Follow the whole rewatch here!
Last week, Noel and Felicity had sex, Elena and Tracy broke up at the altar, Meghan and Sean got married, Ben decided to take 18 hours of pre-med and I got majorly stressed.
We thankfully get some relief this week with generous dose of (pageant!) humor in Episode 4, and it's a great reminder that this show does comedy very well (and shouldn't forget it! I'm looking at you, Season 3).
Raise a glass to some laughs and Felicity, the Beauty Queen!
The Felicity Drinking Game Rules
Drink once every time:
You cringe during the "New Version of You" credit sequence.
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.”
Now, let's dig into these episodes!
4.3 "Your Money or Your Wife"
Turns out, when you make a spur-of-the-moment decision to get married and don't invite your family to the wedding, your parents get pissed! Meghan is dealing with a VERY upset Mr. and Mrs. Rotundi, so she sets up a dinner for the parents to meet each other. Sean, who is also juggling some serious money issues (i.e. he hasn't paid rent in months), thinks this is a terrible idea and wastes no time in proving himself right by picking a fight with his dad (who is totally Sean Sr., btw) before they even meet Meghan's parents. Mr. and Mrs. Blumberg leave, and Meghan tries to talk to Sean about fixing his relationship with his dad by sharing her own story of finally being honest with her parents about who she really is (like, the opposite of Meggy). Way to tie up that loose end, writers. Side note, we also find out why Meghan's family is rich--they founded Rotundi Elevators!
Sean visits his dad--who recently invented a screwless chair, honorary drink!--and apologizes, but when the families gather together for a brunch at the Rotundi mansion (like, complete with butler!), Mr. Blumberg starts pitching Mr. Rotundi on the chair and it gets all kinds of awkward until Sean makes it worse by basically yelling at his dad about how embarrassing he is. GAH IT'S AWFUL and I feel bad for Sean's dad but I also feel bad for Sean and really I feel the worst for Meghan.
Thanks to his lack of payments, all of the stuff in Sean's loft is seized and he's about to be evicted. He lies and tells Noel that the floors are being replaced, but then he pitches Noel, who just got a $50K check for being married to Natalie, on a business venture (flavored pen caps, not his worst idea--drink!). He later apologizes and admits why he needed the money, and sweet, compassionate Noel offers him a loan. Sean goes to see his dad to once again say he's sorry, and Mr. Blumberg immediately starts giving him a pep talk and raves about how proud he is. It is UTTERLY heartwarming, especially when they realize they had the same idea for flavored pen caps (Sean calls dibs, because of course he does).
Ben and Felicity can't stand being broken up, so they decide to "start the year over." Too bad Felicity's conscience doesn't agree! She confides in Javier, who swears not to tell, but of course he acts weird around Noel, and there is no way any of this will end well and I JUST WISH WE COULD GET IT OVER WITH.
Meanwhile, Felicity only got like $75 in financial aid because she applied so late, so she's desperately searching for scholarships. Javier thinks she would be perfect for a beauty pageant, while Noel offers to loan her some of his $50K. Felicity outright rejects the former and lovingly declines the latter.
Elena is in the depths of mourning her relationship with Tracy (thank you for not glossing over that, writers!) and shares her feelings with Felicity (again, thank you, writers, because female friendship!). She eventually gets a letter from Tracy, letting her know that he's gone on another mission trip for the semester, and Elena shares a really precious moment with Ben, who comforts her and tells her she made the right decision not to get married.
Benjamin could use some encouragement of his own, because O-Chem is kicking his ASS. He overhears Elena telling Felicity that he's not gonna cut it, and then his lab partner, Trevor, is more interested in Mug Night at a bar (free refills if you bring your own mug--that is QUITE a deal, I grant him). Professor Hodges continues to suck (and overhears Ben saying so), but ultimately, Elena shows up to save him with a late night lab session that turns into Trevor inviting her out for Mug Night.
In a cute little side plot, Javier confesses to Felicity that he's always wanted to be an actor (that's why he came to the States?!), so he tries out for the school production of Don Quixote. The director interrupts his intro by telling him to "lose the accent," and then Javier makes it about four charmingly bad bars into his song before he's cut off. But he ends up getting cast in the chorus! Yay! Dude is going to steal every scene.
Right after a weirdly melodramatic montage that involves Elena putting away Tracy's shirt, Felicity applying for the pageant (yep, she gave in), Ben scoring a victory in O-Chem and Javier singing at a rehearsal, Meghan's dad tells her that if she doesn't annul her marriage to Sean, he's going to cut all ties with her--including financial ones. She ends up telling Noel but doesn't want Sean to know, and then her husband comes home, drops on one knee and adorably offers her a cubic zirconia ring, which she accepts with tears in her eyes. You know Meghan's truly in love to give up everything for this doofus (and I adore her for that).
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Javier's Perception of His Ability to Keep a Secret: Accurate
Anyone who's ever done elementary school crafts knows that glue sticks don't do shit to keep things together.
Felicity has to buy a book to learn about all of the scholarships out there, and after she finds one that's perfect for her, she discovers that the scholarship no longer exists. HOW DID WE LIVE BEFORE THE INTERNET?
Oh My God, There's Two of Them
In a shock to no one, Sean's brother still lives at home.
I Thought Javier In Pajamas Was My Everything, Until Now
JAVIER IN A SUIT OF ARMOR I CAN'T EVEN.
Alan Blumenfeld is pitch perfect as Sean's dad. Dude has 184 credits in IMDB (!), including Gilmore Girls (Rabbi David Barans!) Heroes, Arrested Development and Mad Men.
Christopher Gorham plays Trevor, Ben's lab partner, and he'll be around for a while so hopefully you're digging his slightly fratty but affable cuteness. He's been in a ton of stuff, including Popular, Ugly Betty and Covert Affairs, but to me, he will always be James Stanley from the "I Only Have Eyes for You" episode of Buffy.
Allyce Beasely is one of those actors who's been in everything (including Legally Blonde)--in this episode, she plays Sharon, the dormat of a rep from Sean's building coop.
4.4 "Miss Conception"
Felicity is actually going through with the Sunrise Surprise Beauty Pageant, and I can't tell who is more thrilled, Javier or me. Javier, as her coach, does his darnedest to get her into a stringy swimsuit, but our girl isn't gonna let a potential tiara change her! After getting one hell of a makeover (I think the guy trained at Truvy's Beauty Spot because that hair is VERY close to God), Felicity meets a fellow contest, Sarah, who's experienced and also super nice, unlike Denise, the Mean Girl™ who is clearly not here to make friends. Javier is worried that Felicity is too innocent to handle the fierce competition ("You're so gullible. You're like a seabird," he tells her), but with the help of Sarah, Felicity begins to channel her own fierceness--which includes pranking Denise by putting muscle rub lotion (?) in her bikini bottom. That is WAY more extreme than TP-ing the library, Felicity! I'm so proud.
We also get to see Keri Russell show off her dance talents! Well, sort of. Felicity hasn't danced since she was
on the Mickey Mouse Club 10, but she picks it back up for her talent portion, and while we see a short glimpse of her practicing, we never get to witness her actual performance. LAME! To make up for it, here's a video of Keri strutting her stuff on the MMC:
As if the pageant drama wasn't enough, Felicity is also dealing with the possibility that she's pregnant... and it might be Noel's baby. YIKES YIKES YIKES. She takes a test at home, which comes out positive (ACK ACK), and she shares the news with Elena, who totally figures out that it might be Noel's, because she is a smart and perceptive friend. Felicity also spills the beans to Noel, who handles it well, IMO. But guess who she doesn't tell? Her boyfriend, who finds the lab request (Felicity goes to the doctor for a blood test) on her desk and then decides to work out his feelings on the basketball court, where he finds Noel. Ben realizes that Noel already knows, and his sad, confused face just breaks my heart.
Meanwhile, Meghan is wrestling with the ultimatum her dad gave her and decides she needs to kick Sean's ass in gear and make some of his ideas into actual, successful reality. He pitches her some surprisingly good notions (I mean, for Sean), but it's clear that nothing he can come up with will generate even a tenth of her family's wealth, and Meghan finally tells him that she's going to get cut off from her family and wonders if she's making a mistake. Sean, truly shining in this moment, declares that in spite of how Meghan might feel about choosing him, he knows he's with the right person, and ultimately she decides to stick with her hubs. Yay! Smeghan (is that what we decided?) 4-ever!
Still looking for a job, Noel heads back to familiar territory and pays a visit to Mr. Norman, the college guidance counselor, who must be the hardest working man in university business because he's the same guy that was advising Ben on his dismal chances at surviving pre-med. Mr. Norman, it turns out, can most definitely help Noel, because he's retiring and needs to fill his position! He gives Noel the job, which might be the most fabricated aspect of college on this entire show (including Felicity and Meghan's massive freshman year dorm room) because where is all of that bureaucratic red tape?! Noel would've had to fill out at least 20 forms and wait like, two months before he heard anything. Anyway, now Noel is a college counselor! And his first order of business is to help Ben drop some classes, even though it's past the deadline. Great work, Mr. Crane!
The night of the pageant arrives, and while Sarah has invited her entire family, Felicity can't even bring herself to ask Ben. She describes him to Sarah--the most popular boy in school, you know, "that guy"--and it's obvoius that even afer all of this time, Felicity feels like she doesn't deserve him. "I'm waiting for him to realize who I really am," she tells Sarah. "And once he does, he won't want me anymore." Gah, that slays me. But Ben does end up coming to the pageant, less to cheer her on and more to be like, WTF, you're pregnant? She apologizes for not telling him, and she shares the HUGE RELIEF that is Aunt Flo, who is finally here. Then she asks him to stay, and it's so sweet especially if I force myself not to think about the impending doom of her fling with Noel.
Felicity doesn't win the pageant (though she does score a gift card for winning "Best Evening Gown"), while Sarah gets first runner up and Denise is crowned Miss Sunrise Surprise, because, as I learned from Drop Dead Gorgeous, the Mean Girl™ always prevails at pageants. Even when she wears a bandana on her head like this:
Felicity may have lost her shot at the scholarship, but Noel has good news: he has an Art TA position he has to fill, and he wants her to take it! Just so happens that the class is right down the hall from his office... that won't be a problem at all!
How many times do I have to take a drink?
18!! Thanks, Sean.
Felicity Got Robbed in the Beauty Portion of the Pageant
I know that's not like a real category but IT SHOULD BE FOR FELICITY. Bask in the glow of this gorgeous girl, y'all.
Javier Is Clearly Not a Dolly Parton Fan
When this is how he reacts to Felicity's huge hair:
Priceless Ben Covington Face: "Did You Say Pageant?" Edition
Sean's Big Ideas
While the first one out of the gate (shrimp yogurt) is a world of no, the rest of Sean's ideas aren't bad: an over-the-head reading desk (10/10 would buy), a restaurant called Before and After that only serves apps and desserts (10/10 would eat there) and a combo sleep mask and alarm clock (okay, well, that one's not great but it's better than shrimp yogurt!).
Is this our first pop star cameo on Felicity?! Monica plays Sarah with an incandescent warmth, plus she gets to sing! I can't believe Denise beat her. This pageant was rigged...
...by Dr. Joyce Brothers?! Doc, don't you have better things to do than judge Miss Sunrise Surprise? I mean, you had a cameo in Troop Beverly Hills for god's sakes!
Bob Clendenin, as Mr. Norman, is the epitome of a worn-down bureaucrat. You may recognize that very memorable face from Scrubs, Cougar Town, The Closer, Roswell and Gilmore Girls (two GG alums in one rewatch post!).
In true pageant director fashion, Tracy Scoggins has the face of an '80s babe--because she was one! I remember watching her on Babylon 5 and Lois & Clark and Yes, I Realize I'm Old.
Remember that first Thanksgiving, when Sean was on the outs with his family? That doesn't really jive with what we see in Episode 4.3. I mean, can you imagine his mother (or even his father) exiling him from a family holiday?!
The pregnancy storyline could've felt contrived but IMO, the writers managed to avoid an after-school-special situation by giving it weight but also letting Felicity distract herself. Or did you find her reaction less dramatic than it should've been?
How are we feeling about the Ben and Noel situation? I know Meredith was nursing a grudge against Benjamin, but man, did I feel bad for him in 4.4.
And was this pageant a much-needed breath of fresh air or what?!
Join Meredith next Wednesday morning as she covers "Boooz" and the perfectly titled, "Oops... Noel Did It Again."
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