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Felicity Covers the Entertainment Weekly Reunion Issue

8 Oct

Are you Team Ben or Team Noel?

The hashtag allegiance signifiers popped up all over Twitter after the unveiling of the new Entertainment Weekly reunion issue featuring the love triangle at the heart of Felicity. I didn’t watch Felicity when it first aired, but this show has been the focus of our TV Rewind series and discussion posts that started two years ago on This Was TV. There was definitely a yelp of happiness when this cover photo first popped up in my feed yesterday.

FelicityGood, right?! The hand placement alone has me all a fluster.

Back when I first started watching Felicity I discussed the notion of love triangles before Twitter and so it was fun to see a hint of what social media would have looked like if it had been around when the show first aired. My timeline is obviously just a small sampling, but it was fairly split down the middle between the Ben and Noel fans. The AV Club’s Carrie Raisler summed it up rather well “Guys don’t let #TeamBen and #TeamNoel tear us apart. We can all be #TeamScotts.”

The trio appeared in a pre-taped video this morning on The Today Show (updated to include the interview) with Keri Russell calling Felicity a “good sweet story” and Entertainment Weekly has released another fun shot and an interview excerpt from the issue.

So many feelings. Also these pajamas are super cute.

ew-felicityNice Dean & DeLuca mug props too.

For more from the reunion issue head here and it will be on newsstands tomorrow (October 9). And for all of your episode by episode Felicity chat needs head to our TV Team-Up section.

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TV Rewind: Felicity, “Felicity Interrupted” & “Back to the Future”

18 Jun

Felicity, Episodes 4.21 & 4.22
“Felicity Interrupted” & “Back to the Future”
Original Air Date: May 22, 2002

Felicity 4.22 FelicityJulie: Having watched the Felicity finale (again), I feel like I can say with much certainty that clip show finales stink. I am not a fan. I think back in the day when DVDs and then streaming weren’t available, when your only hope of seeing old episodes was if the show made it into syndication, clip shows were great. I remember actually liking them quite a bit in my younger days. But now, it’s just lazy. And to pull out the clip show trope in a series finale? A slap in the face to everyone who has stuck by your show for its entire run.

Maybe if the clips had come during the penultimate episode I wouldn’t have been so upset, but I don’t know. It’s all very cheap to me.

I guess at least we did have that second-to-last hour with all new stuff, and it was somewhat compelling. Felicity, having confessed that she’s from the future, gets committed by Noel and Ben who are (rightly) concerned about the state of her mental health. I love that they used Ben’s dad’s illness as the way to convince Ben that Felicity is for real. I was wondering if that HUGE plot line would make an appearance, and it did, in a really clever way.

The other plot line from the past that comes into play here is the fire in the building that for some reason housed both the career counselors and the art department. This time, Felicity isn’t trapped inside the art studio, but Noel is still there working in his office. He ends up dying, which is grim, and not the intended result of Felicity’s time travel. This spurs her to get back to the future, and she (with the help of Meghan) finds Dr. Korsakov, whom Felicity helps realize that his time travel spells do work.

I’m assuming that this is one of those time travel-y situations where Felicity came from the future to help him realize that he needed to publish his book, that it worked. It reminds me of the time travel stuff in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (right?) where Harry thinks he sees his dad conjuring a patronus, but really it’s himself doing it in the future or whatever. Anyway. This time travel talk is confusing.

Let’s talk about this: How the heck is Elena now alive in the future at Noel’s wedding and also how is she with Tracy?

And how nice was it that the show ended with a Sarah McLachlin song?

Felicity 4.22 groupEmma: What the clip show?! Honestly I was so mad as soon as I realized what they were going for as this is not the kind of thing you use for the finale and in a way it would have been so much better if they had flipped the episodes because “Felicity Interrupted” was really great making this finale choice even more disappointing. I’d never considered that a clip show acts as a way for an audience to see best of moments before we had instant access to everything, but yeah don’t go all in on this for your finale. I’m trying to think when shows did away with this format. Part of it was to do with the amount of episodes they had to produce, right? As it gave the writers a chance to catch up/have a break. I feel like I have read that somewhere. But it did feel very dialled in and just a meh way to go out after the amount of fun from the 4 previous time travel episodes.

So I did a little research in that I watched this clip and it reveals just why they did this time travel arc. Long story short they were repeatedly told they would have 17 episodes for the final season which is why episode 17 feels like the series finale with Felicity graduating and then ending with Ben coming to her. Then they got a surprise 5 episode order so they pretty much went fuck it and went with the path untravelled with Felicity choosing Noel instead. So pretty much what we figured. They wanted her to end up with Ben but at the same time they needed a reason to explore the other version so time travel! This brings me back to my original issue with the whole thing because while I LOVE the whole time travel arc I still hate the catalyst because I still don’t think Ben would do that. Or if he did cheat he wouldn’t do it in the way it occurred and it just makes her final decision at the end to just forgive him seem a little hollow and a disservice to both Felicity and Ben. The Team Noel fans must have been fuming.

And yes the Elena thing because if Elena is alive then surely the whole reason Ben cheats disappears as well. Speaking of which YouTube also gives an explanation as to how she is alive and it will also make you mad about how much time they wasted on SCENES WE HAVE ALREADY SEEN and cut out an actual important plot point. Elena is alive because Felicity made her promise to go to Duke instead of Columbia and I’m shaking my head so hard that they cut this out and instead showed us a history of Felicity and her friends. We know all of this stuff so why get rid of something that might confuse/piss people off?! I figured something like this had probably happened but this was a case of show not make us guess what the fuck happened. I watched this episode a week ago and I’m still mad it would seem (the photo below is an accurate representation of my reaction).

Felicity 4.21 FelicityIt was nice seeing all these moments again, but not at the expense of a good finale. Instead it just comes across as super sentimental and empty all at once. I was going to rematch the pilot but it turns out I don’t need to do that.

I have more to say about the finale, but first I want to discuss the penultimate episode and in my internet hunt for a song that was used (this site has all the Felicity tracks – I love how early 00s it looks) I just noticed that they aired both these last two episodes back to back which would have maybe cushioned my clip show rage if I had been watching it live when it first aired. And you’re so spot on about how great a final track that is for this show.

The way they blend in the actual past with Felicity’s current predicament is great and it makes sense that out of the two Ben would be the one who ends up believing her. It also led to one final Ben and Noel team up and while these have been far and few between it still made me so happy to see them working together in this way. From the research on the computer – got to love internet diagnosis practices – to when they show up at Felicity’s with their broadest/fakest smiles. For all their animosity while these two will never be besties they do work well together even if Ben goes and ruins it by believing Felicity. A call from Lauren sparks this as Felicity has both mentioned her and his father’s illness; I really love the scene where Ben wakes Noel up to tell him he believes Felicity because Scott Foley does sleepy dopiness so well. And because I want them to snuggle. I did think it was interesting at no point did Felicity tell Ben about sleeping with Lauren or the son he now has. What did you make of this?

Did you enjoy the Ben/Noel team-up as much as I did? Also did you get Alias vibes when Ben broke Felicity out of the psychiatric hospital? Because I definitely did, from the way it was shot to the general look of it. I think you can tell the two shows shared offices.Felicity 4.21 Felicity, Ben and NoelJulie: Wow. Good on you with the research. That’s all very interesting. It makes sense that episode seventeen was meant to be the finale. The stuff afterwards really does feel tacked on (even if it was, for the most part, very cool). Like you, I do wish they had shown the Elena scene because COME ON she’s alive in the final scene (with Tracy, no less) and they give no explanation for it. I guess we can also assume that before she tries to return to the future she tells Ben not to sleep with Lauren and tells Meghan and Sean to get back together?

I also loved the team-up of Ben and Noel. They do make a good, if odd, pair. Maybe now that everything has been figured out, that Ben and Felicity are now good (and, yeah, presumably he doesn’t cheat on her now that Elena’s alive?) and Noel is married, maybe now they can be friends?

Felicity 4.21 Felicity and the boys

Speaking of the Ben cheating thing, nothing’s really solved here, is it? I mean, he knows she was mad at him for cheating on her, but I feel like they could still run into the same issue again if Felicity finds herself sad or stressed about something again. She’s the one who learned the lessons here, not Ben. I also wonder about his reaction to her telling him about Lauren and the baby. Was any part of him like, wistful that if he doesn’t hook up with Lauren, his baby won’t be born? That’s a pretty big butterfly effect, and would’ve been a much more interesting thing to see, writers, instead of clips from freshman year.

Actually, yeah, that would’ve been great. They should’ve showed us what happened between the time where she decides to go back to the future and before the actually does. What does she tell people? What advice does she give? Does she set herself or her friends up with some good stock tips? Wasted opportunity.

What would you have told Felicity’s friends if you had been her?

Felicity 4.21 Ben and NoelEmma: This is the ultimate problem with time travel stories as we’re now left with all the ‘but if this happened then that wouldn’t have and then we wouldn’t be here in the first place.’ Or the time travel paradox in its more concise form. They do the whole it was just a dream thing because Felicity had a crazy fever and it looks like this is the case, except Elena is alive. And Ben utters the same declaration which is all full of flowery and meaningful words that won’t mean anything if he does it again. And I love that all it takes is for Ben to promise he won’t cheat for Felicity to be all okay with the whole getting back together thing. I mean I guess he did break her out of an asylum and believe her when no one else would, that’s got to earn some points.

I got a whole lot of Eternal Sunshine feelings from Felicity and Ben’s bedtime chat as they talk about whether she will remember any of this and that she will find a way to remember. I maybe whispered ‘Meet me in Montauk‘ at the screen. Because whatever Felicity does the end result is the same; Ben is who she ends up with.

The one clip that made the most sense to remind us of is the one where Ben refers to the movie canister as a time machine, but they could have done away with all the other ones. This one reinforces not only Ben and Felicity as a couple but is also a fortuitous piece of writing from season two that nicely links into this ‘oh shit we have five extra episodes so let’s do time travel’ thing they’ve got going on.

Also scoring on the ‘huh this ties in nicely’ is Zoe in the psychiatric hospital as they have already laid the groundwork for this and it not only gives Felicity hope that she isn’t going through some kind of psychosis but it also links back to the present day with Noel’s wedding. Felicity also tells Zoe about Noel and now I want to see the wedding toast to see if anyone mentions how Noel first met Zoe. Maybe this is why everyone is laughing so heartily during the final montage.

Felicity 4.22 fake laughingThe lack of Lauren/baby mention feels very Friday Night Lights season 2 in that if they don’t acknowledge it this means it didn’t happen. Other advice I think Felicity needs to give people before coming back includes telling Julie to not be such a terrible friend and to quit it with the awful pink tops already. I also want her to tell Meghan not to get back with Sean because I just can’t with their bickering – her project presentation did make me laugh a lot mostly because of all the facial expressions.

Felicity 4.21 Meghan presentationSpeaking of facial expressions this was another great Keri Russell showcase including all of her exasperated looks at the Ben/Noel brain trust. They are right to be concerned but could they get her committed like this? I know I’m questioning the validity of this whole thing in a time travel plot but it does seem far too easy in how she ends up in hospital. I guess she complies to it all and it isn’t entirely against her will. As soon as Ben asked to see her it was clear that she would end up with him because the trust level despite the whole cheating thing is much higher. Plus as Noel pointed out there is a connection between Ben and Felicity that runs far deeper than any of her other relationships.

I have been firmly on Team Ben for since season 2 (I’m such a team switcher) and I know you have been less sold on Mr Covington at times so do you think Felicity ended up with the right person? And would you feel differently if it had ended at episode 17? Also in the name of fairness here are Buzzfeed lists selling the merits of both Ben and Noel.

felicity 4.21 BenJulie: I feel like, in general, there wasn’t a lot of thought put into research for these episodes. They seemed to have winged it with the time travel conceit and with the logistics of getting someone committed. I mean, would they really go from girl on the street not hurting anyone to padded cell in, like, a minute? That seems quick. Also, it’s a little scary if someone can diagnose you from WebMD and then get you locked up in a psych ward like it’s nothing. But it works for the narrative, I guess, so whatever.

That kind of sums up all my feelings about this finale: Whatever.

I’ve been a bit wishy-washy about my team allegiances. I know I’ve been a Noel apologist, which angered some people I don’t know why. I do love Noel. He, specifically, first season Noel, is exactly my jam. He’s dorky, smart, and sweet. Ben is a little too aloof in the early goings, and, while he ends up being a decent guy, I still think he has growing up to do. As does Felicity. So, as far as who I think she should’ve ended up with, the answer is: Herself. She should’ve pulled a Kelly Taylor. She should’ve chosen “me.” It’s what she did basically back in the faux finale, and I like how that ended. She chose herself and then Ben came to her, which is right. I really could’ve done without the back-tracking, honestly. They could’ve ended it right there, with everyone still alive and in love and happy, and it would’ve been fine.

Though we would’ve missed out on all the good frantic Keri Russell acting. She (and Speedman) were great in these final episodes.

Now that the show is done, what were some of your favorite moments from the four seasons?

Felicity 4.21 hugEmma: Once again Scott Speedman shows off his exceptional hug skills and these last five episodes really did showcase the best of the chemistry between Speedman and Keri Russell.

Season 1 Noel is also my jam which is why I was Team Noel in the early days and then things shifted for me maybe because Ben did sort of change, but yeah the dude does still have a lot to do in terms of growing up. He definitely needs to quit the hero act – I love that Meghan mentioned this quality when Julie looked all sad about Ben going after Felicity rather than sticking with her. It was bitchy but delicious. The graduation episode really was the perfect ending and I wonder if Scott Foley got to direct as a sort of second place prize for not getting the girl. But I did really enjoy the time travel episodes for the most part so I don’t mind the WB fucking them around too much.

Okay favorite moments time!

One relationship I really enjoyed seeing develop and grow is between Meghan and Felicity which went from pure animosity to full on BFFs. Those final moments in the last episode as they nuzzle into each other is just as important as any of the many Felicity/Ben hugs which I’ve mooned over. Lady friendships on teen shows are often contentious for obvious reasons like dudes but they started out disliking each other for the simple fact that they were so different to each other and they had been thrust into each other’s world through a simple room assignment. As you know I also really dig that they are besties in real life too. I would also like to see Amanda Foreman in more stuff please.

Felicity 4.22 Meghan and FelicityThe sexual health stuff was generally a high point and Felicity’s contraceptive pill campaign is just as significant now as it was then. This was also the episode where Ben and Noel got drunk, played video games and hit each other so it was general all around good stuff (except for Felicity kissing that Greg dude, he sucked). The same goes for how they Julie rape storyline was handled, also still depressingly relevant even if certain actors involved with said storyline disagree. There were maybe a few too many pregnancy scares and actual pregnancies for my liking and it is a convenient way of adding extra drama.

I also appreciate that Felicity was far from perfect and that she fucked up on multiple occasions whether it was getting blackout drunk and not knowing if she had slept with that frat bro or the time she lost her virginity to the MPDG, she made mistakes and had regrets but they were still hers to have. She isn’t just this sweater wearing A grade perfect student. The time she copied that dissertation was not good storytelling. That was one fuck up too far in that there were no real consequences.

Holiday themed episodes were also pretty great from the first season Halloween where Felicity threw up in Noel’s lap to the first Thanksgiving where she frantically smooched Noel in the bathroom. It’s not holiday themed but the mid-term episode in season 1 which introduced us to Noel’s beets reaction is also a high point.

The randomness of the Twilight Zone inspired episode and attention to detail of the homage makes that one really special. Considering it was one of the only things I knew about the show before I came in it could have been a huge let down but instead it was what I hoped it would be and more.

I have more to add including costume favorites but I will pass it over to you before I write an entire essay entitled “What I Love about Felicity.

Felicity 4.21 Meghan and ElenaJulie: One thing that kept me from watching Felicity when it originally aired (aside from the fact that I was in college myself at the time), was that I assumed Felicity was going to be this perfect, no mistakes, cool girl. I was very wrong. She is not that. She’s awkward and confused and she sometimes makes horrible decisions (including sartorial ones). She’s very earnest and socially conscious, which could’ve gotten old, but the people around her bring her back down to Earth. I love how real and flawed she is, and the writers kept her that way for the duration of the show.

My top favorite moment is the Thanksgiving kiss with Noel during freshman year. For me, that is one of the top five kisses of all time on television. It’s just so…college. It happens in a women’s bathroom, for goodness’s sake. (This show could’ve used more bathroom drama, all told.)

Other things I loved were Ben getting in touch with his feelings on the basketball court, Dr. Pavone, the pre-rape Pink Guy, the MPDG (Even if he was a MPDG. Felicity deserves to have hot sex with hot people.)

I didn’t love almost every storyline involving Julie, what happened with Elena at the end, Javier jumping from being their cool uncle to being their classmate, Meghan and Sean’s breakups, whatever happened with Richard by the end of the run.

This show did have a tough time with character consistency, and the writers never really knew what to do with Felicity, career-wise. They never knew what to do with anyone, career-wise, unless that career was something straightforward like “doctor.” Actually “doctor” was the only career they ever really had a grasp on. What was Megan’s major? Psych? Education? I don’t even know. What about Richard or Javier? For a show about college, they never really explored the whole point of going to college — to learn and prep for a career.

Okay, now I want to hear about your costume highlights and lowlights.

felicity 4.22 photo of NoelEmma: That kiss is spectacular and the level of bathroom shenanigans particularly in the later seasons is depressingly low. All I can really remember is those random girls who moved in and Felicity’s bedroom/en suite sharing debacle. That is not the kind of bathroom action I want from my teen shows. Meghan and Felicity did manage to sneak some good stuff in when they were at the loft on the odd occasion I guess.

Another great kiss moment is Felicity and Ben’s first smooch as it is so playful and flirty. It’s not quite the heights of the Noel kiss but still really good nonetheless.

Yeah character consistency is definitely an issue the show had and while I don’t mind them not necessarily knowing what they want to be/do after college – and I think they nailed the anxiety this causes – it is a shame doctor is the one that sticks for three of these characters. I also would have liked more Felicity and her lady friends time as I don’t think they were terrible at this, but Elena and Meghan definitely got sidelined in favor of whatever boy drama was going on. Basically I wanted more girls’ nights out.

This nicely leads me to costume highlights as one of the worst outfits is also one of my favorites and I’m sure you know which one I’m going to say – yep the double red denim. The dream! Speaking of red and the super sexy dress she wore at the start of season 2 is a killer as is the really cute spaghetti straps super 90s dress at the start of season 1 which she pairs with some Cons and a cardigan. Felicity reminds me how much I still like 90s fashion and how bad the early 00s were for clothes. And 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 cool. Her sweater collection is like no other with more turtlenecks and chunky knits than any other characters. She even had a summer t-neck collection for when she needed to hide her Noel induced hickey.

What stands out to you clothes wise?

And we can’t talk about the legacy of Felicity without talking about the big hair chopping moment. This was one of the only things I knew about the show going into it and how it supposedly impacted the ratings. In terms of haircuts I think she looks cute with it short but she definitely experienced the awkward growing out stage. I did also enjoy the big wink reference to this haircut in the finale and it is funny how big the reaction was to it. But she was the girl with all the hair so I can understand why this was a BIG DEAL.

Felicity 4.22 Felicity timetravelJulie: Double red denim IS the dream. I’m considering wearing it to all my fancy weddings this year.

I’m bad at remembering specific outfits (I think you mentioned most of my favorites), but I really do love the nostalgia feelings that come with all these clothes. I was in college at the same time that Felicity aired and I definitely had a lot of sweaters in the late ’90s and sparkly tops in the early ’00s. Everything Noel wears feels like it could’ve been lifted from the closet of every guy I knew at the time. The only thing missing, boy-fashion-wise, was some dude with a giant, curly mop on his head. Ben and Noel’s hair situation was always quite attractive, unlike a lot of the guys I knew back in the day.

One of the only good things about the flashbacks in the finale was that it took us on the Felicity hair journey again. I still don’t get all the pearl clutching about the short ‘do. She looked so cute. The growing out phase, however, especially toward the end of season two and the beginning of three, was the real tragedy.

Maybe Felicity should’ve turned back time all the way to the beginning of the second season. Maybe all of her problems would’ve been solved if she had just not gotten that haircut.

Felicity 4.22 weddingEmma: I did wonder if it would have been better if she went right back to the end of season 1 when the first Ben vs. Noel choice was presented. It would save a lot of heartache although she ultimately would end up with Ben (or so the show would like us to believe and I agree with this).

This show made me super nostalgic too and I do wish I had watched it when it was on. I hate the phrase ‘role model’ in this context but I do think Felicity is a pretty great character for all the reasons we have written about. Keri Russell’s performance has been excellent throughout and I barely got any character whiplash when alternating between this and The Americans, which speaks to how she plays these characters. Speaking of which it is funny that she has gone from much talked about haircut to a show where the hair or rather the wigs are a big topic of conversation.

After watching and discussing this show with you for two years now I am feeling rather emotional that we are all done and there is no more. It has been very fun and now we’ve been through TV high school twice we’re now graduating from TV college too.

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.

 

TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Power of the Ex” & “Spin the Bottle”

4 Jun

Felicity, Episodes 4.19 & 4.20
“The Power of the Ex” & “Spin the Bottle”
Original Air Dates: May 8 & May 15, 2002

Felicity 4.19 Dear SallyEmma: Felicity is still in the land of time travel over both of these episodes and this arc is amazing. It is ridiculous of course, but I am loving how they are playing with the ‘what ifs’ and going back to the season 1 well of stories. Instead of revisiting this season’s rather heavy storylines with Ben’s dad and Lauren they are instead bringing back some exes including Hannah! Yes I full on yelped when Jennifer Garner showed up and while it is a little cheesy I really loved the nods to her current Sydney Bristow physique when Meghan was suggesting Felicity should kick her ass. And really her arms look incredible.

I ended up rewatching the season 1 episode “The Fugue” (cue Manic Pixie Dream Boy) because it felt like there were so many direct callbacks, which it turns out there are. This includes Noel starting to hook up with Hannah and then realizing halfway through that it is a bad idea, helping Hannah out with a  piano related issue (the first time was her fugue and now it is her website) and the piece of music plays throughout. What this does is highlight just how quick Noel and Felicity have happened this time around and it is something Noel also mentions as being an issue. He also likes to use the word ‘confused’ rather a lot. In fact this is the word these characters all resort to when they are experiencing relationship drama.

Instead of the MPDB, Felicity ends up smooching Ben again and I’m really enjoying seeing him in full on arrogant mode because it is so much better than drunk and emotional as he probably would be if this was a real thing that is happening (and it might be a real thing that is happening, who knows at this point?). Instead he is playful and pretty sure of himself even when Felicity pulls away mentioning how she came back for Noel.

What 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 this episode Felicity is wearing clothes she has worn earlier this year (which makes sense) including her paisley shirt and the black and white long sleeve polo. This latter outfit was worn when Ben thought Noel was trying to get back with Felicity and Noel called them both out for being big dumb dumbs. I did wonder if the costuming choices were a way to point to other significant moments but it doesn’t continue into the next episode so maybe not.

Felicity 4.19 Felicity and BenAs I mentioned last time we were discussing Felicity time traveling is that it gives Keri Russell the opportunity to be funny and she is nailing it. From getting flustered with Ben to trying to insist to Noel how fine she is and how right they are for each other. Everyone else is also doing a great job of acting like they are living this for the first time and once again because of Jennifer Garner I find it hard to hate Hannah even though she is kind of the worst.

Are you glad to spend more time in the past with faces we haven’t seen for an age?

felicity 4.20 Felicity and BenJulie: Ben Covington in these two episodes is exactly the right level of douchebag. I love sassy, confident Ben. And I especially love him with frazzled Felicity. I’ve always complained about these two not having fun together. But now, in these time travel episodes, they’ve actually got a nice Tracy/Hepburn vibe going and it makes her interactions with him much more interesting than whatever sad sack stuff is going on with Noel.

Theory: Felicity’s relationships with boys become extremely tedious and boring as soon as she starts dating them.

Though I guess that’s true for a lot of TV relationships.

It was funny seeing J-Gar in these episodes, especially after we’ve been talking about her all week, regarding her possible marital issues with Ben Affleck. And when you think about it, she was married to Scott Foley at this point, but she had also already been working on Alias for a year. Were things already happening between her and Michael Vartan? I wonder. She definitely comes off as the victim in whatever’s happening in her marriage right now, but she for sure had her own issues before Batfleck.

Her arms do look great though.

But Hannah is the worst. Or is Felicity the worst? She’s trying so hard to make this work with Noel, and, maybe it’s real or maybe it’s a dream, but it seems like whatever universe or part of her psyche they’re in is working to show Felicity how much she and Noel really shouldn’t be together. Yet Felicity persists. And I wonder if her blocking Noel and Hannah getting back together was kind of awful. What if the two of them are meant to be together? They do have this history and a mutual respect for what the other does. I’m just wondering. What if this is Hannah’s way of undoing her own mistakes, just as this flashback is Felicity’s way of undoing hers?

You’re the queen of remembering outfits. So much of that went right over my head.

Felicity 4.19 HannahEmma: The Ben/Felicity back and forth reminds me of the end of season one when their flirting hit crazy new heights and you are so right about it highlighting how much more fun it is when she is in the before part of the relationship. What I find interesting is that everyone is acting in heightened ways so Ben’s cocksure attitude is one extreme of his personality and it becomes even more like this as Felicity is trying to push him away. And yet she can’t help kissing him and I can’t blame her because the stuff with Noel has already hit moody relationship territory.

It’s funny how Hannah has not even been mentioned since the last time we saw her back in season one and yet it makes so much sense seeing Noel with her. I don’t know if it’s because of their actual relationship in real life or because it is Jennifer Garner but these two actually make a whole lot more sense to me than Felicity and Noel. And the fact they are repeating actions that have already happened also means something. Yes Noel rejects Hannah in favor of Felicity both times, but I think his initial confusion has a lot to do with his coupling with Felicity just not being quite right. It is all very Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Felicity 4.19 Noel and HannahAnd I would love it if Hannah is also trying to make up for a past mistake too even if she goes about it in an awful and sneaky way. The tension between Felicity and Hannah is fun from the awkward hug goodbye to the very thinly veiled attempt to tell her to back off with a piano lesson. They also have pretty good chemistry and now I want to see Jennifer Garner guest starring on The Americans (it would never happen as it would be far too distracting and stunt casting is not their thing, but it would be so much fun to see her in spy mode again).

How do you feel about Noel telling Felicity that she has to wait just like he waited? On one hand I can see that’s a valid point from his perspective, but also dude you’ve done this to her before with Hannah and also it isn’t a point scoring contest. Yes they have only been together a week and yes Felicity has been acting kinda weird – another Keri Russell excellent reaction is her super high pitched “What do you mean?” when Noel points this out – but still this is kinda cold from Noel.

Felicity 4.19 ElenaFor some reason Trevor isn’t in Ben’s O-Chem class this time around and he doesn’t end up with Elena helping him out when he bottoms out. Instead he ends up reluctantly going to Felicity for help as she is of course acing the class and I of course love how they use chemistry as a metaphor for what is going on here with opposites attracting and the like. It is VERY on the nose but I am all in.

Javier and Elena are off on a story island of their own and it is fine, but I would much prefer both of them were incorporated in what Felicity is doing rather than being off to the side as the comic relief.

Another name gets mentioned from the past in the first episode with Sean ringing Julie out of the blue. I was wondering if we were going to get to see her and this is immediately answered with a resounding yes in the second of the these episodes. Julie is still playing her guitar and wearing awful pink tops and no one mentions why she left in the first place. Sean thinks this is his chance to tell Julie how he really feels about her and this is really shitty for a number of reasons 1) he has already done this and 2) what about Meghan? Yes their relationship is pretty awful but it is also a very bad move to call up a crush from the past and invite her to stay?

Have you missed Julie, Julie?

Felicity 4.20 Sean and Julie Julie: I’m guessing that Felicity took Trevor’s spot in o-chem, which is just more Butterfly Effect stuff. He doesn’t get into the class, he doesn’t become Ben’s lab partner, he never meets Elena. Felicity’s ruining everyone’s love lives!

Also, Elena-related, back when Ben and Felicity were on their break and he was working with Trevor, at least she had something to do. She was the tutor and she had cute chemistry with Trevor. Now she’s stuck teaching Javier about acting? What? Tangi Miller, whom did you piss off?

Noel bringing up the fact that he’s been waiting a long time for Felicity tells me that he’s not ready to forgive Felicity for making him wait. There’s still this bitterness and resentment underneath that are going to be very hard to get rid of. Though, it’s not like he put his life on hold waiting for her. He had other (serious) girlfriends. Maybe he should just stop being petty and be with the girl he likes.

Which, to be fair, he does end up doing, and, in traditional Felicity fashion, the two of them wind up moving WAY TOO FAST when they agree to move in together. Felicity is always in such a hurry to grow up. Why not just let Noel get his own place, and you keep your place, and you can spend a lot of time in his apartment but still keep your independence?

I’m trying to figure out a way to segue to Julie, but there is no good segue. She’s back. Ugh. And she’s basically awful. She’s leading Sean on (which she’d probably maintain wasn’t intentional, but come on; he’s liked her forever). Then she takes the tickets he bought for the two of them and asks Ben (her “best friend’s” very recent ex-boyfried) to the concert. She sucks. Her music sucks. Her clothes suck.

Apparently I have very strong feelings.

How did you feel about the return of Julie?

Felicity 4.20 FelicityEmma: The moving in thing is so ridiculous especially when coming off the back of the whole Hannah drama. For Felicity I guess it is in part down to not knowing how long she has in this version of the timeline and also because this is what she does. At least when she moved in with Ben for that hot minute they had least been together for a while. I also love that when he brings it up Noel has no idea what he is talking about as it was off when he was being Leon and totally out of the loop. Nice continuity, show. This was one of the many dickish moments from Ben, but really entirely justifiable on this occasion. When Ben mentions how Felicity worried he would cheat on her I possibly yelled at the screen “but you did cheat on her” because I love to participate in conversations like this it would seem.

Ah Julie, yep still the worst (the above photo is a good representation). I think she could have handled the Sean stuff better and while she doesn’t owe him anything romantically of course, she didn’t have to take up his offer to stay over. Instead she could have just met up with him for a drink or something. But nope Julie is pretty oblivious whether she intends to be or not and the same goes for Felicity. Yes technically Julie and Ben dated first, but that also came about after she knew Felicity had feelings for him and yes she knows how long Felicity and Ben dated AND that they just broke up. Really not cool, Julie.

felicity 4.20 Felicity and JulieThe double date is of course a terrible idea for all involved as it is clear there is still a whole lot of feelings/tension between Ben and Felicity – remember when Julie also had the hots for Noel? – and I’m fine with Ben teasing both Noel and Felicity to be honest. His arrogance in this situation is attractive in all the ways it shouldn’t be and Noel’s closing speech to Felicity after he has seen her reaction to Julie and Ben kissing sums up why they are not right for each other. Not because of what Noel describes as how he’s never going to inhabit her in the same way Ben does (also ew, this is not a great way to describe this) but because Noel can’t get over her history with Ben. Am I being too harsh on Noel?

Meghan snarks a whole bunch at everyone which is more than fair especially when Sean is involved and I was really happy when she told him she didn’t want him anymore as you don’t ring up a former crush, get rejected and then expect things to be the same. Meghan instigates the spin the bottle game (which once again gives Keri Russell the chance to deliver all the amazing reactions) and I think she is just so over the relationship shit from this group. I also love how she alluded to Felicity’s ‘return trip’ as no one else is privy to Felicity’s time travel conundrum.

Felicity 4.20 spin the bottle part one Felicity 4.20 spin the bottle part two Felicity 4.20 spin the bottle part threeSo we have two episodes left (*sob*) and I’m wondering how they are going to wrap this all up and while I thought I knew who Felicity ended up with, now I’m not so sure. SO MUCH TENSION.

Felicity 4.20 BenJulie: Oh, my God, Julie and Noel. That happened for a second, and not much more than that. I think the show has forgotten about it because, while it still remembers Leon (kind of?), it makes no mention of Julie and Noel’s almost romance.

I don’t think you’re being too harsh on Noel, though I do get why this is tough on him. While Hannah will always be the one that got away for Noel, at least she’s not around. Ben is constantly there. Noel lives with him right now. He’s part of their group of friends. Also, he’s seen first hand how at times Ben has not treated Felicity all that well. He’s helped her through their rough patches. It has to suck knowing that you’ll always be second best to this guy who has often been kind of a dick (Ben’s favorite word). If Felicity and Noel are really committed to making this work, they need to cut Ben out. I definitely don’t think Felicity’s there yet, though.

The spin the bottle thing was so awkward and hard to watch. Like a lot of the characters on this show apparently, I, too, played this game for the first time in college with, like, all my friends. On several occasions. Shit got weird. I can only imagine how weird it would be to play this game in a room full of exes and current couples. At least Meghan managed to stir things up, making both Noel and Sean face some facts.

And I did love that she didn’t take Sean back. He needs to sit in the corner for a while and think about what he’s done.

I’m excited to get to these final two episodes. This is such a fun way to wrap up a series. It’s like the reverse of Parks & Rec. Instead of showing us the future, it shows us a new version of the past.

Felicity 4.19 MeghanEmma: Spin the bottle is one of those games that seems like such silly when you’re drunk at college and those guys were far too sober and in a room of far too many relationship dramas to be even contemplating such a game. It’s really Ben’s fault for sitting there absent-mindedly spinning a beer bottle when Meghan came in.

If one of the things this time travel achieves is to split Meghan and Sean up then I am fine with that because they really do make a terrible couple who aside from a few moments of happiness and support have spent their time miserable together. This do over could be the best thing that happened to Meghan and she was the one who did the spell in the first place so that’s fair. However I’m guessing Felicity is going to find her way back, I’m just not sure how.

And I love that this is a reverse Parks & Rec situation and it is such a fun way to wrap up the show. I’ve become rather attached to these characters and I’m sad it is all going to be over soon, even if I’m really looking forward to seeing how they end it all.

Felicity 4.20 NoelJulie 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.

TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Graduate” & “Time Will Tell”

14 May

Felicity, Episodes 4.17 & 4.18
“The Graduate” & “Time Will Tell”
Original Air Dates: Apr. 24 & May 1, 2002

Felicity 4.17 graduationEmma: The big mystery from these two episodes is not how Meghan can send Felicity back in time, but how she managed to get away with copy that dissertation and a one sentence ‘oh yeah that was fine and now we are graduating’ explainer. Some time has passed since the last episode as Ben is out of hospital and yep they are all graduating. A LOT happens over the course of both and while I have an itch to jump ahead to time travel there is also a lot to unpack in “The Graduate.”

We open with Noel and Felicity in a cab with Noel asking us if Felicity is okay, it isn’t blatantly blatantly obvious but it is using JJ’s favorite Alias in media res narrative device as I suspected and as we discover later in the episode this is just after Felicity and Ben have decided to part ways. Felicity tells Noel she is okay and there’s also a voiceover talking about how ‘this isn’t how it was suppose to end’ and the latter, it turns out, is part of a tape letter to Ben. The triangle even though it has leaned heavily one way for an age now is coming back into focus.

The scene cuts to Ben and Felicity in bed talking about graduation, how she managed to get a pass for that art class (not the essay of course, still huh) and that the safety net which has kept them together will be gone. Ben ends up proposing in a semi spontaneous way (he mentions how he’s been thinking about it since the hospital) and this very much feels like a way to reassure Felicity rather than something they should actually be doing. She doesn’t say yes straight away and for once she is thinking rationally about Ben but when Ben gets a call about Lauren going into labor, Felicity changes her unsure answer into a yes. Oh, Felicity.

Ben goes from super into this idea to being a little distant when he returns from the birth of Andrew (his dads name – I feel like this was not something I knew). This is classic Ben as he wants to please/save everyone. The Arizona debate returns and he somewhat assumes that Felicity will just come with him now that he put a ring on it. I mean he didn’t even do that part yet.

To make things even more stressful for Felicity her parents are being their usual overbearing selves but for once her dad makes a good point that she is always following Ben. Things get even more fraught when Richard (of course it is Richard) spills the details to Papa Porter that Ben is not only a baby daddy but that he is moving to Arizona and Felicity is going with him.

In this episode there is so much going on that it is hard to keep up with all the huge decisions/breakups that take place but one thing becomes very clear and that is without the safety net and with Ben’s new family responsibilities it means things are over for Ben and Felicity (well sort of). It is sad and they share one last night together, which felt like one of the most realistic things this show has done in a while.

What did you make of everything happening all at once and how graduation is suddenly thrust upon us?

Felicity 4.17 Ben and FelicityJulie: Yes, this show has completely lost base with reality. For me, watching these two episodes was basically just two hours of, “Huh?”

One of the more unrealistic things that happens in “The Graduate” is Felicity managing to pass that art history class without any sort of repercussions beyond failing the paper. However, I suppose it’s a blessing that this storyline is disposed of so quickly. Because I COULD NOT with it.

The quick proposal, while misguided, did feel pretty real to me. It’s so college — things are ending, you’re just jumping into adulthood, getting married seems like the next step, the right step. Ben and Felicity want to hold onto each other and their relationship and their NOW, though this seems like the (wrong) way to do it, especially considering all the reasons this is an awful idea (she has a job in New York, he has to move to Arizona to be with his kid, etc.)

This episode (and the next) confirmed for me why I think Ben is not great, Bob, for Felicity right now. And Mr. Porter does sum it up: She’s been following Ben for four years. I love that she actually does throw that knowledge at Ben. He needed to hear it, because of how true it is. I think he very much expected Felicity to accept his proposal and follow him to Arizona, because that’s what she does. I don’t think it was intentionally malicious on Ben’s part, but I also think it proves how little thought he gives to what Felicity herself actually wants.

Other things about “The Graduate,” before we get into the more WTF time travel episode, 1) Elena was basically nowhere. There was a scene where she and Javier say goodbye to Felicity, but I don’t think they’re ever in the same frame together, and I wonder if she was acting with a Keri Russell stand-in. I’m trying to make this into a whole Kalinda/Alicia thing. (And then considering what they do to her character in the next episodes…somebody on the Felicity writing staff hates Elena.) 2) The med school reset. We just spent two whole years with Felicity proclaiming art as her life and now, all of a sudden, she’s back on medicine. And Ben has followed her to Palo Alto for school, so I guess he’s finally the one following her, but at the same time it feels like him horning in on her life. Go be with your baby, Ben.

Anything to add on “The Graduate?”

Felicity 4.17 ElenaEmma: I mentioned this on Twitter particularly in the relation to the second episode but these episodes feel very OC season 4 – the writers are having fun because they know that it’s pretty much dunzo. I’m enjoying the pure what the fuck aspect while also raising my eye own at the same time (I’m not actual raising my eyebrow because I’m not so great at that).

One thing I did feel about the graduation was how much it tapped into the finality of it all and even though you’re going to stay in touch with some people, this is it for the no responsibility part of your life. It also made me a little teary because that’s how I get about these things and I still panic about all the things I haven’t done since college or what I should have done at college to improve my position now. Basically I had a lot of fun and could have done a bit more prep work for career. And unlike Ben I didn’t just decide to be a doctor in my third year.

The scene that got me the most teary was not between Ben and Felicity, instead it was between Meghan and Felicity and this is the one that felt the most real to me. But urgh with the lack of Elena, this along with The Good Wife debacle is the greatest mystery of our time. And then the thing that Broad City mentioned happens (more on that later).

This episode could easily be a series finale as everything is tied up so neatly in the final Dear Ben montage. This comes after what turns out to be an IMPORTANT conversation between Noel and Felicity at the airport and we join them in the cab scene that starts the episode. At the airport (is he in the departure lounge? It looks like 9/11 definitely didn’t happen in this universe) she asks him if he ever thinks about the two them ending up together and he clearly lies that he never has. Even without the confirmation in the following episode it is a certainty that Noel only thinks about them as a couple (even if he is good at pretending otherwise).

It’s all lovely and then some super twee version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” kicks in and I couldn’t stop laughing. We then cut to 6 months later and the montage of what everyone is up to followed by Ben making his grand declaration and joining Felicity in Palo Alto and yes it really is his turn. I am still very much Team Ben at this point and even though he makes the biggest fucking mistake in “Time will Tell” I still can’t help but want him and Felicity to end up together (I have thoughts on this storyline, many thoughts).

What they seem to be doing is manoeuvring characters and their motivations so that we can have one final love triangle situation. Do you agree that there are some shenanigans that go down that are rather contrived just so we can end up with one last Team Ben vs Team Noel hurrah?

Julie: The airport thing is ridiculous. What plane ticket did Noel buy in order to get past security? This show was filmed in 2002, immediately after 9/11. But, as you also suspect, I’m beginning to think 9/11 didn’t happen in Felicity World. Also, time travel is possible. Also no one has killed Richard yet.

I’m going to jump into “Time Will Tell” here because it’s hard not to. I’d LOVE to know what was going on in the writers’ heads when they came up with this concept. I’m guessing that it’s A) a who-the-fuck-cares OC move because the show is ending and B) a way to undo a lot of the negative character stuff they created during this season. I think they realized they had made MISTAKES and had done several of their characters a disservice and this is their way of taking a mulligan. Or maybe it’s a way to prove to the Team Noel people that Team Noel was always a bad idea, so shut up, whiners.

So, yeah. There is time travel. Felicity is in Palo Alto with Ben. Six months (or more, maybe a year?) have passed since graduation. Elena is DEAD. I repeat: Elena is DEAD. She got hit by a car outside of med school. (I see, time travel story-wise why they did that. It’s a way to prove to Felicity that she has really traveled through time. That said, what a shitty ending for Elena’s character.) Also, Noel is getting married and Ben is cheating on Felicity. She catches him kissing a study buddy in the med school library. What the actual fuck, Ben? I actively hate him for this. I have forgiven a lot, Ben-wise, but this is an out-and-out dick move. And Felicity blames herself, because of course she does. She says she’s been hard to live with because her BEST COLLEGE FRIEND JUST DIED. Ugh. Ben. So much anger right now. Talk to your girlfriend, Ben. Don’t just start kissing the first skank who seems like she’s more fun to be around.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest…Felicity breaks up with him and heads to New York solo for Noel’s wedding. He’s marrying Zoe, which, gross. Noel flirts with Felicity, she flirts with Noel. She starts to wonder if the two of them should’ve dated back when they hooked up the first time. And this is the writers’ way of exploring the thing that they didn’t do back in the beginning of the season. Meghan sends Felicity back in time and gives her a chance to try Noel on for size.

I’ve said many words. What is your reaction to this beginning of this episode?

Felicity 4.17 FelicityEmma: One quick thing to mention about “The Graduate” as it was directed by Scott Foley and I always like it when shows let their stars have a go at directing. For some reason he was very into shooting through half open doors. Which I’m sure is his slightly labored way of graduation being like opening a door or something like that.

From what I can tell this is six months after the six months and everything is terrible for Felicity – Elena is dead (what?) and Ben is a dirty cheater, plus Noel is getting married to Zoe. First up Elena got shafted so badly this season, but luckily for us it’s not all over for Tangi Miller as she’s still alive in the past. Now this is what prompted Felicity to pull away and I just don’t believe what happens next, even the time travel is more believable. Ben cheats on Felicity and while I guess this isn’t outside the realms of possibilities the very public smooch is ridiculous. Your reaction/feelings toward Ben is more than understandable, I’m just in denial and hope there’s some way out of this dumb as fuck move. Also the conversation where she finds out it has been going on for a month is such a gut punch for her.

What this does give us is a heartbroken Felicity crying on the phone to Meghan in double denim – not of the red variety – and Meghan getting to be the best get a grip friend Felicity needs right now. First she makes sure no one else knows about the breakup as Felicity insists she doesn’t want to overshadow the big day – why Noel? – and then she sets to some revenge spells. The first one is trip spell (and works) and Meghan’s mystical track record goes back to season 1 when she put the group photo back together wrong.

After Ben shows up and makes things awkward (of course he does) Felicity gets drunk with Meghan revealing how she thinks she made a mistake with who she chose after the big roof night and she would do everything differently. As I mentioned earlier there is stuff I would probably do differently during college but sadly I don’t have a friend with mystical powers. I love how Meghan comes across as a really confident and yet terrible witch; somehow she sends her drunk/heartbroken friend back through time so she can do just that.

This is where things really get fun and this is a storyline I’ve been waiting for since we started season 1; it’s even more ridiculous than I expected and I’m so glad it’s for more than one episode. First there is the slightly orangy hue to denote that we are in time travel land and then there is the whole Felicity is aware and everyone else thinks she’s insane. This gives Keri Russell a chance to flex her comedy chops as last time was so tortured whereas this time Felicity gives no fucks and it’s the best.

Even though she’s set on Noel this time and she is so mad at Ben she has a couple of moments where she feels pangs towards her now ex. This makes sense and it also pits Noel versus Ben in a way we have not seen before. It’s like the playing field has only been leveled for Felicity and everyone else is spinning around her orbit. Some things stay the same as Tracy and Elena still break up but this time it’s before they make it to the venue meaning Sean and Meghan probably won’t get married either. Ben gets wasted after he has failed his first test so it looks like his medical career might not progress all that far. Also Ben does not have his super hot short hair like he had at the start of the year, this makes me sad.

What did you make of this sort of more assertive Felicity and the whole time travel plot?

Felicity 4.18 Meghan and FelicityJulie: I think my biggest beef with the Ben cheating thing is that it’s just so blatantly cruel. They have been through so much, they’ve overcome so much, and this seems completely mean. It’s one thing to kiss someone while drunk in a drunk bar. It’s another thing COMPLETELY to make out with your study buddy in the middle of the afternoon in the library. For a month. That’s premeditated dickery, and that’s a deal breaker, ladies (I’ve been watching a lot of 30 Rock.)

Though, maybe it’s totally realistic, which, fine, (guys are dicks even when they promise not to be dicks), but I hold Ben Covington and his feelings for Felicity to a higher standard, especially if this is who she’s going to choose over Noel or herself.

Good call on Ben’s long hair! Felicity’s hair is back to being curlier again, but Scott Speedman wouldn’t get a haircut?

After all my ranting up there about Ben, you’d probably think I’m squarely on Team Noel here, but no. I think what this episode did highlight is that maybe Felicity and Noel are better as just friends. I don’t think she’s hot for Noel, nor he for her. I think she likes the idea of being with Noel, but I don’t see them working long-term.

That said, I don’t think she and Ben work long-term either. He’s the hot guy she’ll always remember fondly, but he’s not so great for her, life-wise.

I’m interested in the Butterfly Effect of this time travel. Tracy and Elena don’t end up married (and Donald Faison doesn’t even have to show up for a cameo). Meghan and Sean probably don’t end up married either. I wonder if Lauren will end up pregnant or if Noel will end up seeing a shrink. Or if Elena ends up dying. Or if Felicity will decide not to wear two denim pieces together.

Which do-overs do you hope to see?

Felicity 4.18 Felicity and MeghanEmma: The cruelty and their long history is why I don’t buy the cheating happening in this manner and for all the mistakes both of them have made in the past this feels completely out of character. And of course I really hate Claire because it is a huge dick move as a friend of Felicity’s to pull this level of shit.

One reason I guess they didn’t cut Ben’s hair is when they get back to the present it might be harder to explain his sudden buzz cut.

I agree with you about Felicity and Noel and if there is anything this show has taught us over the last few seasons is how good they are as friends. I did enjoy seeing her all super into them being in a relationship together whereas he was obviously freaking out over Ben finding out and Felicity being so open about everything. This is very out of character for Felicity but as she is the one reliving this time over again she knows how it will play out. The hickey came into play but this time she gave no shits about covering it up with an endless stream of turtlenecks and it was refreshing to not go through the same tortured feelings (even if they are the more realistic).

Felicity’s decision making process falls into two camps – impulsive and labored – so we are getting a whole lot of the Felicity who came to New York for a boy. This decision is still romance based and we never did get to see a great deal of single Felicity which is a shame. I guess they figure in this genre of TV it works better if there is a love interest at all times but I think plenty of us also enjoy the “I choose me”  option.

In this time of crisis Felicity turns to several other people for support; Meghan as the one who cast the spell and who has no idea what Felicity is going on about while scoffing at the very idea she would marry Sean, Dr Pavone who tells Felicity that she needs to forget about doing the right thing and asks her what she wants and then Sally via tape. The latter makes the most sense to me as Sally is who Felicity could spill her inner most thoughts to and as we near the end of the show I am glad this device makes a reappearance. I was never that fond of the responses (sorry Janeane Garofalo, I still heart you) but I liked how it avoided the standard inner thoughts voiceover.

One thing I wondered is if Ben’s dad is going to die in this new timeline? That’s one major rupture if it happens. And it would be nice if none of the Lauren stuff happens. What I am interested in is how they are going to proceed with this whole thing and if everything ends up being worse in this version what does that mean for Felicity? I don’t want her romantic decisions to be the burden of not just her life but everyone else’s. It is fun that we get to see both versions of who she chose and in a way I wish they had gone back even further to when she chose Ben over Noel at the end of season 1, but the logistics of doing that coupled with how much distance there is from any of those stories might not have made much sense.

I’m pretty sure Felicity would wear double denim in any universe, this is sadly a mistake she is doomed to repeat.

Is Felicity stuck here or is she going to end up waking up hungover on the day of Noel’s wedding?

Felicity 4.18 double denim Julie: If ever there was a girl who needed to step back and “choose me” for a minute, it’s Felicity. The best thing that could come from this time travel thing would be for her to realize at the end of it, after first choosing Ben and then Noel, that who she really needs to choose for a while is Felicity. This is a girl who has, in the blink of an eye, gone from one guy to the next and from one college major to the next. She was staying in New York one minute, going to Arizona the next, and Palo Alto a few seconds later. What does Felicity really want? Now’s the time to figure it out.

I guess Felicity “has” to be aware that she’s time traveled, but I would’ve liked to have seen everything in the Noel Storyline play out without her knowing what will happen, if that makes sense. There’s too much “Future Felicity” meddling here. She’s too aware of the whole situation. I, like you, wonder if Ben’s dad will end up dead in this timeline. Maybe Choosing Noel is the darkest timeline. It makes me want them to do a Community-style thing where they choose every possible choice — from choosing herself to choosing that cute art guy she blew off.

I’m thinking this is all a dream and she wakes up hungover in the apartment, very Dorothy Gale, with a new outlook on life. What do you think?

Felicity 4.18 rooftopEmma: If there was to be a fifth season it should definitely be a Wild kind of situation where she takes a big long hike to get away from the dudes in her life. Even when she moves coasts things still catch up with her so maybe the wilderness is the next step. One reason why I really love this character is because she has made mistakes and messed up on more than one occasion but you’re right when you mention her motivations and what drives her sometimes gets muddled.

Okay now I definitely want an every timeline kind of situation. I do think that we might end up in the darkest timeline and I’m guessing Elena is still going to die regardless (sob). I love the road not traveled trope or the It’s a Wonderful Life playbook if you will. It’s fun and gives us a look at how things could have been. The only thing better is the whole body swap thing (and I wish they had done this with Ben and Noel at some point).

I have a feeling she will also wake up with a raging hangover and a big case of WTF, but I can’t wait to see how it pans out and how it impacts the end of the series.

Another thing that pleased me greatly was seeing Meghan in her old attire. So much leopard print bedding! Oh and Felicity’s ruffled shirt from her graduation gave me so many early 00s bad fashion flashbacks. The start of this decade really is the worst for clothes. It was also a big reminder of how close Felicity graduated to when I did (I was two years later) which is perhaps another reason why it felt so real. College really was forever ago now.

Do you have anything else to add?

Felicity 4.17 bad shirtJulie: I don’t remember a lot about my first S4 Felicity viewing (I spent most of this season POSITIVE that Meghan was going to get pregnant. I guess there’s still time), but I have a vague memory of what actually happens at the end and I think you’re right about it not ending well for Elena. Which makes sense, considering how they’ve treated her so far this season.

And now you have me longing for a S5 where they go full Family Matters and do crazy things like body swapping and robots and all kinds of nonsense. Let’s kickstart it!

I shudder to think about early aughts’ fashion making a comeback, though you know it will. That’s how this works. Even ’70s hair came back. Kind of. I’m not sure Pete Campbell’s combover will ever be in style. But, you never know.

Emma: I am so happy the ’70s have come back, I will not say the same for the aughts. It’s funny how nostalgic I am for the ’90s, but everything from my early 20s conjures up less fond fashion memories.

I would definitely contribute/co-found that kickstarter.

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.

TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Paper Chase” & “Ben Don’t Leave”

30 Apr

Felicity, Episodes 4.15 & 4.16
“The Paper Chase” & “Ben Don’t Leave”
Original Air Dates: Apr. 10 & Apr. 17, 2002

Felicity 4.15 Felicity paisleyJulie: My eye muscles hurt from all the rolling they had to do during these two episodes. The DRAMA. Everything that happened would’ve been right at home in an after school special, or in Season 2 of Felicity where many of these things already happened. And most of the characters were acting like crazy people/idiots. This show is spinning its wheels. Again, I think it would’ve benefited from a shorter episode order, but networks weren’t doing that back then.

Where to start…Probably with Felicity and how her life is imploding. Her story is basically the same (or a continuation of the same) in both episodes. She is BUSY. She is busy and she’s distracted. She has the architecture thing that Noel set her up with. She has Ben and his baby mama drama. And she has schoolwork, which seems to have been placed on the back burner.

She realizes WAY too late (after she sees Meghan typing up a paper for their art history class), that she still hasn’t started her 25-page final paper. Whoops. Meghan, who’s interesting here because she’s actually doing her paper and working hard at it, suggests the opposite to Felicity — Go to the library and copy someone’s thesis.

Felicity balks because a) it’s a dumb idea and b) SHE’S DEFINITELY BEEN IN TROUBLE FOR CHEATING BEFORE. This show can’t come up with a new storyline to save its life. We’ve seen cheating before and unplanned pregnancy and Noel dating someone who looks like Amy Smart. But, when she finds herself staring down the deadline, Felicity does the stupid thing and copies the work.

Instead of getting in trouble with her teacher, the professor (played by Jane Lynch) wants to publish this magnificent paper in the school magazine or whatever. Felicity hopes this will just blow over, but it doesn’t. And I just kept feeling sorry for the Jane Lynch character the whole time. This poor woman. She doesn’t deserve this kind of nonsense from Felicity. The professor even told Felicity how much it was going to mean for her career to have one of her undergrad’s papers published, and Felicity kept doubling down on the lie until — finally — she spilled the truth on the day she was going to have to defend her work.

I’m sorry, but this whole storyline made me stabby. It made me mad at Felicity, and I do hope she gets into trouble, big trouble, because this was such a moronic thing to do. Also, what did you think of Meghan’s hunting and pecking typing style? Does anyone type like that anymore? The internet is quite prevalent in 2001. I’m surprised Meghan is not more computer savvy. Also, she’s a senior in college and will have had to write many papers by this point. Did she write them all this way? How annoying.

Were you as bothered by this storyline as I was?

Felicity 4.15 FelicityEmma: This cheating story is the dumbest. So, so dumb. And like you I was annoyed by the whole thing and while it plays into Felicity’s tendency to be impulsive I don’t think she would be this stupid to do it again. As you mentioned she has got into trouble with this before (she rewrote one of Ben’s papers without telling him) and I find it hard to believe that even in this desperate state she would be this reckless. Especially this close to graduation. This is the time when you go to talk to your professor and ask for an extension and considering how lovely Jane Lynch’s character is I’m pretty sure she would be more than understanding.

Another one of Felicity’s traits which tends to get her into more strife is that she tries to deal with things alone. Here she asks Meghan for some advice and learns this is a terrible idea – side note I realized Meghan and Sean are perfect for each other as they give equally bad advice – as Meghan’s solution involves copying someone else’s dissertation. Of course this is a terrible plan. And of course this is cheating. Felicity is frazzled because of everything that has been happening and sees this as a last ditch solution. There is another way out and that’s talk to Jane Lynch, but nope.

Instead Felicity goes to the library and is the least subtle ever about her dissertation copying (Elizabeth Jennings would be so disappointed). She looks so guilty the entire time she’s pretty much letting everyone know what she is doing. And of course she cheats too well as it’s the best piece of work ever or something like that.

I have a couple of quick academic questions – firstly, the page limit is confusing to me as we did ours to a word count rather than pages. And secondly wouldn’t she have had to out her sources in the paper via footnotes and a bibliography so why are they asking for her sources at the review?

One thing I will say about both episodes and particularly this one is that pretty much everyone is leaning on their bad habits to an extreme. So Felicity’s is impulsive in the worst possible way, sometimes this part of personality works in her favour like coming to New York but on this occasion it most definitely doesn’t. Ben who likes to help people and also has a habit of being a bit of a social chameleon is helping Lauren so much that it is not only putting a strain on his relationship with Felicity, but is also just putting a strain on Felicity. It’s not just this pair as Sean is at his worst, most over bearing self and Noel is too nice to tell Sean to shut the fuck up and lay off the really terrible business speak he thinks works so well (it doesn’t). This doesn’t make it all that enjoyable, but this is definitely a theme.

As you mention they are at this point regurgitating storylines and it’s all got so melodramatic as everyone is having such a hard time at the moment. I just want some silliness again and no I don’t mean whatever the fuck Richard was doing.

What I did like was how much time Meghan and Felicity spend together even if we are subjected to Meghan’s bad typing style – I’m trying to remember when I started typing properly, I didn’t have a computer until my third year of university but I was definitely better than this – and terrible advice. They have moved far from frenemy into total BFFs and I just wish we had more of this pairing this season rather than all the Sean/Meghan bickering. If only there was more Elena.

Were you as glad as I was to see this friendship come back into focus?

Felicity 4.15 laughingJulie: Amen! Why did it never occur to Felicity to talk to her teacher (who seems quite cool and understanding) about her predicament and ask for a brief extension? So much ridiculousness.

And, yes, she would’ve had to include her sources within the paper, so this whole “What are your sources?” thing is nuts. And the 25 page paper thing is how we do it here. Usually it means that the font has to be 12 point Times or something similar and double spaced, but most papers have to be a certain number of pages (which is how it was back when I was in college during Felicity time, anyway). Now that I write novels and everything is word count, it’s so frustrating when people ask how many pages something is. I don’t know. I no longer think in pages.

I love that you point out that everyone here is exhibiting their bad traits to the extreme. That is dead on. Also, I’d point out that Noel is being very Noel by jumping headfirst into this relationship with Zoe and Richard is being a giant boob. Elena is being herself to the extreme by basically not being here at all.

Yes, the straight up friendships were the shining moments of these episodes. I’ve always liked the Meghan/Felicity pairing, I just wish it could’ve come with different circumstances this time. The other friendship that worked for me was Javier and the girl from A League of Their Own. They have such a sweet relationship, and I love how age-appropriate they are for each other. Javier needs a mature lady in his life, especially since the other ladies are busy stealing papers and being stupid. (Also, their relationship reminded me of the mature person version of a book I just finished — Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens’ Agenda. SO GOOD.)

Also being stupid here is Ben. Or really, maybe he’s not being stupid, but he’s definitely being Ben to the nth degree. This highlights the reason why I have CONCERNS about Ben and Felicity’s relationship. He’s too standoffish. He does his own thing regardless of who gets hurt in the process. He really doesn’t seem to worry about how all of this baby/Arizona stuff is hurting Felicity. I don’t think he’s thinking about Felicity at all. But all she’s thinking about is Ben. That’s why this relationship is a bit toxic.

However, I don’t really blame him for being all caught up in the baby stuff. It’s his baby. That’s a big deal. Also, yeah, it makes sense that a dude with daddy issues is going to want to be there for his kid. I just think it would’ve been a kindness if he had ended things with Felicity, at least for the time being. That would’ve forced her to get her academic life on track before graduation, then she could’ve either followed him to Arizona or not. As it is, he’s keeping her in limbo and that’s sucky. She has a 25-page paper due!

I’ve written a lot. What do you think about the Ben/Felicity situation?

Felicity 4.16 Felicity and MeghanEmma: What I’ve found with a lot of the conflict this season is most of it could have been avoided and the contrivance levels are super high. If characters actually spoke to each other then a lot of this could be avoided and maybe then the writer would have come up with new and interesting ways to mess with these characters. Instead we just get a repeat of certain storylines.

I don’t know why but to me 25 pages sounds far more daunting that 5000 words and far more abstract. Also I love it when we find differences between academic practices.

One thing I really liked about Meghan and Felicity is how far they have come and that it is Meghan who is worried that they won’t be friends when college is over. Slightly vulnerable Meghan is always a delight to see and Felicity’s ‘of course’ reaction followed by laughter is a moment of levity that was very much appreciated. And really out of all the friendships this one does seem like it will stick. And it is one that has done so in real life too, which you know makes me rather happy. I’m still giddy that Sharon was Angela Chase’s bridesmaid IRL. Such a sucker for this.

If only Elena got to be involved in this storyline too. I have a feeling she would tell Felicity just how stupid all of this is. In fact if Elena was more of presence I doubt this would have even happened, bringing me back to plot contrivance.

With Javier and Rita I really like what they’re doing here too although I wish the Michael stuff hadn’t played out quite how it did as it made Rita look a little silly falling for a gay guy again. Also I don’t really get what Michael’s motivations were and no one even considered that he might be bi.

It really bums me out that after the whole magical getting back together in the airport moment everything that has followed for Ben and Felicity has been such a chore.  Like you I think his concerns and reaction makes sense but Felicity is very much out on her own and the way the episode ends with her responding to Ben’s millionth assertion that they’re going to get through this with a not so confidence building “I’m not so sure” is worrying. But then SOMETHING HAPPENS: Ben finds out that Lauren is moving to Arizona and I can’t blame her, to be honest, although her situation with her ex sounds super sketchy, so I get why Ben really doesn’t want her to move. Ben has also changed his mind about moving to Arizona even though his lawyer suggested it, instead he decided to help Lauren move her stuff and that’s when SOMETHING HAPPENS. (repeating to be extra dramatic)

Meghan is making jokes about Lauren being drunk (this is about to get awkward) when Felicity complains about Ben being late and then a phone call out of nowhere has Felicity running to the hospital. Ben and Lauren have been involved in a car accident – Lauren and the baby are fine, Ben is in surgery with never mentioned injuries (just that he lost a lot of blood). Meghan’s jokes don’t sound all that funny when Felicity overhears the doctor telling Lauren her alcohol level is over the legal limit and I love it when doctors draw attention to the pulling the curtain around for confidentiality and then you can totally hear everything anyway. Felicity is really angry for totally legitimate reasons and they’ve turned Lauren into a bit of a villain by having her act like an asshole to Felicity on several occasions before the crash.

How did you find this whole setup? They sure are getting a lot of use out of the hospital set this season first with Trevor, then with Ben’s dad and now Ben.

Felicity 4.15 Ben and Felicity in bedJulie: When you put the difference that way — 5000 words sounds like nothing these days. It probably would’ve seemed like a lot in college, but after blogging for ten years, I can vomit out 1000 words in a half hour.

Yes, I also love when these TV friendships wind up lasting, like Busy Phillips and Michelle Williams. And the whole cast of Full House. You, as a viewer, spend so much time enjoying these relationships, you really root for them to work in real life. It’s so sad to find out that your favorite TV friends hate each other in real life.

Again, yeah, why wasn’t Elena also in that scene? It would’ve been easy. Elena could’ve been on her laptop working on another homework assignment or something. Something must have been going on with Tangi Miller during this season, either she was busy working on something else or she really ticked somebody in the writers’ room off. It’d be one thing if she was off having her own storylines, but nothing. She’s nowhere.

Rita really does have a type, doesn’t she? And good call that Michael could be bisexual. Look at Javier, trying to put people in a box.

Onto the SOMETHING HAPPENS. A car accident! Has Felicity ever done a car accident before? Oh yeah, Todd Mulcahy. He was hit by a bus. I feel like maybe there was another car accident at some point, but no matter. Ben is in the hospital! He has a head injury! (With both this show and Grey’s Anatomy this week, I saw a lot of people hit by cars.)

What we find out is that Lauren was driving. The baby is fine, but Lauren was drunk. So that’s terrible. Not only was she drunk driving, she was drunk pregnant driving. And she’s having Ben’s baby. How do you think this is going to play out? I mean, she’s walking around the hospital all not arrested, but the cops came to talk to her and she was over the alcohol legal limit. Does she have Ben’s baby in prison?

Felicity 4.16 hospitalEmma: I have no idea why Elena has not been in the second half of the season except for the odd moment to remind us she is still on the show and then when they do give her story it’s with Richard and he becomes the worst of himself when he asks her to be his date to impress another girl with how PC he is. Which urgh times one million. He deserved to be punched and so much more – the sound effect on that moment was pretty full on and the shiner he had to match is equally as impressive.

Elena should not apologize under any circumstance and Richard is lucky she even wants to talk to him. Suddenly there is this whole question of who Elena hangs out with and I’m hoping this is here to point out that the show could be a little better on the diversity front. The whole Richard/Star Wars analogy didn’t make much sense to me and while I’m glad they are dealing with issues relating to race to me this comes across as a little too much on the “isn’t Richard an asshole?!” without really going into it in any depth. What did you make of this pairing/moment?

I was wondering what kind of charges Lauren might face and it is the kind of case where a judge could be lenient because she is pregnant or go the opposite way because she endangered her unborn child as well as Ben and others on the road. She ends the episode with a note saying she is going to get herself sorted out whatever that means. Maybe she will end up in rehab instead.

What this second episode does is put Ben out of the picture while he is in surgery and while his life never feels like it is in danger it gives Felicity that something else to worry about while she is dealing with the cheating drama. Also I don’t get why they couldn’t reschedule the panel when Felicity’s boyfriend has just been involved in a major car accident. This seems like something they would do or not. Anyway I wish Felicity had just interrupted Jane Lynch earlier when she was talking about her ex rather than waiting until right before the panel. Felicity has been reckless but she is the kind of person who was always going to spill. It is another case of dragging out to create tension but instead just leaves me frustrated.

Felicity ends up taking Lauren in even though Lauren has not only been an asshole to her by being generally hostile but by getting behind the wheel even though she was drunk. Felicity does yell at Lauren after she finds out about the DUI and rightfully so after all the shit she has given her and I think she is rather restrained considering. When Lauren comes back to the hospital to find out how Ben is Felicity is friendly and civil even taking her back and letting her stay in her room. In this moment Lauren realizes the impact on Felicity and it is nice to see her acknowledge this. So they made her the villain but not in an out and out way as if they had it would have been too extreme. For however irritating I am finding a lot of these storylines I am glad they allow Felicity to make mistakes but also acknowledge that with something like this it is far from her fault.

I don’t think there have been any other car accidents but it has been a while since everyone was at the hospital together, the true staple of a teen show, but we never got to see them with Ben because of those pesky rules. If only everyone had a cell phone by this point then Felicity would have known they were there.

Felicity 4.16 ElenaJulie: I googled Tangi Miller and the last season of Felicity, and the results were inconclusive. Until we get the unauthorized Lifetime Felicity TV movie, I guess we’ll never know.

Everything with Richard in these episodes was completely terrible. He started out as a semi-lovable goofball/evil mastermind, but has become completely unlikable. And 2015 me is appalled that he would compare his being a Star Wars nerd to being black. An honest exploration, however, of Elena wanting to become more in touch with why she hangs out with who she hangs out with would be interesting. Because right now I have no idea why she’s still with most of these people.

As frustrating as Felicity’s cheating actions were during these episodes, the way she dealt with Lauren was spot on. She expressed her anger, but she also showed Lauren some compassion, which is good because it gives Lauren no fodder to hate Felicity. For Felicity, being nice is a way of life. I can’t imagine Felicity not taking Lauren in. Sometimes it feels like she’s being a pushover, though. She does so many things that she doesn’t actually want to do, and then regrets it later. She’s a giant ball of doing-the-right-thing stress. So, maybe she hasn’t changed that much since freshman year.

Other people did things in these episodes, including the part where Noel and Zoe’s relationship kept being really dumb and Sean kept proving that he is completely unemployable. What did you think about the escapades of Crane and Blumburg? Also,  Sean kept talking about his sex life, or lack thereof. Will we see any actual evidence of this?

Felicity 4.16 Noel and ZoeEmma: A mystery! I can add this to the behind the scenes questions I need answered like ‘Why have Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi have not shared a scene on The Good Wife for 50 episodes?’

I would like to see more of the Elena exploration but I fear that is not the agenda. If we get more of Richard being a dick then I’m going to be so mad.

The Zoe/Noel pairing is a big ball of not interesting and I also don’t understand why Noel thinks Sean is a good person to taking dating advice from but I guess Noel doesn’t have that many friends, which is depressing in itself. I get that things are probably still a little weird with Felicity and Ben, but they are better than Sean at this. Or if they remembered Noel used to be very tight with Elena and she would be ideal.

I get why Zoe didn’t want to mention her medication to Noel because it’s awkward and she’s embarrassed/doesn’t want to scare him away and yet by what she is doing she’s pushing him away regardless. And we know Noel’s not a bad guy either and is far from the kind to put the pressure on. Did you think his late night visit was cute or creepy?

And ugh I would be happy if we don’t have to deal with Sean’s sex life because it will probably entail bickering with Meghan and there has already been far, far too much of that.

Felicity 4.15 NoelJulie: Is that true about The Good Wife? I can’t wait to watch the E! Behind the Scenes on that show. (Do they still do E! Behind the Scenes? I only watch that channel during awards season.)

Yes! Noel and Elena. I was trying to think of who Elena has shared scenes with this season, and it’s mostly been Richard (Halloween and this one) and Ben (with the tutoring). Did she have a falling out with the girls or something? Hopefully someone will find this post and give us the skinny. What happened to you, Tangi Miller? We are jonesing for some more Elena in Season Four!

As far as Noel and Zoe go, maybe these weirdos deserve each other. It was a little presumptuous of him to show up late at night with not one, but two bottles of wine. I completely understand her not wanting to disclose her medical history to him on the first couple of dates, but then I think maybe she should’ve waited to start dating him. Leading him on, as she has, was also kind of cruel — not that she can’t go at her own pace, but she could’ve dodged his advances more artfully/been more upfront. How hard is it to say, “I like you, but can we take things slow, physically?”

And on the Sean thing — I get that Noel feels loyal to Sean at work, but dude needs to start pulling his own weight.

What did we miss?

Felicity 4.15 MeghanEmma: Yeah they haven’t been on screen together since season 4 and the only scenes they’ve shared have been over the phone. It is all rather suspect/conspiracy theory generating. I am the same on the E! front so sadly I have no idea, but they totally should if they don’t.

With Noel and Zoe I think the reason why it is so confusing to Noel is because of how hot and heavy they were when they fooled around in the office way back when. She isn’t obliged to recreate this moment but Noel does deserve an explanation or as you mentioned a better excuse than the one she gives at first. And once again never listen to Sean.

Sean is both incredibly confident with a huge side order of insecurity which is why he is so hard to take at work. I’m glad he listened to Noel eventually with his constructive criticism but there is no reason for him to be such a brat about it in the first place. If Noel wasn’t so patient/loyal he would be back at the loft coming up with more terrible inventions.

One quick aughts fashion report and this year was not kind including Meghan’s sweater that is part turtleneck/part throw and Felicity’s very pleather looking oxblood jacket. Felicity’s purple paisley shirt is very cute and so this can stay. How did the start of this decade get it so wrong with style?

Felicity 4.16 Elena and MeghanJulie: Fashion-wise, I wanted to point out Meghan’s velour Juicy hoodie. She was probably the last character I’d expect to be wearing one of those. Way more Paris Hilton than Jackie O.

Emma: They’ve definitely ditched the whole ’60s Meghan theme. Ah, Juicy, how early 00s you were.

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.

 

TV Rewind: Felicity, “Kiss and Tell” & “Raising Arizona”

16 Apr

Felicity, Episodes 4.13 & 4.14
“Kiss and Tell” & “Raising Arizona”
Original Air Dates: Mar. 27, 2002 & Apr. 3, 2002

Felicity 4.14 doorEmma: The baby drama continues as Ben moves from his original position of “I don’t want anything to do with this kid” to maybe moving to Arizona to help raise the baby over the course of two episodes. As we both predicted Ben doesn’t stick too long with the hands off approach which causes a whole lot of strain with Felicity as she finds it hard to talk to Ben about this predicament and old wounds are opened in the process.

Felicity has spent a lot of this season feeling lost particularly with what she’s going to do after college. Her worries in this department get solved rather conveniently this week, which leaves just the personal clusterfuck looming over her. The art world is not for Felicity. Shocker I know and after Noel starts going through the course guide to see if there’s anything that jumps out he strikes gold very early with architecture. It’s lucky zoology isn’t Felicity’s secret passion. It actually makes a lot of sense that Felicity would be drawn to this and as Noel points out it combines her creative sensibilities with her science background. But it still feels too easy particularly as she gets involved with a project which has instant success as soon as she signs on.

There are of course complications as the guy she has to work with is super mopey abut a recent breakup, he then doesn’t tell her what she is supposed to do which renders hours of work as useless and then he tries to kiss her at the random party they are throwing. Adam has misread Felicity as she hasn’t mentioned Ben, but it is also highly inappropriate as he’s her supervisor and really the dudes on this show find it really hard not to cross that line. Also Felicity is wearing a rather hideous satin shirt in this scene which isn’t really relevant to this discussion but I felt it needed mentioning.

It’s a little awkward between them but I don’t think he’s going to try anything like that again and unlike some of the other creeps on this show, Adam seems well meaning.

One reason this new venture is so good for Felicity is that it’s a distraction as Ben’s repeated assertion that nothing will change is far from reassuring – the more he says it the worse it makes her feel. It’s such a messy situation and I can understand why Felicity pretty much shuts down especially as they’ve only just got back together.

What did you make of Felicity’s actions post big reveal?

Felicity 4.13 Felicity Julie: If everyone followed Noel’s advice, everyone would be an architect.

I’m with you that this all seemed to come VERY easy. Architecture is not necessarily something you can just jump into, even if you’re George Costanza. I don’t think Noel’s wrong that it’d be a good fit for Felicity, but it’s her senior year of college. This feels a little late. (As did Ben’s pre-med 180). Think of how much trouble and time she would’ve saved if she’d have just gone through the course catalog two years ago.

Adam seems like a decent guy, but he’s still in that same mold as the guy she met in the art studio (what was his name again?). They’re both dippy and bumbling and dorky. The kiss moment was unfortunate, but I can’t completely fault him. He was in a bad place. And she invited him to the party, and she said she’d have a drink with him, and he didn’t know she had a boyfriend. Also he stopped when she told him to, so all-in-all, a fairly stand-up guy. I’ll give him a pass on the boss thing, too. He’s only a year older than her and they seemed to be collaborating more than her working under him.

I, however, loved Keri Russell’s reaction to him kissing her. It’s was the best moment of WTF. Solid acting on her part.

The fashions in these episodes, since you pointed out her satin shirt, were not great, Bob. From Zoe’s ombre mohair sweater to Felicity’s baggy jeans, these clothes had early-aughts written all over them. Felicity’s hair, however, looks great. Zoe’s? Not so much.

As far as Felicity and Ben go, man I felt for her during these episodes. She’s the one who’s been dragged into this mess. It’s such a bizarre place for a 21-year-old girl to be in. She’s not even out of college; but she just got back together with this guy, with whom she feels she could have a future. And he’s going to be a dad. It’s just too much. And she has no one to talk to about it. You can feel the stress wafting off of her. Javier’s busy with Meghan. Noel’s off-limits. Elena’s nowhere to be found. And all she wants in her life right now is a little stability. The one constant she thought she had, Ben, is no longer so constant.

Obviously, we’re not surprised that Ben is manning up to take care of his kid, but how did you feel about his journey from absentee father to possibly moving to Arizona?

Felicity 4.14 WTFEmma: Keri Russell does have an excellent reaction face and while this jumps ahead to a conversation I’m sure we will discuss in detail later on when Ben basically blames her for this entire thing (because if she hadn’t slept with Noel then Lauren would not have been a thing) her reaction is incredible as it is pure “Are you fucking kidding me?!”

I maybe screamed a little at those baggy jeans because I definitely had a pair, Felicity’s red jeans also made a reappearance but luckily this time she did not pair them with a matching jacket. And you’re right, her hair does look great. I wonder if people were pissed that it isn’t as curly as her pre-chop hair.

The lack of Elena is really bothering me, we get a smidge of her in these episodes (it would appear she is still with Trevor, who by the way is in my bad books for planting the seed with Ben that Noel is trying to get with Felicity) and she is one person Felicity really needs at the moment. I kind of like that the party was for no reason because that’s what you do at college, but really I need more of Elena than a brief hello.

Like you I really feel for Felicity too, like it’s a super shitty thing for Ben to deal with after a long list of super shitty things and it keeps on piling on when Lauren tells Ben she’s moving to Arizona. Her reasons for going are good and after all she was having this baby alone up until Ben changed his mind. Her priority is this child, but I also can’t help but understand why he is so desperate to get her to stay. Ben is trying to do right by everyone which means he ends up doing right by no one. From his own experience he doesn’t want his child to experience the same absentee father, but if he moves to Arizona will he end up completely resenting Lauren anyway and maybe impacting his relationship with the child?

Arizona becomes a source of contention as he asks his professor (who he now has a father/son relationship with) whether he can transfer. When Noel hears an answer machine message (this device again) and mentions it to Felicity it causes old wounds to be opened when Ben accuses Noel of involving himself in their business so he can drive a wedge between them. The way they made up in the Christmas episode was too easy and I don’t mind that conflict resurfaces here because it makes sense that it would.

Later on Ben walks in on Felicity and Noel hugging in her room blowing things up further. Which leads me back to the remark I mentioned about where Ben blames Felicity for everything. It’s shit and an awful thing to say raising the question of whether Ben can ever move on from this. They look like they might be dunzo, but Noel steps in and tells them both to stop being so ridiculous and I for one cheered at this moment. This triangle has always leaned much further in the direction of Ben and Noel earned this moment to tell them how dumb they are. Do you agree with what Noel said?

Felicity 4.13 satin shirtJulie: Things are so messy right now. I think they will be able to get past this eventually, but maybe the two of them need a break, like a real break, for a while. I think it’s very important for Felicity to figure out for herself what she wants to do with her own life.  The “easy” answer would be to follow Ben wherever he needs to go right now, but I don’t think that’s good in the long run for her. That’s kind of what her mother did, in a way. Her mother got pregnant and put the rest of her life on hold so that Felicity’s dad could go to med school and become a doctor. For Felicity, it would mean giving up the great architecture opportunity with Adam in New York to follow Ben to Arizona (and, gross, who wants to live in Arizona?)

They are both dealing with some really heavy stuff here, but I’m, honestly, not on Ben’s side in this instance. This whole season for him has been about him making rash choices without taking any time to consider Felicity’s feelings. He got upset with his dad a few episodes ago for being selfish in his relationship with Ben’s mom, but Ben is kind of doing the same thing to Felicity. He jumped into pre-med without considering her feelings, and now he’s making major life decisions without consulting her. They are not partners at this point, and she could consider living her life as such. If things are meant to work out, they will, but Felicity should not put her life on hold for Ben.

I’m also peeved at him about the Noel stuff. How long is he going to keep punishing Felicity for what happened? I get that he might not want to be BFF with Noel, but he needs to let go of the anger. Besides, I have a hard time believing he and Felicity would have made it through the fall without a breakup. They were headed in that direction. Maybe they’re only together now because Felicity slept with Noel and the whole thing forced them to deal with the fact that they weren’t doing well as a couple.

I’m still trying to figure out how/where Team Noel will come back into play, because I’m pretty sure it does. At this point, I don’t think Felicity would EVER consider hooking up with Noel again, because that would certainly mark the end of her relationship with Ben. Besides, he has Zoe, which, gross.

How are you feeling about Noel’s life choices in these episodes?

Felicity 4.14 Noel, Ben, FelicityEmma: I hadn’t even considered the parallels with Felicity’s parents but your spot on here and in a roundabout way she is teetering on the edge of making the same choice/mistake without being the pregnant one. If Ben were to go to Arizona I can’t see Felicity going with him at this point even though they are both prone to making impulsive choices. I think this is part of why they are so great and so terrible for each other in equal amounts.

Another Ben thing I wanted to bring up is how easy he is to influence first with Trevor stirring the Noel pot and then with Sean suggesting he plays the “I can keep you in this state” card which is all kinds of ick. Ben is skeezed out by this and then yep he semi plays the card. Gross dude.

The only point that had me thinking that anything could ever happen between Felicity and Noel again is how she wistfully looks at him with Zoe at the end of “Kiss and Tell” but I read this as being envious of their relatively uncomplicated relationship. They’re in the beginning part so everything is fun. Or is it?

Zoe gets all funny about their relationship pretty damn quick including being really unreasonable in a meeting at work and then attempting to hide their relationship. I get the latter point because work and personal life mixing is complicated but she’s so obvious in her attempts to hide it that they’re clearly dating. So it turns out that she fell for someone hard and they didn’t feel the same way. She thinks it sounds dumb and Noel falls even harder because somehow he has found a girl who not only looks like one ex but also fits his own sorry love story. The big difference here is that Noel did not end up in the hospital. It’s already so dramatic that I can’t see this ending well.

At least for Noel things at home are okay again and like you mentioned I really can’t see how they are going to pivot this love triangle back the other way. And I really don’t want them to either.

Others are having relationship drama including Meghan and Sean with more super irritating bickering. I thought we were done with this. I was wrong. Did you care just as little as I did by this next chapter in the Meghan/Sean saga?

Felicity 4.14 baggy jeansJulie: Before we move on from Ben, I want to point out how way harsh it was for him to look that little brother kid in the eye and then walk away. Oh, Ben. I am much disappoint.

As far as Zoe goes, I think I’m predisposed to hate anyone on this show who dates Ben or Noel, so obviously she gets a no from me. Also, I can’t figure out at all what he sees in her, or why she’s special. Other than the fact that she’s blond and cute. There’s no there there.

I really did not care about anything anyone who’s not Ben, Noel, or Felicity was doing in these episodes. The Megan/Sean stuff might have been interesting if a) it didn’t feel like a retread of things we’d seen before, vis a vis the sexy calendar shoot or b) if the writers had the balls to break the two of them up. I loved Meghan and Sean together at first, but now they’re just boring. There’s a ton of story to mine in a relationship between two people who marry so young and are still in college with actual roommates, but the Felicity writers are not digging anywhere deep enough.

I feel like Meghan and Sean should also be having an “oh shit” moment like Felicity. Meghan’s graduating, she doesn’t have her family fortune to fall back on. Sean is an “inventor” with no visible means of income. How are they going to live? If she actually wants to start pursuing acting, then the show should get serious about her pursuing acting. The way her theater class and the commercial auditions are portrayed in this show are comical. It’s as if no one on the writing staff has ever met an actor before.

And then there’s Elena, who basically doesn’t exist anymore. I wonder what the story was there. Was she working on something else? Did the writers just lose interest in her? Did Tangi Miller do something to piss them off? Because it’s ridiculous how little she has to do as a full cast member. Also, where’s Richard?

Felicity 4.14 triangleEmma: Oh yeah that was a really cold moment from Ben and I’m surprised they were waiting for him at the end. And of course he suggests basketball. Hopefully this kid won’t break his finger.

The Meghan/Sean story is so eye roll worthy in how repetitive it is and it’s probably a bad sign that I didn’t care if either of them ended up cheating on the other. If they did it would feel like a change in the bickering cycle at least. It is a complete retread of everything we have seen before and the shoe cover idea was indeed the dumbest. And your ideas of what they could do with this pairing sound far more interesting. If they did split it would put Meghan back at Felicity’s which I am all for.

Javier and Meghan’s acting storyline was essentially the comedic interlude for all the heavy shit which is going on right now and it was fine, but yeah it does come across like the writers are spinning their wheels with this pairing. The trying to hug moment was a delight thankfully.

Other disappearing cast members also include the two annoying roommates. I’m not sad they’re absent but it’s like they never lived there in the first place. And yeah I have to think Tangi Miller maybe had other commitments. Like you it is really just Felicity, Ben and Noel who are compelling at the moment and I’m really missing Elena’s presence.

Felicity 4.14 Meghan and JavierJulie: Ha! I totally thought the same thing about Meghan and Sean. Just cheat on each other already. Break the cycle, kids.

I don’t have much to add here, but right now I feel like Felicity in Season 4 is one of those shows that would’ve benefitted from a shorter episode order. TV today has it right. 10-13 episodes is the sweet spot.

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.

Why the ‘Felicity’ Date Rape Storyline Was Important and Still Is

7 Apr

Teen TV often deals with some pretty heavy subjects relating to sex and one area where Julie Hammerle and I have praised Felicity in our conversations both here and over at This Was TV is how it explores matters of sexual health. One such storyline which was handled with sensitivity was when Julie was date raped by Zach in season 1 and the reason I felt it was necessary to bring this up is due to this interview from Cosmopolitan with Devon Gummersall. Gummersall also played Brian Krakow on My So-Called Life and like many other fans of this show I went to Twitter with all caps blaring when he appeared as Peggy’s date on Mad Men.

The post Mad Men interviews with Gummersall have mostly stuck with reminiscing about MSCL (you know I am so here for this) and Mad Men, which is why when the Felicity rape storyline is broached Gummersall’s response is incredibly disappointing “I loved being on the show, but in the end I realized that it was sort of a mistake to do that kind of a storyline. I would have much rather been on the show more long-term and done something that didn’t have to end in such a bad way.”

Felicity ep 4 Brian Krakow all grown upI’m guessing that playing a rapist is not high up on any actor’s wish list and his character on Felicity was a sweet and shy guy, not necessarily who you might expect to do something like this. Gummersall notes how quickly the storyline turned “And also it’s weird because it started out with this light-heartedness, the whole thing with him washing his clothes the wrong way and all his clothes were pink, and he was a sweet guy. And all of a sudden he becomes this bad person and you’re like, What?” This factor is something we addressed when we talked about these episodes as we liked Zach a whole bunch and then he did this; not every rapist is a scary dude hiding behind a bush with a knife or waiting for any girl to get drunk at a party. Sometimes it is the guy who you trust and doesn’t listen when you say no. This story is not played for sensation, instead it is portrayed with sensitivity in showing the consequences of a sadly common scenario like this.

So for all of you who haven’t seen the episode in years/have never seen it here is a brief explanation of what happens in “Drawing the Line.” Zach is dating Julie and they’ve been fooling around a bit. Julie wants to take things slow as she’s been hurt in the past by guys who haven’t been good for her and while we only hear about the assault after the fact (not showing it puts the audience in the position of choosing a side to believe) it becomes quite clear that Julie said no and Zach carried on regardless. The scene where Julie describes what happened to Felicity is devastating and heartbreaking right down to details such as he rolled over and fell asleep after he was done. Julie does not think it is rape at first and she blames herself; scenes like these add to why this episode is such a vital piece of television.

Felicity 1.08 Julie and FelicityI didn’t watch these episodes when they first aired in 1998 and it was depressing to note when we watched them for This Was TV in 2013 for This Was TV how relevant it is 15 years later. This is still the case in 2015 and the issue of consent in college is sadly still a hot topic. One of the reasons why Devon Gummersall’s response is so disappointing is that he can’t see the wider social implications of a story like this instead it all revolves around being sad that he couldn’t be on the show longer because his character did something awful or because of the reaction he received as he references what fans said to him “Oh my God, you were Brian Krakow and then you broke our hearts when you were on Felicity because we were like, ‘Oh my God, Krakow raped her.'” And I was like, Dear God, what have I done?” I get that this must suck to have a fan encounter like this, but putting a storyline out there like this has far more value. In our discussion I talk about how to me he is Brian Krakow still, but ultimately I can disassociate between the two characters. And it’s not like I don’t still heart Brian Krakow after this.

While watching the new episode of Mad Men (spoiler alert) and Stevie went back to Peggy’s all drunk and horny I momentarily worried we were going to get a repeat of the Zach incident. Thankfully this was not the case and Stevie listened to what Peggy said. My fears weren’t due to the role Gummersall has played in the past, instead Zach provides a frame of reference for a character that doesn’t get what consent means.

Felicity challenges our perceptions of characters and their actions in the two-parter “Drawing the Line.” It also calls into question the conclusions we have drawn from previous episodes as I had incorrectly assumed that Julie had slept with Ben. When Ben punches Zach he also emphatically beats him with words too, telling Zach “The difference is, when you told me to stop, I did.” Zing.

Gummersall ends this brief foray into Felicity with “I never talked to J.J. Abrams or Matt Reeves about that actually, but I wonder. I bet you they were like, “Yeah, maybe we should have gone in a different direction with that.” I wonder if they think that. I don’t know.” I really hope they didn’t think that because in terms of important storytelling this is one of Felicity’s benchmark moments addressing a subject which is sadly all too relevant almost 20 years later.

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.

TV Rewind: Felicity, “Moving On” & “Fire”

19 Mar

Felicity, Episodes 4.9 & 4.10
“Moving On” & “Fire”
Original Air Dates: Dec. 5 & 12, 2001

Felicity 4.09 date nightJulie: This week in Felicity, everyone is moving on from the Felicity/Ben/Noel triangle. Noel is getting help from a professional to deal with his (diagnosed) depression, Felicity is talking to adorable guys in her art studio, and Ben is putting his foot down and telling Felicity that it’s time they stop even pretending that they’re friends.

This episode (aptly titled “Moving On”) had me getting actually angry at Ben. For all intents and purposes, he’s been the “good” one in this triangle. He wasn’t the one who cheated. He’s trying to get his life in order. He’s had it rough, too, with his dad being sick. But he can’t just let Felicity go and have fun for once. He sees her having fun with someone else (another guy) and he can’t take it. He has to call her late at night to get back under her skin, and that’s kind of a shitty thing to do. And the whole thing gets even shittier, when he’s hooking up with Lisa Edelstein on his couch when Felicity calls him back.

How long does she have to pay for boning Noel?

Let me back up. Toward the beginning of the episode, Felicity asks Ben to hang out. He almost says yes, but changes his mind and, like an adult, tells Felicity they need to move on. It’s sad, but it’s the right thing to do. He (basically immediately) goes out and asks Lauren to dinner. On a date. They kiss, then her ex calls, but by the end of the episode, they’re in flagrante delicto on Ben’s couch.

Felicity, meanwhile, has a harder time. There’s a cute (really cute and nice) guy in her art studio, named Owen. He kind of reminds me of De Forest, in that super sweet, goofy, obviously romantic cannon-fodder kind of way. He was never going to last, which is too bad. He wants Felicity to have fun. He obviously likes her and Elena pushes them to start talking. She agrees to go out with him, finally, and he picks her up at her apartment, where he meets Ben.

Felicity and Owen have a good time, but she’s not ready to move on, and he’s cool with that. When Felicity returns to her apartment, there’s a message waiting for her from Ben. Jerk. He saw her with another guy, and he called. And now Felicity’s sitting there, trying to decide whether to call him back.

Meanwhile, he’s done waiting and he’s hooking up with Lauren. Ugh. So messy. Such a dick move.

What did you think of Ben this episode?

Felicity 4.10 BenEmma: This is a very different break up to the last time Felicity and Ben split; they’re still working together and engaging in the awkward how do we behave around each other dance rather than the strict I’m not going to see you route. This way is much harder because there are residual feelings and as you mention Ben is the “good” one in the triangle and to a certain degree he should get to dictate the boundaries of the breakup as the wronged party, but there are also boundaries to his boundaries and that answer machine message is a step too far.

The timing is super awkward with Owen and Ben showing up at the same time and Felicity does of course look super cute; she’s dressed up a little and she wearing her hair down – a move I strongly support. In fact her hair while it hasn’t gone back to the big mass of curls is like a slightly more grown up version of her S1 do. Whereas before she reacted to the Ben breakup by chopping it all off now she is embracing the length with cute little braids giving her a boho quality. She’s looking a whole lot more art student this season but not in an extreme way.

So yeah Ben reacts to seeing Felicity having fun by leaving her a message he is sure to know will cause her stomach to flip in a good way. When we see him leaving it we don’t know if it is for Felicity or Lauren and I don’t think he intentionally does it to mess with her. Yes there is probably an element of jealously/not wanting her to move on but I also think he just wants to talk to her, but as he is the one who has drawn this line in the sand he also shouldn’t go against his own boundary setting at any whim.

Elena has it nailed with her assessment of why Ben is calling and she urges Felicity not to ring him back, but she does because there is this faint glimmer of hope. Instead Ben is hooking up with Lauren (who has a world of complicated relationship issues) and its frustrating. Although in a way I do think Ben is okay to have this ‘one night’ as Lauren describes, it’s just shitty that he reached out to Felicity just prior.

What I did enjoy was how answer machines played a part in dictating hookup interruptions and impacting feelings because the communal answer machine is a thing of the past. I’m wondering what the 2015 equivalent would be – a public message on your FB wall? Voicemail on a cell phone doesn’t have the same initial impact where his hear it in such a public context and it’s a lost plot device really. Even the Elena/Richard plot from a few episodes ago wouldn’t work like this anymore.

So Javier tried to play cupid with terrible results and Felicity blew up at him – what did you make of everyone’s attempts to deal with this breakup and her subsequent reaction?

Felicity 4.09 answermachine messageJulie: Everyone trying to help Felicity get over the break up was so college, where your friends’ business is always your own business. I know Javier and Elena were only trying to help, and maybe Elena actually did kind of help, but Javier setting them up to meet at the theater was simply misguided. He’s old enough to know better. There was no way that was going to end well. And, in fact, it ended here horribly because Ben showed up, not alone, but with Lauren.

It probably was a good thing for Felicity to see him with Lauren, as far as moving on goes, and maybe she would’ve been able to stay “moved on” if he hadn’t left her that stupid voicemail for everyone to hear.

I’m also with you on the voicemail thing. We say that there’s no more privacy in the world, but with everyone having their own phone, there kind of is. Phones are protected with pass codes and finger prints. I remember having the answering machine at my parents’ house and it being a huge, blush-inducing deal if a guy called and left a message on the family machine. Kids today don’t have to deal with that or with parents answering the phone when you call a friend or boyfriend’s house. They have it so easy.

The other piece of “Moving On” is that Noel’s moving on. He’s seeing a psychiatrist who is not Dr. Pavone. It’s some guy, who thinks Noel has depression, just like his brother. Noel is reluctant to take the drugs, which seems reasonable. This is his first meeting with the doctor and already he’s being prescribed drugs that he may have to take for the rest of his life. I thought they did a good job of representing/not sensationalizing depression, and I think it’s a good explanation for some of Noel’s behaviors as of late. What did you think of the depression storyline?

Felicity 4.09 Noel in therapyEmma: I wish I knew the exact time frame of Ben finding out to where we are now as it all seems too soon for dating and moving on, which is what Felicity finds out. I’m assuming this is before Christmas but a few weeks after Thanksgiving and that last hookup. I still want Felicity to embrace singledom and hangout with her friends but everyone either wants her to start dating or get back together with Ben. Her friends mean well and I think Elena is the one who is most in tune with her even if the date doesn’t lead to anything else, it was just good to see Felicity laughing. And the yep the very public voicemail occurred.

When the last episode hinted at Noel’s family history with depression I did wonder how well this show would deal with it and I’m quite happy with how measured it has been so far. Noel doesn’t think he has depression because he’s the guy who helps people, but as his psychiatrist points out this doesn’t make him weak. I’m also glad that Noel went about the whole process of looking up what the medication would mean and reaching back into his past with his brother and assessing it in a rational way. He doesn’t outright dismiss medication but it’s very responsible of the show to present the different options even if his doctor is quite quick to suggest this course of action.

Noel’s not been in a good place for a long time even if on the surface he is the guy who everyone else goes to and the implosion of the triangle is the jolt he needs to address everything from the summer of Leon, his marriage and his current trend of hitting the self destruct button. It can’t be good for him that he still lives in the loft with the guy who’s girlfriend he slept with and at least another hostile roommate. I don’t kind understand why he hasn’t found anywhere to live other than story contrivance. It’s lucky that Noel and Ben don’t run into each other more – how many bathrooms does their place have? Yes this is a running obsession.

One thing that doesn’t quite ring entirely true is in the next episode where Noel is told to sever all ties with Felicity as it’s not like they’ve been spending any time together as it is post reveal. I get that Felicity is linked to his state of mind, but maybe not quite so overtly as this suggests. What did you make of this?

Felicity 4.10 FelicityJulie: The psychiatrist’s assertion that Noel should stop seeing Felicity does seem like putting a bandaid on the situation and it kind of belittles the strides the show had taken with depression. Like if Noel stops seeing her, he’ll be cured. The goofy thing is, other than the unfortunate point where they slept together, Noel and Felicity have always seemed to be pretty positive influences on each other. I know the doctor pointed out that Noel spent all summer with her not looking for a job, but it wasn’t in a bad way, really. It was in a “this is my last summer being a kid” kind of way.

If anything, I think Ben is a bad influence on Felicity. She spends too much time obsessing over him and not enough time worrying about her own life. But that’s just me.

The Noel and Felicity thing really comes to a head in the second episode “Fire,” where there literally is a fire. Felicity is in the art studio working on her new project, and Noel is doing his counselor thing. There’s a fire, but no alarms, and Noel (naturally) takes it upon himself to save everyone, including Felicity. Afterwards, she invites him to hang out, but he says no.

What do you make of this? Was Felicity’s invite truly friendly, or was she angling for more? I couldn’t tell.

Felicity 4.10 tneck extremeEmma: Laying it all at the feet of Felicity does come across as simplifying the situation and while I do think he definitely needs to focus on his own shit completely exorcising her from his life as if he is addicted to her or something is just misguided. The advice on this show from professionals leans towards questionable at times.

That isn’t to say that I think Noel was in the wrong for going home instead of hanging out because I got vibes that something might happen between them and at this point that really isn’t the best move. It was played with ambiguity but I got the sense that Felicity was feeling the after effects of this near death experience and that this could lead to another hookup. The hug definitely had some heat (boom boom). They also experience pink snow together (thanks to the flashing lights from the fire engine/ambulance) and it’s romantic in a weird way.

Instead Noel goes home covered in soot and we get our first Ben/Noel encounter since that brief Thanksgiving super awkward and cold exchange. It is still awkward and it interrupts a cute cooking celebration but Ben and Sean are both concerned about what has happened. When Ben hears that Felicity was involved he does the right thing and finally rings her with no other agenda except to find out how she is. It is a tad stilted and she changes the subject pretty quickly, but overall there is still a tenderness between them and I get the sense that this is not the end of Felicity and Ben in this capacity.

You mention that Ben is a bad influence on Felicity and the same could be said for Felicity on Ben as since the breakup his academic work has thoroughly improved and I can’t believe how invested I am in his grades as I was so happy when he found out he got an A. Maybe he needed all the drama to knuckle down with college work. Felicity also had a moment of clarity when it comes to her work and I like seeing her with a renewed sense of self when it comes to her work and it is super cheesy of me to say this but it was kind of inspiring. Apparently I need TV characters to remind me to go and do things rather than my usual procrastination routine. Did you like seeing Felicity getting her groove back (even if it did all burn down)?

Felicity 4.10 Felicity and NoelJulie: I think it just proves that what really needs to burn to the ground here are all the relationships between these people. Felicity is better without Ben. Ben is better without Felicity. They had a lovely a lovely romance, but now it’s time to move on. (I’m still bitter about her ditching Owen so quickly. He was so cute! Though he reminded me a bit of Pink Guy from season 1, which means things could’ve still ended very badly.)

Ever since our last conversation, I’ve been thinking about whether or not these people should still be friends. And I don’t know what the answer is. I guess the show does follow the way things are in college — you start out freshman year with a million best friends and then, as time goes on, you’re left with the people who really matter to you. I don’t know who those people are for Felicity. Noel seems to be the one who cares most about her, but Javier worships her and Elena pushes her to be better. I still think she and Meghan are the most suited because they’re such foils for each other.

Speaking of Meghan, in the second episode, she finds out that her heretofore unseen little sister is knocked up. This storyline had nothing to do with anything, but did get a chance to show us Felicity’s progressive stance on women’s health once again, when little sister seeks out an abortion and Meghan is very supportive about everything.

I suppose the “big” impact of this storyline, potentially, is that Mrs. Rotundi shows up to claim her younger daughter and sees how much Sean loves Meghan and what a good team they make. Maybe Meghan will be back in the will?

Felicity 4.09 MeghanEmma: Maybe we’re going to get a series of flirty cute rebound boys for Felicity and I really hope we’re not going to get a creepy profess retread. It’s hard to read Cavallo’s intentions but at the moment they read as platonic even if he’s sleeping with other students. And I don’t think you will be surprised to hear that even though they might not always be the best for each other I am still firmly on Team Ben in the Felicity heart stakes.

I think you’re spot on in your assessment of the friendship group and it was interesting in the first episode to see Javier step outside the circle for once  even as he stumbled reading the situation. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if someone is being friendly or flirty and one of my closest friendships started life as a very awkward, misheard drunken remark that I thought was a creepy come on but was instead a question about where I worked. Yep.

What we do need is more Meghan/Felicity time because as you rightly point out they are the most suited and ever since Meghan and Sean got married there has been a distinct lack of this pairing.

Ah yes the really close family member who has never been mentioned before and then turns up with a major life changing event. Despite Lila being a total Dawn in the not existing prior to this episode stakes, this relationship didn’t feel forced and along with showcasing the strong sexual health storyline record it also meant that we had a Meghan plot that didn’t involve fighting with Sean. Hallefuckinglujah to that.

Meghan continues with her 60s styling including baby pink nightwear Trudy Campbell would be so proud of. In other style news Felicity wore a sweater that looked like a cross between a turtleneck and shawl collar blowing my mind in the process. Felicity also insisted on keeping her smoky fire wears as some kind of symbol or something, plus it was a very cute striped top. Felicity is finding her style groove I think.

Felicity 4.10 paintingJulie: Yes! I loved Javier making a new friend outside this group of college students. Good for him for meeting someone his own age. I had Kimmy Schmidt/Titus feelings watching their budding friendship. They’re both dealing with Very Serious Life Issues that go far beyond “my college girlfriend slept with my roommate.” Evelyn from A League of Their Own has lost her husband, and Javier is in the process of losing his. I hope they have many a fun night bonding over wine and film versions of Broadway musicals.

And, yes, prayze Jeebus that we didn’t have to sit through another Meghan/Sean fight.

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.

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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