk about the stupid real estate thing. This was driving me crazy. I studied music in school. Many of my college friends were in fine arts — mostly music, dance, and theatre. None of them were morons about the reality of trying to make a living doing these things. Everyone knew that if they wanted to pursue acting or singing or whatever, they’d probably have to get a day job of some kind (or a night job, like bartending). Yes, Felicity’s mom was annoying for suggesting real estate (which is, like, the antithesis of being an artist), but Felicity was just as annoying for how myopic she is about her art career. “Look at me, I took a few art classes. Love my work, galleries! Make me a star.” Felicity, you need to pay your dues. You’ll probably have to get your masters and PhD to advance in this career. Or you’re going to have to toil away as an artist-for-hire until someone recognizes your brilliance.

This was also something that drove me crazy on Girls this season, with Hannah’s writing. Maybe it’s wrong of me, as a thirty-something old, to expect these young women to just get that they need to work HARD and listen to criticism if they’re ever going to make it as artists, but here we are. I want to shake both of them. You can do both. You have to do both. You are going to have to be a substitute teacher or a barista at Dean & Deluca for a few years while you establish yourself. Taking a job outside of art and writing isn’t settling, it’s being realistic.

Did this annoy you as much as it annoyed me?

Felicity 4.12 Felicity and BenEmma: Ooh I hadn’t thought that it was maybe a planned unplanned pregnancy and she really doesn’t seem too fussed about Ben being involved so that all adds up.

Ben spaces pretty hard which is also totally understandable and he was always going to fuck up that experiment but douchebag professor has a soft spot for Ben not only letting him have his spot back, but also asking if he needed to talk. This was pretty sweet from the prickly dude. I’ve got to think that there are people in this class who can’t understand why a Ben and Trevor are his favorites and that’s got to drive them crazy.

The way Ben breaks the news to Felicity is similar to how Noel told her that he’d let their rooftop escapade out of the bag – by announcing that he has something to tell her and then leaving a dramatic pause as he musters up the courage to tell her. She is understandably surprised, not that he slept with Lauren which I think she had to have known happened but that’s she’s pregnant with his kid. She gets a little teary eyed and I think that’s more shock combined with the shitty time she’s had with her mom. I don’t think this will break them up but it’s not going to help matters either. And good call on when the baby is due.

Felicity’s reaction to the whole real estate suggestion didn’t bug me as much, but I do get what you mean about both this and Girls with levels of expectations (thankfully Hannah has now found an alternative path with teaching though I expect her writing to come up again next year). Felicity and her parents have butted heads since the pilot about her path and you’d think by now they would have found a way to work around this but they are firmly in their corners and I think this is what I find slightly irritating about this plot as it’s so repetitive. And really Felicity and her mom have to stop making theatre plans as it always ends in someone not going. I’m just glad Felicity’s dad wasn’t there as well to lay it on even thicker.

I get why she’s freaking out because as with the premiere everyone has their shit together mostly. Elena got into med school (yay!), Ben’s studies are going well until he fucks up momentarily and Noel’s business with Sean is going places. I’m glad she goes and does something in the end even if nothing comes of it because as you point out there’s a lot of graft that goes with working in the arts and you can’t expect to get somewhere straight away.

Felicity as an artist in New York is something I can’t quite picture but I guess that’s because she doesn’t fit the artist picture I have in my head of characters like Mimi-Rose and Ace. Can you see Felicity making it?

Felicity 4.12 Felicity's momJulie: Such a good point about the professor favoring Ben and Trevor. I’d love to see the other students’ reactions to him always giving them a leg up. I have to think it’s still due to the whole Trevor hospital thing.

I would’ve been less annoyed by the real estate thing if someone (Felicity or her mom) had mentioned that, hey, real estate doesn’t need to be your ultimate career, but as it’s fairly flexible and allows you to make your own hours, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad day job while you’re trying to be an artist. It’s not all or nothing. This also could’ve been explained by her mom who could’ve said, “You know, yeah, I want to be a writer. But I’m single now and I need to support myself so I’m doing this too. I’ll write at night and on the weekends.” Real, grown up stuff.

In everyone’s moving on news, Javier is also making a new more age-appropriate friend. I love his relationship with the lady from A League of Their Own. He may be just as delusional as Felicity when it comes to his acting career, but at least he’s found someone to share his misery and keep things real.

I love the question of “Will Felicity make it?” and my answer is NO. Art has always just seemed like an alternative to medicine in some ways and not completely her true passion. I don’t think she takes it as seriously as she needs to. You talk about everyone else getting their shit together, and it’s because they’ve done the legwork to figure out what they need to do to advance in their careers. Felicity is living in a dream world. I don’t think she has the temperament for this right now. Maybe she will eventually, but honestly I see her as more of an early-Girls Marnie, working in a gallery, not creating the art.

Felicity 4.12 ElenaEmma: They are far too focused on the conflict between Felicity and her parents rather than sorting through it and as you point out this doesn’t have to be her big career path. Just a way to get some cash for now. I did enjoy seeing Owen as he is pretty good at getting Felicity to see what’s right in front of her and they come across as friends rather than anything else. I’m glad he doesn’t harbor some bs friendzoned mentality toward her because I so don’t have time for that (cue a story in the next few episodes where this happens and I yell at the screen).

Javier’s story has been expanded thankfully and I really liked his stuff with Meghan because it also gave her the chance to be in another non-Sean bickering plot. This can only be a good thing and even though this All About Eve story featured arguing it was refreshing in comparison. They’ve also toned down the overt 60s Meghan costuming and that’s fine too; I like this more subtle nod.

Yes early Marnie is who I was thinking of too, but far less annoying and I can’t see her as an artist either. She seems much better at discussing it than doing it. I do feel for Felicity though as someone who procrastinates and frets about the future. It’s worrying seeing someone so similar on screen, but comforting at the same time.

The only thing I don’t think we have touched on is the return of Zoe – the woman Noel almost boned on his first day at work. Felicity, Ben and Noel all have returning maybe love interests that the previously on was quick to remind us of (I guess a three month gap between these gaps requires these reminders). Noel wants to get his ducks in a row which is wise and he does until Zoe tells him that she has dumped her boyfriend and it complicates things again as he’s sorta working for her dad. Is Noel really into Zoe as much as he thinks she is or does he just like the idea of being with someone again?

felicity 4.12 Meghan and JavierJulie: The Meghan thing — I’m not sure what the point of the All About Eve stuff was. Is she going to pursue acting? Is she going to try and be less like Margot from now on? Where will that go? I’m guessing probably nowhere. It’s like the time Ben had to take a theater class and we never revisited that again.

Ugh. Zoe. I nearly punched my screen when he said something to the effect of, “I finally found someone I can really see myself with.” Really, Noel? You met her twice. You kissed once late at night when passions are high. Slow your roll, sir. This does not seem to jibe with new-style Noel who’s trying to get his shit together. This seems like old, borderline-crazy, bad decisions Noel. I don’t like it.

Felicity 4.11 Noel and SeanEmma: I had totally forgot about Ben in acting class. Got to love the brief how do we get our point across (even if that point isn’t very clear) random storyline.

With you on that one and it’s a shame if he’s going to fall down this hole so quickly. Dude thinks he falls in love so quickly when he’s just mistaking feelings in his pants for feelings in his heart.

Julie: Ew, the Noel pants visual.

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, “A Perfect Match” & “Future Shock””

  1. jane from paris October 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    That Lauren storyline is just awful. How many unplanned pregnancy can there be on one show? On the plus side, the Schnoel thing is kind of working and Owen is adorable- why were fun, cool, potential-Chris-Pratt-ish guys never given a chance on the show?

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  1. TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Power of the Ex” & “Spin the Bottle” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - June 4, 2015

    […] was also interesting in this chem lab scene is that Felicity is wearing the same turtleneck sweater she wore earlier this season when Ben made his grand running to the airport gesture. And throughout […]

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