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Tag Archives: Felicity

TV Rewind: Gilmore Girls, Season 1, Episodes 16-21

21 Apr

Gilmore Girls, Episodes 1.16-1.21
“Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Things,” “The Breakup: Part 2”, “The Third Lorelai,” “Emily in Wonderland,” “P.S. I Love You,” & “Love, Daisies, and Troubadours”
Original Air Dates: Mar. 8, 15, 22; April 26; May 3 & 10, 2001
Gilmore Girls 1.17 Lorelai and roryEmma: We have a lot to cover as we’re going to be discussing the last six episodes of the first season of Gilmore Girls and a lot happens. So I figure it is best to kick off with the love story that I am least interested in or rather the love interest I am least interested in and that is Dean. In the first of our six episodes “Star Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers” Rory and Dean have hit the big three month anniversary. 3 months is a big deal when you’re a teen (and even as an adult) and especially if it is your first relationship – pretty much all my teen relationships fizzled at this point – and it is especially telling that Rory does not even realize they’ve hit this point. Dean goes ALL in with a fancy dinner and then a grand gesture.

First he shows her a car that he has bought for her and that he will be restoring. This is a very thoughtful gift, but also too, too much at this early stage. He leap frogs the too much when he tells Rory he loves her. Rory was not expecting this because it is too soon and then he is a complete brat when she doesn’t say it in return. This is the point where I realized that Dean really isn’t the dude for Rory because while it must suck to lay your heart out and not get the same in response don’t be a total dick in return. My notes for this point in the episode simply says “Dean is an asshole” and I am sticking with that as he goes after Rory’s relationship with her mother as a reason for why she doesn’t say “I love you” back. No Dean, it is because you are the worst. Yes I know Lorelai worries later on that she has maybe stunted Rory’s capacity to love a guy, but nope, nope, nope.

I didn’t realize how angry I still am about Dean’s petulance in this moment until I was rereading my notes. Nice turtleneck, bro.

So Dean and Rory break up and Rory goes through an expected whirlwind of emotions where she tries to not be the mopey girl even though some moping is incredibly healthy and all it takes is for Tristan to lay one on her for the tears to hit because who wouldn’t cry after that? Okay probably Paris. Other stages include a very grumpy Rory and one that sees her argue with her mom and flee to her grandparents’ house much to Lorelai’s dismay.

What the latter does is bring up all the Lorelai and Emily tensions which continue to simmer and provide Gilmore Girls with a deep, deep well of material that is one of my favorite parts of this show. But before we get to that, what say you about Dean?Gilmore Girls 1.16 Deam and RoryJulie: So, pulling off the bandage of lameness first, huh?

Oh, Dean. Dean is terrible, and I give the GG powers-that-be a lot of credit for making him kind of objectively terrible. On paper, he seems like the perfect boyfriend, the perfect gentleman. He’s kind of quiet and sweet and simple, and maybe he might be good for some other girl, but not for Our Rory. I think Dean has his own expectations of what their relationship is supposed to be. He’s all in. He’s a Real Romantic, which is supposed to come off as swoon-worthy, but really comes off as kind of try-hard and too much. Rory, to her credit, is feeling out the relationship, navigating the initial months with her first boyfriend, not putting too much pressure on the thing, but for Dean it’s true love or nothing.

I wonder if Dean was expecting more from the car than just a little making out, which, ew.

I do think Dean’s right that Rory’s relationship with her mother has influenced her outlook on boys. Her mom fell in love at age sixteen and wound up with a baby. That’s not lost on Rory. She’s a smart girl. It’s going to take a lot for her to open up (ew, no pun intended) to someone.

I always love everything with Lorelai and her mother, and the ways her mom uses these Friday dinners to her advantage are always great. There’s so much formality and procedure involved with each dinner. They always start with drinks in the living room, then advance to dinner in the dining room, and a post-dinner aperitif in the living room. The writers (and Emily Gilmore) always find ways to play with this form. (And I definitely wonder about the drunk-driving coming out of these nights. I hope everyone eats A LOT of food at dinner.)

In this episode, Emily brings in a man for her daughter. Lorelai hasn’t had a serious boyfriend in a while, and Emily wants to help (in the form of a terrible, boring date). What do you think about Lorelai’s love woes? She’s pining after Max, which, did that seem out of left-field for you? It was for me. They’d spent the past few episodes playing up her past with Christopher and teasing stuff with Luke, and then all of a sudden…Max Medina is the one she’s dreaming of. Did that ring true?Gilmore Girls 1.17 fightEmma: Dean is definitely someone who would describe himself as being a nice guy.

I get what you/Dean/Lorelai are saying about Rory’s outlook on love and I do think it is more to do with what Lorelai was like when she was 16 rather than what Lorelai is like now. Repeating her mom’s ‘mistake’ is definitely not on the getting into Harvard plan. One thing I do find interesting is unlike her mother she runs to the house in Hartford when things go to shit as it represents warmth and safety to her, whereas for Lorelai it was everything that was stifling her.

The Max stuff does come out of left field and this is not a woman who has been pining. Yeah she’s just had a crappy set up date situation but I don’t buy this sudden Max shift. I think they just remembered that they need some romantic tension and Max makes sense as an opposition to Luke. I do love that her dad is totally with her on lame this other guy is and I’m glad things have been resolved since we last saw them.

Everything Luke and Lorelai makes so much sense to me, but they are keeping at this super slow pacing and it’s not just Lorelai that gets a love interest from the past acting as a Luke barrier because Rachel is back! And Luke is surprisingly chill about it considering how angry seeing Lorelai in her hoodie made him. Like they just slide back into coupledom without a hint of tension and that I don’t buy either.

Luke holds Rachel at a distance and in a way I think he is going through the motions as he expects her to get bored and leave again. Plus he is also fine with this because he is beyond into Lorelai even if he can’t admit it at first. Lorelai for her part befriends Rachel and is also reluctant to acknowledge any kind of feelings for Luke even if it is clear to everyone else. Including Rachel.

What did you make of the return of Luke’s ex so quickly after Lorelai’s first love has also been on the scene?Gilmore Girls 1.16 Lorelai and RachelJulie: Dean is totally an “I’m a nice guy” nice guy. Exactly. And then he’d mansplain all sorts of nonsense.

Yeah…this part of season one feels like a bunch of filler, a lot of getting from A to B. Sometimes shows really do benefit from shortened seasons. That said, I wish they would’ve mentioned Max at least once in the episode prior to this one. The moment was just, like, “I’m Lorelai, I’m completely hung up on someone.” And I thought, oh, it has to be Luke or Chris. But then it was Max. I really do like Max, but I think he was shoehorned in here.

Obviously I knew we’d see Rachel again (just like I knew we’d see Chris at some point), but I thought maybe she’d make a big entrance in the finale or something. But here she is, flitting back to Stars Hollow, out of nowhere, which can’t make Luke feel too comfortable.

I some ways, she’s just a vehicle to get Luke to recognize his feelings for Lorelai, which is great. They’re adult humans who should recognize how perfect they are for each other. It’s amazing that nothing has ever happened between them before, like even accidentally.

I will say, though, that even though we know Luke and Lorelai are OTP, the show does a pretty good job of making the relationships on the way to their probable pairing seem real and natural. Luke is a hermit bachelor who needs a training woman in his life so he can be ready for Lorelai. That’s all Rachel is. She’s that and she’s a way for him to deal with his past nonsense.

Going back to Rory for a second, since we’re on the breakup episode, how about Stars Hollow’s reaction to her and Dean splitting up and then Rory kiss with Tristan?Gilmore Girls 1.17 Tristan and RoryEmma: I did jump ahead with Lorelai and Luke and while we’re on the subject of Luke I love how protective he is of Rory even if it is a bit much that he gets into a vague scrapping match with Dean. As Lorelai points out he is a grown man and Dean is a teen boy. Living in a community like this would be a lot and especially when it is someone who is as beloved as Rory is. Patty gets it when Lorelai tells her to spread the word about mentioning Dean because who wants all those comments and prying on top of feeling like shit?! Even if Rory is trying not to feel like shit. Kirk doesn’t get it because of course he doesn’t.

So the big party and I’m so glad they laid the seeds of this event in the previous episode. It is also just as ridiculous as I hoped it would be and I’m sad there was never the chance for a Gilmore Girls/Gossip Girl crossover (GG squared) as Paris versus Blair would be so much fun to watch. Madeleine (thanks to my notes I now know which one is which) has also invited Dean because he’s hot but of course the breakup has happened and so Rory takes Lane instead, which I am all for.Gilmore Girls 1.17 Lane and RoryLane happens to meet a Korean guy she actually likes and is mad at herself for being attractive to a guy her parents (she says parents but I assume she means just her mom) would approve of. She resists at first but the offer of dancing is too much to say no to. Oh and side note – while the fashion of this period is BAD, the music is much better. If Paris didn’t race out of the party at the earliest she could I have a feeling that the Rory/Tristan situation would have been very different but alas Paris hates parties and she is a very unlikely school queen bee. She’s got all that power but hates social events and I find this whole hierarchy to be fascinating.Gilmore Girls 1.17 partyBecause it has already been established that Rory always has a book with her it doesn’t come as a surprise that she find a quiet nook to read in to get away from the party. Tristan who has been having girl problems also does the same and this is where things get messy and my notes are all caps NOOOOOOOOOO for several lines. Rory cries and runs out; kissing a terrible dude reminds her of her breakup and the wallowing can commence.

In the next episode Rory apologizes for crying and suggests he take Paris out on a date. This is never going to end well and it doesn’t. I get what Rory is trying to do and I love their bonding over what Paris should wear so I guess we should be thankful Tristan led to this moment. But he’s also the reason they go back to being non-friends and I am far more upset about this than the Dean breakup.Gilmore Girls 1.21 ParisJulie: A GG/GG crossover would be amazing! There’s still time, especially since Netflix is reviving the Gilmores. Maybe Blair can stop by.

Minor spoiler (can you spoil a lack of information?) I’m on season seven now, and I still don’t know a thing about Lane’s dad. Okay, I know exactly one thing, but I don’t know what happened to him or where he is. I’m guessing we’ll never know. Unless this is something they decide to explore in the new series. Lane’s dad: Where the hell?

I love Lane’s cute Korean boyfriend, Henry, and I think it’s fitting that she would balk at dating him simply because her mother would approve. Rory may be Lorelai’s daughter, but Lane is her teenage soul sister. I think it’s pretty masterful how Lorelai and Lane are basically dealing with the same issues, but those issues manifest themselves in different ways. Their mothers both want/wanted them to fit into their particular societies — Lorelai rejected her mom’s social climbing and Lane is rejecting her mother’s cultural/religious demands. Lane is lucky to have Lorelai around, to talk to and to go to bat for her.Gilmore Girls 1.18 Rory and ParisTristan-wise, ew. He’s the worst, but good for Rory for kissing a horrible dude. She’s been too perfect up to now, so I love that she had a moment of complete stupidity. Tristan is a douche and he’s been spoken for by Paris and Rory has only been separated from Dean for a minute.

The setup between Tristan and Paris had “bad idea jeans” written all over it, but I like that we got some real Paris/Rory bonding out the situation. And, as obnoxious as Tristan was for telling Paris about him and Rory, it’s probably for the best that it came out now. Soon, both girls will hopefully be rid of Tristan.

Nestled among the whole Paris/Rory/Tristan nonsense, we met Richard’s mother. What did you think of Trix, and how much did you love her throwing Emily off her game?Gilmore Girls 1.18 Gilmore ladiesEmma: Rory was definitely trying to do good with that date set up and also relieve a bit of guilt for having smooched Tristan as she knows that Paris is way into him. The getting ready stuff was really cute and this episode also reminded me that water bras were a thing that existed at one time. What was with the early aughts?

This is a really big friendship step as they not only discuss Paris’ date/what she should wear, but also the whole Dean stuff. I am looking forward to when they get over this big Tristan hiccup.

Random observation but the fact they are studying the feudal system gave me so many flashbacks to school. Not that we had to do a project like this or come in on a Saturday (thankfully).

Ah yes the third Lorelai (who goes by the name of Trix) and I love how much it causes Emily to spiral. Her mother in law is no fan of Emily and Richard seems blissfully unaware of how shitty his mom is to his wife. Everything Emily does is not good enough and even though I adore Emily like her daughter I am enjoying seeing her being put under the same level of scrutiny as she puts everyone else under.gilmore girls 1.20 breakfastThis includes making sure she has all the gifts she has stashed away for years on display including a very ugly coat stand she regifted to Lorelai.

Trix is very particular and she also drops a huge money bombshell which causes Emily to spiral even further. The money is for Rory and it is a HUGE sum ($250,000) covering college tuition and much more. It would be surprising that Rory hasn’t met her grandmother prior to this but she lives in London and up until recently Rory and her mom have spent very little time with any extended family. Trix wants to make up for lost time and missed birthdays with this generous offer and I didn’t think Lorelai would accept such a huge fund from a relative as she has pretty much done everything by herself up until Chilton.

But she is very grateful for Trix’s offer and it makes sense to secure Rory’s academic future through this trust and if Lorelai had a point to prove to her mother with how she has brought Rory up then she has certainly done this. Emily is upset that Lorelai is more than happy to take this offer and this is linked to what this money might mean for the future of the Friday dinners. Money is how Emily got her daughter and granddaughter back in her life and if Lorelai no longer needs her for this then she fears they will stop coming by. Money means freedom; freedom to choose what to do but also freedom from spending time with them.

If Emily told Lorelai about why she is so against the trust I think Lorelai would a) understand and b) reassure her mother that they will still see them. This is where the lack of communication between the pair comes into play and it is something we see strongly in the episode that follows. Instead Lorelai calls her mother ‘petty, controlling and mean’ and my heart breaks with how at odds they can be when if they simply said how they felt then they could work through things. But then they wouldn’t be showing their ultimate WASP behavior. In the end Trix withdraws her offer and everything is back to where it was.

“Emily in Wonderland” really gets to the root of the Emily/Lorelai relationship strife and the ‘Emily won’t listen and Lorelai won’t talk’ description is super accurate. Rory’s Stars Hollow tour starts off well with Emily borrowing some sneakers as her heels won’t do for all that walking, but it turns sour when Emily sees where Lorelai lived with Rory when she was a baby opening old wounds in a fresh way. What did you make of Emily’s reaction and can they ever get over this painful moment from their past?Gilmore Girls 1.19Julie: The mother/daughter relationships, in all their permutations, are my favorite part of this show. (Also waiting for Luke and Lorelai to just kiss already.)

The Trix and Emily situation is such a fraught mother-in-law relationship. In some ways, yeah, it’s kind of great to see Emily spin her wheels with Trix, but at the same time it’s hard to watch this character, who we have a much deeper relationship with than Trix, not be able to get the upper hand at all. Trix is just as manipulative and conniving as Emily, but she has the advantage of Richard’s unrequited love. Emily, whose entire life revolves around Richard, can’t say anything for fear of upsetting him, so she just takes beating after beating.

The Rory trust fund thing is an obvious power grab, and I completely get Emily’s reaction. Trix is beating her at her own game, and it truly seems like she’s giving the money to Rory for the express purpose of annoying Emily.

Emily’s insecurity does feed right into “Emily in Wonderland,” where Emily gets a taste of life in Stars Hollow. I love her interaction with Mrs. Kim, because the two of them are fairly evenly matched, and they also play the twin roles of “overbearing mother” on this show. They are one in the same, Emily and Mrs. Kim.

Rory taking Emily to see where she grew up is heartbreaking. There’s so much there there. You can see the wheels turning for Emily. Because she wasn’t a more supportive mother to Lorelai, her granddaughter was raised in a shed. Because her relationship with her daughter was so strained, Emily missed this entire phase of her granddaughter’s life. She had no idea this was how they were living. She missed it. There’s a lot of regret and sadness there, even if Emily plays it off as appallingly disgusted.

In this episode, we also get the return of “Roon,” whose name I always thought was spelled “Rune,” probably because of Harry Potter. “Roon,” makes more sense because it’s probably short for “Rooney.” He’s notable for being the only man who can resist the charms of Lorelai Gilmore. He’s now working at the inn and living in the Lorelai’s old shed.

We also get more Luke and Rachel and what is possibly the most overt acknowledgement of Luke and Lorelai’s attraction for each other so far. What did you think of Lorelai’s advice to Luke. Were you screaming for her to just kiss him already?Gilmore Girls 1.16 Luke and LorelaiEmma: It’s crushing when Emily sees their first home as she takes this not only as a reminder of how much she missed, but it also as the physically embodiment of how terrible her relationship was with her daughter when she needed her most. All of Lorelai and Rory’s memories of this place are good; to them it isn’t a shed but their first home and a loving one at that. No matter how unhappy Lorelai was with her family, in this place she was happy. I’m sure there were terrible, fraught moments but this far away from that time the only memories that remain are the good ones. The opposite of how Emily feels when she sees it.

Emily is pretty reactionary so her answer to seeing this is giving Rory her own room at her house which is why she wants to know whether Rory likes the Backside Boys. Emily is of course clueless regarding this kinda stuff and Rory is much more into indie music over pop, but it is very sweet and she even fills the room with flowers. Lorelai thinks there must be an ulterior motive, but I actually think this one comes from a very genuine place. And it does happen to come in handy in the next episode.Gilmore Girls 1.19 new roomIt leads to another argument and this exploration of this very deep rift is one of my favorite things about this show. They aren’t just going to suddenly be fine because that is not who these characters are.

In her trip around Stars Hollows I also very much enjoyed how much Emily got on with Michel because that also made perfect sense.

It’s kinda weird that Rachel wants Lorelai to talk to Luke for her because by this point she must have already sensed something is up, but either she has and she’s ignoring it or she hasn’t and girl needs to put her camera down. And yes there was plenty of yelling at them to kiss. Just do it already. In fact I just looked at my notes and I’ve written “goddamnit you guys” at this scene.

I believe that Lorelai believes she is giving good advice because at this point she is in heavy denial about what they are to each other. I like that in general there is no animosity between Rachel and Lorelai as that would have been the easy route, but I never really considered Rachel to be someone who would stick around as she has guest arc written all over her. She’s fine, but I don’t have any other feelings about her other than that. Did she provoke a greater reaction in you?Gilmore Girls 1.19 Emily and MichelJulie: Another GG mystery for me (along with the whereabouts of Mr. Kim) is Michel’s personal life and sexuality. I think he mentions dating a woman once, but that’s it. It’s left pretty ambiguous after that, and I like the idea of Michel having this whole life beyond Stars Hollow that no one really knows about. And he and Emily are perfect for each other.

As far as Rachel goes, she barely existed for me. She was simply a vehicle for Luke and Lorelai to start considering their feelings for each other. She was obviously never going to stick around, and there was really not much all that dynamic about her, for all of Luke’s pining in the past.

Sticking with the rest of Lorelai’s romantic story, it’s Luke vs. Max for the rest of the season (Where for art thou, Christopher?). Rachel thinks Luke should open up to Lorelai about his feelings, which he doesn’t even know he has yet. Max is feeling insecure because Lorelai hasn’t told anyone about him. He wants to get married because…he wants more of a commitment from her? I guess that’s it. The whole thing moves a little fast. She doesn’t want a half-assed proposal. She wants the real deal, so Max gives her a ton of daisies in the Independence Inn.

Also happy and in love are (barf) Rory and Dean, which, really, since her other option was Tristan, is the lesser of two evils? Ugh. Rory needs some better love interests.Gilmore Girls 1.20 Paul Frank[Ed note. the above Paul Frank pajama top is the most quintessential bedwear of the early aughts and I am very jealous of this] 

Emma: Rachel is very much there to get the plot moving, which is a shame as I thought the actress did a good job with the material she had. Luke knows she isn’t going to stick around and so do we so there is no attachment there. Because Luke doesn’t seem to have strong feelings either passionate romance or passionate anger because of the way they broke up it was pretty much a non-starter.

My issue with the Max stuff is tided into what we have already discussed and that is the sudden nature of his return. They are dating again and as has been the pattern with them in the past it is complicated due to Rory, his job and timing. This all comes up while Rory is off at her grandparents’ house and Lorelai is distracted for good reasons. In the following episode they somehow go from actual dating for real this time to this semi-proposal and woah this is far too fast to be a good idea.Gilmore Girls 1.21 flowersPart of Max’s reasons come after an encounter with Luke in which he senses the vibe that everyone other than Luke and Lorelai can sense. He thinks they are exes or at least something has gone on between them, but Lorelai reassures him that they are just friends and Luke just likes to fix up her house out of the goodness of his heart. It is by this point that Luke has been forced by Rachel to admit that something is there and I was expecting a big gesture of some sort from him to put a spanner in the Max daisy works, but alas he did nothing (yet). This finale felt like it was missing the cliffhanger aspect; the classic who will Lorelai pick and even though the final scene between Lorelai and Rory was cute, it also lacked that something extra to hold you over until the next season starts three months later. Or in our case when we can stick in the next DVD.

One of the topics covered pre-proposal is the matter of if they slept with anyone while they were apart. They both did and while that has got to hurt a little on both sides, I don’t think either of them can be mad at the other for not wallowing alone. Lorelai’s hook up has a lot more weight as there is history there and Lorelai makes sure she points out this fact. This is a very weird time to propose, but Max goes for it leap frogging so many other dating steps.

With Rory her Dean feelings turn into anger; anger at her small town, at her mom, at everything and she flees to her brand new bedroom much to Emily’s delight. I like Rory and her grandparents scenes and the breakfast discussion with Rory in half pajamas/half school uniform is a lot of fun. Her argument with her mom wasn’t on the full on screaming at each other scale, but it is easy to see how Stars Hollow could feel suffocating.

Winning Dean back is very much on the agenda for some reason and this includes going to his house and inadvertently making his sister cry and stalking his place of work. Dean is definitely better than Tristan (who doesn’t even know that PJ Harvey is a woman), but yeah he is still nowhere near a Ben/Noel/Pacey or even Jordan Catalano on the lusting/dream boyfriend scale. But apparently they are also in love. Hmm.Gilmore Girls 1.21 Max, Lorelai and LukeJulie: The writers definitely gave short shrift to both Rachel and Max, the latter of whom I really do like. I think the actor is quite charming and Max has/had the potential to be an asset to Lorelai’s life. But he’s marking time, obviously. He’s not OTP, so every scene with him feels a little wasteful. Like all of Ross’s wives and girlfriends on Friends 🙂

The proposal is certainly way too soon, and comes from a place of insecurity about Luke, so that’s never a good thing. Jumping into marriage to mark one’s territory is probably not the best reason to do it.

The lack of cliffhanger thing is one of the great parts of Netflix, one season flows seamlessly into the next, which is a good thing, Gilmore-wise. The show, as you’ll discover, doesn’t follow the usual pattern of “season ends in May, next season picks up in the fall.” Oftentimes, the next season picks up right where the last one ended, and we get a few “summer” episodes before we see Rory going back to school, or whatever.

One thing I really love about Rory is that she’s the product of her mother, but she’s also willing to let herself be influenced by her grandparents as well. She doesn’t have the same history with them as Lorelai, so she’s much more open to experiencing the Hartford Gilmores’ lifestyle. She doesn’t automatically reject everything they give her. She doesn’t see them as trying to butt their way in. She just likes being with her grandparents. And I completely love her relationship with Richard. She softens him up so much.

But, yeah, Dean. He’s back. Again. And it sucks, because Dean sucks.

What did we miss?Gilmore Girls 1.18Emma: I don’t have much to add other than some general season 1 feelings and those feelings are positive. When starting a show that is this beloved it can be letdown, but Gilmore Girls lived up to those sentiments and this is a really good first season. Occasional certain storylines are dropped and then picked up out of nowhere, but that is as much down to the 20+ episode structure as anything else. The important stuff like the Gilmore ladies dynamic is super strong throughout and I’m really excited to see how this progresses. Same with Luke and kissing.

While Rory’s love interest situation is on the eh side, her lady relationships from her mom and grandmother to her friends are my fave and I hope Rory gets back in with Paris soon. The dramatic display on the steps by Paris and her minions was rather wonderful and so very high school.

I’m also excited to hear they don’t do the usual lack of summer set episodes. I’m always bummed out when pretty much every teen show/and show skips those few months of story.

I am also excited to venture further into the early aughts and see what other terrible fashion we have in store. There will be many.

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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TV Rewind: Gilmore Girls, Season 1, Episodes 12-15

17 Mar

Gilmore Girls, Episodes 1.12, 1.13,1.9, 1.14, & 1.15
“Double Date,” “Concert Interruptus”, “That Damn Donna Reed,” & “Christopher Returns”
Original Air Dates: Jan. 18, 2001; Feb. 15 & 22, 2001; and Mar. 1, 2001

Gilmore Girls 1.15 Christopher and LorelaiEmma: Major development time on Gilmore Girls and I’m jumping to the last of our four episodes this week as it’s the juiciest (although my favorite of the bunch is the Bangles featuring “Concert Interruptus”). Rory’s dad Christopher comes to town for the first time and feathers are ruffled. We’re getting more of an idea of the whole how Lorelai came to Stars Hollows and it turns out that Christopher has never been here before and the town loses their shit when he does. Considering their lack of chill when it comes to special occasions this is also not a surprise especially as the Gilmore ladies are highly regarded in this close knit community. So as soon as Christopher’s credit card is declined in the book store it was clear that Lorelai would find out from someone who is not Rory.

Christopher also causes major ripples at the other Gilmore house and not because Emily and Richard don’t like him (quite the opposite) but as a result of years of things that have been left unsaid and this perfect boiling point of unloading. Christopher’s parents Straub (what?) and Francine haven’t seen Rory in years and clearly have no desire to get to know their granddaughter or the reason why their son didn’t go to Princeton. They are super shitty to both Lorelai and Rory so I totally applaud Lorelai’s George Bush comments (his face really is too tiny for his head) as an impetuous way to get an immediate rise from them. It quickly descends here despite Emily’s best attempts to keep things WASP levels of civil, but sometimes things need to be said and this is one such occasion.

Even though she gets asked to leave the room, Rory is going to be more than aware that the shittiness is indirectly because of her, but thankfully in one of the episodes most touching scenes Emily makes sure that Rory knows that her existence is not part of the failure list. It is also important that Emily is honest about what an ass Straub (seriously this name) was being. While Emily has this lovely and honest moment with her granddaughter, Lorelai has a difficult conversation with her father.

Gilmore Girls 1.15 Ricahrd and StraubRichard has defended the honor of his family kicking out Christopher’s parents for what they have said but this doesn’t lead to a happy all the hugs moment with his daughter. Lorelai thanks him for this and he points out that she doesn’t need to be protected and what comes next hit me just as hard emotionally as the very real arguments between Lorelai and her mother. He lets her know the devastating after effect of her leaving, that Emily couldn’t get out of bed for a month and how they didn’t deserve the years of being treated like lepers.

Up to this point it’s been clear that Lorelai left because she had to, but they didn’t kick her out and this is very much a story of two sides. I can completely understand and support why she left because that environment was probably incredibly toxic especially as they encouraged the “proper procedure” of Lorelai sacrificing potential future happiness by marrying Christopher back then. But still Richard’s words have a lot of emotional weight and these scars run so deep.

So Lorelai retreats to her room and as a result of everything that has gone on and because it’s Christopher they end up sleeping with each other in a very forbidden teenage love kinda way, but with slightly less awkward. Only slightly mind. Emotional vomit everywhere.

Was Christopher what you expected? And how do you feel about this whole evening at the Gilmore residence?

Gilmore Girls 1.15 balconyJulie: Christopher!

I knew we’d be seeing him at some point, but for some reason I thought it wouldn’t be for a while. I figured the writers would exhaust everything they have, then bring in Rory’s dad somewhere around season four. But here he is, right smack dab in the middle of the first season.

I assumed that Christopher would be a huge, terrible jerk, and he’s not. He’s adorable, first of all. David Sutcliffe is so perfect looking. He’s cute and unthreatening and he and Lauren Graham look great together. They’re the picture-perfect couple. And you can kind of see why Emily would’ve been okay with the two of them marrying at sixteen. He’s got good breeding. He fits the mold.

But he’s not this slick, perfect guy either. He’s got his own issues and he’s still maturing. I’m not exactly sure why he didn’t go to Princeton (unless he just didn’t get in). I mean, Lorelai never needed him to take care of Rory. They didn’t stay together. Why didn’t he just get his education and become something other than an oft-failed businessman? That side of Christopher I just don’t get. But oh well. The important piece is that he hasn’t been around for Rory, for the most part.

This episode does such a good job of showing how deep the histories and rifts are on all sides. Chris’s parents resent Lorelai and Rory (and to some extent their son). Richard and Emily see Straub (ugh) and Francine as the kind of family they always wanted their daughter to marry into, though Chris’s parents do not feel the same way about the Gilmores (which I also love, because the Gilmores, while they see themselves as part of the upper crust, are just an insurance man and his wife. They can’t have as much money as a lot of folks in their circle).

The history between Christopher and Lorelai is great, too. These people are obviously attracted to each other, and you get the sense that they’ll always be The One for each other. It’s great and true and messy.

And Richard and Lorelai. wow. He has always come off as the bumbling and aloof father, but here we get to see how deeply Lorelai hurt him (by hurting her mother), and how much she really doesn’t know/hasn’t been close to her father.

Caught in the middle of all of it, is poor Rory, who is a complete dear.

Well, I know how you feel about Chris’s parents’ names, but how do you feel about Rory’s dad himself?

Gilmore Girls 1.13 more Lorelai bad fashionEmma: First of all I think you are so right about the Gilmores not being quite as wealthy as their friends and they seem more new money than long legacy (unless I’ve missed something). They can afford fancy vacations but only travel to Paris every other year. And always in the fall (this whole convo made me laugh so much) and while they have a place they rent on Martha’s Vineyard they really should have bought somewhere but that is serious $$$. I also did love how happy they were when a place came up even if it was due to a death and I can very much believe that these places get snapped up this quickly. They are so giddy.

With Christopher I get why Rory is so excited to see him and why Lorelai is so wary. Not only with protecting her heart but protecting Rory from her dad who seems very flaky. Which is more the reasons why he didn’t go to Princeton, but Lorelai is the perfect person for his parents to blame in this situation. I get that he’s trying and does want to be involved in Rory’s life but I was only lukewarm to him as a character and in part I blame the recent Luke flirtations for this.

I love the way Lorelai explains her feelings for Christopher as it’s such a simple and powerful thing – first love that resulted in a Rory. It’s messy as hell too and I can see why she rejects his proposal. They also do a good job of leaving the door more than open.

Gilmore Girls 1.14 Luke and LorelaiBack to Luke and between the chick escape and the painting plans he really is the lead in every Lorelai story. There is of course the initial mix up with the reason why Lorelai called him over and she is mortified that he might have thought it was something else. Mortified because she hasn’t yet confronted what might be occurring here. But everyone else can see the signs all over every flirtatious and banter filled conversation. Emily does not seem to approve either, which bummed me out as I’d hope she would be able to see beyond his diner owning status (a very good status tbh).

Sookie explains why he might have thought it was a booty call although I’m with Lorelai on this one and the phrase booty call feels very early aughts. Sookie also fills in the gaps for Lorelai after Luke loses all chill at seeing Lorelai in the hoodie he dropped off for the rummage sale. He’s not mad because it is ugly (which it is) but because it belonged to his ex and the woman who broke his heart.

In a somewhat contrived explanation Lorelai wonders why she’s never heard about Rachel with Sookie explaining it was when she was newish to town and Rory was 11. Like Rory at 11 was a handful. Anyway Stars Hollow was too small for Rachel ad Luke didn’t want to leave so end of Luke and Rachel. As with Christopher I have a feeling Rachel will come back to town at some point and probably just as Luke and Lorelai are getting closer to kissing.

I don’t mind that nothing has happened with Luke and I’m enjoying the slow build, but also I would like smooches soon. I am a complicated shipper.

How are you with this relationship? And also once again Lorelai’s dating issues are far more interesting that Rory’s and I am very much in the urgh Dean camp at the moment.

Gilmore Girls 1.14 RoryJulie: I think you touched on something here. I’m not sure if the Gilmores are new money. (I’m pretty sure at least Richard isn’t. You’ll meet his mother later.) But Emily might be? I’m on season seven already and I don’t think we know much about her background other than that she went to Smith…or Brown…?

Anyway, they kind of act like new money when they look down on other people. This has just been my experience, but when I used to teach in a very wealthy area, I found that the “old” money people were a lot more chill than the “new” money. I’m sure that’s not always the case though. I get the sense that Richard and Emily are always trying to be more upwardly mobile and the fact that Lorelai went and got knocked up and didn’t get married, killed a little bit of that dream for them. There’s a lot of restlessness in Emily and Richard, and I just think, when is enough enough? You have a great granddaughter, your daughter is happy and doing well for herself. Be proud of how well she’s done. This would solve, like, 85% of your manufactured problems.

As far as Luke goes, I call shenanigans on Lorelai not knowing that Luke was dating a Rachel. That said, I wonder how long Luke has had the diner and how long he and Lorelai have been palling around. If it has been several years already, which I’m sure it is, that is one SLOW build of a relationship. Very slow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve yelled, “Kiss her!” at my Kindle. Maybe I’m still yelling it now in season six. I’ll never tell. 🙂

You mentioned Dean, so I guess we should go there. He’s so…meh. The whole “a woman’s place is in the house” thing doesn’t completely jibe for me, and it feels like it comes out of nowhere. It feels very manufactured for this one specific episode. Though maybe it speaks to deeper issues within their relationship. Regardless, Rory is too young to even be having this conversation with a dude and Dean is too young to be having these opinions.

Speaking of love lives, what do you think of Sookie and Jackson?

Gilmore Girls 1.12 Sookie and JacksonEmma: I definitely get what you mean regarding the status thing and I think it can vary. Sometimes new money folks are far less flashy especially if they have come from nothing, but it can also swing the other way. There is definitely this aspect of keeping up appearances and doing things the ‘right’ way so Lorelai’s journey is very against this type. It was so shitty when her job (which is a good one) is looked down upon because it’s in the service industry. At least her credit card doesn’t get declined (low blow on Christopher who was an innocent in this whole exchange, but still).

With Luke it feels very much like they’ve been doing this for a long time which I guess is one reason why there is trepidation and even a hard time at acknowledging actual feelings. But I definitely yelled “kiss him” several times. Especially when they were hiding behind the counter in such close proximity. I like that Luke is peeling away his layers by revealing things about his dad and why he has kept the diner the way it is. I also love that he is the town’s resident grumpy dude because this town really does need that.

That whole Donna Reed storyline did feel very contrived and also had me saying huh a whole lot. Rory’s dressing up all 50s (and I’m sorry Lorelai but that dress is far better than your red pants/red jacket combo – also made me think of that Felicity outfit horror) and then making a big old fuss about making dinner ended with a bit of a whimper really.

Gilmore Girls 1.12 Lorelai bad outfit Gilmore Girls 1.12 LorelaiI get that the point was Dean realising that this isn’t want he wants, but I also thought Rory was doing it to point out just how BS this unrealistic ideal is, but I didn’t really get that in the end as it seemed like she enjoyed the whole charade. I would have preferred more Lorelai and Rory replacing the dialogue while watching old episodes of The Donna Reed Show. It’s cool that Rory found out about Donna Reed’s behind the scenes work on her show, but really shit that it was uncredited. Because the 1950s/1960s).

Also choosing salad (especially a salad that looks THIS terrible) over pizza is a sign that Dean is not the dude for Rory.Gilmore Girls 1.14 shit saladDean also has terrible friends and even if Todd is someone Dean hangs out with because of school. I will excuse Lane’s terrible taste in dudes here because he does have a Travis from Clueless vibe in his look even if he is the most boring guy when he starts talking. As with the pizza/salad thing I also find it hard to trust someone who has no opinions about music. I do love that Lane has all the opinions about music and a CD collection to rival my own even if I thankfully didn’t have to hide mine under the floorboards. Lane is great and deserves way better. I find the stuff with her mom and how it conflicts with Rory’s relationship with her mother to be done in an interesting way.

Mrs Kim could easily be this stereotypical strict parent and it certainly walks a fine line, but there is more to her than fearmongering and I found her conversation with Lorelai to be rather sympathetic. She’s just being the overprotective mom and really both Lorelai and Mrs Kim want the same for their children, they’re just coming at it from very different experiences. I also appreciate the mom code and Lorelai’s insistence at sticking to it. And of course there is no way Lane was ever going to that concert.

Ah yes so Sookie and Jackson are adorable even if I still want to burn his denim dungarees. The double date with Rune is fun to watch because Rune is the utter worst and is so incredibly rude about the incredible gorgeous and perfectly tall Lorelai Gilmore. Thankfully Jackson picks Sookie over his terrible cousin and these two are very much ON. It’s cute and relatively drama free right now.

We’ve covered the guys, now what did you make of the potential Paris/Rory friendship?

Gilmore Girls 1.13 Rory and ParisJulie: I agree about Mrs. Kim, and sometimes I do wonder if she veers into stereotype territory. I guess I don’t find it that problematic, because she is a complete character in a lot of ways. She’s just really, really strict, and I do enjoy the specific ways she strict — with diet and the whole Seventh Day Adventist religion (which we in the US recently got an education on thanks to Dr. Ben Carson).

I do like Lorelai’s “relationship” with Mrs. Kim. It must have been difficult for Lorelai to make parent friends while Rory was growing up. When my son started school, I was one of the “young” parents and I was in my mid-thirties by that time. When Rory was starting kindergarten, Lorelai was only twenty-one. I do love that she takes the parenting code seriously, and that she respects Mrs. Kim’s authority over her daughter’s wishes even if she doesn’t agree with Mrs. Kim’s parenting (and sees how it can backfire, based on her own experience as a teenager).

I wonder where Lane’s dad is. I assume he’s dead, but it’s never stated (that I remember). Why isn’t Mrs. Kim out dating? I’d love to see that episode. I’d love to see her on a date with Rune.

Rune is terrible, also what is that name? We get Straub and Rune in these four episodes. It was funny to see one man not charmed by Lorelai. I’m assuming she doesn’t get that reaction a lot.

I like Sookie and Jackson together and I’m glad the writers didn’t drag this romance out forever, like they’re doing with Lorelai and Luke. We need at least one couple who is happy and in a real relationship. Rory and Dean can’t be the only ones!

As far as Paris and Rory go, I love them. I love Paris. She’s the best and the worst. Rory is good for her and Paris is good for Rory. They provide each other with great competition, and they’re both at the same level socially. Their other Chilton friends, whose names I can’t remember offhand, are fun and cool and pretty nice to Rory, but they’re way out of her league. And I don’t think Rory even wants to be in their league. Nor does Paris.

In some ways, at least in these early episodes, I think Paris is the great love of Rory’s life. What say you?

Gilmore Girls 1.13 schoolEmma: I think if they didn’t have these moments with Lorelai then Mrs Kim would be a lot more of an issue in how they’ve written her and as you mention she is a fully realized character and not just someone who is there to yell at Lane.

Like you I love Paris and Rory and even though you have seen further I am also willing to say that Paris is the great love of Rory’s life especially as the start of their relationship bears all the hallmarks of a classic Harry/Sally antagonistic streak. Paris is still experiencing a bit of a shitty home life because of the divorce and I suspect because her mother is terrible. When pondering what her mom would do if she had gone off in the city she posited that her mother would send someone to come get her rather than do it herself. Lorelai is of course a very hands on mother and this whole experience is incredibly illuminating for Paris and she calls this the best night of her life and I completely believe her.

Instead of mocking Rory and Lorelai for their home or the fact that Lorelai was 16 when she had Rory, Louise and Madeline (I now know their names but can’t tell you which one is which) instead think Lorelai is the coolest. Even when she comes and drags them out of Brandon Roth’s party they still seem to think she is pretty cool and I was worried they would throw back Lorelai’s own wild teen days in her face. I am glad they did not.

I also really liked the fact that Lorelai saw this as an opportunity for Rory to make friends out of her frenemies with pizza, Pop Tart platters (is this show sponsored by Pop Tarts?) and a trip to New York. Instant cool mom hall of fame.

Also I am still in shock that the actual Bangles played because I just assumed we would see them go into the concert and then the after. But hey revivals are big business after all.

This is the point where Paris is now seeing Rory as someone who isn’t trying to steal her clever girl crown or the guy she is crushing on and Paris you can do SO much better than Tristan. But I also get why she likes him because history is important and so was that kiss clearly (even if she knows it was for a dare and my heart breaks for Paris even more at this). Paris ends up splitting the debate portion with Rory and this is a big deal and sign that they are now friends. This is the Rory relationship I am looking forward to seeing more of. So much more than any of those boys she will end up dating.

Anything else you would like to add?

Gilmore Girls 1.13 Pop Tart PlatterJulie: Everyone needs to STOP with Tristan. He’s worthless. Paris would be so bored by him after five minutes.

Regarding the Pop Tarts, it’s great that the show acknowledges how ridiculous it is that Rory and Lorelai eat all that garbage, but still maintain their figures (and their complexions, and their teeth). It’s completely implausible, though. Those ladies have terrible diets.

The show does a great job of illustrating how Lorelai’s parenting has been affected by her own teenage years. She knows that the Mrs. Kim tactic doesn’t work. She knows she has to let Rory make mistakes sometimes, but I love that she did stop the girls from hanging out with Superman. She’s kind of the perfect mom, really. Tough, but fair. And fun.

But those low-rise, boot cut jeans, though.Gilmore Girls 1.14 pizza and saladEmma: The clothes are so bad and I can’t believe we all wore stuff like this and didn’t realize. I think Rory gets off a little easier, but oh boy most of Lorelai’s outfits give me so many horror filled flashbacks. The cut and style is just so eh and don’t get me started on her silk shirts.

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: Gilmore Girls, “Pilot” & “The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton”

10 Dec

Gilmore Girls, Episodes 1.1 & 1.2
“Pilot” & “The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton”
Original Air Date: Oct. 5 & 12, 2000

Gilmore GirlsJulie: There are certain shows you love so much that you envy people who haven’t yet seen them and get to experience the shows for the first time. I know I felt that way about Breaking Bad and The Wire and the first season of 24. I’m feeling that right now with my son, to whom I’m reading the Harry Potter books (we’re on Prisoner of Azkaban). I’m always like, “You are the luckiest person in the world! You have no idea what’s to come. I wish I were in your shoes.” But at least I get to experience it vicariously through his eyes.

Maybe some of our readers are jealous that we’re Gilmore Girls virgins.

Going into the pilot, I knew very little about the show. I knew Lorelai and Rory were mother and daughter. I knew Lorelai had Rory at a very young age. I knew there was a Paris. And a Luke. That’s about it. I actually thought the show took place in North Carolina for some reason.

Let me just say that two episodes in, I am HOOKED. I’m actually going to have to force myself not to skip too far ahead, because all I want to do right now is binge watch Gilmore Girls. I’m here for all of it — the mother/daughter/mother/daughter stuff, Luke shipping, the private school bitchiness, etc. I’m even here for the snappy dialogue my husband so maligns. It works for me. Probably because Lauren Graham is everything. I may have a tiny huge crush on her right now. I want to be her. I want to wear Daisy Dukes to drop my kids off at school. (Maybe I will, but no one will know because they’ll be under my parka and snow pants.)

Before we get into the episodes, what is your history with the show and how did you like the first two episodes?

Gilmore Girls 1.02 Rory and LorelaiEmma: Judging by the response to the Instagram photo I put up saying I was about to start watching this show for the first time and my Twitter mentions I can safely say that there is that kind of ‘you’re so lucky reaction.’ The reunion at the ATX TV fest this year was huge on my TL as was the announcement that they’re doing a revival and it’s nice to watch a show that means a lot to so many. Plus I have a friend who has been trying to get me to watch for forever because he knows how much I adore teen shows. And because of this my hopes for Gilmore Girls are set to high and these first two episodes do not disappoint.

As with you my knowledge of the show is very thin – I know there are several guys in Rory’s life who I know from other shows like Matt Czuchry, Jared Padalecki and Peter Petrelli (who Alexis Bledel dated IRL) and that there is debate over who she should be with (isn’t there always?). And I knew about her mom having her at a young age and that they don’t have your typical TV mom/daughter relationship.

The fast paced snappy dialogue was also something I was expecting as I’ve seen the longer than normal script length referenced before. But really it’s a pretty clean slate. Like I didn’t even realize Chad Michael Murray was in this being as skeezy and squinty as always. The WB and CW REALLY wanted to make him happen.

Count me in too and I am so ready to watch a show that focuses on a mother/daughter relationship of a different kind (it made me think of Jane the Virgin in this respect) and I already love how much it embraces both humor and emotion. Making jokes is how these ladies deflect and this makes them my kind of women. And the private school stuff is also right up my street.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lauren Graham in all that much (I still need to see Parenthood) but yep I also heart her. It’s is also instantly believable that Alexis Bledel is her daughter as the chemistry is there. Rory feels very much like a Felicity, but with parents of a different kind and I think they would definitely be besties (Rory’s actual bestie is pretty great and I’m glad she’s still around even though they’re at different schools).

It also gave me so many flashbacks to 2000 from Macy Gray to a whole lot of ill fitting baggy jeans. I am looking forward to reliving fashion disasters of this decade.

So we’ve covered what we knew going in, how did you think it did in setting up who everyone is/the vibe of the town?

Gilmore Girls 1.02 jorts and plaidJulie: I’ve also never seen Parenthood. Maybe after Gilmore

It’s funny that we’re watching this right after Felicity, so we can pick up where we left off, fashion-wise. I’m loving Lorelai’s short-skirt business suit. Though, I went to Catholic school and no way would we have worn our skirts as long as Rory wears hers. I’d be rolling that thing up and down all day.

I also knew that Melissa McCarthy was in the show (pre-superstardom). She’s cute here, as usual, though her character, of all of them, seems a bit thinly drawn right now. The clumsiness is already wearing thin, considering we don’t have much more to go on with her at this point. She seems to be a capable chef, though, and I’m sure we’ll see more of that as the show progresses. (And I’m already shipping her and the peach delivery guy.)

Luke, the owner of the diner, has a great contentious rapport with Lorelai, but that also seems like too much at times. And I’m not sure how I feel about the writers hinting at a romance already in episode two. Let it simmer, guys! We feel the tension. We know where this is going. No need to draw attention to it at this point.

I did not realize that was CMM bugging Rory at Chilton. What a jerk. I suppose that’s par for the course with Chad, though.

The other relationship I’m totally digging so far is Lorelai’s with her mother. It’s so heightened, yet so real at its core. I live only a few blocks from my mom and dad. I love it for so many reasons. They are always around to help out. But. They are always around to help out. I will always be their baby. They are always ready with loving advice or suggestions. Sometimes it’s welcome, and sometimes it’s like, “I’m an adult! Let me be.” I really felt that in all of Lorelai’s interactions with her mom.

How are you liking the town of Stars Hollow?

Gilmore Girls 1.01 Gilmore ladiesEmma: Timeline wise this does feel like a natural post-Felicity watch even though we’re going back to high school, although the weighting of the characters puts the adults as equals in terms of storylines. It will be nice in that respect rather than Felicity and Ben’s parents showing up to add more drama. I am all for parents being just as integral and Lorelai is just that.

The Sookie is super skittish and clumsy thing did get a bit much in the pilot and I get that they have to ham it up for the pilot but that was one fire too far. The peach thing was better and I like the dynamic she has with Lorelai. Hotel employee wise I also liked how everyone is a little brash from the harp player to Michel and I maybe laughed quite a lot when he was asked by the old ladies where to find the best antiques. It is the kind of thing that also might get tired pretty quick so hopefully there is more to him beyond French sass.

It does feel like a very lived in town even if it borders on small town quirky – do places like this exist? I do like cake so I’m glad there’s a good bakery. Miss Patty is my fave town person so far especially her threats about Harry Potter. I also found it surreal to see her smoking because it seems to recent for that to be okay.

What I liked about Lorelai and her relationship with her parents is that it’s difficult because of all of them; they didn’t kick her out when she got pregnant and that’s not why they’re estranged but there’s definitely this aspect of her feeling like she didn’t live up to their expectations. Yes she’s achieved so much and her stubborn streak is part of why she is so estranged from them and I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops now they are very much back in their life. And not just for the holidays.

The Luke stuff is early and I’m with you on it being unnecessary to push it this early. And yeah they don’t want to not be able to go back there – those chilli fries looked so good.

What did you make of Rory?

Gilmore Girls 1.01 Rory and DeanJulie: Oh, my god, that Harry Potter moment was my favorite. The dialogue on this show is really very sharp.

Since it’s early, I’m willing to give most of the characters a pass. All of the supporting characters are their own most dominant trait right now. Mrs. Gilmore is 100% nag. Mr. Gilmore is just a bumbling dad who falls asleep at the dinner table. Sookie is clumsy and distracted. And Luke is a total sad sack. I mean, right now I don’t even want him and Lorelai to get together. He’s too depressing. Lighten up a bit, Luke.

As far as Rory goes, I don’t love Alexis Bledel’s line reading. I kind of figured that going in based on the little I’d seen of the show before. She’s cute and she looks like she could be Lauren Graham’s daughter, but she’s not the best actress. I’m sorry if that hurts people’s feelings. Maybe she gets better. Maybe I’ll get used to her.

I do like the character, though, and I love that she first tries to help Paris and then stands up to her in class. She’s a tough cookie. I appreciate that.

What’s your take on Rory? Are you excited to see high school through her eyes?

Gilmore Girls 1.02 Rory and ParisEmma: Lorelai is definitely the one who feels the most fleshed out so far, but as you say it is fine at this early stage for the supporting cast to have such broad characteristics. I kind of like Luke’s grumpy demeanor, but he is not love material at this point. I was also kind of surprised that Rory’s dad is still on the scene or that they know what he is up to at least. I don’t know why that surprised me or what I was expecting (a lot of shows tend to kill of the young dad), but I expect he will show up at some point.

So I quite like Rory so far and I quite like Alexis Bledel in general as she’s very non-offensive, but Rory also has a bit of fight in her thankfully. I just checked her IMDb page and this is her first role (aside from an uncredited part in Rushmore) and she definitely comes across as pretty green. So I think she will get better. I also just remembered that she’s married to Pete Campbell IRL. Matt Weiner sure loved casting from teen shows of the 90s/00s which is exactly how I would cast a show.

What I like about the whole Rory high school set up is that she isn’t just a poor student going to a fancy school a la Ryan Atwood; instead there is money in her family but also SCANDAL. So it is a fish out of water tale with a twist. And because she isn’t afraid to ask questions or confront others like Paris and CMM about the whole Mary thing (ugh). I am so ready for boy drama and rich school politics.

One other thing I’m wondering is if the town is going to have a dark side or maybe I’ve been watching too much cable drama. It all seems to lovely at the moment to be real. Which, considering how the real world is right now I’m kinda ready for a whole lot of pleasantness with a big side order of passive aggressive and bitchy comments.

Gilmore Girls 1.01 LukeJulie: My scant knowledge of this show does include the tidbit that Rory’s dad does come back into the picture at some point. When? I have no idea.

Matt Weiner is all of us. I think you’re right about Rory, too. She’s not bad. She’s just not on par with Lauren Graham yet, who is stellar. It’s a lot to ask of a girl taking on her first acting roll. She’ll get there, I’m sure. And I love her and Vincent Kartheiser together. I think they even have a secret baby now and everything.

There are, what, seven seasons of this show? I’m anticipating we’re going to see all of it — from class wars to romance to town mysteries. I can’t wait!

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 to be Thankful For: A Pre-End of Year List (of Sorts)

26 Nov

There is a lot of TV to be watched right now (#PeakTV) and like many I am in the process of compiling end of year lists (and as I have done in previous years I will be doing my ‘best of’ in a variety of ways) while trying to remember everything that I have watched this year. So this is a preview of what is to come in the following month and hopefully it will jog my very full TV related memory of anything I might miss.

So in no particular order here is what I am thankful for when it comes to TV in 2015:

  • The Hollywood Reporter TV Actress roundtable participants look like this and not this.
  • Comedy shows that explore a broad range of topics which not only make me laugh until I cry, but also invoke full on Claire Danes level of cry face. I am mostly looking at you You’re the Worst.
  • While I’m on the subject of comedies that make me misty eyed; Parks and Recreation ended this season on a high with an episode that pivoted on the Six Feet Under model and caused just as many tears.
  • Cable shows are embracing male nudity beyond just butts (special shout-outs to The Leftovers and The Affair) and all this after the The Comeback had a whole episode dedicated to skewering cable on this issue.
  • Everything Valerie Cherish.
  • Everything Abbi and Ilana.
  • “Looking for a Plot.”
  • Teen girls on The Americans avoiding the usual annoying teen trap many other dramas fall foul of.
  • And that every episode is a lesson in tension and an exploration on marriage and identity. It was my number one show in March and it still is in November (spoiler alert).
  • That Agent Carter got a second season and I now own the same lipstick as Peggy Carter.
  • The master class in acting delivered by Carrie Coon and Regina King on The Leftovers and for every insanely wonderful thing this show is doing. Also for Justin Theroux’s ability to look bewildered and devastated at any given opportunity.
  • The Villanueva women.
  • Getting to see Tatiana Maslany take on even more characters and make me forget she is playing everyone in a scene. And this wave.
  • Kroll Show going out on a high and creating this incredible universe where so many characters overlapped and intersected. And because I can’t say “Oh, hello” without wondering if there is too much tuna and I sometimes inadvertently say ‘Ameezing’ like I’m on PubLIZity.
  • The 12 Angry Men episode of Inside Amy Schumer.
  • Rob and Sharon on Catastrophe (even if the amount of things Sharon says that are like me is reaching a worrying level).
  • Shows that take will they/won’t they situations and turn them into yep they will. Oh hey there Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
  • All of Lady Gaga’s costuming on American Horror Story: Hotel.
  • Fargo indulging my love of all things 1970s clothing.
  • Daenerys’ dragon necklace.
  • The brief but amazing turn by Birgitte Hjort Sørensen on Game of Thrones.
  • Kit Harington Hair Watch.
  • Peggy’s cigarette smoking sunglasses strut.
  • Peggy roller skating.
  • The many times Mad Men made me cry.
  • Sally Draper.
  • Watching Felicity with Julie Hammerle and the time travel arc being even better than I imagined.
  • This Entertainment Weekly cover.
  • Master of None using THAT passage from The Bell Jar (which led to more tears – TV has made me cry a lot this year).
  • Jon Stewart’s last Daily Show (more tears).
  • All the incredible music I’ve ‘discovered’ thanks to shows such as GirlsOITNBMaster of NoneLookingYou’re the Worst and Togetherness.
  • No longer having “Drip Drop” stuck in my head.
  • The lighting on The Knick.
  • Oscar Isaac’s mustache/dad jeans and all the Bruce Springsteen used throughout Show Me a Hero. And, how the thought of this show hits me like a gut punch.
  • Every beautiful/fucked up thing they got away with on Hannibal this season.
  • Queen of ladysuits – Alana Bloom.
  • #LadySuitWatch2015
  • Superheroes on TV.
  • Jessica Jones’ leather jacket and her friendship with Trish.
  • Matt Murdock and this balloon.
  • Pre-emptive Mulder and Scully feeeeeeelings.
  • When Sherlock bought Joan the perfect outfit.
  • Every single one of Diane Lockhart’s statement necklaces.
  • Giving Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson more screen time on The Affair.
  • All the wardrobe inspiration from so many shows this year and the always growing Wish List.
  • That I got to talk to three amazing costume designers and write about it.
  • The range in costume design and shows covered on here includes everything from period to contemporary to fantasy; I am thankful there is a vast amount to discuss and get inspired by.
  • Season 2 of Transparent is almost here!

The list is long and there are probably some very obvious things I have missed. I will get mad at myself later, but for now Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’re looking for Thanksgiving episodes to watch maybe take a rewind and watch these offerings from Felicity and Dawson’s Creek.

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.

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.

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