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Tag Archives: JJ Abrams

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

24 Nov

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving—yeah I know it was yesterday—to all celebrating! Even with the four-day weekend, there are still plenty of red carpet moments and award season antics. The AMAs delivered some sartorial highs, the Independent Spirit Award nominations have been announced, Call Me By Your Name is out today and there’s a reunion that makes my heart swell.

I realized last week that “Out of the Box” has turned into something a little more than just the best looks; it has become a weekly newsletter of sorts with a mix of outfits and other things that excite me including trailers and performances. The level of activity on TV Ate My Wardrobe is less than it used to be (because I am writing for other outlets) and this is all very much a work in progress (as is life), but I am thankful I have this outlet to share these weekly observations. Viola Davis is a vision in white caped-sleeve crystal-embroidered Michael Kors Collection at the AMAs and she never disappoints on the red carpet.As the host of the AMAs, Tracee Ellis Ross had numerous outfit changes throughout the night and she made a dramatic impact on her arrival in a stunning custom Stella McCartney sequin gown.

Regular readers will know how much I love Tracee Ellis Ross’ Instagram feed and it showcases the many looks she wore while hosting. I’ve gone for another sparkly number and this video really captures this aspect of the Paco Rabanne matching skirt and top. Another highlight is this tribute to both her mother and Michael Jackson.Clueless reboot, but now Cher is a spy and played by Yara Shahidi. Sign me up. Going against the jewel tone palette she wears as Veronica Lodge on Riverdale is Camila Mendes in a romantic J. Mendel gown.

And for all things Riverdale season 2 style check out my Observer column here
I’ve been listening to Kelly Clarkson’s new album “Meaning of Life” nonstop and holy hell is this Christian Siriano feathered gown serving up super diva feelings.

I love her.They’re not actually sisters, but Claire Foy and Vanessa Kirby very much look like siblings as they both opt for seasonal sparkles of varying lengths—Christian Dior for Foy, Prada for Kirby—at the premiere of The Crown. Foy’s Lisbeth Salander hair looks great and I am super excited for the second season of this show.  The full Ava DuVernay/Ryan Coogler panel transcript is going to be made available soon, but for now enjoy this snippet and DuVernay’s patterned frock.

And the new Wrinkle in Time trailer.Also at VultureFest is Sofia Coppola in an outfit that looks straight from my closet. So of course I am here for it.Jennifer Garner’s giving great slip dress at a screening of her new film The Tribes of Palos Verdes and this week I watched the episode of Felicity where she first makes an appearance.

And as a big Alias fan, I would love to see her reunite with J.J. Abrams in a professional capacity. Maybe Star Wars, maybe something else. Or just get Garner a great TV project. At the Film Independent 2018 Spirit Awards press conference, Tessa Thompson goes for pattern clashing Jason Wu and some amazing orange pumps. This is one of my favorite award shows of the season and I am so happy that Nick Kroll and John Mulaney will be back again to host. It is also one of the best red carpets of the entire calendar and Thompson’s look here is very much in line with the kind of thing you can expect from the main event.

For the full list of nominees head here. One movie that has got multiple Spirit Award nominations is the incredible Call Me By Your Name (released today in the US) and the press tour for this movie has included a number appearance delights. It is a movie I watched twice at the cinema within the space of one week and it is probably my favorite film of the year. I finished the book at the weekend and the soundtrack has been playing in-between those Kelly Clarkson listens.

Timothée Chalamet is having quite the year and he gets a great plaid suit modeling shot in GQ. Hopefully we will see more of this kind of suit wearing throughout award season.

I fell down a GoldDerby video hole the other day, but I still don’t know where Chalamet got this eagle sweater number from. It is information I would like to have.Armie Hammer covers The Hollywood Reporter this week and he is staring deep into your soul.  In the interview he talks about the hypocrisy of Hollywood and the Oscars with how Casey Affleck was lauded while Nate Parker was shutout. There’s also a discussion about his interesting career trajectory and the joyous experience of making Call Me By Your Name. And Hammer in chunky knits. Always appreciated.

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Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set

2 Mar

A mix of Oscars getting ready/parties/day after action with the usual TV set action plus a dash of Broadway in this week’s Instagram highlights.

@vanityfair #vanityfairoscarparty #jjabrams #jengarner @therealvictorgarber

A post shared by Rainer Andreesen (@rainerarts) on

 

Nothing made happier about Oscar night than the Alias reunion that took place at the Vanity Fair party. So thank you Victor Garber’s husband Rainer Andreesen for taking this photo and releasing it to the world.

Jack and Sidney. Together again

A post shared by Victor Garber (@therealvictorgarber) on

 

One more because feelings.

Highly concentrated breakfast eater. 📸 by @alexandergreenwald

A post shared by Brie (@brielarson) on

 

What breakfast looks like on the morning of the Oscars. Always avocado on toast and some all important bacon.

A post shared by Brie (@brielarson) on

 

And what dinner looks like after winning an Oscar. The Converse change makes Brie a girl after my own heart (I have a mystery huge bruise on my ankle which I’m putting down to wearing heels for the first time in 6 months).

🏆 #RCGD2016

A post shared by Sophie Turner (@sophiet) on

 

In other pre-Oscars prep Sophie Turner opts for this simple tea with lemon and her invite shot.

 

Jacob Tremblay continues his adorable reign with these past and present shots with Sofia Vergara and super charming caption to boot. At the Oscars and after parties he got to hang out with several more Star Wars stars. Also adorable.

#Oscars belly

A post shared by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) on

 

Chrissy Teigen was one of our Oscar best dressed and here is another view of her dress as she gets sewn into thing (and once again the bathroom question springs to mind).

#NeutrogenaSisters #Oscars @Neutrogena

A post shared by Kerry Washington (@kerrywashington) on

 

A really good ad for Neutrogena as both Kerry Washington and Jennifer Garner look amazing (and are both on our best dressed list). Excellent on brand synergy here.

#oscars Meeks and I are discussing movies, red carpet and gowns

A post shared by Jenna Dewan Tatum (@jennadewan) on

 

Just like us Oscars edition.

#relatable #happyoscars #goLeo

A post shared by January Jones (@januaryjones) on

 

While January Jones continues to crush it with her hashtag usage.

And back to glamour at #TheMindyProject

A post shared by Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) on

 

What every post-Oscars outfit should look like.

Feeling groovy cuz Rogelio's got my back

A post shared by Yael Grobglas (@yaelgrobglas) on

 

Moving on from the Oscars and Yael Grobglas is serving up excellent OOTD in a 70s inspired look. Plus yes it always does help having Rogelio behind you.

 

A behind the scenes look at Gina Rodriguez hanging high up in the air filming one of this week’s fantasy sequences on Jane the Virgin.

 

A stunning photo from the recent Entertainment Weekly of Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o celebrating Eclipsed’s move to Broadway. 

good day. good night. ep609.

A post shared by Steven Yeun (@steveyeun) on

 

A blood covered Walking Dead cast looking a whole lot happier in this video than we are used to seeing them. It’s nice to see so many smiles.

 

Why it can be bad to nap on the job.

 

We’ve had Oscars getting dressed behind the scenes and now for a costuming one with Chloe Bennet getting help with her zip on Agents of SHIELD.

Now This is a Star! @maxgreenfield photobomb by @biabiabia

A post shared by Lamorne Morris (@lamorne) on

 

Max Greenfield’s hair is as high as it is wonderful. It might help that fellow passenger Bia Iftikhar is an award winning hair stylist.

Belting our witch cackles #TheCrucible2016

A post shared by Tavi Gevinson (@tavitulle) on

 

A super busy time for Saoirse Ronan with award season and Crucible rehearsals with previews starting Monday. So the day after the Oscars. That really is no break for Ronan. Tavi Gevinson captures the group recording and after reading Stacy Schiff’s The Witches last month I really want to check back in with The Crucible as I haven’t read it since high school.

 

Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set

9 Dec

News faces to the TV Instagram world, plus plenty of finales, shows to catch up on and behind the scenes action in this week’s collection. Film Insta is also making an appearance with fabulous outfits, singing and selfie sticks.

Departing. #bts #theleftovers #finale @hbo

A post shared by @ justintheroux on

 

Look who joined Instagram this week! And he’s already been on a posting blaze including this very muddy looking shot from The Leftovers. Those jeans are going to feel mighty crunchy.

 

It hasn’t been easy for Kevin Garvey this season on The Leftovers in the getting covered in substances department and there has also been plenty of blood, sweat and tears (and snot). Luckily it is all smiles behind the camera. Delighted to see the all important aviators making an appearance.

 

All fun and games for the Dickie Dollar Scholars on Scream Queens and I don’t have any opinions on the finale/killer reveal yet as I won’t be watching it until later. I don’t have high hopes tbh as the season in general has been pretty patchy, but Glen Powell is the gift that keeps on giving.

Pumped about the #ScreamQueens finale tonight 🔪🙀🔪

A post shared by Nasim Pedrad (@nasimpedrad) on

 

Same goes for Nasim Pedrad who looks rather chipper for a dinner picture.

@nasimpedrad is back. #NewGirl

A post shared by jake johnson (@mrjakejohnson) on

 

Now for a very different setting and outfit for Nasim Pedrad as she will be back on New Girl this season.

 

An accurate representation of the face I would make if I ever ran into either Stephen Colbert or Gina Rodriguez.

 

Finding this whole thing very adorable. And maybe shipping Petra and Raphael as a result.

 

 

Getting the gang back together on Arrow. Although one very important person is missing.

Barry & I.

A post shared by Grant Gustin (@grantgust) on

 

How to blend your regular wardrobe with your superhero attire – Flash style.

 

The main reason I am excited for Grease: Live. Also – Happy You’re the Worst Season Finale Day!

Spring in winter! @paigedenim jeans and @minnaparikkashoes booties

A post shared by Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) on

 

Super cute casual outfit from Mindy Kaling and I am so behind on the Mindy Project. The theme of this month is realizing that the festive season will hopefully be a good time to catch up on all the TV (when I’ve done everything else first).

 

Never getting bored of Looking group shots.

#refinery29

A post shared by Krysten Ritter (@therealkrystenritter) on

 

These are some very Jessica Jones looking jeans (of which I have many feelings about) and unlike last week I have managed to watch a whole bunch of episodes. SO many yell out loud HOLY SHIT moments and I still have 2 episodes to go.

Sleeping on the #job @dianeguerrero_ . But she's so cute @oitnb

A post shared by Adrienne Moore (@acmoore9) on

 

I guess this is what happens on set when there are beds to lie down on.

 

Agents of SHIELD costume designer Ann Foley took over the Costume Designers Guild official Instagram this week and there’s plenty of behind the scenes action including the cast and those who make the costumes. Would highly recommend checking it out.

La Fuerza Despertada. Oscar Isaac. #TheForceAwakens #oscarisaac

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

 

Gonna end things with some film Insta highlights this week as the Star Wars press tour cranks up a gear and these two beauties work leather and quilted jackets with aplomb.

 

Okay so this song has super creepy connotations, but Daisy Ridley’s hashtag says it all when it comes to Oscar Isaac singing.

The fam with Seoul fans at our backs!

A post shared by John Boyega (@johnboyega) on

 

And while I am have mixed feelings about selfie sticks this is pretty darn adorable.

 

TV Rewind: Felicity, “True Colors” & “Things Change”

17 Jul

Felicity, Episodes 2.14 & 2.15
“True Colors” & “Things Change”
Original Air Dates: Feb. 20 & 27, 2000

Felicity 2.14

Julie: Your Ruby theory was dead wrong. No miscarriage; she’s pregnant for another dude. Ruby cheated on Noel. Sure, they had just started dating and everything, but they had already slept together. Noel saw that as a commitment; Ruby saw that as an opportunity to hop up on the first guy she met on her movie set (fingers crossed for Tom Cruise, however unlikely that might be).

If you didn’t like Ruby before, this revelation certainly won’t help matters. Because not only did she hook up with someone else and neglect to tell Noel after she found out she was pregnant, she also had the gall to tell him she hoped he’d be able to get past her cheating and stick with her, in a relationship with her and her movie set hook-up’s baby. Run, Noel, run.

Thankfully, Noel sees right at the outset that this is a jam he’s happy to unstick himself from. He wasn’t all that on board with the baby when he thought it was his own, no way would he stay around to raise Tom Cruise’s illegitimate bastard (let’s call the kid Tom Snow).

Noel plays this exactly right. Ruby tries to get all passive-aggressive, threatening to drop his class. Noel does not take the bait. He calmly hangs out in his room and, after talking to Ben about all his problems, does the right thing and tells Ruby he won’t abandon her. He still wants to be her FRIEND.

What did you think about the Ruby revelation?

Felicity 2.14 BenEmma: I can’t believe how wrong I was! I hadn’t even considered another guy was in the picture (yes I also hope it is another sibling for Suri). It is still a let off the hook direction for Noel, but in a completely different manner than I expected. I did feel bad for Ruby in a shocking turn of events, not for the whole not mentioning this vital piece of information, but because of the whole undefined nature of their relationship with Noel when she was in LA. This was also when Noel smooched Felicity over Thanksgiving so he doesn’t have too much to complain about here. Okay, he does but for a brief moment I felt for Ruby. Then she asked him to stay with her and I kind of lost what good feeling I had and I switched back to my usual Ruby position.

Noel didn’t want the baby when he thought it was is so I don’t know why Ruby thought he would feel any different when this bombshell was dropped. The offering to be friends still is a whole world of no, on both sides. Now one thing this storyline did which I never thought was possible is that it brought Noel and Ben together and now they’re basketball buddies. They obviously found a good location to use for these scenes as that’s all Ben has been doing since he can no longer swim – basketball courts must be so much easier to shoot.

After Ben went to Noel to tell him he “been there” and he was rightly told to fuck off after this gross invasion of privacy by the dude he hates the most, Noel decides after Ben is now in his philosophy class that he is just the guy to talk to. This to me is perfect and what followed was a scene that not only made me laugh so hard when I watched it, but it is still making me laugh now and it’s completely inappropriate of me. It’s Ben’s abortion tale and how instead of going with the girl he’d knocked up he went snowboarding with his buddies instead. The reason I find it so funny is that I didn’t expect to hear that he went on a trip like this, maybe to the beach as they live in Palo Alto, not snowboarding which is probably hundreds of miles away. Secondly I’m also picturing a 30 Rock style flashback showing Ben with his bros having an amazing time, while this poor girl sits in a waiting room alone (or like the abortion party in S1 of Girls). Am I wrong to find it hilarious? Also it’s so typically flaky Ben and even though I adore him, this story did not surprise me. He does feel bad about it though.

Ben and Noel as friends feels weird in the same way it did at the start of the Twilight Zone episode, but aside from Richard Noel doesn’t have any guy friends to talk about this stuff with and it’s clear why he chooses Ben over Richard to unburden his soul. Basically Noel needs more friends.

I really liked the painting party set up even if it was a contrived way to get everyone in the same place so they could all discuss Noel’s situation in an obnoxiously loud and intrusive manner – did they think he couldn’t hear them or something? There are lots of varying opinions as there always is with something as sensitive as abortion and Noel somehow remains calm and doesn’t yell at them all for discussing his private life.

The dancing that was led by Sean was so dorky and so fun even if it was super cheesy and I always find these sequences equal amounts hilarious/awkward. The recent episodes have been pretty heavy going so I enjoyed the dancing respite even though it was clear that Noel was going to walk in during the middle of it.

Have you ever been to a painting party? The first time I had heard of them was when I read the Zodiac book by Robert Graysmith as one of the Zodiac’s victims had hosted a painting party (I can’t remember the specifics, I just thought alcohol plus decorating might be kinda messy and not all that productive).

How do you feel about Ben and Noel as basketball bros?

Felicity 2.14 photoJulie: The basketball thing on Felicity is hilarious. I think I’m going to do a gallery post of dudes playing basketball to sort though their feelings (except maybe not, because I can’t find video of the very best example — In Her Shoes. Whoever wrote that scene has never seen a basketball game). This trope was recently lampooned in They Came Together. It also happened on Scandal last season, with Jake (Scott Foley!) and the Prez. Guys can’t just sit and have brunch or go shopping together. There has to be sports involved if there’s going to be any kind of emotional revelation.

And I definitely didn’t think about logistics when it came to Ben’s snowboarding story. Maybe there’s a mountain range close by? Or maybe he really did drive hours just to avoid helping this girl abort his baby. Stay classy, Benjamin.

The painting party was ridiculous. As Noel points out, he and Elena are moving out of there in a few months anyway, so why spend all the time (and money, poor college students) to fix up a place you’re leaving and have no monetary stake in. Also, the husband and I ripped down rooms and rooms full of wallpaper when we moved into our house, and I get the shakes just watching these scenes. Wallpaper removal is not for the faint of heart, or for pre-med students who could find better use for their time.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a painting party, per se. I’ve hosted my own, which basically amounted to me and a radio in my basement or living room. No other people. Now I think I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time. I could’ve been having cheesy dance parties with actual living humans.

As an old person, I can’t imagine asking my friends to come over and help with home repairs. They all have their own shit to do, but a painting party is so college/early 20s. Those were the days when the promise of beer and pizza could entice people into helping you move. Those days are gone for me. I think they’re also gone for Richard Coad, who seemed to be like, “You don’t hang out with me all year and then you invite me over to rip down wallpaper? You people are jerks.”

The thing we haven’t talked about yet in this episode is Felicity’s budding relationship with Greg, the guy with her hairstyle who runs the clinic. What do you think of this and how will Meghan handle her roommate hooking up with her super crush?

Felicity 2.14 MeghanEmma: One thing I do like about the Ben/Noel basketball scenes is that they’re not competitive with each other, I expected they would be for Felicity/dude reasons but nope. Nicely subverted show, other than the all round tropieness of it all. I totally ship it.

I am so not down with Greg and agree with Ben’s assessment “63% of me thinks you’re a dick.” As you mentioned on Twitter what is if with guys getting chewed out by Felicity and then falling in love with her? They’re also always older and this makes it even weirder, it’s like emotionally stunted guys fall at her feet when she points out how awful they are. Ben has got a big case of jealousy and that’s because he too has the Felicity feels, but she’s totally not reading any of those signals even if it’s the most obvious thing. I am glad that Ben is having to work for it after he couldn’t commit at the start of the season (there’s more to talk about with Ben in the second episode but I want to cover Greg first).

Greg is being a dick because he’s stressed with a forthcoming review and his flirting manual only includes playground behavior. Also that deleted files story sounds like a BS attempt to spend more time with her, or I could be crazy.

Meghan’s infatuation is so unexpected and hilarious; it’s is out of character and perfect all at once. I love her reactions as the painting party and Meghan should always be there when these big dramatic moments go down. I can’t imagine Meghan taking it well, perhaps there will be another spell coming Felicity’s way. Nice call back to the ripped up and put back together incorrectly photo with Felicity’s original big hair.

One other major relationship moment occurred between Sean and Julie, not in a romantic sense but she did tell him about what happened with Eric and Zach. Sean’s reaction is that of concerned friend, he doesn’t use it as a way to get closer and reveals the same happened to his sister. Julie’s decided that yes she does need to go see a counsellor and thanks Sean for the support he has given her even though he didn’t know why Julie was initially reacting this way. Sean should stop making food though. No one wants quiche at a party.

What are your Greg thoughts? In better new beau news, Elena seems to be having a flirty/competitive good time.

Felicity 2.15 Julie and FelicityJulie: Felicity has daddy issues, is what I think Dr. Pavone would tell her. She’s falling for these older rude jerks, to whom she has no problem speaking her mind. It’s like she’s saying to them what she could never say to her father. And then she’s all-in once they come running back to her. And 63% of me is pretty sure I’m full of shit.

Greg is just a stopgap. The show is winding down to the season finale, and there’s no way he sticks around for junior year (unless Meghan gets her mitts on him). Actually, that’s the storyline I’d like to see, Meghan getting all peeved that Felicity goes after Greg only to cast him aside like it’s no big deal. That would probably almost be a worse crime as far as Meghan’s concerned. I think she’d be a little bit cool with Felicity edging her out for Greg’s affections, but I don’t think she’d be all right with losing Greg to Felicity only to have her lose interest almost immediately. And I’m pretty sure there’d be spells involved. It’s the end of the year. There has to be a spell at some point.

Aside from Greg and Ruby, the other character I need less of is Sean. I love Greg Grunberg, but Sean is so boring right now. Shit or get off the pot with Julie, Sean. If you’re never going to tell her how you feel, then just move on. Find someone else, or something else, to occupy your time.

I do think they had Sean make quiche just to have Scott Speedman say the word “quiche” several times. Now that’s cute.

I am loving the flirtation between Elena and Turk (what’s his name on this show?). I love that they’ve made him better than her at school and that he doesn’t really have to work that hard. It has to be so frustrating for Elena. I want to spend more time with these people. Less Sean, more Turk. This is my  new motto. Maybe he should join Ben and Noel for some hoops.

Felicity 2.15 JavierEmma: Daddy issues is as much a J.J. signature as the ‘magical mystery box’ and on this occasion I find it pretty dull. I generally like teen shows that incorporate the parental characters and with Felicity I think it doesn’t really fit the overall narrative of the show as she’s so far from home her parents should be fleeting in their appearance, season 1 did this perfectly, I also think I would prefer for the focus to be on her relationship with her mother as it’s the most compelling. Instead we get the disappointed daddy and while I think his breakdown and subsequent depression *could* be interesting, it hasn’t really been presented in that way as there is too much other stuff going on. And yeah Felicity’s recent flirtation choice does have a whole lot of daddy issues attached to it.I’m just glad they’ve used up the “sleeping with your professor” storyline.

As you mention Greg is not here for the long term and it’s clear that Ben is going to make his big move before the end of the season. Ben goes on a “stupid date” with a girl who is actually pretty cool, but she’s not Felicity so he shuts it down before they move on from making out on the couch. Good work Ben and it seems like he is growing as person. Pam still wants to hang out as she’s had fun, don’t settle for being second best Pam. Have some self-respect even if he is super cute and can get you free coffee and muffins. Ben also calls Greg a dick once again and I really didn’t think they could use this insult on TV in 2000 as much as they clearly can.

Speaking of D&D and I love the Javier stuff in this episode as he tries to offer Ben advice,even if Javier misreads which woman Ben has feelings for.

I don’t mind Sean at the moment as I really liked that scene with Julie, they do need to get him a storyline that’s not Julie or scheme related. Sean’s documentary from last season is making a reappearance and I wonder how this will play into the overall narrative, particularly with the love triangle.

Turk is Tracy and yeah he’s a fun match for Elena. His post-exam dance while everyone else was still doing there’s (Elena) was on the adorable side of obnoxious and I hope this develops into a bigger storyline for her. Sometimes Elena gives advice that’s kinda awful like when she sex shamed Felicity and in this episode I inferred that she was telling Noel to go back to Ruby because what makes him special is that he can forgive. Hmm, I’m not sure that’s a good idea, although I might be reading into that scene too much.

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 Slump” & “Truth or Consequences”

3 Jul

Felicity, Episodes 2.12 & 2.13
“The Slump” & “Truth or Consequences”
Original Air Dates: Feb. 6 & 13, 2000

Felicity 2.12Emma: Welcome to two Very Special Episodes of Felicity that deal with matters so broad and narrow as to include divorce, therapy (including the magical question we’ve been asking for some time now with “Who is Ben Covington?”), consequences of drunken breaking into swimming pool actions, unwanted pregnancy, the teen TV taboo of abortion and sexual advances from skeezball A&R dudes. There is so much plinky plonk piano music that had me longing for the classical soundtrack that Ben deemed was elevator music. Ben, if you want to hear elevator music listen to the soundtrack from episode 13.

So with so much going on it’s hard to know where to start, I guess I’m going to go with my new favorite character and that’s the chain smoking counselor and qualified doctor Dr Toni Pavone. Pavone is played by an actress who I know predominantly from ER so all my notes say Dr Coburn (also as the long suffering Mrs Schweiber in Freaks and Geeks) and she’s playing the no BS mentor. This is a particular trope when it comes to college movies (I’m thinking Good Will Hunting as I haven’t seen Dead Poet’s Society, but I’m guessing the latter features this) or TV shows (it does also extend to high school) and it’s normally a character who thinks they know best that gets treated to the no BS mentor. Felicity is an interesting case as she professes to knowing nothing; she doesn’t know why she came to New York (other than Ben of course) and she doesn’t know who she is. Pavone provokes Felicity into acknowledging the shitty position her parents have put her in and to reject the good little girl hat she wears when talking about her family.

The act of rebellion that lands Felicity in therapy is something she blames on finding out that her parents are divorcing. She also claims that if this had happened when she was younger, she would have obsessed over it. Obviously she is obsessing over it now, as this is Felicity and over thinking things is what she does, though Ben is the rare exception here – she does have a habit of obsessing over Ben after the fact, but she is definitely more in the moment when it comes to him. Felicity keeps telling people that her parents splitting up isn’t a big deal and no one is really fooled by this. As an adult I guess she feels embarrassed to be feeling this much loss at the end of her parents marriage and yet it is a big deal. The foundation of her whole existence gets rocked in this episode as she finds out that her mom quit college as she was pregnant. Now this is a huge burden for anyone and for Felicity it is devastating (and it quite neatly links in with the Noel and Ruby story), as she recalls a story from her childhood that pretty much sums up who she is as someone who never wants to rock the boat.

When Felicity was younger she went to ballet camp, which she hated, and so she came home early. She found out that her mom had been sleeping in the guest room; and even though everyone in the house knew that the other one had seen this, it was not acknowledged at all and Felicity went to ballet camp for the next four summers. This is such WASPy behavior and it’s not surprising that Felicity is so introspective and repressed if that is the house she grew up in. On the surface everything was great, from the visit we saw at Thanksgiving to Christmas at home and it’s one of those occasions where we realize that a) our parents are people and b) there is so much going on beyond us as their kids. Felicity isn’t the reason they split, in fact she’s the reason they probably stuck it out for as long as they did, and I’m glad Dr Pavone makes her realize this through getting her to open up about who she is and why she thinks the way she does.

Ben, on the other hand, is another tale and he spends most of time in “The Slump” avoiding his counseling sessions and floating the idea of dropping out and going to Prague to live out his Before Sunrise fantasies, because of course he does. Ben is the flakiest of the flakey and while he has a ridiculously charming smile he also doesn’t have much else at the moment other than these flights of fancy. So it might sound strange when I say that I am coming around to Team Ben in spite of his chameleon personality and while I probably would like to see more of Felicity and her lady friends (briefly seen before Felicity’s dad rudely interrupted), the chemistry between Ben and Felicity is just really fun to watch and it’s much needed in an episode that is this angsty.

The Ben self-discovery doesn’t happen until the following episode so before I open that big ol’ can of worms I want to hand over to you and find out what you think of Felicity’s big parental related misery. Do you like what Dr. Pavone brings to the show or is this one college trope you would prefer to see avoided?

Felicity 2.13 counselingJulie: I am 100% with you on the new counselor, played by the always welcome Amy Aquino. This character seems to have taken the place of Sally in some ways, offering us real advice and calling Felicity on her bullshit, rather than just relaying stories from her own boring past (sorry, Sally). I love how fully-formed this character seems to be after only one episode. J.J. Abrams, who wrote the first episode, must have loved developing this character. Also, she definitely calls Ben on his social-chameleonism, so yay for that.

Because Ben is pissing me off. I know you’re coming around to Team Ben, but I’m so annoyed with him at the moment. Yes, he has the nice smile, but he’s also an emotional idiot. He never wants to deal with anything difficult. I’m thinking this is because Ben has never really had to deal with anything difficult. Yes, we got the whole story about his parents and how awful his dad was, but still. The kid was a popular athlete. He gets in trouble and gets out of it easily. He floats through life. And then he wants to drag Felicity, a girl who’s trying to get her shit together, to follow him to Europe where he’ll probably end up flaking out on her as soon as things get rough. He’ll take up with some Czech girl and they’ll live happily ever after until she dies of a heroin overdose and he highjacks it back to New York to further mess up Felicity’s life. And she’ll totally let him do it. That’s Ben in a nutshell.

So, I am definitely glad about the existence of Dr. Toni Pavone and her classical music. She’s the first one really questioning Ben about what he wants and who he wants to be. I’m looking forward to a new, more focused Benjamin Covington. I’m looking forward to a Ben whose entire existence doesn’t revolve around either girls or swimming.

As far as the Felicity stuff goes, it was very special. I really felt for her regarding the anger she felt for her parents. That was a great revelation. Felicity is so bottled up (WASPy) and it’s nice to see her get mad. Her parents deserve all the crap she’s about to throw at them.

We also got some stuff with Julie and Noel this episode. What did you think about Eric and Ruby?

Felicity 2.13 laughingEmma: I am far too easily swung by a good smile and Ben’s Europe plan really was ridiculous. He would totally screw it up.

First I’ll deal with Eric as there’s a lot more to say about the Ruby predicament. Eric continued to be everything Sean said he would be and that really sucks for Julie as even though she only has one song she was very excited about recording a record.  In a scene that mirrored what happened with Zach last year (so much so that she called Eric Zach) Julie invited Eric in and then changed her mind. And then she blamed herself. None of this is Julie’s fault of course and it sucks that her character is going through this again. Thankfully Eric took the hint and with it he took all those promises of a record. Him and his curly mop of hair are the worst. Sean is great when he comforts her reminding Julie that she doesn’t owe Eric a thing.

Now Ruby and after more TA/Noel conflict – she wrote “hi Noel” on what was meant to be an anonymous paper, but wouldn’t he recognize her handwriting anyway? – that continues to be not very interesting, Ruby drops a clanger that her period is 5 days late. And she’s never late (of course). Now I have to admit that I expected this to be another teen TV pregnancy scare, especially as this show has been so good to point out various safe sex methods. Instead Felicity is showing that contraceptive is not always 100% effective and unwanted pregnancies do happen.

While I don’t want to sound cavalier and I have a feeling this might come across as flippant after being surprised by the initial pregnancy test result – in the form of color, not the usual lines – I was half expecting Ruby to go through with the abortion. Then I remembered this show was on the WB and abortion is still a HUGE taboo subject on network TV.

A character could have had an abortion as long as it was long ago (a la Kirsten on The OC) and off screen with the most recent teen related showing actually going through with this procedure on network being Friday Night Lights (it aired first on Direct TV so it might be why they could show it). Other characters can talk about their abortion experiences so Ben is fine talking to Noel about what happened on high school, well not completely fine because this is a huge breach if confidentiality even if his heart was in the right place. Ben you are so dumb and yet so pretty.

There’s a lot of sad starring out of windows and it’s super cheesy, and when they’re on their way to the clinic of course a baby’s leg grazes Ruby’s arm. Obviously if this character doesn’t want to have an abortion, she shouldn’t have to and that’s the point it’s her choice, I just wish teen TV didn’t have to follow the same pattern because abortion is such a controversial topic. I also really wish someone with more range could be tackling such a strong array of emotions as I don’t think Amy Smart is quite up to the task. The scene in the bathroom with Felicity reminded me of the scene between Hannah and Felicity in the bathroom (my fav locale) and how great Jennifer Garner was as a supporting player. Keri Russell shines throughout as she struggles to address the weight of the situation as this goes way beyond her expertise.

So what did you think about the surprise pregnancy story?

Felicity 2.13 sad windowsJulie: I echo everything you said about Eric and Julie and it being a bit of a repeat from her situation with Zach. Yawn. It’s horrible that I’m saying “yawn” about attempted rape, but yawn. Julie needs a new storyline, and better taste in men.

Moving from near-rape to near-abortion (seriously these episodes have IT ALL). I was happy that the writers actually made Ruby pregnant. The pregnancy scare copout is done too frequently and the Noel/Ruby storyline does echo what’s going on in Felicity’s life, so it’s all very poignant. While I agree that Amy Smart is not usually up to the acting task, I thought her reaction to the positive test was really on point. There were a lot of tears. And Noel just kind of sat there, not sure what to do, whether or not to comfort her, which kind of reveals all I need to know about where his head is at in this relationship. Something tells me that if Felicity were knocked up, Noel would be right there holding her and consoling her.

I was annoyed with the fact that Ruby didn’t go through with the abortion, for a few reasons. 1) It’s so cheap that we can’t allow a female character to make that choice on primetime TV, even still. 2) Ruby’s reasoning for keeping the baby is as ridiculous as she is. This baby is all of a sudden, out of nowhere, her purpose. Maybe she should wind up with Ben because the two of them are delusional soul mates.

Ben coming to Noel after looking at Ruby’s chart is shady and a little convenient. I feel like Ben is the Dylan McKay of this show, i.e. the character that has had All the Experiences. You name it, Ben’s done it. He’s a sheltered 19-year-old, but he’s lived hard like a 40-year-old Hell’s Angel. Of course Ben knocked up a girl and took her to her abortion appointment. Of course that happened to him.

I am really ragging on Ben this week.

Which other TV characters have had abortions, either on screen or off. Kelly Taylor did on 90210, but I think that was pre-show.

Felicity 2.13 Ben and NoelEmma: So Noel reeeeeeeeeeealy doesn’t want to be a dad, huh?! And that’s a spot on assessment with his reaction, if it was Felicity or even Hannah I think he would be very different. The panic and fear makes sense as this really wasn’t part of his plan and like you I find Ruby’s “it’s my purpose” speech to be completely out of the nowhere. I sense this is not going to bring Ruby and Noel closer together and this relationship has never felt particularly solid. On this occasion I really want Ruby to go to Meghan for some advice. Everyone should always ask Meghan.

Felicity followed Dr. Pavone’s advice about not making it about herself, even though she could quite easily after her recent discovery about her mom. Instead she mentions to Ruby that she knows someone who went through this without elaborating and with Noel she lets him talk. Good job, Felicity.

Quick question regarding their community service – would they really be allowed to work in a health center that caters for the university? Surely there are confidentiality issues to consider. In fact, Ben shows how dumb this is and Noel’s “Are you fucking kidding me?” reaction is spot on.

It really has all happened to Ben and I think this is in part to make up for some of the lack of charecterization and hopefully now that he’s been provoked into some introspection he will become more than just a collection of “it happened to me” with an adorable smile (yeah I’m still stuck on that). I am glad we got a real life Ben and Noel interaction (rather than a Twilight Zone one) and I think that’s the first time they’ve shared a scene since the argument in the bar in episode 1/2 this season.

One other Ben related thing I really liked was the Felicity/Ben rooftop chat that echoes the one when they first talked (I wanna say in the pilot) about snow in New York. It’s good to have Ben acknowledge a real reason why he is drawn to Felicity, rather than the sudden about turn and it’s because she cares about things. Ben has always coasted and now he has to actually look deeper. I am clearly the pro Ben of our discussion this week.  I am also pro Ben and Felicity role reversal as he’s now the one very much following her. I also want them to kiss already.

So I was trying to think of some other TV abortions and I found this very useful site that documents the history of abortion on screen and generally on recent network shows abortions are considered but they either keep it or have a miscarriage. That isn’t always the case as the entry for Third Watch shows (and I do remember that episode). Felicity gets a mention and I stopped reading as it looks like it might go further than where we are up to. With cable they’re not hampered by the same parameters of course and so they have far more freedom to show a variety of resolutions.

Elena has a new love interest and it’s Donald Faison! I’m pretty sure both he and Paul Rudd must have made some deal when they shot Clueless as neither of them have really aged. Is Elena about to get her own story?

Felicity 2.12 ElenaJulie: You are completely right about Ruby going to Meghan for advice when it comes to boys and pregnancy. Heck, Noel should probably go talk to her as well. I’d love to see Meghan in a room with Dr. Pavone. But then my TV screen would probably melt.

The community service thing seems like a setup. I don’t know what a community service job like that usually entails, but I always pictured, like, working in a soup kitchen or picking up litter along a highway. Working in a medical center seems kind of cushy, and also like there are probably other kids on campus (who are not in trouble) and would love to have one of those jobs. This is not really a punishment, and it also may serve to reignite Felicity’s love affair with medicine? Second season and this show is already running out of new shit to deal with.

Ugh. Reading those abortion story rundowns are depressing, especially after the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby ruling yesterday. We need to stop with this whole “having a baby will make your life perfect” narrative. It’s very damaging. Babies are hard. They’re great, but they’re hard. Also, the TV abortion list missed the other Grey’s Anatomy storyline. Cristina Yang actually does have an abortion in a later season after she gets pregnant via her husband Dr. Hunt. (Yang is a very good doctor, but she’s horrible at birth control.) She actually does have the abortion. She doesn’t regret doing it, but it colors her relationship with Hunt for the rest of her time on the show. I’m actually proud of Grey’s for how they handled this. Maybe this storyline was a response to the chicken shit “It’s an ectopic pregnancy!” copout.

On to a happier topic — Donald Faison! He really does not age, right? Those Clueless folks and their lack of aging. I don’t remember what happens in his storyline with Elena, but at least she’s got some man candy now?

Here’s my question for you, person who has never seen the show: How do you think the Ruby storyline shaking out? We know Noel isn’t too happy about the baby, how does he get out of it? Does he get out of it?

Felicity 2.13 roofEmma: The forever Felicity quandary between medicine and art isn’t going to go away it would seem and of course she’s wanted to volunteer in the medical office (though they were also very helpful with Julie last season so I think Felicity is the kind of person who would want to give back in this way, so it’s contrived but it also doesn’t feel out of character). I’d quite like to see her take on both medicine and art rather than an either/or situation. Ben is not in it for the experience and his blagging skills are top notch even if he can’t follow through with the actual work. Oh and hey those colorful Mac monitors have got a whole lot thinner. It must be the 2000s.

Shonda is the one network person that I could see getting to use an actual abortion story rather than a loophole and that sounds like a good way to deal with it. Sometimes having a child is not the right thing to do and as you said these persistent storylines can be damaging.

My prediction for this Noel/Ruby storyline is that she’s going to have a miscarriage as I can’t see them sticking Noel with a child when he is meant to be part of this love triangle. Not that Felicity would mind, I just can’t see them going for it. It will be sad and devastating for Ruby, but Noel will be grateful. Ruby will end up leaving college/transferring somewhere else as the memories will be too much for her. Or she’ll tell Noel she lost it and leave, but will secretly have the baby. The latter guess might be a bit too soapy, but hey it could happen.

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, “Great Expectations” & “Help for the Lovelorn”

19 Jun

Felicity, Episodes 2.10 & 2.11
“Great Expectations” & “Help for the Lovelorn”
Original Air Dates: Jan. 16 & 23, 2000

Felicity 2.11 titleEmma: It’s 2000! Yep Felicity is no longer in the ’90s and yet I think we’ll still be talking ’90s fashion as the previous decade tends to linger in the style stakes – Mad Men did this with ’50s looking threads when it begun and The Americans costuming looks far more ’70s at this point as they’re only in 1982 – so I can’t see Julie ditching her butterfly clips anytime soon.

So it’s a new year and a new term; last time we talked we both mentioned the lack of Ben/Felicity interactions this season and it’s like the writers heard us (or heard the people back in 1999) and there’s a whole lot of Ben and Felicity in “Great Expectations.” What easier way to have them reconnect than for their shifts at D&D to change?! It’s super contrived and yet it’s not at the same time. New York is big enough even if you do go to the same college to avoid each other, but it’s also just as easy to bring them back together with something as simple as a shift change. It’s adorable and cheesy when they mention that they haven’t worked together since the last millennium.

Both Ben and Felicity feel lost for different reasons – Ben has lost the one thing that gives him focus as the swimming program has been shut down and Felicity is out of sorts as her father has taken a temporary job at the university hospital that turns into a permanent position. Part of coming to a city so far away from home was to get away from her parents and so Felicity is of course perturbed by her father’s presence (which I can totally understand). Felicity doesn’t get in to a class that she really wanted and everything is out of sorts for her (even more so in the following episode which I can’t wait to talk about).

Ben’s a hard character to pin down as he is such a social chameleon; he can be whatever easy going guy you want him to be and this makes it difficult to tell when he is feeling something genuine. The 180 he does with his realization that Sean gives terrible advice feels a tad convenient, however as it’s Ben I also buy that it would take him this long to figure out what a bonehead decision he made at the start of the season. How do you feel about Ben’s renewed Felicity feelings?

The chemistry between Ben and Felicity crackles in a way that isn’t present with Noel; there is a familiarity and closeness between Noel and Felicity that makes them seem better suited as friends at this point even though there is sexual tension. The version of Felicity with Ben is a little more daring, she doesn’t think or analyse so much and is very much in the moment. A desire to rebel leads to swimming pool break in and I love that Ben is wearing less than Felicity during this scenario as she keeps her D&D t-shirt on. This could have been an excuse to get Keri Russell into some slinky underwear and yet they stay very true to who this character is in this moment. It also plays up to the breaking into a swimming pool TV trope that has been used on everything from The Sopranos (Lady Gaga was in this episode) to a recent episode of the amazing Playing House. What is it about TV and pool break ins?

What did you think of the whole Ben and Felicity of it all?

felicity 2.11 BenJulie: It’s not the new millennium yet, Ben! I thought for sure nerdy Felicity would correct him on that, but she didn’t.

I think you pinpointed my problem with Ben in this episode (really, I think I had problems with absolutely everyone in this episode). While I loved the shift change bringing them back together, his whole 180 from breaking up with Felicity to all of a sudden wondering if he made a mistake in breaking up with her seemed way too fast. Like you, I wonder if his social chameleonism keeps him from having/showing actual feelings, or at least making suspect all of the feelings he does have. I’m not sure who Ben really is or what he really wants. I’m not sure he knows those things either.

I just wish they had taken a little time with this Ben/Felicity thing. Even if the writers had just put off the “hey, Sean, you were wrong” conversation for a few episodes. It’s fine that they’re hanging out together (and breaking school rules), but it’s way too quick for Ben to suddenly want to be with Felicity again. I don’t buy it.

The pool break-in is such a prevalent TV trope (was Lady Gaga really in that ep? Might be time for a Sopranos rewatch. Good thing I’ve got nothing else to catch up on), but I can’t come up with any other examples right now off the top of my head. I think Felicity with Ben is sort of interesting, but I’m not sure I like what her being with him does to her. Yes, she’s more fun and daring, but is it because she wants to be those things or does she do it just to impress Ben? It seems like every time she’s with him, he just gets her into trouble (the cheating thing), and he always seems to show up at the most inopportune times (like when she’s in the process of making things better with Noel). I feel like Ben is one of those guys that you see your friend dating, and know she just can shake him. You know he’s bad for her, but she’s inexplicably (or explicably in the case of hot Ben) drawn to him.

That said, she’s a sophomore in college and if she wants to have fun with a trouble-making social chameleon, she should do that. Now is the time. Besides, Noel’s busy TA-ing Ruby’s class. Barf. What did you think of Noel and Ruby and how annoying Ruby was as one of Noel’s students?

Felicity 2.11 FelicityEmma: This sudden interest in Felicity from Ben definitely feels like it’s a reaction to audience dissatisfaction, in that I’m sure there were Ben/Felicity fans who were very dissatisfied with the start of this season. Getting a couple together to have them split up pretty quickly is a standard teen TV action, but they don’t normally spend this much time apart. But yeah I wish the groundwork had occurred in the midst of all the Teri Polo shenanigans.

I also agree with you about the version of Felicity is with Ben and it’s pretty much her version of the “cool girl” (as with MPDG I also have some issues with this trope with how reductive it can be if used in the wrong way). She’s more reckless with Ben, but it’s the PG-13 kind and yet there are also consequences. I’m also wondering what kind of punishment they’re going to get and whether Felicity will have to turn to her father to bail her out, I hope not.

Felicity’s parents are getting a divorce and it’s all been relatively civil between the Porters the few times we’ve seen them together and it totally blindsides Felicity. It’s not really that surprising considering how wistful her mom was about Felicity’s new life and the things she’d missed out on by marrying young and it doesn’t sound like it’s ending because of anything painful. How did you feel about this storyline?

I have some TA questions as we don’t really have them over here , well at least not at my university – is it always an undergrad student? Do they get extra credit for doing this? So they kind of run seminars?

Also Ruby continues to be the worst and I would rather have watched Elena making those three legged frogs than the advice/argument between Noel and Ruby. They’re both trying to help each other out and instead they poke at their insecurities.

Oh and what do you think about Julie and skeezy Eric?

felicity 2.11 JulieJulie: I was not surprised by Felicity’s parents’ separation. (And not just because I’ve already seen the show.) A lot of real-life marriages end once the kids go to college, so this seems like something that could definitely happen. Plus Felicity’s mom definitely looked wistful when seeing all the fun stuff Felicity was doing in college. Also, she had her daughter very young and probably didn’t get much time to screw around (pun intended) during her younger days. Also, she’s a stay-at-home mom who no longer has a purpose. Her baby has moved clear across the country. I expect her to show up  with a 20-something tennis pro from Belgium any day now.

Kudos to Felicity’s mom, however, for doing things in the right order and splitting up with her husband before pursuing her hot, young thing (unlike Maggie).

I never really had a TA either, because I went to a small school and majored in subjects where the classes were manageable and didn’t really need TAs. I think they’re just helpers, for the most part. The only thing I can gather from Noel’s situation is that he’s not so much teaching the class, but running a weekly study session. I’m assuming he gets either money or credit for doing this. And we all know Noel needs the money.

I really could not stand watching Ruby with her finger eyes, non-verbally telling Noel to make eye-contact. As a former teacher, I totally would’ve called on her. She was begging for it. Ruby, you’re an idiot and I wish you’d just go away already.

Oh my god, poor Elena with those frogs. Give her something to do, please! #FreeElena

As far as Eric goes, we saw that coming a mile away, right? I mean, first of all, he’s a “big time” record producer who goes to open mic nights after getting random postcards in the mail? I don’t think so. Secondly, Julie has one song. One song. And it’s not that impressive. What did he see in her (other than her looks) that would make him want to sign her on the spot. I had to say it, but Sean is right all over the place. Eric is skeevy and Ben definitely should’ve broken up with Felicity. He’s not ready for her jelly.

I guess the only other thing I have to add about this episode is that I wish Sean would just tell Julie he loves her so that we can stop hearing about it.

felicity 2.11 newspaperEmma: Well if Noel keeps buying three differs types of Christmas present then he definitely does. I am however convinced that the ugly bracelet cost $15 tops.

The eye contact bit was super cringy and Noel’s reaction was not surprising at all. Also, Ruby, do the reading.

I’m sad for Julie that this dude was all about getting in her pants and yes she really does need new material. They also need to give Sean more to beside harping on about Smoothaise and Julie.

So it’s a new semester and Felicity is taking a different direction with some of their stories and none could be more different than the second episode “Help for the Lovelorn” or the Twilight Zone episode, as I’ve heard it referred to. I’ve been really excited about watching this episode and it didn’t disappoint.

But first I have to make an admission and it’s one that might make me look bad – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full episode of The Twilight Zone… I know. Now I have seen all of Eerie, Indiana, which is not the same thing but it did play an important part of summer vacation TV watching. I’m not sure I’m making it better. Regardless of not having seen any Twilight Zones (still hanging my head in shame), I do know the basic set up and style of the original series and how much J.J. Abrams has been influenced by it. This episode feels like a pretty great love letter to both it and Rod Serling. Plus it lets Felicity and the other regulars do something different while addressing some of the same issues.

What I want to know is if you can remember how it was received when it first aired? Did they promote it as a very different episode before it aired or was it like ‘hey surprise we’re doing a genre episode?’

Felicity 2.11 Felicity and NoelJulie: I, too, haven’t seen much of The Twilight Zone. I don’t remember how this episode was received back when it aired, but I do remember that I wasn’t a big fan the first time around. I liked it much better this time. I think I appreciated the conceit a little bit more. Maybe years of watching “theme episodes” and Community have helped me come to terms with the one-off gimmick hour.

Because Community has so artfully used these theme eps to further the plot, I do wish this episode had had more to do with what happened in “Great Expectations.” As it stands, the Twilight Zone episode has no bearing on anything and was basically just a way to sort of explain Meghan’s box. That was really the only “value” to the ep, as far as story goes. Oh, and this is the last we’ll hear of Janeanne Garofalo.

So, okay, what did I like about the Twilight Zone episode this time around (because I honestly did enjoy it, story issues aside)? First of all, everyone looked good. Keri Russel and Amanda Foreman have the perfect faces for ’60s period nonsense. Maybe they can unearth Foreman from wherever she’s been hiding since Alias and put her in the final few episodes of Mad Men (or Masters of Sex, really). Also, yeah, I think they did do a good job of touching on the theme of being lovelorn (giving things a little Eternal Sunshine flavor), but only in regards to Felicity, Noel, and Julie. Ben and Elena (of course) had very little do do here.

What did you think of the episode overall?

Felicity 2.11 MeghanEmma: Overall I thought it was really fun, despite not really moving the plot forward as there’s still the same love triangle (quandrangle if you include Julie) discussion. In fact that’s the premise really as Felicity gets into this situation as she signs up for a treatment that will help with her ex boyfriend dilemmas. As you mention Community was so good at using the gimmick episode to further the story and while this isn’t as successful as it pretty much underlines what we already know I did enjoy the overall effort.

It’s also an example of where Felicity’s new do suits the time period as I can’t really picture her mass of curls suiting the time period as well and Keri Russell looks super adorable in this era (it’s something they’re touched on in early flashbacks in The Americans when they first arrive to the US). I am so on board Amanda Forman in either Masters of Sex or Mad Men – Matt Weiner has a thing for actresses from ’90s teen shows so this would be all kinds of perfect. I love Meghan teasing at the start and how her “you’ll find out soon enough” to the “what’s in the box?” question was suitably menacing. Also isn’t the answer always Gwyneth Paltrow’s head (spoiler I guess)? Oh and because the look of this episode is so good I’m using screengrabs from this episode alone as there are too many good ones to cut out.

Farewell, Sally! And what a great episode for the final VO from her with no blathering about John or some lame life lesson. I wish they’d used Janeanne Garofalo better and the Dear Sally setup definitely works better with just Felicity’s side. Having the tape recorder appear was pretty fun and I like how they mixed in some aspects from the present with the overall context of the past.

It is very Eternal Sunshine-like and it’s just like Felicity, even in this alt-verse to resist against the easy path if it means losing the ability to love and feel. I mean I think most would do this, but Felicity is all about thinking and feeling so this extreme goes against everything that she is.

The creepy factor is high and suspense is high; it’s disorientating for both the viewer and Felicity alike because this isn’t the world we’re used to. There are elements of horror like the waking corpse, giant needles and forced operations that would be more at home on a show like Buffy than this one. Even the final sequence when Felicity wakes up alone at first in the box is disturbing as they’re all trapped together in box with no exits. A group of exes (and Elena) in close proximity is terrifying enough.

There is tension between Ben and Noel with old resentments rearing their ugly heads. At the start of the episode they’re perfectly cordial to each other and it reminded me of that brief time in S1 when they didn’t despise each other. I miss that. They’re glad Julie doesn’t have her guitar, I am too. Elena is pretty level-headed and while her presence didn’t make much sense in the context of broken down relationships, I am glad that she was there.

I love the different credits and as we saw with the various different themed Fringe credits, J.J. Abrams enjoys mixing things up. Is this the first sign that he was already feeling a bit bored of doing a college show with no overall mystery?

Felicity 2.11 groupJulie: I think it’s OK to spoil Seven these days. That movie came out (holy shit, I’m old) almost twenty years ago. I need a moment to lie down.

That’s an interesting theory about J.J.’s boredom. Alias started in 2001, so I’m sure he was already laying the groundwork for that show at this point. Also, I think it must be hard to keep a show like this going. Obviously they’ve set up that Noel and Ben are the great loves of Felicity’s life. There are only so many ways you can keep getting them together and breaking them apart. And it’s only sophomore year!

That said, there are so many other great characters on this show that they are underusing. I want to see Sean, Elena, or Meghan get the arcs they deserve.

I’m looking forward to seeing the screen grabs. There were so many lovely shots in this episode. The lighting was beautiful.

Felicity 2.11 instrumentsEmma: There is definitely a lot that can be done with the supporting characters other than some of the thinly drawn plots they’ve been given this season and Elena hasn’t really had much to do since Professor skeeze last season and that was resolved off screen over their summer break. It’s easy I’m sure to get caught up in the central trio and it is named Felicity so of course she will feature heavily (and I wouldn’t want her to get sidelined), but Elena is getting a short shrift this season.

It’s funny as I thought there would be a ton to talk about with this very different episode and yet there’s probably less to say beyond the aesthetics – and yeah the lighting is very strong – as it’s not going to come into play for the rest of the story. Remember that time we were in a box. Actually one other thing I did want to mention from a technical point is the human tower as Felicity crawled up everyone, of course they are lying down and they’ve just changed the camera angle but I appreciate J.J. Abrams’ dedication to using these old tricks. For all his lens flare shenanigans he does have a habit of using the old classics and that’s why I’m looking forward to his Star Wars.

Felicity 2.11 dollsJulie 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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