Follow the whole rewatch here!
I'm over the moon to be embarking on this Rewatch Project with Sarah, because she's the person who got me into Felicity in the first place, and I'm so grateful for her introduction to this warm, funny, wonderfully real show. Last week Sarah kicked us off with a reminder of the perfect - and super mortifying - first two eps, and this week Felicity stresses us out maybe 5% less than she did when she followed a near-perfect stranger across the country and then promptly informed him of that insane fact.
Let's drink our stress away!
The Felicity Drinking Game Rules
Drink once every time:
Felicity is endearingly earnest.
Ben smiles sheepishly.
Noel is adorkable.
Elena is a better friend than anyone deserves.
Meghan is mean and it's awesome.
Javier butchers a word or figure of speech.
Richard freaks out (in a good or bad way).
Drink twice every time:
Felicity stresses you out.
Felicity says, "Dear Sally."
Sean invents something.
Javier refers to Ben as “Benjamin.”
Onto the eps!
1.3 “Hot Objects”
It's the week of Felicity's first college party, and girlfriend is TOO EXCITED. She decides she's going to invite Ben, and she imagines to Sally exactly how that will go, how they'll appreciate each other's general appearances and dance until they're exhausted, and she practices - twice - how she'll then oh-so-casually invite Ben back to her room. Yes, Felicity, because the number one sign of a casual invitation is rehearsing it multiple times.
Of course, nothing goes quite as planned - Ben's still into Julie, who accidentally invites him to the party instead of Felicity, and Julie's into Ben, too, but being kind of passive-aggressive and useless about it. I am, even now, a little over Season One Julie, although I admit that she's great in the first two episodes (and again later). Felicity's already feeling less than thrilled about the prospect of the party when she and Julie get into an awful fight over Ben, and then the WORST THING HAPPENS. Due to the kind of mix-up that can only happen on network television, one of Felicity's tapes to Sally is played on the speaker system at the party. And here's what that tape said:
Sally, I would only say this to you, so after you listen to this tape, you have to erase it.
But I can actually picture what it might be like to be with a man... for the first time... sexually.
If you're laughing at me right now, I don't blame you.
DRINK! The entire party hears Felicity's adorably innocent sexual daydream, and it seems like her night/week/year/life might be ruined, except that the evening ends with Ben in her room, just as she planned. Okay, sure, it's because he's locked out of his apartment and she's fallen asleep crying over a pint of ice cream, but it still manages to be romantic, because it's Ben Covington.
There's also some class drama this week for both Ben and Felicity. Felicity's taking inorganic chemistry, and once again, girlfriend is TOO EXCITED. She's been reading this professor's books since she was in utero or something, because she is the best nerd on earth. Of course, because it's college and college is scary, the professor isn't impressed with Felicity, especially because she can't find his textbook before class, and she spends the rest of the episode obsessing over his opinion of her, until she runs into him at the convenience store and he gives her the single best advice any college student can receive (and it applies to so many situations, both academic and personal): "Don't worry about me. Worry about you."
Meanwhile, Ben's sorted into an acting class, and he really does not want to be there. We get this week's episode title from his assignment: bring an object of importance to class, and describe it both objectively and subjectively. Ben charmingly but also semi-obnoxiously phones it in the first time around, talking about how much he loves sandwiches, but when the professor urges him to really try, he makes every woman on earth swoon and die with a monologue about his keys, and what they represent to him: his independence from the terrible relationship he has with his dad, and his hope that his absence will help his mother - whom he describes as "elegant," and we all swoon and die again - find some peace. Every girl in that class is IN LOVE.
MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!! We finally meet Felicity forever MVP Elena (Tangi Miller) this week, and she appears just when Felicity needs her most, introducing herself mere seconds before Felicity's humiliating Sally tape plays at the party. That Elena has such good timing.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Though Ben is a perfect, sensitive, mysterious angel in acting class, he continues to sort of lead Felicity on while half-inadvertently sabotaging her friendship with Julie this week. On the flip side, Noel's extremely supportive through Felicity's textbook-related freakout ("Just keep repeating the phrase, 'It's only college.' It helps sometimes.") and then they have this capital-M MOMENT right before the dance.
Plus, when Felicity returns the compliment, Noel earns my adoration by blushing and replying, "Thank you. I... I feel handsome."
So many! Marc Worden - Keri Russell's old Mickey Mouse Club cohort - plays a party rando who very rudely makes out with another party rando on poor Felicity's bed. TV mainstay Ivana Milicevic plays Sensa, a Russian student who uses her family connections to hook the party up with anything the dorm desires. And Dazed and Confused's Marissa Ribisi is the sort of annoying college girl you try to avoid at parties before she corners you on such riveting topics as the letter Q's placement in the alphabet.
College Nostalgia Moment
Everything here, as ever, feels as authentic to the college experience as possible, including Felicity's textbook panic and Ben's performance anxiety, but most especially the thrill of their first college party, and the inane conversation that takes place as these little freshmen try to convince themselves that they're adults just because they're drinking without supervision.
Y2K Nostalgia Moment
Sensa and her mafioso cousin Yuri cannot BELIEVE that Noel doesn't own a beeper.
After telling Felicity that Ben and Julie are obviously into each other:
Straight Talk with Elena
Literally the first words she says to Felicity or to anyone on this show:
ha-cha-CHA, this episode opens with some seriously hot Boggle action between Felicity and Noel. I know, I know - Boggle? But as the two super-nerds compete in this wholesome word game, Noel starts looking at Felicity like he's dying of thirst and she's a cool, clear lake. He leans over to kiss her, and it gets horizontal with a quickness.
It looks like a seriously great kiss, enough to make even the most ardent Team Ben devotee think twice - until later in the episode, but we'll get to that momentarily. Their steamy make-out sesh is interrupted by Meghan, who is profoundly impressed that her "uptight, no-fun, follow-the-rules, kiss-ass bore" of a roommate (Felicity's like, "Yep, that sounds like me") is engaged in illicit activity with the resident advisor. It's the first real conversation these two future besties ever have! (Though Felicity appears to hate every minute of it.)
The Boggle Kiss actually helps to develop Felicity's friendship with all three of the gals in her life. She and Julie finally, officially, make up, as they're both potentially interested in boys who aren't Ben. Julie meets Zach (My So-Called Life's Devon Gummersall), who washes a red shirt with all of his laundry and turns everything pink, earning the name Pink Guy in the dorm. They hit it off and he shows her his student film. She likes it a lot, but after he urges her to give some pointed criticism, she does, and then he immediately gets mad and defensive about it. I think this is really thoughtful foreshadowing for Zach's character, but for now, he and Julie make up, and Julie and Felicity adorably gossip about their non-Ben crushes, for the moment healing all Ben-related wounds.
Meanwhile, Elena and Felicity have become lab partners in chem class (yay!), and they're getting along well, until Elena asks Felicity if she and Noel are hooking up. Felicity swears they're not (the timeline of this episode jumps around a bit, so I think she's being honest at the moment). Later, Felicity wins a dorm fridge in the lottery, and Elena's bummed but understanding - until Meghan proudly spills to Elena that Felicity's "getting some R.A. ass," and Elena's outraged at the perceived corruption. Their tenuous relationship is mended when Felicity gives her fridge to Elena, and a friendship for the ages is forged.
So what of her and Noel? Felicity completely wigs out for a couple of days post-kiss, acting like a "cyborg" when Noel tries to talk to her about it ("For the record, you've never been weirder"), until she decides she's going to let him down easy to maintain their friendship. Noel arranges a maybe-date between the two of them to discuss their options, and Felicity immediately realizes that she is attracted to Noel, and perhaps doesn't want to let him down easy after all. And then, Noel drops the bomb: he's got a long-distance girlfriend. They've been together for two years. Her name is Hannah.
Felicity is PISSSSSED. She reads Noel the riot act and storms off most righteously, and it's awesome. Later, he talks to her, and admits that he was totally in the wrong. He loves and respects Hannah, even if he hasn't been acting like it (YEAH. Way before the Boggle Kiss, you've been emotionally cheating on Hannah with all those adorkable come-hither eyes, young man). Noel tells her, "I kissed you for a million reasons, but one of them, I'm sure, is that I miss my girlfriend. And for that, I'm just really, really sorry." Felicity forgives him wordlessly, because she's great, and because let's be honest, she's in love with Ben anyway.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Well, we're obviously not Team Noel this week, no matter how hot that Boggle Kiss was. Plus Ben runs for track in beautiful, muscle-rippling slow-mo, and it's clear that Felicity's been watching Ben run for years. He doesn't make the track team, and it's sad, and even sadder when he tells Felicity he decided not to join because he needs time to study. Her opinion obviously means a lot to him.
The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week
Felicity, to Noel: "You’re every long distance girlfriend’s worst nightmare, is what you are."
I love how much she enjoys Felicity and Noel's forbidden kiss. "You just went up," she tells her.
Straight Talk with Elena
When she accuses Felicity of getting the fridge unfairly, she says, "Don't try to deny it. You just went whiter than usual." Also she calls Meghan "that Halloween costume you live with," and I just adore her so much.
College Nostalgia Moment
After Felicity receives her fridge, she stares at it, cherishing an appliance that's all hers and has nothing to do with her parents, and then she gently places one apple inside.
That's it for this week! Let's please spend our comments section talking about how hot the Noel stuff is this week. I forgot how smoking their chemistry is right off the bat! It's such a smart build-up to a truly surprising reveal: that the sweet, nerdy RA who seems to worship Felicity is actually a sneaky little cheat! It really evens the nice-dude playing field between Noel and Ben.
Meet Sarah here next Wednesday morning as she chats up "Spooked" and "Cheating."