Tag Archives: Love Triangles

TV Rewind: Felicity, “Boooz” and “Oops…Noel Did It Again”

19 Feb

Felicity, Episodes 4.5 & 4.6
“Boooz” & “Oops…Noel Did It Again”
Original Air Dates: Nov. 7 & 14, 2001

felicity 4.05 wigJulie: The first episode is the Halloween episode, which feels very off-season to be watching right now in the middle of February (and the show aired the week after Halloween, as well, which seems weird). The girls are hosting a party for all of the friends we never see, which really worked out well the last time they hosted an event, i.e. when Tag from Friends showed up with a gun, i.e. when Ben met Avery.

This party is similarly fraught with peril. Ben shows up (not in costume) with his bio-chem friend, Trevor, after the two of them have been kicked out of class…for good. They failed an exam, because they didn’t study the information they were told wouldn’t be on the exam, and complained about it. Dick teacher (Ben actually calls him a dick because Ben loves that word) tells them they’re out. The boys go out drinking together and are over served. They show up drunk to Felicity’s party, and Trevor keeps drinking.

He drinks so much that he ends up passing out from alcohol poisoning. Ben performs CPR and takes him to the hospital. He goes to see dick teacher to tell him that Trevor is in the ICU. Dick teacher feels bad and lets them back in the class. Their pre-med journeys are saved!

And I wish they weren’t. As I watched this play out, I kept hoping that Ben would realize that being an EMT is really what he should be doing. He’s great in a crisis and, come on, he’s not cut out for med school. He’s not. He should be a paramedic. He’d be great at it. I think he’d be happy doing it. But, ugh, now he’s back floundering as a pre-med student.

It seemed like a waste of a Very Special Episode just to get us back to square one.

What did you think of Ben and the alcohol poisoning?

Felicity 4.06 Ben and FelicityEmma: They haven’t really done a booze is bad episode and the shows attitude towards alcohol has been pretty eh everyone does it. The only bad thing that happened involving alcohol is when Felicity woke up in that frat bro’s bed (which nicely links into the fact that Felicity has the worst birthdays). I didn’t get the sense that this was a beer is bad sermon, more that it was being used to show how good Ben is under pressure and so he could prove a point. Which he did. Dick teacher was a dick, but Ben was also pretty petulant as well. It also served to remind us that Ben has a difficult relationship with his dad. I wonder why they brought that up again?

Like you I think he is better suited as an EMT, he’s good in those kind of situations and I worry that he’s going to sink even further now that certain things have come out. Or it could make him more determined. I do think he needs a new lab partner. Drunk Ben is kinda adorbs though.

The Halloween party reminded me of whenever Friends did one, those characters do not know that many people. I guess at least on Felicity they’re at college so there’s potential for many friends of friends attending.

And the costumes while cute, a witch is a lazy lazy choice. I did enjoy Keri Russell in a wig pre Americans. Richard made a ton of effort but his costume ended up getting the attention of a Princess Leia but then his Darth helmet sabotaged it. Oh and Sean and Meghan went as JFK and Jackie, they argued a lot (surprise). What did you make of their continuing bickering and Meghan’s style change?

Felicity 4.05 halloweenJulie: That wig on Felicity was adorable. I always think of Keri Russell looking one way, but her features lend themselves to other styles really well. The sleek bob was very cute. Richard’s mask triggered claustrophobia feels for me. I yelled at the screen, “Just cut it off!” Also, he was blowing it with that cute girl. Get it together, Richard!

I thought Meghan as Jackie was pretty great, and really works for the character. The whole thing about her “individual” style not being for sale felt very Meghan. I thought this was going to create another big rift between Meghan and Sean, but instead she woke up to the fact that she’s not a unique flower. Girls all over New York are dressing like her, and her look has become ubiquitous. So she decides to revert back to ’60s style, which makes total sense, going back in time to primmer clothing to be edgier. And, since this was 2001, pre-Mad Men and all that, she’s right on the cutting edge. I’m sad that we’ll never see a Norm Core Meghan.

Also, I hope these T-shirts make Meghan and Sean a ton of money so that we never have to hear about their money problems again.

The other situation during this episode was Felicity serving as TA for an art class she never took. This all feels like a bit of a retread, too, and it’s a pretty boring storyline. The students don’t respect her, they chastise her for entering a beauty pageant, and she tries to poke fun at herself by wearing that great evening gown again. I was mostly put off by the poor behavior of the students. Like they’ve never done anything embarrassing in their lives. And they kept piling on her. Do you watch Downton Abbey? They reminded me of terrible Sarah Bunting at the Downton dinner parties. Who taught these people social skills?

What did you think of the jackass art students?

Felicity 4.05 richardEmma: If their company makes money I will be so happy, alas it would seem that they still have plenty of bickering to do as Sean mentions a disagreement over their company name. Thankfully most of this happens off screen and the word blend version comes into play. I’m pretty sure this was prior to Bennifer making word blends a big thing again so kudos Felicity with this one. I can understand why Meghan was pissed off at first with Sean trying to make money off her look especially as he repeatedly ignored her request for him to quit it. It did lead to this new style for Meghan and I love the moment when she realized that she isn’t as unique as she perhaps thought she is with her clothing choices. I’m still pretty eh about their relationship and I don’t think it helps that they aren’t involved with a lot of the other storylines and by isolating them like this is means we get a repeated cycle of Meghan/Sean plot points. Maybe now the big secret is out they will be featured in these other stories.

Felicity’s students are completely unreasonable and the dude who tells everyone is the worst. He worked the pageant for money so why isn’t he getting shit for selling out? Oh I know it’s because he is a dude. Felicity takes a lot of shit from her class and while the evening gown is a cute move I kinda wish she had gone for a more fuck you response, but I guess that isn’t her way. Elena’s pep talk was much needed and Felicity really shouldn’t have to apologize to these students who believe their own hype far too quickly. It does lead to another awkward encounter with Professor Cavallo who will take the creepster teacher supreme title in the second episode. What is it with the male teachers on this show? They’re either dicks or creeps.

One thing I really enjoyed about “Boooz” (other than the title of course) is that it took the focus off the relationship dramaz with the love triangle and considering what happened in the next episode I think it is going to be a while before that happens again. Yeah Javier discussed in passing the Felicity thing with Noel but overall this was a triangle light episode. And then there was also Lionel Richie in one of the most bizarre and unexpected celebrity cameos I can remember. Javier loves Lionel and wants to go see him to make up for a huge fight he has had with Samuel. The set up is incredibly contrived but it still manages to be fun by pairing Noel and Javier together. Lionel isn’t too bad when it comes to his bathroom scene (!) and he offers some love advice that isn’t too enlightening but it does solve the Javier/Samuel situation with “Honey, you’re right.”

Were you surprised to see Lionel?

Felicity 4.05 Javier and LionelJulie: I wish we had heard Javier mention Lionel Richie before, that would’ve made this cameo much more satisfying. As it stood, it was just Lionel Richie in a bathroom, randomly.

I suppose the trip to Atlantic City gave Noel something to do besides stew about his future and Felicity, so there was that. I do love when Scott Foley has to play awkward, and his face during the bathroom encounter was perfect.

As you said, “Boooz” gave us a nice reprieve from the love triangle for a second, but after the second episode, things are out in the open. It appears that for the next few episodes at least, Ben and Felicity’s relationship will take center stage.

I suppose the big thing about the second episode, cheekily called “Oops…Noel Did it Again,” thank you 2001, is how Ben eventually finds out about Felicity sleeping with Noel. We go through a red herring here, where Elena is leaving Noel a message on the apartment answering machine (remember answering machines?) and Richard accidentally on purpose drops the bombshell about Felicity and Noel’s rooftop bang. This was a big “oh, crap” moment and it seemed like this was how the info would reach Ben, but Elena and Richard, using a bit of secret agent trickery, fool Sean and Meghan into letting them into the loft so they can erase the tape.

And then I kind of forgot about it. I forgot about Noel sleeping with Felicity, because the rest of the episode is so fraught with STUFF. It seems like there are too many things going on here, too much that Ben, specifically, is dealing with. The writers wouldn’t pile THIS on him, on top of everything else, would they? I mean, his lab partner almost died, he nearly got kicked out of class, and now his dad’s back in town and suffering from liver failure.

But no. They do it. They drop that bombshell right on Ben’s lap. And, of course, Noel does it. And it’s hard to blame him, honestly. It’s easy to think, “Noel, you dick,” but from his perspective, he was in the right. All he knew was that Ben was seeing his dad that night, Felicity’s birthday, and Noel saw him with another woman. It was the moment he had probably been waiting for, on some level, and when Ben belittled Noel’s relationship with Felicity, he’s completely justified in snapping.

It’s really a sad situation. Ben’s dealing with so much stuff, and probably really needs friends at this moment, but his girlfriend has cheated on him with his basketball-buddy roommate, whom he was just starting to like again. And Noel has to feel horrible, even though, really, I can’t blame him.

What about you? Can you blame Noel?

Felicity 4.05 NoelEmma: The second episode involved a lot of me shouting at my screen and from the ‘previously on’ where it reminded us that Richard knew it was clear that this was going to be the episode where Ben found out. Plus it’s Felicity’s birthday which means a bad thing must happen to her, she’s like Buffy Summers but with fewer demons. It’s a really cute intro and everything is good between Ben and Felicity. He did the age old TV tradition of giving a present a day early – why do they do this? – but then he gets a call about his dad and their weekend in the snow is out on hold.

Ben is not a sharer so I can maybe forgive the show for including the clunky ‘don’t tell anyone’ line to Felicity which provides the contrivance as to why Felicity is super vague about why Ben has bailed on her birthday. Does anyone else even know about his difficult relationship with his dad?

I have to admit and I know you’re already aware of this because of some of the tweets I sent you but I was super pissed at Noel for how it came out. And yet after reading your take on the situation I have to admit that maybe I was a little harsh when I called him a selfish prick. I have the Team Ben blinders on. You’re right Noel doesn’t know the whole story and Ben does poke, plus I bristled at the general concept of ‘having her’ like she’s an object or something. Ben is in crisis but he doesn’t want to share that with anyone, he doesn’t even want Felicity at the hospital. In part I think that’s because he doesn’t want to ruin her birthday but mostly because he hates this whole aspect of his life and how it makes him feel. So while I don’t blame Noel necessarily, I am still a touch mad at him (and the writers) for all the shit they’re putting him through.

The answer machine message scenario was how I pictured it playing out but I guess they’d already done the accidental reveal with the frat photo. That was a bit of stressful hijinks and showed off Elena’s best look of horror when Richard blurted out the secret. And yeah really it had to come from one of the doers of the deed to really make it hurt. That whole conversation between Ben and Noel had me pulling my best Home Alone face, it was pretty gut wrenching. Instead of going fists of fury Ben instead leaves and instead deals with the more pressing situation. I somehow feel like Noel might meet the end of Ben’s fists soon though. Ugh this is SO messy.

And what about Noel and Felicity? I’m not sure their relationship friends or something else will be okay for the time being. I think there will be part of her that will be relieved that it’s finally out in the open, but I also think she’s going to be furious that he told Ben. And all for macho reasons. The way she asks “Why would you do that?” slayed me. It’s worth repeating that it is all about to get messy up in here.

Felicity 4.06 ElenaJulie: I think I may have been more sympathetic to Noel, because I actually watched this all go down twice (I fell asleep during the first go around). If I’d watched it only once, I probably would’ve thought Noel was being petty; but on second viewing, he really had no clue. Also, it’s not like Ben has been an perfect faithful angel in the past.

Ooh, and yeah, “having her” was a problematic phrase for me. And it felt weird coming from Ben, because I feel like the two of them have a pretty equitable, balanced relationship. I don’t think he actually sees his relationship with her that way, so it was odd to hear him say it.

I don’t see this working out well for Noel and Felicity, and I think he knows that. It’s probably what he regrets most of all in this situation. During his convo with Ben, he seemed content to walk away without things getting too messy, but then Ben had to bring up the “having her” thing, and it felt personal, so Noel just went there. I don’t blame him, in the heat of the moment. And I think he’d take it back if he could.

The Ben secrecy thing seems like classic Ben to me. He never wants help to deal with any of his problems, and a dying dad is probably the kind of situation where supportive friends could be a good thing. At least he has his dad’s mentee/friend, who really knows Mr. Covington and gets the gravity of the situation. Now that he and Felicity are a bust, do you see the two of them hooking up?

Felicity 4.06 LaurenEmma: I went back and rewatched the scene where Noel told Felicity and I think you’re right that he would take it back if he could. He finds it super hard to tell her what he did and the scene is so well done for how quiet it is – she doesn’t yell at him, she’s incredibly measured I think in part due to shock that it has come out and because she knows her relationship with both guys is fucked. She’s just lost a boyfriend and a best friend effectively.

We’ve dealt with a Felicity/Ben breakup in the past, which divided the groupings on the show and this time it is so much worse and because they’ve been sitting on the Noel/Felicity hookup since the premiere I’ve sort of been waiting to find out how this will impact the overall dynamic of the show especially now Noel has landed himself a non college job – after his brief/terrible sting as a counselor – which will surely isolate him even more now.

With Ben I can see him throwing himself into school, which he needs to do anyway. The obvious thing would be for him to spiral but as was the case in this episode he responded to Noel’s revelation by going back to the hospital to make hard decisions about his dad rather than going on a bender and getting into a fight. Maybe this will be the making of Ben. With Lauren I got a very sibling vibe, but that doesn’t mean it won’t turn into something reboundy now that this has happened. Also Lisa Edelstein sure gets around (in a guest starring sense). Ben decides to go against his dad’s wishes which is a ballsy move but he still has a chance to get better, or at least live a little longer (and maybe get back on the transplant list) so I totally understand why he did it. Ugh seeing John Ritter with all those tubes in him was hard.

Oh and they got super annoying new roommates and Felicity has a creepy professor situation (not with her but he’s definitely ‘romancing’ another student). That’s a lot of crap to put up with. Both of these stories have been done before – are these the same girls who drove Julie up the wall? – but I appreciate the slight change in direction with the perv professor and that Elena gets to use her past experience to help Felicity. If this breakup does anything (they aren’t officially broken up but I think I’m good to call it a breakup) I hope it means more Elena screen time.

Felicity 4.06 FelicityJulie: I thought Ben putting his dad on life support was a really poignant, interesting choice for the writers. Ben has given up on his dad so often in the past, and this decision is fraught with so much emotion. He’s giving his dad another chance, and he’s going against his wishes, which may, in a perverse way, make it sweeter for Ben. He’s the captain now. Also, he’s already lost Felicity in this episode and maybe he’s not ready to lose his dad as well.

The rest of the episode is nonsense, and I am pretty sure those are the same girls that drove Julie bonkers? But are these girls supposed to be freshmen? I don’t know. Either way, they’re obnoxious. Though I did love the dancing with Richard and the random “Girl from Ipanema”-type music they chose to dance to. So ’60s.

Are all male college professors pervs and/or jerks? It would seem so, based on what we’ve seen. The “good” teachers all want to sleep with the coeds, and the “bad” teachers are sociopaths and kleptomaniacs, apparently. How does the University of New York continue to exist with all these horrible instructors?

Like you, I’m hoping this break up finally gives Felicity some much-needed alone time and some gal time with Elena. It’s time for everybody to get their lives on track.

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 Declaration” & “My Best Friend’s Wedding”

21 Jan

Felicity, Episodes 4.1 & 4.2
“The Declaration” & “My Best Friend’s Wedding”
Original Air Dates: Oct. 10 & 17, 2001

Felicity 4.01 Dear SallyEmma: We return for one final time for the start of the fall semester and Felicity is untethered. Actually when the episode starts she’s in the midst of “Dear Sallying” it while talking about what an excellent summer she has experienced. A summer without Ben and with no responsibilities besides making sure she’s put enough sunscreen on. The kind of summer you should be having at this age and the lack of drama is compounded by everything that follows.

Ben returns from EMT training looking hotter than ever and with this new buzzier cut comes a new found ambition, not to become an EMT. Nope, Ben wants to be a doctor and this only complicates things further with Felicity as her overbearing douche of a dad keeps sending her clippings about high achieving students and endless phone calls where he berates her for her lack of decisions. Felicity’s dad is the worst (this point is emphasised in my notes through my use of all caps).

It’s great that Ben has this new found direction, but I can’t help but wonder if this is just a phase. A job helping people makes so much sense but we’ve been told for the past three seasons that his academic skills are lacking. Maybe I’m being a bit too hard on him and this is really his calling. Is Dr Covington going to be a thing we will hear at some point?

Ben tells Felicity this news while they are in the lovely post “I haven’t seen you for months” sex slumber and just as she’s told him that his directionless feelings make her feel better for her own lack of future ideas. Awkward. It’s made even more awkward by Noel knocking on the door with a call from her dad. How to kill the sex buzz in a quick fashion.

The big culmination of Felicity feeling so lost comes at the end of the episode and I suspect we’ve both got a lot to say about what happens on the roof. The big Felicity/Noel action doesn’t happen while Ben is away, nope it takes place after Felicity and Ben have had a huge fight – over a printer, printers are the worst – and he runs off to play basketball (of course) and she takes sanctuary in a place where she’s been having fun. Felicity runs into a despondent Noel (he’s having a hard time finding a job) and the THINGS HAPPEN. What did you make of this development?

Felicity 4.02 BenJulie: Felicity’s dad is so bad he should hook up with Avery.

I still remain sort of on Team Noel. Actually I’m on Team Felicity-Get-Yourself-Together-Girl. She needs to take a moment and breathe, but that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon.

The cute buzz cut was the only thing Ben really had going for him this week. The “I want to be a doctor revelation” reeks of being another Ben misstep. He can’t commit. His grades are abysmal. He’s constantly talking about being on academic probation. It’s a slap in the face to people like Elena and Tracy if this guy just wanders in at the eleventh hour and decides to be a doctor. Unless he wants to pull a Nick Riviera and attend the Hollywood Upstairs Medical School.

It’s also kind of a slap in the face to Felicity, whether Ben realizes that or not. Medicine is a loaded topic for her, as her conversations with her father prove in this episode. Ben deciding out of nowhere that he’s going to follow the path her dad laid out for her so long ago while she bumbles around trying to figure out her life feels a little shitty to me. Even though I’m sure Ben didn’t mean it that way.

To top it all off, Ben is now a complete basket case about getting his life together, and while I don’t blame him for being mad at Felicity for showing up late to work, and thus making him late for his first pre-med class, I don’t blame her for not taking his new “life decision” seriously. Ben has never cared about being on time for class before. Why should Felicity think he’d start caring now that he’s a pre-med student?

He blows up at her about the printer, because, indirectly, it’s her fault that he can’t get the notes for the class he missed, and she runs into the welcoming arms of Noel.

I think it’s a little (maybe) farfetched that they’d go All The Way in that moment. No one was drunk. Yes, there was a lot of lingering tension from the summer, but Felicity has been through the cheating ringer with Ben before — on both sides. Plus she’s very calculating in her life and doesn’t take risks. But maybe that’s the point, right? She needs to let loose, and she’s letting loose with Noel.

I remember the roof scene being hotter when I watched it the first time around, but this time it felt sad, desperate. Felicity is not in a good place right now, and boning Noel is not going to help things.

How did you feel about Felicity’s venture onto Team Noel.

Felicity 4.01 Felicity and Noel on the roofEmma: I too am on Team Felicity-Get-Yourself-Together-Girl and seeing her fumble this much is hard to watch. I also think it’s important to see her go through this because no one wants their lead character to have it together all the time and this feels like a very real reaction to senior year fears.

Giving Ben a goal makes sense for a couple of reasons – first it flips Felicity and Ben’s state of mind and it might get a bit tiresome if both of them are having the same existential crisis and it also drives the wedge between them that opens Felicity up to a Noel liaison, which the show has been edging towards for half a season now. But it does make him come across as insensitive even if that’s not his intention. This accurately describes a lot of Ben’s decision making process. A lack of thought.

The fight about Felicity being late is painful to watch because she’s clearly been crying or is on the verge of tears even before they start talking and he doesn’t even notice. This is mostly due to being wrapped up in his own problems and as I already mentioned printers are the worst and they turn us into the biggest jerks when they go wrong (at least that’s my experience). Later on Ben realises that something is up, but Felicity has already slept with Noel at this point. Too late for caring Ben. I am still Team Ben not that you would be able to tell from this paragraph.

The going all the way thing was such a surprise and I just figured that episode two would open on awkward post kiss fumbling, not holy shit where are my clothes fumbling. I like that this show never makes it easy to figure out whether characters are going to have sex or not (like when I just assumed Julie and Ben had slept together). This was unexpected and yeah it just made me sad too. There’s clearly an attraction between them and a connection on several levels but urgh is this going to get complicated.

Noel does get points for a) not pressurizing Felicity to define their relationship, b) not telling Ben and c) stepping back where he needs to. I mean he lives with Ben making it extra complicated and he must he expecting at least a punch to the face if/when Ben finds out.

The second episode saw the return of Dr Pavone, who at this point is here to be Felicity’s real life Sally and tell her what’s what. And she’s smoking again! And is now using a cigarette holder which doesn’t get mentioned at all. What did you make of the return of Dr Pavone? And did Felicity do the right thing by not telling Ben about Noel?

Felicity 4.02 turtleneck 1Julie: Yeah, as far as Ben’s goal goes, even for the show’s purposes, I wish they had gone in another direction besides “doctor.” It feels too unrealistic. I mean, if he had come home fully integrated into the cult of becoming an EMT, it would’ve had nearly the same impact. Ben knows what he wants to do, and Felicity doesn’t. It still would’ve flipped the script (even though, I guess, the doctor thing gives the whole situation a little more heft because of Felicity’s dad; but I think even Felicity’s dad would’ve been OK with whatever Felicity chose to do as long as she had a plan for how to do it. I think he’s more concerned with the fact that she’s going to graduate without any real plan. The doctor thing is secondary.)

The questions you ask at the bottom of your email are tough ones. And no, I can’t believe no one mentioned the cigarette holder. It seems like Dr. Pavone was urging Felicity to tell Ben and/or realize that she’s got it bad for Noel. None of this seems like great therapist advice. Maybe she wants Felicity to blow up her whole life just because she’s been sitting there in limbo for so long. Felicity does need to make some decisions. And the Noel secret is kind of killing her.

That said, what good can come from her telling Ben? It would make things bad for both Noel and her, not to mention Ben. I think things are already over between her and Ben at this point, so why rub salt in the wound?

What do you think? Are will Felicity go after Noel now, or will she finally take some time for herself?

Felicity 4.01 Felicity and NoelEmma: As you’ve mentioned already Elena and Tracy both put in so much work and it is hard to picture Ben doing the same, plus with all the extra credits. Maybe the break up will give him a renewed focus or he will end up spending more time out on the basketball court. Is this going to be another case of Felicity and Ben working opposite shifts at Dean & DeLuca again?

It is quite hard to figure out exactly where Dr Pavone is coming from and in a way she is just a stand in as Felicity’s get a grip friend as everyone else who she is close to is also friends with both Ben and Noel. Plus Elena is busy planning a wedding and after she compliments Felicity on her attitude towards love it makes it impossible for Felicity to tell her what’s going on and that it was actually Noel who gave her that love bite. And seriously Noel, I know it was the heat of the moment but this is far from subtle and also you’re in your 20s, hickeys should be done by now Good job Felicity has every turtleneck ever – see below – but in this heat they are far from practical. Even that sleeveless one is causing problems in the heat. Ben is oblivious to Felicity’s sudden summer knitwear obsession and to him Felicity’s breakup is all down to feeling confused. There’s that word again and it is normally Ben citing confusion to mask the truth.

Felicity 4.02 turtleneck 3 Felicity 4.02 turtleneck 2Ben doesn’t even entertain the notion that Felicity and Noel have done anything together even when Noel acts slightly skittish when Ben asks him about Felicity’s erratic behavior. I also don’t see what will be achieved by Felicity telling Ben at this point other than to relieve her guilt or finally get her to address Noel as the drawer. To use Dr Pavone’s metaphor I don’t think Noel is what is necessarily in Felicity’s drawer and while yes there are feelings here I also don’t think it would be wise to bounce from Ben to Noel while she is feeling this way. I’m hoping she takes time to figure things out and I desperately want her to spend some time with Elena as she is also reeling from her own breakup.

Ah yes the big wedding and when Donald Faison didn’t show up in the premiere I figured the breakup would happen off camera. This was not the case as the wedding was the center point of the second episode and in not surprising news they didn’t go through with it in the end. They got close and it was only when they were at the venue did they have the big chat that ended it. Once again sex came into play and after Meghan planted the seeds of doubt it led to feelings of doubt from both sides. To me this feels like the right choice and not just because Scrubs had stole Faison full time. I really like Elena and Tracy as a couple but the sex stuff has cast its shadow over the relationship since the start.

And what of the other pairing? I am still bored of the Meghan/Sean break up/make up side show and I’m not sure how much them getting married is going to change how they are with each other. What did you make of this big step and how Meghan has a tendency to push someone as far as she can?

Felicity 4.02 tracy and elenaJulie: Yes! Elena and Felicity need another girls’ night out — preferably with Meghan and Earl.

Oh, but Meghan’s an old married lady now, so.

I really did not like how they handled either of these storylines. On the one hand, I get Elena saying yes to Tracy and going through with all the wedding planning. I do not buy her and Tracy ending things at the altar. They had their time apart. They had time to think and miss each other. Elena went through a lot of soul searching while Tracy was gone. I think they would’ve gone through with it, if they were actual 22-year-olds in college. That’s not to say it would’ve been the best idea ever, or that they’d never end up resenting each other and regretting the wedding, I just think it would’ve been more realistic if they’d gone through with it.

They could’ve made it work, too. Maybe Tracy could’ve popped up once in a while for guest spots. He’s not terribly integral to the rest of the story.

Even less realistic is Meghan and Sean jumping into marriage after Tracy and Elena call off the wedding. First of all, bad timing much? What jerk BRIDESMAID goes up to the would-be bride after she calls off the wedding and asks to borrow her wedding? Ugh. It’s not about you, Meghan. Of course, though, Elena is fine with it, though if this were real life, she might say she’s fine with it and then spend the next year talking about that bitch who stole her wedding.

Secondly, there’s more to getting married than just standing up on an altar and having your best roommate tell you you’re married. You need a license. There’s a waiting period (except in, like, Vegas). So, she and Sean are not technically married. We’ll see if the show deals with this in future episodes.

Both of these events really cheesed me off. Obviously. The engagement thing was pointless because it went nowhere and now Meghan and Sean are jumping into marriage like this will solve all their problems.

But at least Molly wasn’t there.

What did you think of the weddings?

Felicity 4.02 weddingEmma: I would be super pissed off if I was Elena and my bridesmaid decided to make it all about her and use the chance to get married instead. This is a big nope in my book even without the glaring plot holes you mention regarding the marriage license. Also aren’t all the guests going to be a little miffed about this change in bride and groom. The Meghan/Sean relationship continues to spiral into WTF territory and I continue not to care, which is disappointing as it started so well.

The wedding did give plenty of pensive stares between Felicity and her two dudes and really she needs a break from both of them so this was pretty bad timing for her as well.

Like you, I also think that Elena and Tracy would never have got this far or they would have gone through with it. I think I would have been happier with an off screen break up and Elena returning after the summer single. However this would have denied us super snarky wedding planner Javier and this version of him might be my new favorite as it gives him a no BS edge.

One character who bugged far more than usual was Richard and his behavior regarding the whole Noel/Felicity hook up was insane. Yes I get that he is meant to be a jokey antagonist with his sensitivity chip missing but this was bizarre even for him to find it all so amusing. Especially as he even points out that Ben will most likely kick Noel’s ass if he finds out. Were you annoyed at Richard or is it just me?

And Molly! Have they even mentioned her? Or are they pretending she was never even there (I am fine with this)?

Felicity 4.02 sad BenJulie: Good point about the wedding guests. I’m sure Tracy’s entire family is totally up for celebrating the wedding of two people they’ve never met. Also, how pissed would Meghan’s parents have been, not to mention Sean’s family. This whole thing was just dumb.

I think we’ve decided that everyone on this show is acting stupid right now, except for Javier, and maybe Noel (who seems to be handling things well, or maybe he just looks good because he’s not currently stalking Tyra Banks). Everyone else is a mess. Even Dr. Pavone is giving suspect advice.

I hope they can right the ship in the next few episodes. I’m pretty sure JJ Abrams was long gone at this point, what with Alias starting, and I wonder if he’ll pop up to write an episode or two. This show could use his character-building smarts at this point.

Maybe they’re all high on smart powder. That has to be it.

Do you have anything to add?

Felicity 4.01 phone callEmma: The only thing I have to add is that I was very surprised to see that JJ Abrams wrote the first episode because I thought he’d jump ship by now (as he did with other shows). But maybe this is his only really big contribution to the season. I’ll be keeping my eye out at the credits along the bottom of the screen.

Julie: Oh, and yeah! This aired in October of 2001 and no mention of 9/11 at this point. Maybe these episodes were already in the can. Maybe they live in an alternate New York universe where none of that happened. Maybe we’ll need to discuss this next time.

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.

Love Triangles before Twitter: Felicity and the Ben vs. Noel Debate

7 Nov

Over at This Was TV I have recently started watching Felicity for the first time and going into the show this is pretty much all I knew:

  • Felicity went to college in New York City
  • It is J.J. Abrams first TV venture
  • Keri Russell cutting off all of her hair impacted the ratings (or something like that)
  • I would have strong Ben or Noel feelings

It’s the last point that I want to address because love triangles can be all consuming in terms of how the narrative plays out and with the discourse that surrounds a show. I’m only on episode 5 so it’s early doors and I don’t know who, if anyone Felicity ends up with (no spoilers please) but I want to discuss the impact of social media on storylines like these and how Scott Foley who is now part of a second love triangle compares his two experiences.

Felicity ep 1 Noel

Scott Foley has re-entered the fractious love triangle fray on Scandal and the social media involvement from those who work on Scandal as well as those who watch it is one of the most interactive and vocal. Some fans have made it clear to Foley that his presence is unwanted and he spoke to Vulture recently regarding the negative tweets that come his way and he’s taking it in his stride “Well, you have to see it as humorous. When they pop up, I read them. I click on the links. I share them with my wife and of course my wife wants to fucking kill everybody. For me, it shows that Scandal does something for people. It really resonates with them.” He follows on from this by mentioning the first huge love triangle he was a part of as “Felicity had sort of the same reaction, thankfully before the proliferation of social media.”

This somewhat intense experience Foley had when he was younger didn’t come with the current level of immediacy or dialogue with fans that can turn super nasty and that’s a good thing, as age can help with perspective. For the most part I think fans are generally cordial and understand that conflict can be good for the story, sadly some people go way to far all in the name of a character they feel they need to protect.

Turning away from Scandal (though I will say it’s an odd experience watching these two shows at the same time) and back to Felicity and while a love triangle asks you to pick a side, it helps if you can understand why the character at the center of it all would pick the other guy. So far with Felicity there are pros and cons for both Noel and Ben and I’m sure this will continue to evolve – or at least I hope it will otherwise it’s going to get boring pretty fast. I’m currently leaning one way (Noel) and I have a habit of going for the ‘good’ guy (not that Ben isn’t good so far, but he’s definitely meant to be the less safe choice). I will say that Ben has the smile thing down.

Felicity ep 1 BenWhat I really want for the character in the middle of it all is for the choice to make sense to the overall narrative. The love triangle should stay faithful to the characters that are in it, so if a decision is made between suitors, then the story will be able to back this up. Viewers will be unhappy if this is disingenuous or goes against what they have previously seen. If the choice isn’t the one that a viewer wants then they might rage against it, but if the moment is sold to them then they might come around. The key is to treat the audience with respect and then hopefully they will respect the resolution to this narrative device.  I can totally get behind the central love triangle as long as it doesn’t consume everything else. It also helps to have other pairings to root for on the peripheries (so far with Felicity it’s all about Julie and Brian Krakow from My So-Called Life, with Scandal David and Abby are my favorite couple).

So Ben vs. Noel? Scott Foley mentions in the Vulture interview that “I think toward the end, though, Team Ben was much more vocal in their support, right?” There were message boards and I’m sure if I delve into the TWoP Felicity forums there will be plenty of passionate arguments raging but the immediacy and ability to talk to the actors (unless you saw them on the street) wasn’t the same in 1998 as it is in 2013. It does sound like Scott Foley’s early experience with fervent Felicity fans has given him the right perspective he needs to deal with some of the less kind Scandal fans (though no one should be subjected to some of the really extreme tweets that are sent his way).

It’s funny because my version of watching Felicity is in the age of Twitter and I’ve already had several discussions about the Noel and Ben of it all, but it will never capture what it was like to be watching the show when it originally aired. Sites like Tumblr and Twitter do offer a glimpse and my own experience watching shows like Dawson’s Creek and seeing how people respond to love triangles on Scandal and The Vampire Diaries gives an insight into what it would have been like. Watching a show this long after it has aired gives a gentle impression, but if I head over to those forums I’m sure I will get a more accurate idea of what it was like.

The other thing to mention when it comes to a love triangle storyline is the person at the center of it and Foley mentions how the Ben and Noel choice wasn’t necessarily an obvious one “You didn’t know who was really “better” for her, and you were happy with whoever she chose. You just wanted Felicity to be okay.” I’m going to leave it with that sentiment because I think that’s what lies at the heart of any of these X vs. Y debates; it’s the character in the middle that plays the most important role in all of this.

Julie Hammerle

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