Last week, Jenny reviewed a book about a girl who follows a guy to New York City, and most of us immediately thought, “OMG FELICITY!” Which then led me to the shocking realization that there are absolutely zero posts about Felicity on this blog, and that is an effing tragedy, you guys. Hello, it’s one of the best YA TV shows ever, not to mention the fact that years later, I still feel like the characters are my real friends. And if you think that’s sad, then I probably shouldn’t tell you about how I have to go into every Dean & Deluca when I’m in NYC just to see if Javier is working that day. Y’all, I have SUCH a crunch on him.

Speaking of crunches, I had a tough time deciding which facet of the show I wanted to write about today. I could analyze how insanely pretty Keri Russell is (SO PRETTY), or I could talk about the amazing evolution of Meghan as a character. Or perhaps I could tackle the bullshizz of Elena always getting the crappy storylines (I mean, sex with Professor Humperdinck? COME ON). But throughout all of the conversations that have ever occurred about Felicity, there’s one question that always arises.

And that question, my friends, is this: Are you Team Ben or Team Noel?

Felicity (from the neck up) superimposed between Noel and Ben

That’s right, before there was Edward vs. Jacob, or Peeta vs. Gale, there was Ben vs Noel. And it was a debate that raged fiercely through four years of Felicity’s mothercussing indecision.

Today, I’d like to settle that debate once and for all. And yes, I do realize the immensity of my task, which is why I’m employing our usual highly scientific methods of analysis. I’ll be comparing Noel and Ben and awarding them points (out of 10) in several pivotal categories, and their total score will provide the definitive answer to this debate.

So grab your lab coats and LET’S DO SOME SCIENCE.


Screenshot of Noel Crane, a cute college student with brown hair

Noel: 7

Noel exemplifies the finer virtues of sensitivity, and like our other fave sweetheart, Peeta, he even goes through a crazycakes period just so he can become more manly and badass. Deep down, though, he’ll always be the nice guy, and while I find that adorable, it’s the main reason why Noel will always be stuck in the Friend Zone. He’s goofy and compassionate, but neither of those words spell SEXY.

Ben Covington, a handsome college student with wavy hair

Ben: 8

Ben can be a little aloof, and his impulsive behavior is frustrating as hell. But when you realize that he’s overcoming some major family drama (more on that later), his grumpy demeanor becomes insanely charming. Speaking of charm, all the boy has to do is crinkle his eyes and smile, and I swear, a rainbow will shoot out of your chest and end in a pot of swoon. He’s also surprisingly thoughtful and caring, and his loyalty knows no bounds. (I mean, have you MET Sean?)


Screenshot of Noel Crane, a cute college student with brown hair

Noel: 7

Just look at those puppy dog eyes! That excellent bone structure! Noel is definitely a handsome dude, and if that’s how all of the “nerdy” RAs at NYU look, I totally went to the wrong college.

Ben Covington, a handsome college student with wavy hair

Ben: 10

The first time I saw Ben on screen, I was like, “Oh yeah, Felicity should DEFINITELY move to New York.” And that was before I even knew what he wrote in her yearbook! The boy is FOINE, from his adorable grin to his totes toned swimmer’s body. I still can’t forgive the University of New York for canceling their swimming program, thereby robbing us of more scenes featuring Ben in a Speedo. Damn you, fictional college!

Tragic Past

Screenshot of Noel Crane, a cute college student with brown hair

Noel: 2

As far as I can remember (and I’ve seen this series many, many times in its entirety, because I believe in extensive research), the only tragic thing in Noel’s past is his misfortune in dating a girl named Hannah who likes to pout her lips and play fugues. Of course, in real life, that turned into an even greater tragedy (Jennifer Garner, how could you?), but let’s try to keep fiction and reality separated, okay people? We have an important debate to settle about our two potential boyfriends here!

Ben Covington, a handsome college student with wavy hair

Ben: 7

Ben’s dad (RIP John Ritter) is an alcoholic, and Ben grew up supporting his mother and fighting against the possibility of turning into his father. It’s the reason he doesn’t always know how to handle his emotions, which not only makes us sympathize with him, it also gives me a great excuse to still be in love with him even when he’s an asshole.

Treatment of Felicity

Screenshot of Noel Crane, a cute college student with brown hair

Noel: 8

Aside from the time he drank beet juice and went batshizz insane at the library, Noel treats Felicity with respect and adoration, the latter of which can be a little much at times but still, he’s super considerate towards her. He clearly wants the best for her, and he’s insanely supportive of her dreams, whether it’s helping her study to be a doctor or collaborating with her on Loser Pet Store. Sure, he drops her for Hannah, but that’s a typical freshman mistake*, and even after Felicity leaves him hanging at the airport and chooses Ben, Noel eventually forgives her and takes her back as a bestie. Definitely a good guy.

*After publishing this analysis, I was corrected by fellow scholar Kate. Noel was a sophomore when he dumped Felicity, and therefore, he can’t use freshman ignorance as an excuse. Consequently, he loses one point.

Ben Covington, a handsome college student with wavy hair

Ben: 4

We have now reached the Ben Handicap. Dude is TERRIBLE at being a boyfriend, or even a friend to Felicity. He’s flaky and scared of his feelings, and he has major commitment issues. He’d sooner have an affair with a scary married catering lady (major cougs) or run off to the Hamptons with a spoiled rich girl (HATECHOO AVERY) than stay in a relationship with Felicity for more than a few months. The only reason he doesn’t have a zero in this category is because, well, what goes around comes around. I mean, if some girl stalked you all the way to New York and then, like, looked at your confidential college file and then re-wrote yr paper for a class and almost got you expelled, you’d be rushing to give her a restraining order, not a hug. Just sayin’.

Romantic Gestures

Screenshot of Noel Crane, a cute college student with brown hair

Noel: 4

It’s almost unfair to judge Noel in this category because being a clueless, awkward guy is part of his charm. And awkward guys are usually too busy being self-conscious to pull off anything romantic, although occasionally, they get lucky (hey-o!). Such is the case with Noel and his use of Boggle as foreplay. I gotta give the man some points for that.

Ben Covington, a handsome college student with wavy hair

Ben: 10

The silver lining to Ben being such a dick to Felicity is that he gets to make it up to her in super swoony, dramatic fashion. I mean, buying her the necklace was nice, but asking her to go on the road trip with him, out of nowhere? MEGA SIGH. And then there’s the pièce de résistance: presenting her with the film reels of the movie he missed in Bryant Park while earnestly begging her to give him another chance. Watching this scene always results in the strange physical phenomenon of my eyes filling up with tears while my lady parts fill up with lust. Ben, WHAT MAGIC YOU WEAVE.

Je Ne Sais Quoi

Screenshot of Noel Crane, a cute college student with brown hair

Noel: 6

In order to account for every remaining variable, I felt it necessary to include this final category. Noel definitely has something special glimmering behind those amber eyes, and I would have ZERO problem breaking the “no RA/student relationships” rule with him.

Ben Covington, a handsome college student with wavy hair


I realize that number may seem ridiculous to you, but trust me, I’m a scientist. And Ben has earned every single one of those points. He just has that something… that swagger, that smile, the magnetism of thousands of high school crush objects rolled into one devastatingly hot, charismatic package. Without careful study of the show, it’s easy to miss. Just ask my boyfriend, who thinks it’s lame that I like “that dude from Underworld.” Haters gonna hate, but I always understood why Felicity never got over Ben. It’d be like giving up Chimay for O’Doul’s. It’s just plain wrong.


Let us total up the points, shall we?

Noel: 34

Ben: 1,000,039

You can’t argue with those numbers, folks, because numbers DON’T LIE. Noel put up a good fight, but we have a clear victor in this debate, and that champion is Ben Covington.


Now that I’ve solved a mystery that’s been baffling scholars for years, how about we celebrate with one of my favorite Ben scenes ever?

Wow, I can’t believe I just wasted time analyzing all of these different categories when three minutes of video made the answer SO OBVIOUS.

And now I’d like to hear the reaction from the scientific community. Do you agree or disagree with my results? Get your philosophical debate on in the comments!

Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.