By Julie Hammerle and Emma Fraser
Season 1, Episode 4: “Boggled”
Original airdate: Oct. 20, 1998
Emma: So before I get onto the reason why Noel made me so mad this week I want to talk about one of the non-Felicity love triangle developments in this episode and that is the introduction of pink shirt Brian Krakow! I guess I should get used to calling him Zach especially as he looks so different from the boy who lived next door to Angela Chase and it took me a moment to realize who it was when he inadvertently dyed all of his clothes pink (yes including his underwear which we got a nice close up shot of). The reason why I was so happy to see Zach was because this meant a break from all of the Ben/Julie/Felicity DRAMA that has built up in the first three episodes. Julie has been put in this really awkward position in the middle between her new friend and the guy that she slept with and it makes sense that she would try to distance herself in this way.
Zach is an awkward film student and with teen shows male creators* have a habit of imprinting themselves on one of the male characters – Josh Schwartz did it with Seth Cohen on The OC and Kevin Williamson is clearly part Dawson on Dawson’s Creek – so I think that Zach might be the JJ Abrams/Matt Reeves substitute. There is a familiarity with Zach’s noir movie that he shows Julie and it reminded me of the film the kids are making in Super 8 (minus the zombies). The scene where Julie watches the film and then criticizes it is so uncomfortable but really well done because it can be incredibly nerve-wracking showing someone something you have made and hard to take those criticisms even if they make sense and will make the project better in the long run. It’s all resolved by the end of the episode and I’m looking forward to seeing this relationship develop.
* I’m sure female writers do this too but as we’re discussing a show with male creators I’m just focusing on this aspect.
Julie has dated a lot more than Felicity (who as far as I can tell hasn’t dated at all) but her relationship pattern is not the healthiest as she usually dates a guy until they break up with her even if she isn’t into the guy. It’s all about wanting to avoid confrontation and avoiding hurting someone and it is the most passive approach and while she breaks this cycle with Ben she does it in another dysfunctional way as she tells him that she has already plotted out their future and she knows it isn’t going to end well. Ben thinks it’s because of Felicity and while Julie denies this I think it is in part because she wants to get out of this crazy romantic web and keep her friendship with Felicity.
It’s all good between Felicity and Julie by the end of the episode and Felicity even calls Julie from the restaurant (from a payphone!) to get advice with Noel. This is before the big reveal and so I will leave it there, what did you think of the Julie story in “Boggled?”
Julie: I’ll be interested to see if the JJ/Matt imprint theory holds for you in a few episodes. *cryptic*
I loved the scene with Julie watching Zach’s movie. When you get to college, you already think you have it all figured out. You’re already a great filmmaker or writer or singer or whatever. But at some point you have to realize that the people around you have valid points to make about your art and that you don’t know everything. Julie was that person for Zach, and he’ll probably go on to create LOST after this, so thanks to the former Pink Power Ranger.
Yes, the “Pink Guy” is welcome for a lot of reasons. He’s Brian Krakow, he’s super cute and nerdy, and he distracts Julie from Ben. We needed to get off that merry-go-round and this was just the way to do it. Really, a lot of this episode was about the girls moving on from that shifty bastard, Ben. Julie meets Zach, and Felicity kisses Noel.*
OK, we only almost get off the Ben carousel. Felicity is still weirdly hung up on him. So weirdly hung up on him that she follows him to track tryouts, in fact, which is super creepy. It would be one thing to watch him compete at a meet, but these were just tryouts. No one watches those. Back in the Freaks and Geeks days we talked about going to sporting events and, if you weren’t part of that athletic crowd, feeling exposed just for sitting in bleachers full of people. Going to watch track tryouts is simply a bridge too far. Stop being weird, Felicity.
Thankfully, though, Felicity does seem to be expanding her horizons. She made a new friend in this episode (we’ll get to that later) and she kissed Noel. Or Noel kissed her. They kissed each other. What did you think of that romantic moment over a game of Boggle?
*Talking about this show is funny because there’s a Noel AND a Julie. If Noel and Julie ever hook up it’s gon’ get weird up in here.
Emma: Ooh that is cryptic, I hope he doesn’t turn out to be a serial killer.
Yeah the Felicity track tryouts did feel like a stalker move, like it’s good to support your friends but doing it in secret is a little on the too much scale. When Felicity said that the venue was on her way home I actually jotted down “REALLY?” as that sounds like a classic “I was in the neighbourhood” BS excuse.
I’m intrigued by Ben in this episode because he comes across as a lot more subdued – is it because he struck out with the girl? Or because he didn’t win at the tryouts? Maybe he realises that high school glory doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the same at college. As you said with Zach he’s realising that he’s not the best.
You asked me about the Boggle scene and I thought it was pretty hot. I’ve never played Boggle (I know) but it doesn’t strike me as game that causes spontaneous moments like this. Unless alcohol is involved, which it wasn’t here. They did the JJ favoured in media res for the kiss in the opening and then using the tapes to Sally as a way to go back to before the kiss.
I was really happy about this scene and the awkward interactions that followed (“Just for the record you’ve never been weirder”) and the setting up of the maybe date. And then Noel dropped the girlfriend bombshell and I yelled at my screen.
What I think they’re trying to do is subvert the norm – the good guy is actually hiding a big secret and the bad boy is all sensitive and sad. I’ve kind of got caught up in these tropes and I was very much leaning towards Noel (I am boring and like the good guy normally). The girlfriend reveal while it is frustrating is actually good for the show and the conflict as it’s only episode 4 and there’s still a lot more to come.
What I don’t get is why doesn’t Noel have any photos of Hannah up in his room and how has she not come up in conversation prior to this? This makes it seem like he was attempting to mislead Felicity and his claim that both he and Hannah can see other people seems like a stretch considering how long they have been together.
What did you think about the kiss and girlfriend reveal?
Julie: The kiss. Now let me pull a J.J. Abrams and talk about other things before I go back and talk about it.
Ben definitely works better as a character when outside of all the girl drama. He grows when he’s not around Julie or Felicity. The girls grow when they’re not around him. Julie with Ben is toxic. Felicity with Ben is toxic. Ben running by himself in shorty shorts? Doing just fine.
OK. The kiss. I love that it happens over a game of Boggle (which I have played, but not for a while; maybe I need to make it part of my game rotation). They showed the kiss from Noel’s perspective, really. He was watching Felicity’s lips move while she read out her list of words, and her lips were the only things he could see. I thought at first that he was just mesmerized by her mouth, but knowing about his girlfriend bombshell, I wonder if he was just weighing the effects of what might happen if he kissed the cute freshman girl down the hall.
I don’t know if Noel simply having a girlfriend makes him a “bad boy.” If he had kissed Felicity and then not told her about Hannah and kept dating both girls, that would be a bad boy. But he ‘fessed up pretty quickly. And apparently he and Hannah have an “understanding,” So, he’s kind of an idiot for not telling Felicity–OK, he’s a really big idiot–and a little bit of a jerk, but not a straight up bad guy.
I think he was just testing the waters before jumping into something. He had made a two-year investment on Hannah and he didn’t want to throw that away on Flakey Felicity. (Did he see her watching Ben’s track tryouts before or AFTER he told her about Hannah? I don’t remember. Was seeing her watch Ben the catalyst for telling her about Hannah?)
I actually kind of feel for Noel. I maintain that my biggest bit of advice for people going to college is DON’T HAVE A BOYFRIEND OR GIRLFRIEND. I had to learn this lesson the hard way. When I went to school, I had a boyfriend at home. I was very dedicated to him for the first two months or so, but then I met somebody and I spent the weekend kind of “testing” whether or not he liked me back. When it turned out he did, I broke it off with my boyfriend (in a pretty shitty way, that I still feel bad about). You’re meeting all these new people at college, you’re only 18, you kind of owe it to yourself to be free to meet new people. My freshman roommate (one of the few people I know who married the guy she was dating when she came to college) never went out, didn’t have a lot of friends, and (from what I could see) didn’t have a lot of fun.
*End Aunt Julie’s college advice*
But, you’re right, the photo thing was weird. It was 1998. We had photographs everywhere. It was like Noel was actively pretending Hannah didn’t exist, which he probably was.
I think the most ridiculous thing about Kissgate was that everyone was treating a Noel and Felicity union as something forbidden, like she was dating her professor or something. He’s her RA. He’s a year older than her. Pretty much the only perk he can give her his a fridge. It’s not like he’s going to help her pass her classes.
Speaking of Elena, who was the most to scandalize over the Noel/Felicity union, she’s in the opening credits, so she’s kind of a big deal. What did you think of her?
Emma: Those short shorts, while not Bob Benson level, were still way shorter than I remember the late ’90s favoring.
While Noel isn’t a bad boy really, it does take away some of his squeaky clean image that was being projected and I was unsure just how forbidden a Felicity/Noel hookup would be so it’s good to have the clarified. One more Noel point before I move onto Elena and the point where I really yelled at the screen is when he goes to see Felicity and shows her a picture of Hannah, like I get why he gave her the details of his relationship but the picture aid was a bit much. Noel you have much to learn.
I didn’t have a boyfriend when I went to college but from seeing what friends went through both at college and back home I totally agree with your advice. Maybe an advice column based on our personal experience/TV shows we are watching is on our future? Haha.
Ah Elena and another new friend for Felicity and she definitely needs to widen her circle. We met Elena at the dorm party but it’s in “Boggled” that we get to learn more about her. She’s to the point and this is the opposite of how Felicity is and in a way it’s Elena’s remarks about Noel that I think pushes Felicity towards him. Elena is pissed when Felicity gets the fridge as she assumes it’s thanks to her relationship with Noel and unbeknownst to Felicity it is (bad Noel). By the end of the episode it is all resolved and I’m looking forward to less drama filled interactions with this new character.
I have to admit that I’m so happy whenever Meghan appears because everything she says to Felicity is kind of terrible, except for when she walks in on Felicity and Noel on the floor together and her “you just went up…like a notch” is the first nice thing she has said to Felicity. I would hate to have a roommate who was like this, but for my enjoyment of this show it is perfect right down to the random act of putting underwear in the fridge. Oh and Meghan wins the most ’90s fashion prize with her Chinese style dress.
What are your thoughts about Elena and Meghan?
Julie: Hahaha! I love your assessment of Noel showing Felicity the picture. Total jerk move. Maybe Noel is a bigger bad boy than I gave him credit for.
Elena and Meghan (whom we haven’t seen enough of yet) are two of my favorite characters on the show. I love that Elena is a go-for-broke, self-assured, strong, feminist woman. She is the type of girl who would have no patience for Felicity’s manufactured boy drama. She knows what she wants and she’s honest about wanting it. When so much of Felicity’s and Julie’s existences depend on the guys they’re crushing on, it’s refreshing to see a girl much more focused on school and who she wants to be. She’s a Cristina Yang-type. TV needs more Cristina Yang-types.
Meghan is actually not that different from Elena. She also knows who she is, and she’s not afraid of being that person (most of the time, again *cryptic*). Also she delivered the line of the episode, which you mentioned. The underwear in the fridge thing was priceless, as was Meghan replacing Felicity’s apple with a tub of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. With Meghan’s contributions to the fridge, I can see why Felicity wasn’t too sad to get rid of it. I look forward to seeing more of Meghan in the future (and Javier, whom I keep promising will show up…yet never does. I promise I didn’t just imagine him).
Emma: I’m glad to hear that about Elena as I was worried she was a bit prickly at first, but Felicity definitely needs someone like this in her life.
And I’m looking forward to meeting the mysterious Javier!
I don’t have anything else to add but I am looking forward to seeing where the show goes beyond just the boy drama now that Felicity’s circle of friends has got bigger.
Julie: *checks IMDB* Looks like Javier is in the next episode! He’s real!