By Julie Hammerle and Emma Fraser
Season 1, Episode 10: “Finally”
Original airdate: Dec. 15, 1998
Emma: So Christmas isn’t that far off and we’ve got a perfectly timed episode of Felicity, if only Felicity and Noel had such good timing. The hot bathroom hookup from Thanksgiving and Noel’s subsequent breakup with Hannah means that the path is clear for Felicity and Noel, or is it? First of all Noel gets a call to go home because his Uncle who suffers from narcolepsy (not necrophilia) has crashed into a chicken truck and then by the time he gets back midterms are a couple of days away.
The only exams I had at university occurred in the summer term and so while I didn’t have to cram before the winter break, I did have multiple essay deadlines so this frantic get all the work done set up is VERY familiar. So before I return to the Noel/Felicity of it all I want to talk about the various different methods of revision and the structure of the episode and how it perfectly represents that end of term work panic.
Everyone has their own way of studying and this reflects certain characteristics. With Elena it’s all about order and she is very particular (it also includes M&Ms which I totally support the use of), Ben panic crams as does Noel because he’s lost all his notes and his personal life is intense. Felicity offers help to everyone and even though she’s probably going to get an A, she lets her own work suffer.
There are the many different communal studying areas that have their own set of rules, the use of subtitles in the silent library is pretty brilliant especially when Noel bursts in mid meltdown. I hated working in the library because I need music to write to and I like working on pajama like clothes, my very own Olivia Pope loungewear. I also used to do all my essays sat on my bed surrounded by all my notes, I’m an organized chaos kind of girl. This was also back when I smoked, as did my housemates and we would use cigarette breaks as a reward system for getting words written. Or everyone would gather in my room for a cigarette break even if the words weren’t done. Whatever your best study methods?
Somewhat randomly I also liked to have a supply of apples for essay writing time, I think to counter balance all the nicotine and caffeine I was injustice so Sean is kind of onto something with his new big money making scheme. I also made sure I had plenty of chocolate and crisps because food is everything when writing essays. I still use food as a motivator to get work done, currently thanks to the time of year mince pies are my prize.
Before I get to the kissing (and I have many thoughts) I want to see what you think about the set up of this episode.
Julie: I found myself laughing out loud several times during this episode, mostly at Noel. His beet powder meltdown with the swing music was just perfection. And the subtitles added a lot. I didn’t notice them at first and then I found myself wondering if I had accidentally turned on the closed captioning. I loved the consistency of the subtitles remaining throughout the entire scene in the quiet room, even when the characters were not speaking quietly at all. (I also loved all the Christmas music in this episode. I’m feeling so festive right now.)
Flashing back to my time in college, I don’t remember doing a ton of studying at the library. I think I did a little bit, but it was never comfortable for me. I liked to work on my bed with my note cards and stuff. Actually, I don’t recall the libraries being that crowded during exam time, but what do I know? I do remember that we’d have quiet hours in the dorms, though. That was a real thing.
Also, I was reminiscing with John about this, and during our freshman year finals time a bunch of us down in his dorm unit used to go to Blockbuster and rent a Nintendo 64. We’d hook it up in one of the dorm rooms and whenever anyone had time off, they’d go down to there and play Bond or MarioKart or whatever against whomever else had a few minutes of time off. It was kind of ridiculous A) that we’d rent the most distracting toy of all time during such high-pressure time, and B) that no one thought, “Hey, renting this is expensive. Maybe we should pool our money and just buy one.” We didn’t get wise to that until at least sophomore year (that’s when we took up Diddy Kong Racing and Mario Golf).
I never got too stressed out about finals. I always figure that if I hadn’t learned it by the time the test came around, I wouldn’t learn it by cramming a day before the exam. I was a horrible student in high school. I got decent grades, but I did literally no work. I changed my tune in college, though, thanks to my friend Grant (are you reading this, Grant?). He was super competitive and we were in a class together (music history) that was graded on a curve. Whoever gave the most correct information on the tests would get the A’s and so on and so forth. Grant and I were in the same study group, and he was always on top of his game and blurting out answers. I made it my personal crusade to get better grades than him on the tests, and I studied (using color coded note cards) like a fiend.
As far as the episode goes, I think several big things came out of this hour — Richard Coad was introduced to us (via his dorm room grill session), Noel and Felicity showed us that their one kiss in the bathroom would not be their last kiss, Ben and Julie got back together, and Ben and Noel shared a bromantic moment that will inform their relationship in the future. If Ben and Noel can be friends, then the writers don’t have to keep trying to force friendships between Ben and all the other random guys on this show and everybody wins.
What do you think about the new revelations?
Emma: The big Noel/Ben development almost made me as giddy as the Noel/Felicity whatever they are and have yet to label. First of all Ben’s reaction to Noel’s outburst is perfect as he laughs at the absurdity of it. Ben not only gives Noel a snack to knock him out of his manic spell but he also tells Noel what Felicity said about him being her best friend. Noel guesses that this happened just before he entered yelling because this is a TV show and that’s what happens. I’m excited they might become buds. I can understand why Noel is so worried about the Ben thing, I mean Felicity has just spent the last three months talking to Noel about him. I’m just concerned that jealousy might ruin what a lovely thing this is.
Noel and Felicity have become something and they definitely like kissing each other. Really guys a private cubicle in the library might not be the best place for a mass make out, that’s what studying Great Expectations does right? Dickens is totes sexy. This early relationship glow is adorable even with the many obstacles, but they like each other and at the moment that’s all the matters. I can understand why they were both rushing to define what this relationship is, not only because of Noel’s RA status (thanks Richard for not dobbing them in) but also because they’re going to be on opposite sides of the country for a month. Noel also has Ben worries, these are pretty much quelled by a sandwich and a glass of milk.
While I can’t believe that Felicity would be allowed to duck out of her exam their goodbye is rather sweet, even if Noel’s uncle has died.
The Julie/Ben reveal isn’t all that surprising considering the attraction they share, his epic speech to her a few episodes ago and how they’re both trying to avoid going home. At the moment I’m totally into these two different pairings. I wonder how Felicity will react when she finds out?
How do you feel about the various hookups?
Julie: Dickens gets everyone hot. They were fighting a losing battle from the start.
I love how Noel and Felicity just want to spend all their time kissing. That’s so college. When you’re away from home, but you still have the roommate situation to deal with, you’ve got to sneak those smooches where you can get them, even if it’s in a crowded library during finals week.
I want to talk a little bit about Noel and Richard and the RA ridiculousness. I had a lot of friends who were RAs in college. I don’t think it was a problem for an RA to date his or her residents (actually, I put this question out to my RA friends; they said dating may have been frowned upon, but not illegal). They’re the same age, right? Noel is not Felicity’s teacher. He can’t give her too much favor. He doesn’t hold that kind of power. Also, I think it’s a little suspect that Richard would know so much about the RA handbook and what an RA can and can’t do, especially when he thought it was perfectly fine that he was grilling indoors.
The whole “leaving for home” thing does give me the shakes, because I definitely went home twice during freshman year and came back only to be dumped (one time by the guy I later married). I think it will be easier for both Felicity and Noel to get through the weeks, though, knowing that Ben is in New York and not in Palo Alto. At least there’s not that roadblock to their relationship.
I actually really like Julie and Ben together (and I don’t remember Felicity’s reaction to finding out about them). I also liked that this episode took a few chances by throwing new characters together: Sean and Julie, Noel and Meghan, Ben and Noel. Doing that is a great way to shake up chemistry on a show and figure out which duos really pop. Parks and Rec and Community are great at this.
Which characters on Felicity would you like to see share more screen time?
Emma: I think my favourite thing about the Richard stuff is the reference to ‘the Clinton defense’ this being the late ’90s and so all of those references are relevant. I also really recognize the dude who plays Richard but haven’t imdb’d yet. I should probably do that because it keeps bugging me. And yeah grilling in your room is high on the dumb scale, but sometimes you just want a burger. There was a burger van on my campus that parked outside the drinking venue and even though we called it the van of death it did the most amazing burgers (amazing after alcohol, not sure about before).
The other super ’90s thing that occurred in this episode is the whole checking your messages thing and it’s something I never had the opportunity to do, because cell phones kind of killed this. For some reason that episode of Friends where Rachel drunkenly declared her love for Ross always comes to mind with the checking messages thing.
Having a variety of different character pairings is definitely appreciated now that certain relationships have been fully established and it means that the show hasn’t hit a stale patch yet. The Noel and Meghan scenes are especially indicative of how a random pairing can work because he’s so earnest and she’s, well Meghan and she really doesn’t give a shit about anything. Except maybe her box.
This episode is missing Javier and even though we got a big group scene at the end of Thanksgiving, I’d like to see a big group episode – maybe they all get snowed into the same building or a power cut episode? I also really liked the call back to the pilot with Ben wanting to see the city in the snow.
One aspect that still doesn’t work for me is the “Dear Sally” opening combined with her response at the end. Structurally it works when telling the story, it’s Sally’s closing remarks that come across as tired and cheesy. Are we ever going to meet Sally?
Julie: Richard is Robert Benedict, who has been in basically everything ever. I remember him from a memorable two-episode stint on Alias. He becomes a regular on Felicity, though, so get ready to see more of him.
So true about sometimes wanting a burger! And the cafeteria burgers were just not good enough. In fact most of the burgers in Indianapolis, where I went to school, weren’t good enough. I love the “van of death” thing. I can’t think of any suspect food we used to consume in college, but some of my friends up in Chicago during our early-to-mid 20s used to buy Thai food out of the back of a cab. That couldn’t have been good.
I went to college just before cell phones became a thing, so I was constantly checking messages. And we’d write each other notes on the white boards we hung on our doors (do people still do that? if not, sad). How did we ever locate each other with no cell phones? How did we ever manage to figure out how to get together at the same place at the same time with no means of immediate contact? Miracles were involved, I’m sure.
I think they do end up dropping the Sally thing at some point. I barely even notice it anymore; it’s like white noise. I think it was a cute little gimmick at the beginning of the show, but now that Felicity has real life friends, Sally lifts right out. Let’s have her spill the beans to Meghan instead, or Javier.
I always love watching the evolution of characters on shows like these. Did they plan to start bringing Sean into the mix more or was he just going to be Ben’s roommate? Was Richard going to be a one-off character? I wonder how much was planned from the start and how much grew out of cast chemistry.
Do you have anything else to add? Next time we’ll be talking about “Gimme an O!” I’ll leave you to figure out what that might mean.
Emma: Alias! That’s where I know him from!
Phones were very much a thing when I started college, it’s crazy to think how much they’ve changed from texting/ringing to essentially being a mini computer in your pocket. I’m glad I missed out on all the drunk social media declarations and terrible Facebook photos. There would be a lot of untagging. We had a big notice board but sadly not ones on our doors, that would have been fun (and probably very smutty).
I’m with you on the character evolution aspect – how a character can go from a three episode guest arc to a vital part a la Ben on Lost.
I kind of want to watch the next episode now considering that title…