Music Recommendation: “Blue Parade” by Sarah Slean
Dear Sally –
In order for me to do this show any justice in terms of ‘reviewing’ it, I need to focus on the reasons why I love this show. I mean, for a show that only had four seasons, it had such an impact on my entire high school and college experience. I probably would have had more of a social life in college if I watched less of the series amongst the many other shows I spent my free time watching. Most of the time, I would knock out those papers and chapters just so I had more time to watch TV. Truthfully, I’m not even ashamed to admit this. Felicity was one of the first shows that I re-watched in college and I even got my first roommate into it. We would shut ourselves in our little cave (re: dorm room) and watch the hell out of this show, even when we had a crap load of work to do. We’d be like, “let’s just finish this disc” (I have the series on DVD). Or, “let’s just watch it while we eat.” I don’t know anyone else who took five hours to eat their lunch.
Anyway, let’s start off with a little preamble: Felicity is about a girl from Palo Alto, California named (you guessed it) Felicity, who decides to go to college in New York City after her high school crush, Ben, writes in her yearbook. Once in New York, she meets a number of interesting characters and has to decide what path she wants to take for her life and love life. She begins college communicating with her friend, Sally, via cassette tape – recording her thoughts about how things are going in college. The recordings sort of stop once she’s thrust into the college life and made new friends. It’s a little more extensive than that, but that’s why you need to watch the show!
Here are some of the reasons why this show is so amazing and addicting.
The Opening Credits
The first two seasons of Felicity open with flashes of black & white photos of Felicity and the other characters in the show – pondering and hanging out in the wonderful city of New York. Felicity drinks coffee in a cafe, pets a dog, waits for the subway, laughs with her friends – daily life sort of things. The music is mellow and doesn’t have actual words, adding a calm and chill nature to the credits. The photos aren’t perfect either, which is a nice wink to the ‘realism’ approach the show tries to emulate (at least most of the time). Some of the shots are blurry, or the characters are out of focus, or they are not completely in the frame. Great stuff.
I also like the opening credits in the third and fourth seasons too, but they are your basic in-color episode clips with actual lyrics in the new theme song: “New Version of You.” Yeah, we get it. I still wonder why they changed the credit style? Anyway, the black & white credits are stills from moments that we don’t see in the actual episodes – a look behind the scenes of the lives of the characters.
Team Ben vs. Team Noel
Before there was Team Jacob vs. Team Edward or Team Stefan vs. Damon or even Peeta vs. Gale (or any other fictional love triangle after the 90s) – there was Team Ben vs. Noel. Yes, Felicity was caught between two lovers, but not in a weird kinky sort of way. She came to NY to follow her high school crush, Ben but found herself unexpectedly falling for someone else in the midst of dealing with the struggle of college, Noel. She had the best RA, who eventually became someone she loved and who loved her from the moment he first saw her. Sounds great, right? Going to college and finding your soulmate and living happily ever after. The end. But no, Felicity’s little world is all but a fairytale. You see, this chick isn’t someone who can make up her mind or make the right choices – until after she’s made the wrong ones. I mean, obviously from the premise of the show. Following a guy to college doesn’t sound like the smartest thing to do, especially if you’ve only had one conversation with him. Felicity says “obviously” a lot, by the way.
Even though Noel is into her right away, Felicity is at the University of New York (it’s a fictional college based on NYU) for BEN. She’s so determined to get Ben to fall in love with her that she’s blind to see how Noel feels for her. It takes having Ben call her “crazy” and rejecting her to get her to see what’s been right in front of her. Noel is there to hear all about her crazy antics in wooing Ben, and he even bails her out of some of the situations she gets herself into. More on that later. But, eventually she falls for him too – and presto! The end.
Yeah, I think you all see where this is going. Allow me to continue. So after Noel and Felicity get together, guess who comes around and see’s how amazing Felicity is – despite her impulsiveness? You guessed it, Big Ben. That’s when all hell breaks loose because now Felicity can have what she wanted in the first place. And then Noel’s “past” comes to get him as well. Let’s just say, Ben and Felicity get together. The end.
Sure….. Yeah right. You guys, need to keep up.
Noel was the best RA, even when he wasn’t the RA anymore
Freshmen year was a hot mess for Felicity and she always seemed to get her nose stuck where it shouldn’t have been. From retyping Ben’s paper and nearly getting them both expelled for plagiarism, to stealing his admission file and again almost getting him expelled. There was one person that Felicity could always count on to help her out with her impulsiveness. Noel was the RA of the century – even when he didn’t want to be. He was in love with a girl, that was in love with someone else. He didn’t let that bother him (for a while) and came to Felicity’s rescue on many occasions. His best advice, “Stay in New York or perish.”
But Felicity wasn’t the only one living in the dorms so Noel had his hands full with the rest of the freshmen crew. Even Elena, with her toughness and desire to be the best in class, needed Noel’s help from time to time. From sleeping with the ‘tin-man’ (Halloween episode) or trying to figure out how to actually date someone you just met (and slept with). Somehow, Noel had the answers. He also realized that she could help him out with his Felicity troubles. An eye for an eye. Their budding friendship and partnership made up for some very hilarious scenes. They eventually became roommates in season 2. I secretly always wanted them to hook up.
Then there’s Richard, the sort of guy that will annoy the hell out of you, because he’s so self-righteous and oblivious to his asshole-ness. He tried Noel on many occasions, including hosting a BBQ in his dorm room – violating so many rules. Noel threatened to get him kicked out, but then Richard caught Noel making out with another resident – Felicity. So, um yeah, their friendship and endless dueling became the stuff of legend. He even became likable as you felt for the guy who just wanted friends and to fit in. Who can’t relate to that?
Another problem that Felicity continuously had was with her roommate, Megan. More on that later. But Megan and Noel had their own relationship. Megan’s bluntness and know-it-all ticked Noel off, but made him keep coming back for info – because who didn’t know more about what Felicity was up to than the person sleeping across from her? Even after Megan gave Noel beet powder (he’s allergic and becomes neurotic after consumption) calling it ‘smart powder’ during finals, he continued to put up with her crap. A necessary evil.
After an entire school year of assisting the residents, Noel was no longer their RA, but the gang continued to depend on his guidance and friendship. The job was never-ending.
Elena was the best, best friend
Elena began as the girl living across from Felicity who just happened to be around when crap was going down in Felicity’s life. She was also the smartest and most determined premed student that Felicity knew and Felicity leaned on her for guidance – both academically and personally. When Felicity was dealing with Ben rejecting her or Noel’s confession of love, Elena rolled her eyes but gladly became the best friend a girl could ask for. Even giving Felicity sex tips. You see, Elena was the most confident person ever (next to Megan and Sean), but she was kind of clueless when it came to dating. Especially freshman year. So of course, her advice doesn’t help and lends to one the most hilarious episodes ever in the series.
Their friendship lasted all four years and beyond (if you don’t include Elena’s fate and reversed fate at the end of the series). Her kickass attitude even attracted the other characters. Though Julie was Felicity’s first best friend in college, Elena became the glue to keep them all together, because Julie and Felicity had issues when it came to Ben.
One of my favorite episodes is when Elena and Noel decided to dress up as Subway (yes, the restaurant) employees for the Halloween party at Ben and Sean’s. The deal was that they BOTH had to attend as a duo. However, Noel’s RA duties got in the way of him attending and Elena had to walk around the party taking people’s subway orders. Oh, hell no! Check out that uniform.
Elena was the best friend that anyone could ask for in college. She was smart, tough, funny, and the men loved her! Felicity’s impulsive tendencies and never-ending boy troubles always led her in some crazy situations, like the time Ben saved a woman’s life after she was shot at a party. Turns out the woman was filthy rich and became obsessed with Ben – while he was dating Felicity. She tried to let Felicity know that she would fight for him, but Elena had Felicity’s back and helped her learn some martial arts. What more could you ask for in a bestie?
Dean & Deluca w/ Javier
Boy troubles isn’t the only thing that Felicity had to worry about. I mean the girl is going to college in NY – against her parents wishes by the way. So without their support, she’s got to work. Dean & Deluca is one of the jobs that she gets freshman year, and continues to be her main job throughout the series – because she’s had an awesome manager named Javier.
Javier becomes one of Felicity’s best friends and offers her some great advice about her love life, like Elena. Felicity and Javier even try to get married at one point, but it’s not how you think. He’s even a fan of “Ben-ja-min”, and eventually hires him – despite all of the drama with Felicity. He’s kind of like the Cupid in the group. Plus, his thick Spanish accent makes everything that he says feisty! You could grab a cup of coffee and a scone with a side of saucy Javier.
Sean and his Smoothaise
You know the most refreshing part about Felicity was that the show didn’t limit the friendships to be composed of only kids in college, like including Javier. Sean was the guy with all of the ideas. Literally. He was a self-proclaimed inventor and entrepreneur. He always tried to make a buck. He was the perfect example to teach the kids about that hustle life because sometimes life doesn’t work out exactly like you plan it to (during) and after college. His presence assured the gang to keep working for what they believed in. I do find it hilarious that he befriended a bunch of college kids, but hey – got to keep those ideas fresh and where else can you get characters for the most badass documentary series, “Docuventary” (because he’s an inventor making a documentary). Get it?
I think teaming up with Richard was the best part about Sean’s documentary. Showcasing some of the most private moments of his friends while keeping the price of the moments on his mind and having Richard be his PA is just GOLD. Who wouldn’t buy this?
Sean always had a get rich master plan. Even having all the peeps over at his great apartment wasn’t just about socializing and demonstrating his hospitality, because he was charging most of them rent. And while having them there, he had an audience to test out his new inventions and hear out his new ideas.
He also sold things to benefit the college students, like essential study kits or that time he sold fruit during finals. I mean, that’s pretty genius.
I’ll never forget the time Sean inserted himself in the catering biz with Ben at Dean & Deluca just to have people try out his new food condiment – Smoothaise. Sounds delicious, right? Ben was having some relationship issues and Sean, instead of being supportive of his friend, was asking people to try out his Smoothaise.
Megan was the best roomie, even when she wasn’t
The scary part about college is when you have to move into your dorm with a stranger for a roommate. Some people get really lucky with someone amazing, but other’s aren’t so lucky. Case in point: Felicity’s college roommate, Megan. Their living arrangement was the most pivotal during their freshman year – when they first met. But, somehow due to television circumstances, they ended up living together at one point or another during all four seasons.
Megan and Felicity were two totally different people. Felicity was the straight-laced neurotic college student, while Megan was the Gothic club-nympho, with something pretty epic in a box. I honestly still don’t know what she had in there, even after the ‘artsy’ (being nice) episode that showed us what’s in the box. All I know is that she was paranoid with Felicity looking in the box.
As you might have guessed, they did not get along in the beginning, but Megan was always there to be totally blunt about Felicity’s struggles. The first few episodes, she would just pop in the room with some outrageous outfit ensemble on and say something rude during the perfect time. But Megan became someone to steer Felicity back into reality. Her ‘rudeness’ was something that Felicity needed (that all of the characters needed, actually), because most of the time (not all of the time) she was being honest. Down the line, she couldn’t help but be in Felicity’s little circle of friends (even when she didn’t want to).
Living with Sean and Megan
The best of the roomies collide. Someone’s got to tell Sean how ridiculous his ideas are and someone’s got to tell Megan how much of a bitch she’s being. Both of them mature tremendously during the last few seasons, and I’ll just leave it at that.
“New Version of You” (Felicity’s infamous haircut)
Well, if you’ve ever heard of Felicity, you are probably familiar with the whole Felicity haircut fiasco. Yes, she starts college with a head of glorious big curls and chops them off in season 2. Why? She went crazy, of course!
No, but in all seriousness – Felicity cut her hair because she needed a change. Sounds like a cliche, but that’s what happened in the story. Now, the reason behind KERI RUSSELL cutting her hair, I don’t know. Maybe she went crazy – or needed a change as well. I think it was all about growing up and shedding away all of her past mistakes. She became anew!
I similarly cut off all of my hair during my junior year in college for similar reasons. One of my friends even asked me if I was pulling a Felicity. No, I wasn’t exactly inspired by little miss busy body, but I was in need of a huge change in my life. So adios to the hair that has been with me my whole life, and hello naked head. Ready for the world!
Throughout the first few episodes of ‘the new Felicity’, her friends and (a heart-broken and angry) Noel questioned her big decision (well he just laughed). Even Felicity questioned herself at one point. Her love life was in shambles and she also decided to change her major from pre-med to art. She was starting all over and it was kind of scary.
Eventually, everyone got over the haircut and Felicity was growing up. She started dating (outside of Ben and Noel) and was enjoying her new artsy and independent lifestyle. She was rockin’ that haircut! And even in the midst of the big changes in her life, two things returned to normalcy – or should I say two guys!
Maybe the haircut was just Felicity being impulsive as usual, and yeah people hated it – within and outside of the show. Despite this, Felicity continued to be a great show even without the big curls. Hair grows back guys!
Every season of Felicity has finals week or hell week. I mean, it’s a show about life in college and we can’t forget the week that sends college kids into a definite frenzy. Felicity and the gang aren’t safe from the week of utter terror. So finals week is basically a week of cramming everything that you (supposed to) learn during the semester – in hopes of passing the final exam or write a great paper. Wow, just thinking about my finals week makes the hair on the back of my neck stand. It’s like you have to pull a miracle and relearn everything and remember it when you’re actually tested!
So basically, all of the students in your university are on edge – which makes for a number of hilarious situations. During the first season of Felicity, Noel and Felicity are newly dating, but haven’t actually made it official that they are dating. So the whole time they just want to make-out and talk, and make-out some more – but they have to study for their finals. This is where Richard catches them and it’s such a funny moment.
Eventually, they have to separate and Noel has to try to convince Richard not to get him fired from being an RA. Felicity then runs into Ben, who asks for help on studying. He and Julie (Felicity’s supposed BFF – I can’t stand her) are sort of dating by this time as well.
Felicity, of course, helps Ben out because she owes him after almost getting him expelled in an earlier episode. Plus, I don’t think she knows how to say no to him. Meanwhile, Noel is running around looking for her and runs into Megan, who gives him “smart powder.” Noel finds Felicity studying with Ben and his insecurities added with the beets in his smart powder make him totally overact. All the while, both of them still need to study for their finals. Sean is walking around selling fruit by this time as well.
Finals week creates some of the best moments in the series and the characters each approach the week in their own way – surviving the best way that they know how.
As Felicity is trying to find herself and survive the college life, she meets all of these amazing people. The group is there for one another – when they are not killing each other. Without a doubt, Felicity’s friends are the BEST reason this show is amazing. Without the love triangles, the fights, and Sean’s terrible inventions – the show wouldn’t have been what it was, because each character literally had an important part to play. Felicity wouldn’t have survived without her squad.
I watch this show when I need a reality check or when I need to remind myself that friendship is important and finding myself is essential. College wouldn’t have been the same without this show and I’m betting the more I revisit Felicity and the crew, I’ll understand and accept becoming an adult even more.
This is one of my favorite scenes of the show. After all the characters have been through, they still managed to put aside their worries, dance it out and stick together.
Thanks for reading. ‘Til next time.
Update: Just look at these guys now!
Update: I got to attend the 20 Year Reunion Panel!